First church in America named for St. Patrick
NEWCASTLE — A St. Patrick’s Day Mass will likely be celebrated at St. Patrick Church, positioned on 380 Academy Hill Highway in Newcastle, on Wednesday, March 17 at midday. St. Patrick Church was the primary church within the nation named for St. Patrick and has been in continuous use longer than some other Catholic church in New England.
Over 200 years have handed since Bishop John Carroll, SJ, the primary bishop of the Catholic Church within the U.S., requested a “good, brick church” to be inbuilt Newcastle, Maine, to serve a rising variety of Catholics within the space. Immediately, St. Patrick Church stays standing proudly as a logo of religion and dedication to the Church.
St. Patrick homes numerous traditionally vital artifacts, together with the altar of Bishop Cheverus and a bell forged by Paul Revere & Sons. St. Patrick Church was designed by Irish architect Nicolas Codd and constructed on land donated by James Kavanagh and Matthew Cottrill, who had emigrated from County Wexford, Eire, to Boston. The Kavanaghs, Cottrills, and others arrived in Newcastle within the 1790s.
“This church was the dream of two natives of Eire who got here to America to hunt their fortune and discover it they evidently did. However monetary success was not sufficient for these males, James Kavanaugh and Matthew Cottrill,” mentioned Bishop Robert Deeley. “They wished their religion and the worship that was a part of their religion to be part of their group. The main a part of the expense of constructing this church and sustaining this group in its early years relied on their monetary and private dedication. Their perseverance constructed this church. Their religion maintained a Catholic group.”
Fr. Jean-Louis Lefebvre de Cheverus, who had celebrated Lots within the space for a few years, devoted St. Patrick Church on July 17, 1808, having been appointed the primary Bishop of Boston in April of that yr.
“I carried out the ceremony on Sunday the seventeenth of this month,” Fr. Cheverus wrote to Bishop Carroll following the consecration. “The church is known as St. Patrick’s…the identify appeared to gratify our buddies right here. I prefer it myself as a result of it proclaimed that our church right here is the work of Irish piety.”
The altar used through the dedication Mass continues to be positioned within the church. A colonial period cemetery is positioned adjoining to the church, the place the stays of early households just like the Cottrills and Kavanaghs are interred. The type of St. Patrick Church is easy in its design with brick partitions and mortar comprised of lime rock introduced from Eire. The church had 5 home windows on either side and a semi-circular window gracing the balcony on the rear of the church. Parishioners worshipped on flat hand pegged benches with one such bench remaining as we speak within the choir loft. The unique coloration of the inside of the church was gentle grey-green, just like the present coloration. A star, distinctive to buildings designed by Codd, adorned wooden moldings on the skin of the church in addition to on the doorways of the vestry. A big portray “Taking the Lord down from the Cross” was positioned over the altar; the portray is alleged to have been given to the church by the mom of Bishop Cheverus.
In 1818, Cottrill donated a Paul Revere & Sons bell to the church, inscribed “The present of Matthew Cottrill to St. Patrick’s Church, Newcastle, 1818.” From among the many 400 bells forged by Paul Revere & Sons from 1792-1828, St. Patrick’s is one in every of 93 nonetheless in existence. A brick bell tower with a hip roof was added to the church in 1866. Within the Eighteen Nineties, the current spire topped with a picket cross was added to the brick tower, the unique clear home windows have been upgraded with stained glass home windows, the benches have been changed with pews, and the ceiling and partitions of the church have been elaborately adorned. The primary altar, constructed of wooden pine logs, was later changed with a granite altar.
Within the early Nineteen Seventies, the diocesan liturgical fee determined that St. Patrick Church must be restored, the place attainable, to its authentic simplicity. The frescoes, which had been added within the late 1800s, have been eradicated and the partitions repainted within the authentic pale tone. The sanctuary railing was restored and a number of the statues eliminated. The 1896 stained glass home windows donated by early parishioners and the pews have been left in place. With the completion of the restoration, St. Patrick Church was accepted into the Nationwide Historic Registry as a constructing with historic significance. A historic museum on the church grounds options objects of curiosity together with a cradle utilized by Newcastle native Edward Kavanagh, a U.S. Congressman (1831-1835) and the 17th Governor of Maine; objects used within the early 19th century; and correspondence belonging to Bishop Cheverus.
The Feast Day of St. Patrick holds particular significance as St. Patrick, together with Saint Jean Baptiste, is a secondary patron of the diocese. Bishop Deeley, whose mother and father got here to the U.S. from County Galway, Eire, will have fun Mass on Saint Patrick’s Day at 12:15 p.m. on the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. The Mass may also be obtainable through livestream at www.portlanddiocese.org/online-Mass. For extra details about St. Patrick, the feast day, and St. Patrick’s Day occasions in Maine, go to www.portlanddiocese.org/content/feast-st-patrick-2021.