St. Paul the Apostle Parish's roots reach back to the early 1800's when the Catholic faithful began to move to the greater Bangor area. The parish began to take shape in 1828 when Mass was celebrated in private homes which continued until the first Catholic Church, St. Michael's, was built in 1837. As the number of Catholics began to grow, St. Michael's had to be enlarged twice. This was done while Rev. Thomas O'Sullivan [1849-1853] was pastor. In 1853, Rev. John Bapst, S.J. missionary, builder and teacher was named pastor of St. Michael's and the surounding area. The cornerstone for St. John's Church, under which is placed Father Bapst's tarred and feathered cassock, was laid in 1855. Out of the anti-Catholic bias which existed at this time of American history, rose the current neo-Gothic building which is 156 feet in length; the nave reaches 58 feet high.
The parish continued to grow and would eventually contain six different parishes located in Bangor, Brewer, Hampden and Winterport. The parishes were established in the following years: St. Gabriel, Winterport 1853; St. John, Bangor 1855; St. Mary, Bangor 1872; St. Teresa of Avila, Brewer 1894; St. Joseph, Brewer, 1926; and St. Matthew, Hampden 1968.
The discussion of joining the six separate churches into one parish began in the year 2000. The six parishes were merged and a new parish was established on July 1, 2009 under the patronage of St. Paul the Apostle. The parish continues to celebrate Mass, offers faith formation and other events at all six church properties, but with a central office and staff. St. Paul the Apostle Parish and her school, All Saints Catholic School continue to thrive and build upon the vibrant parish established by our brothers and sisters at the beginning of the 19th century.
THE CHI-RHO SYMBOL
The Chi-Rho is one of the earliest forms of a monogram forming an abbreviation for the name of Jesus Christ. Though the two letters look like P and X in the English alphabet, the Chi Rho monogram is actually chi (looks like X) and rho (looks like P) from the first two capital letters of the Greek word for Christ. Although not technically a Christian cross, the Chi-Rho invokes the crucifixion of Jesus, and symbolizes his status as the Christ.