Map: Get Directions
In 1853, St. Gabriel’s in Winterport was built by Father John Bapst, S.J. on land that was secured from the Sproul Estate. The first resident pastor was Father Jeremiah McCarthy and the parish included Frankfort and Bucksport. A year later, the first Mass was celebrated in the little Sanctuary overlooking the Penobscot River.
St. Gabriel's became a separate parish in 1877, with missions in Belfast, Bucksport, Frankfort, and Searsport. Rev. Jeremiah McCarthy was the first resident pastor. Rev. John Duddy succeeded to St. Gabriel’s in the fall of 1879 and he purchased land for a rectory.
In June 1888, Rev. Patrick J. Garrity was appointed pastor of St. Gabriel’s and its missions. In 1909, the old church of St. Gabriel’s was renovated. The Holy Rosary Church in Frankfort, built in 1909, was torn down in 1968-69 and the bell from the little church now sits in the bell house beside St. Gabriel’s Church. An addition to St. Gabriel’s was built to allow for classrooms to be used for CCD students.
In 1970, the rectory in Winterport, which had housed the priests of St. Gabriel’s for many years, was sold. A house next to St. Matthew’s Church in Hampden was purchased for the priests assigned to both parishes.
In 1994, under the direction of Father Hickey, renovations were made to St. Gabriel’s.
A notable feature of St. Gabriel's is Raphael's "Madonna of the Chair," a gift from Fr. John Bapst, S.J., purchased in Rome while he was pastor of the Immaculate Conception in Boston. The five windows are in memory of Father Bapst, Rev. Jeremiah McCarthy, Father Richard Phelan, the Reilly Family, and the Hughes Family.
Map: Get Directions
The number of Catholics in Bangor had rapidly increased due to the vast immigration of Irish, from a couple hundred in the 1830’s to about 6,000 in 1853. St. Michael's Church on Court Street was just too small to accommodate the parishioners. In 1853, Rev. John Bapst, S.J. was named pastor of St. Michael’s Church on Court Street and the missions in the surrounding Bangor area.
The cornerstone for St. John’s Catholic Church was laid on August 15, 1855. The church on York Street sits on land where the first settler of Bangor, Jacob Buswell, lived. Its design was the work of New York architect Patrick Charles Keeley. Placed under the stone is a bottle encasing a piece of tarred, feathered, and bloodstained cassock which belonged to Rev. John Bapst, S.J., the pastor of St. John’s. Father Bapst celebrated the first Mass in the basement of the church on Christmas Eve, 1855. Construction of the church continued through the following spring and summer and was dedicated on October 12, 1856 by the Most Rev. David W. Bacon D.D. Bishop of Portland.
In 1859, the bishop proposed that the Jesuits relinquish Bangor and restrict themselves to missionary work. In 1860, shortly before his pastorate ended, Father John Bapst commissioned the magnificent Opus 288 organ from the Boston builders E.& G.G. Hook. Soon after his departure for Boston, his successor, Rev. Henry Gillen signed the contract. In December 1860, a steamer left Boston Harbor and headed for Bangor carrying the organ for St. John’s Catholic Church. Two weeks later the organ was installed at St. John's Catholic Church.
In 1873, the spire of St. John’s was erected. In the same year, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery was consecrated by the Most Rev. David W. Bacon.
In 1882, Father McSweeney built the parochial residence on land overlooking the Penobscot River, at York and Boyd Streets, adjoining the church.
In 1887, St. John’s was greatly beautified in its interior by the artistic decoration of its walls and ceilings in rich colorings and in sculptures of the Stations of the Cross and famous Tyrolean stained glass windows were installed. The twenty windows depict the life of Jesus. In this year also, the bell was blessed by Bishop James Healy and placed in the steeple.
In 1906, on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of St. John’s, the bronze and onyx rails to the left and right of the altar were installed. The marble floors were laid and the church was wired for electric lighting.
In 1952, the outside of St. John’s Church was cleaned and re-pointed, and a year later, the interior of the church was completely renovated and redecorated.
In 1973, St. John’s Catholic Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.
It took 119 years for the Jesuits to return to Bangor. On July 1, 1978, at the invitation of Bishop Edward O’Leary, the Jesuit Provincial sent three men, Father Raymond P. Bertrand, S.J.; Father Thomas Lequin, S.J.; and Father James E. Morgan, S.J. to work in the church that Father John Bapst, S.J. built and named.
St. John’s Church celebrated its 125th Anniversary with several activities including a very special Mass on June 6, 1981, when Father Frank John Murray was ordained to the priesthood in his local parish church. The Hook organ was restored in 1981.
In 1988, a major restoration project was started at St. John’s to maintain, repair and refurbish the church and rectory, under the direction of Rev. Maurice Lebel. Monies were raised through a capital campaign.
In the year 2000, the Jubilee Mass was celebrated at the Bangor Auditorium, a truly inspiring event for our Catholic community.
Map: Get Directions
In November 1920, the Rev. Thomas J. Nelligan, pastor of St. John’s Parish in Bangor, bought the “Russell Hospital” (later known as the Penobscot Valley Hospital) on Holyoke Street. The hospital was bought to be used as a rectory for the new parish, which was a mission of St. John’s in Bangor. Catholics of North Brewer raised funds for the new parish largely by giving house parties. In 1922, the Brewer women of St. John’s parish organized a Catholic Ladies Guild to fundraise for a future church in Brewer.
In April 1924, Father Nelligan purchased the Glover Block in Penobscot Square for use of a parish hall. The last meeting as a mission of St. John’s Parish took place on January 10, 1926. Rev. Thomas Moriarty was appointed the first pastor of St. Joseph’s.
On January 17, 1926, two Masses were celebrated by Father Moriarty in the parish hall in Penobscot Square. In May 1926, the Harlow House was bought and made into a rectory. Construction of the new church began. The church was completed October 1926 at the corner of Holyoke and North Main Streets. It was a Quonset hut, a wooden structure that was transported on flatcars from Old Town where it was built. It was set on a foundation that had been constructed for it. Bishop John G. Murray dedicated the new parish on October 31, 1926.
Rev. Richard Harvey was appointed Pastor on October 1, 1970. It was during his pastorate, that the present church and parish complex was constructed. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new St. Joseph’s Church took place on April 7, 1974. There were many clergy and parishioners in attendance. The four and one half acres of land were given to the parish by Thomas T. Walsh of Brewer in 1964, in memory of his father, Frank Patrick Walsh of Bangor who died in 1963. Alonzo J. Harriman Associates, Inc. of Auburn was the architect and Down-East Associates of Bangor, the general contractor.
It took almost 50 years but the 600 families of St. Joseph’s Church were richly rewarded for their patience, hard work and generosity when the first Mass was celebrated in the new St. Joseph’s Church, on June 21, 1975, by Father Harvey. On December 8, 1990, the new religious education wing was dedicated.
Some of the more remarkable features of the new church are artifacts which were transferred from the church built in 1926 on Holyoke Street, including the Tabernacle, the Holy Water Font, the Oak Vestment Case and the matching Chalice and Ciborium. The altar stone set into the altar contains a relic of St. Joseph, the patron saint of the church.
“A new chime for an older time” describes the bell and tower. Rev. Richard Harvey purchased the 100-year-old bell from the Archdiocese of New York City in 1981. Parishioner Mike Eremita designed and constructed the bell tower.
The blend of the past and present is now calling the parishioners and friends to worship at St. Joseph’s in Brewer.
Map: Get Directions
In May 1872, the Bangor Congregation of St. John’s Church was divided and a new parish was formed. The Rev. John W. Murphy was appointed pastor of St. Mary’s parish, originally built on Cedar Street. The parish included the area of Bangor west of the Kenduskeag Stream, Hampden, Hermon, and Carmel. While St. Mary’s was in the early stages of construction, Father Murphy engaged the auditorium of Bangor City Hall as a place of worship. When the church basement was completed, a temporary altar and seating were set up for Mass. The cornerstone of St. Mary’s was laid in September 15, 1872 by Right Reverend D.W. Bacon, Bishop of Portland. The church was dedicated on December 8, 1872, by Right Reverend Bishop Lynch of Charleston, S.C.
Father Michael C. O’Brien succeeded Father Murphy in 1880. During his 21 years of pastorate, Fr. O'Brien built the rectory, installed the organ and built a school. During the years 1908-1933, stained glass windows were installed and a bell was installed in the tower.
Beginning in 1967, a major restoration was begun on St. Mary’s. In 1972, the 100th Anniversary of St. Mary’s was celebrated. In January of 1977, a fire extensively damaged the rectory. It took firefighters almost 6 hours to extinguish the blaze. But that fire was a mere foreshadowing of what would come a year later.
On February 3, 1978, in sub-zero temperatures, a young man set the fire that would destroy St. Mary's Church, a 105-year-old landmark. Remembered as one of the worst fires in the city’s history, it would change the lives of many Bangor Catholics forever. Unharmed by the fire were the crucifix, the nave, the altar, sacred vessels, and a few of the stained glass windows. The pews were covered in a thick sheet of ice. The next day, Mass was held at the Bangor Auditorium, where a huge crowd gathered and the healing began.
On September 9, 1979, groundbreaking was held for the new St. Mary’s Church on Ohio Street. Masses were celebrated at Dow Field during the construction of the new church. St. Mary’s architecture is distinctly modern. The primary design captures the unmistakable lines of a tent (the hallmark of the ancient desert-dwelling nomads of the Holy Land).
On October 31, 1980, the first Mass was celebrated on the Vigil of All Saints. On December 14, 1980, Bishop Edward C. O’Leary dedicated the new church at an Ecumenical Service.
Today, the original St. Mary's crucifix hangs above the altar and the tower outside the main entrance supports the bell taken from the original St. Mary’s steeple. Restored stained glass windows are installed in the chapel and sanctuary, as well as the parish office at St. John's Church.
Map: Get Directions
In the fall of 1962, Rev. Monsignor Edward F. Ward, pastor of St. Mary’s, Bangor, purchased land on Route 9 in Hampden for the purpose of serving the large number of parishioners residing in Hampden with a small mission church. The property included a house and a barn. The barn was razed and the house was renovated for CCD classes.
Four years later, in April 1968, adjacent land was purchased for future use of a rectory. In September, Bishop Gerety established the parish of St. Matthew and appointed Rev. George Goodreau, pastor of St. Gabriel’s in Winterport, to additionally serve the new parish, which included the towns of Hampden, Newburgh and Dixmont. Rev. Goodreau celebrated the first St. Matthew's parish Mass in the Hampden VFW Hall in September 1968. Sunday Masses were held in the VFW Hall until the gymnasium of the George Weatherbee School in Hampden was made available.
A parish council was formed and they appointed a building committee to undertake the construction of a church. George O. Lloyd was selected as architect for the new church, which took the form of a star.
The Mass of Dedication of Saint Matthew's Church was held on Thursday, September 16, 1971 at 5:00 p.m. with the most Rev. Peter L. Gerety, D.D., Bishop of Portland as Celebrant. Concelebrants included: The Most Rev. Edward C.O’Leary, D.C., Auxiliary Bishop of Portland; Rev. George Goudreau, Pastor; The Very Rev. James H. Keegan, V.F.; Rev. Monsignor Edward F. Ward; and Rev. Leo Goudreau. The processional included 125 priests of the Diocese.
Map: Get Directions
In 1894, the building of the first church was started under the direction of Rev. Msgr. Edward McSweeney, pastor of St. John’s. A contractor was hired, and a work force was formed by the people who would become the first parishioners of the new church. For about 2 years, services were held in the basement with the first mass celebrated by Rev. James O’Brien, assistant of St. John’s.
In 1896, the parish was formed under the patronage of St. Teresa of Avila, with the Rev. Herman Hamakers as its first resident pastor. At the time, there were less than 100 families in the parish. On November 10, 1896, the church was dedicated by Bishop James Healy.
In July 1915, St. Teresa’s School and rectory was built. In 1922, the Sisters of Mercy moved into the original rectory which became their convent. The school, which was the gift of Louis Mutty (Mothe) in memory of his parents, opened that same year. The Sisters of Mercy taught at St. Teresa’s School, until it closed in 1969. In their years of service, the Sisters made an impact upon the parish and community.
On November 6, 1945, a student made a visit to the church on her way home from school and noticed smoke in the church. Apparently, a fire had started in the basement around the chimney of the heating plant. The flames swept up through partitions in the belfry, destroying the attic and roof. The walls and tower stood through the night, with the bell remaining intact.
St. Teresa’s Church was destroyed by the fire, bringing great sorrow to Rev. Maurice Carroll and all parishioners. Efforts to rebuild began almost immediately and two years later, on August 22, 1948, Bishop Daniel Feeney blessed and laid the cornerstone of the new church, located across the street from the site of the disastrous fire.
Rev. Rudolph Leveille was appointed pastor on July 1, 1987. Early in his administration the school building was sold to C.E.S. and a fundraising campaign was begun to build a new parish center on the site of the original church next to the rectory. The parish center was completed and dedicated on June 4, 1989.
On October 13, 1996, St. Teresa’s Church celebrated its 100th Anniversary with a Mass, presided by the Most Rev. Michael Cote, Auxiliary Bishop of Portland. Concelebrants included Rev. Rudolph Leveille, pastor of St. Teresa’s, priests from surrounding areas and those who formerly served at the church.