The Father Scanlon Story and the St. George Tabertnacle


In the 1880's Silver Reef, about 25 miles north of St. George became a booming mining town with the discovery of a silver vein. Miners appeared in this frontier town which was first named Bonanza City and merchants started many frontier businesses. Some St. George settlers even found a market for their farm goods. One person, in particular, remembered from this time was Father Lawrence Scanlon, who with a few other Catholic fathers, was sent to Silver Reef to attend to the religious needs of the miners and some townsfolk. He was an outgoing, friendly person who right away formed friendships with leaders of the Mormon faith. A feeling of mutual trust and respect developed. Through this exchange, they offered him the use of the Tabernacle for a High Mass. Father Scanlon with only the most limited of conditions for holding church services accepted with delight. He would hold the Mass on one condition, that the music and text be learned and provided in Latin by the St. George Stake Choir. They agreed. This was an historical moment for St. George and the Tabernacle when this group of miners, far from their homes filed into this beautiful structure, tall in the desert, rimmed by the brilliant red hills. Many townspeople were invited and attended. There was a feeling of warmth and friendship . The choir under the direction of John M. Macfarlane, performed amazingly well in Latin. The Tabernacle had once again proved its value. It wasn't too much later that the silver mine gave out and the silver boom faded away. The people of St. George were sorry to see Father Scanlon go. He had been a devoted friend.


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