The Closings Of Maine’s Catholic Churches

As previously reported this summer, some Catholic Churches of note in Maine are either closing, have been closed or even demolished this month.

First up, St Patrick’s in Lewiston, a 109 year old church, is closing this week:



On Tuesday night, the final mass will be celebrated at the church overlooking Kennedy Park. Bishop Richard Malone plans to officiate. Monsignor Charles Murphy, a former parish priest, will give the homily.

The building will be closed the next day. By Christmas, Maine’s Roman Catholic Church is expected to finalize its decision to sell the brick complex that includes the grand nave, a chapel, church hall, rectory and twin steeples.

“It’s very painful for everybody,” said Monsignor Marc Caron, who leads the parish. For months, he sought advice from churchgoers around Lewiston but finally made the decision in August to recommend closure for St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s churches. St. Joseph’s, the city’s oldest Catholic church, closed Oct. 13.

At St. Patrick’s, activities included a concert Friday night on the Hook and Hastings organ, a homecoming Mass on Sunday and the reburial of the church’s founder, the Monsignor Thomas Wallace. His body had been kept in a crypt in the church basement beside the hall.

About 100 people attended Wallace’s reburial on Oct. 17 at Mount Hope Cemetery.

Wallace had initiated the construction of the church in 1886, when St. Joseph’s church, the only English-speaking Catholic church in the city, had become too popular. It would become a home for Catholics of many different nationalities, drawing Greek, Polish and Lithuanian parishioners.

One wonders if among the Bishop’s remarks will be more bullying of parishioners or perhaps a third demand for cash to fund his SFMM efforts?

Or shall he just play his DVD again for the folks gathered?

More below the fold.A few weeks ago, it was St. Joseph’s turn, also in Lewiston. Bishop Malone officiated the last services there as well:



Bishop Richard Malone celebrated the final Mass at St. Joseph, acknowledging the sadness and the necessary grieving of those in the pews, but reminding parishioners that the Church is not the building. “The Church is God’s people. The Church is all of you,” he said.

It was a message echoed by Father Frank Morin, a former pastor of St. Joseph’s, who returned to concelebrate the Mass and deliver the homily. “The Church is on a mission, the whole Church, laity and clergy,” he said, “and a Church on a mission in inescapably a Church in change.”

This is a beautiful and historic building of note in central Maine:


The cornerstone of the building was laid June 13, 1864, according to a parish history published in 2007. The church, designed by architect Patrick Keely of New York, opened three years later.

Today, the structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is known for its columned nave and the stained glass in almost every window, much of it hand-painted with extraordinary detail. Murals were painted in the 1920s by Monmouth artist Harry Cochran, according to the church’s history.

Then there was on October 15th, the quiet demolition of the Catholic Church in Jackman, posted on Facebook with the following comments:


Too expensive to heat anymore! The Catholic Diocese authorized the destruction of this historic Franco-American landmark on the Old Canada Road.

This is the parish that my parents, grandparent and Aunts & Uncles have been married and buried! Yet they can give another $150,000 to promote overturning gay marriage in Maine! Outrageous!

Location: Jackman, Maine

I hate to tell her just how much the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has given total- it’s more than $150,000… in fact, it’s far more!

Before:



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Next will come closures in Saco and Biddeford… good times up here in Maine!

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