About Our Parish

A History of St. Patrick Parish

Rev. Michael Monette, 2017

Historical Ecclesiastical Background

            In 1835, the Pope is Gregory XVI.  Bartolomeo Cardinal Alberto Cappellari was elected to the Pontificate on Wednesday February 2nd, 1831 after a five-day conclave.  He became the two hundred and fifty-fourth successor of St. Peter.  He will reign fifteen years and one hundred and nineteen days until his death on June 1, 1846.  He was a Benedictine monk and the last non-bishop to be elected as Holy Father.  

            In 1835 Pope Gregory XVI issued the papal encyclical Commissum Divinitus (On Church and State) which reiterated the role of the Church and its shepherds: "This power of teaching and governing in matters of religion, given by Christ to His Spouse, belongs to the priests and bishops. Christ established this system not only so that the Church would in no way belong to the civil government of the state, but also so that it could be totally free and not subject in the least to any earthly domination. Jesus Christ did not commit the sacred trust of the revealed doctrine to the worldly leaders, but to the apostles and their successors.”  Pope Gregory was also famous for his apostolic letter In Sumpremo Apostolatus, in which he condemns the slave trade: "Placed at the summit of the Apostolic power and, although lacking in merits, holding the place of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, being made Man through utmost Charity, deigned to die for the Redemption of the World, We have judged that it belonged to Our pastoral solicitude to exert Ourselves to turn away the Faithful from the inhuman slave trade in Negroes and all other men.”

            In 1835 the Catholic Church in the United States is organized into a single ecclesiastical province as the Archdiocese of Baltimore, this area of the country having the greatest concentration of Catholic immigrants.  All the territory of the United States belonged to the Archdiocese of Baltimore under the pastoral ministry of the Most Rev. Samuel Eccleston.  There were only four dioceses within the Archdiocese of Baltimore: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Louisville.  Each of these dioceses came under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.  The nation itself was comprised of only twenty-four states.

            In 1835 St. John Neumann completed his studies for the priesthood in Europe; his bishop in the Czech Republic, however, had decided that there was a surplus of priests and so refused to ordain the future saint.  St. John Neumann traveled the following year to the United States in 1836, was ordained in Old Saint Patrick Cathedral in New York and was eventually ordained the fourth Bishop of Philadelphia.  Today his body lays incorrupt in the lower Church of St. Peter in Philadelphia.  He is the first American male saint to be canonized.

Concurrent World Events

            1835.  January 8th marks the day that the United States was without a national debt.  The nation’s balanced budget would last only one year.  “On January 8, 1835, all the big political names in Washington gathered to celebrate what President Andrew Jackson had just accomplished. A senator rose to make the big announcement: "Gentlemen ... the national debt ... is PAID.”  When President Andrew Jackson had taken office six years earlier, the national debt was $58 million dollars.  Jackson’s presidency would prove to be the only time that the United States accrued more money than it spent (NPR, Morning Edition, April 15, 2011).

            1835.  In July of this year, Scottish inventor James Bowman Lindsay is credited as the inventor of the incandescent lightbulb, forty years before Thomas Edison.  A blurb from the Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser on August 7th of that year reads as follows: “Mr. Lindsay, a teacher in town, formerly lecturer to the Watt Institute, succeeded on the evening of Saturday, July 25, in obtaining a constant electric light.  It is upwards of two years since he turned his attention to this subject, but much of that time has been devoted to other avocations.  The light in beauty surpasses all others, has no smell, emits no smoke, is incapable of explosion, and not requiring air for combustion can be kept in sealed glass jars.  It ignites without the aid of a taper, and seems peculiarly calculated for flax houses, spinning mills, and other places containing combustible materials.  It can be sent to any convenient distance, and the apparatus for producing it can be contained in a common chest.”

            1835. On May 5th, the first passenger steam railroad of mainland Europe is opened in Mechelen, Belgium.

            1835.  On May 6th, the first issue of the New York Herald was published and was circulated until 1924.  Herald Square in New York City, named after the newspaper, is commemorated in George M.Cohan’s song, Give my Regards to Broadway.  Herald Square is also the end point to the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

            1835.  On September 15th, a natural and geological survey of the Galapagos Islands is begun by Charles Darwin and concluded on October 20th of that same year; he was brought to the islands aboard the HMS Beagle.  Although the Galapagos islands had been discovered three hundred years earlier in 1535 by the Catholic Dominican Fray Tomas de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama, Darwin’s survey would provide greater details and observations.

            1835. October 2nd marks the beginning of the Texas Revolution with the Battle of Gonzales.  The famous historical slogan, “Come and Take It” became the battle cry as Texan settlers began their campaign for independence from the Mexican Government.  Texas would declare independence from Mexico a year later in 1836 and would eventually become the 28th state to enter the Union in 1845.

            1835.  On December 16th, the second of three great fires destroyed a section of New York City.  The area known as Wall Street lay in ruins.

Concurrent Local New England History

            1835.  The final parcel of land which makes up the north-west part of the state of New Hampshire is finally annexed to the state.  An independent nation with its own constitution, laws, court, and militia had formed in the uppermost part of the state of New Hampshire on a tract of land between the four Connecticut Lakes to the east and Halls Stream in the West.  This land had been granted to these settlers by Abenaki Indians called the St. Francis Indians.  The residents of this area formed their own republic (country) when Canadian, United States, and local New Hampshire government could not agree on the rights and ownership of this land.  This small independent nation became known as the Republic of Indian Stream in 1832.  In the words of its own Constitution: “The people inhabiting the Territory formerly called Indian Stream Territory do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other to form themselves into a body politic by the name of Indian Stream and in that capacity to exercise all the powers of a free, sovereign and independent state, so far as it relates to our own internal Government till such time as we can ascertain to what government we properly belong.”  Due to escalating tensions in this territory, the local sheriff of Coos County threatened this small nation with forcible military occupation.  In 1835 several leaders of the Republic of Indian Stream relented to be annexed by the state of New Hampshire.  Several years would go by when this land would be incorporated into the town of Pittsburgh, New Hampshire in 1840.  The western marker of the original republic (Halls Stream) became the north-western border of the state of New Hampshire which juts into Canada over and above the border of Vermont.  A fictional historical account of the founding of the Republic of Indian Stream is offered in a novel by author Jeffrey Lent entitled “Lost Nation” published in 2002.

            1835.  October of this year saw the Boston Riot when British Abolitionist George Thompson traveled to Boston to speak out against slavery.  A mob which was searching for Thompson disrupted a meeting of a Woman’s Anti-Slavery Society and violently dragged another abolitionist through the streets of the city.  Earlier in the year, American Quaker Poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, born in Haverhill Massachusetts in 1807, who also was an outspoken proponent of the abolitionist movement, was stoned along with George Thompson in Concord, New Hampshire.  It is said of this time that, "The “Boston Riot and similar incidents showed a deeply divided society. Some newspapers justified the attack, while others, such as the Hampshire Gazette, whose report is reprinted here, criticized the mob. Quite a few Americans joined mobs, and many others tolerated them; but an increasing number became outraged at the mobs’ violations of civil order and freedom of speech and ended up supporting the right of the abolitionists to meet and speak.”  For more information, visit: http://www.teachushistory.org/second-great-awakening-age-reform/resources/boston-riot-1835

The Beginnings of Catholicism in the Upper Valley

            1835. It is recorded that Irish Immigration to the town of Newport began at this time.  In a book published in 1879 by the Republican Press of Concord, NH entitled The History of Newport from 1766 to 1878, author Edmund Wheeler writes, “Emigrants from Ireland began to come to this town as early as 1835, —since which time they have become comparatively numerous, and are now among our most industrious, thriving, and valuable citizens.  Among them were the Herricks, the Lyons, the Whalens, the Reardons, the Burkes, the Flannagans, the Burnses, the Cotters, the Farrells, the Aherns, the Keefes, the Kingsleys, and the Learys” (252).  What makes this secular observation invaluable is the listing of the very first name among the families that emigrated to this area; members of the Herrick family would be the first to offer their home for the celebration of the Catholic Mass in Newport in the years to come.

            1835.  The Catholic population of the state of New Hampshire is listed at 720 persons according to the New Hampshire Historical Society Timeline of NH History published in 1996.  Area Catholics at this time would have been ministered to by various visiting priests to Claremont.  The earlier Catholic settlement that was established by the Barber family in West Claremont had been nonoperational as a parish since the departure of Fr. Virgil Barber, S.J. in 1830.  According to the parish history of St. Mary in Claremont, “Several priests assigned large areas for the ministry visited the little Claremont church a few times each year.  For several years, it was the only Church building in New Hampshire and Vermont.  The Catholic directories often listed the parish as vacant.”

            1835.  Priests who ministered to the small area Catholic population are listed as Rev. Fr. John C. Brady (1833-1835), and several priests from Boston, among them Rev. Fr. James Fitton, Rev. Fr. William Tyler, and Rev. Fr. Thomas O’Flaherty.  A more regular visiting priest attended Catholics between the years 1830-1833 and 1835-1837: Rev. Fr. Jeremiah O’Callaghan was sent by the Bishop of Boston to minister to Catholics in Vermont, Western Massachusetts, and Claremont.  Claremont possessed the only Church edifice in use at that time.

            1835.  Irish Catholics living in Newport and in the Upper Valley would travel by foot twelve miles to West Claremont for Mass in what is now called the Old St. Mary Church.  The name St. Mary would not be given to this building until 1847.  According to the history of St. Mary Parish in Claremont, “It is known that Irish families from Newport walked barefoot to the Church in West Claremont, putting on their precious shoes at the Church door.  A footbridge at what is now Beauregard Village was used by many parishioners without horses.” 

            1837. The first full time missionary priest in the upper valley was an Irish Franciscan named Rev. Fr. John B. Daly, o.f.m.  Arriving from upper state New York, he was assigned to minister to Catholics in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.  Of his twenty-seven missions in these three states, the following were the towns in New Hampshire where he would minister to Catholics from the surrounding areas: Claremont, Cornish, Charlestown, Lebanon, Hanover, and Keene.  Catholics from Newport would continue to travel to Claremont for Mass by foot until the year 1854.  It is described that Fr. Daly was “somewhat eccentric, impetuous, and blunt, but with a lovable character and a magnificent missionary priest.  His boast was that in nineteen years as a missionary in this area he never slept more than one night under the same roof.”  Fr. Daly left New England in the spring of 1856 and settled in New York City where he lived until 1872.

            1853.  John and Julia (Leary) Herrick were farmers in County Mayo, Ireland.  Together they had thirteen children, nine of them surviving.  Upon the death of John Herrick in 1852, Julia immigrated to the United States in 1853 with her remaining nine children (from oldest to youngest): William, Timothy, James, Catherine, John, Edward, Patrick, Julia and Mary.  They settled in Newport, New Hampshire in a home on Sunapee Street across from what is today the former Dexter Richards and Sons Woolen Mill which on February 2nd of this year 2017 was appointed to the National Register of Historic Places.  For more information on the historic mill and its recently awarded honor, see the following link: http://www.nh.gov/nhculture/mediaroom/2017/dextermill_nationalregister.htm.  Julia remained only one year in New Hampshire; she relocated to a farm in Fairfield, Iowa where she lived out the remainder of her life with seven of her children.  Two sons were to remain behind in Newport, New Hampshire, who would become the first parishioners of what will be later called Saint Patrick Parish: the brothers Timothy and Patrick Herrick continued to maintain the newly established family home on Sunapee Street.

            Timothy Herrick was first employed to a Dr. Delvan Marsh of Croydon, New Hampshire as a fuller: a person who would clean and thicken wool.  Fullers would clean wool by pounding it using a cleaning solution and then would thicken it by matting the fibers together.  Timothy would continue in this occupation for twenty-eight years until his death in 1884.  He married Marie Hoben on August 3, 1862.  The Hoben family had settled in Newport eight years earlier in 1845.  Both Timothy and Mary had seven children, the youngest (Timothy E. Herrick) would graduate Harvard Medical School to become a physician.

            Patrick Herrick, Timothy’s youngest brother, was seventeen years of age when the family originally settled in Newport, New Hampshire in 1853.  He earned employment at the Sugar River Woolen and Textile Mill in Claremont, New Hampshire beginning on October 10, 1853 dying and finishing textiles and was eventually named superintendent in 1857.  He held this position until 1905 when he retired and was honored by the newly built Dexter Richards and Sons Woolen Mill of Newport which began operations of that same year.

            The occasion of Mr. Patrick Herrick’s retirement in 1905 was a notable celebration according to historical records.  "The decorations were superb. Candelabra adorned the tables, while bouquets of chrysanthemums and jacqueminots added to the display. The electrical scene, embracing fifty incandescent lamps with every tenth one red, won the gaze, while the inscriptions, "1853" and '"1903," indicating the half century of constant duty, formed a noticeable feature. Occupying conspicuous places at the tables were thirteen employees who had been with the Dexter Richard & Sons twenty years or more."   The New Hampshire Argus and Spectator observed: "If employers everywhere would imitate in spirit and deed the worthy example set on this occasion by Dexter Richard & Sons, the question of the labor problem would be solved, and strikes would be among the things that were.”  It is clear from this account that Dexter Richard & Sons truly valued their employees of which Mr. Patrick Herrick was considered a most highly respected worker.  Even the first pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Rev. Fr. James Hogan, made the following public comments: "This man truly religious, has founded his life on the cornerstone of Christ, the founder of the Christian religion.  He has impressed his character on the whole community of our town during the last fifty years. This force —latent force of which Emerson speaks, we have not always seen, but we have felt its influence. Dishonesty, untruthfulness, hypocrisy, weaken and cannot stand in its presence. His character will bear the light of the mid-day sun, its brightest rays finding only the diamonds of truth and justice. We younger men can well wish to copy such principles of life which merit such public testimonial as this tonight.”

            Patrick Herrick was married to Catherine Cotter and they had two sons, both of whom died in childhood.  Catherine herself died in 1889.  Both she and Patrick supported and contributed to the building of the Churches both in Claremont and in Newport.  It is said of Patrick, “he is a generous friend of the poor, and many in Newport have reason to bless his name.  He has been for many years a trustee of the Newport Savings Bank and is its loan agent, and his judgment in matters of finance is regarded as safe and sound.  He has been identified with every public improvement in his town and is a large owner of real estate. Among his holdings is a piece of about six acres on Sunapee Street, overlooking the village, one of the most picturesque spots in Newport.  He was not only a contributor to the success of his church at home but was very active in the promotion of similar churches in Boston, Claremont and Keene, and has always been a liberal contributor to charitable undertakings.”  When construction of St. Patrick Church finally began, Catherine removed the first wheelbarrow of dirt from the property.  Catherine gifted the sanctuary lamp to the parish and Patrick gifted the altar and the bell.  Patrick would also be instrumental in the completion of the rectory in 1903.

            Later Patrick Herrick would marry his second wife "in Claremont, Nellie Sullivan, a native of county Tipperary, Ireland, daughter of John and Kate (Geary) Sullivan. She was the eldest of her parents' family and the only one who came to America, arriving in the year 1882."

A Mission is Established

                1870. The first pastor of the newly named St. Mary Parish in Claremont is appointed by Bishop David Bacon, first Bishop of the Diocese of Portland Maine.  Rev. Fr. Georges-Stanislas Derome comes from the Diocese of Saint-Hyacinthe in Quebec to serve as the first pastor.  As of yet, there is no new church building in Claremont other than the church built by Fr. Virgil Barber in 1823.  Work on the new St. Mary Church on Central Street began on August 23, 1870 and would continue until 1873 when it would be dedicated.  This year which officially sees the establishment of St. Mary Parish in Claremont is also the same year that Newport becomes an official mission of St. Mary Parish in Claremont.  At this time, the regular celebration of Mass begins in Newport in the Armory on Central Street at least once a month.  Priests who would continue to celebrate Mass monthly in the Armory in Newport are the successive pastors of the new established St. Mary Parish in Claremont: Rev. Fr. Michael J. Goodwin (1872), Rev. Fr. Louis A. L’Hiver (1872), Rev. Fr. Maxime Laporte (1872-1873).

                1873. Mass begins to be celebrated in the former Masonic Hall on lower Main Street when the Masons abandoned the site.  Mass would be celebrated here until 1883.  To understand the spirit of anti-Catholicism that existed during this period, we read this account of the growth of Catholicism in Newport: “The last event we have to notice in the ecclesiastical history of Newport is the advent of the Roman Catholic Church, which now seeks in Puritanical New England the freedom it has ever denied to Protestant people in the Old World, or wherever it gains the ascendency.  That it should follow so closely in the wake of the Puritans, is evidence of its aggressive spirit…Since December 1873, the worshippers have assembled in the Old Masonic Hall in Bunker’s Block.. the congregation numbers about 150.”  This article is taken from an historical sketch of Newport in the Granite Monthly in 1880.  Another location for the former Masonic Hall is given as Burke’s building near the bridge on Main Street.  Rev. Fr. Cornelius O’Sullivan celebrated the Mass monthly in the old Masonic Hall from 1873-1881.

                1875. The first parcel of land for St. Patrick Cemetery on Summer Street is obtained on August 21, 1875.

                1875. The successor to Bishop Bacon is appointed on February 12, 1875 as the second bishop of the Diocese of Portland: Bishop James Augustine Healey.  He was installed on June 2, 1875.  He is the first African American Bishop ordained in the United States, the son of an Irish Immigrant and a mulatto woman who was a former slave.  He would be the Bishop to oversee the eventual establishment of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire.

                1881. The sixth pastor of St. Mary Parish in Claremont is appointed by Bishop James Augustine Healey of the Diocese of Portland Maine on June 17, 1881: Rev. Fr. Patrick Finnigan.  He would be the priest to establish the parish church in Newport.  He remained as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Claremont from 1881-1901.

                1882. On May 31, 1882 Mr. Dexter Richard, the owner of Dexter Richard & Sons Mill, who was also the deacon of the Congregational Church in Newport, sold two plots of land to Fr. Patrick Finnigan for $300.00.  Mr. Patrick Herrick, at the age of 45, sold an adjoining plot of land for $150.00 to Fr. Patrick Finnigan on the same date of May 31, 1882.  

                1882. On June 9th of this year, ground is broken for the eventual building of St. Patrick Church.  Mr. & Mrs. Patrick and Catherine Herrick were accorded this honor.

                1882. Fr. Patrick Finnigan deeded all three parcels of land to Bishop Healey of the Diocese of Portland for $1.00 on October 9, 1882

1882. On Friday October 27th, the Argus Spectator reports on the Catholic Fair held in the building of the Burke Block on Monday through Wednesday of that week: “The Catholic fair and festival, which was opened in this town Monday evening and closed with Wednesday evening, was a grand success, both financially and otherwise.  The attendance was very large, and the display of fancy articles varied and fine.  The best of order and regularity characterized the management of the fair throughout the three evenings, and we have rarely seen a better appearing and more intelligent looking gathering of people in our town hall.  The priest, Rev. Patrick Finnigan of Claremont, who is a genial and cultivated gentleman, was in constant attendance.”

                1882. On November 3rd, the Argus Spectator reports on the results of the Catholic Fair: “We are informed that the total receipts at the Catholic fair last week will amount to nearly $800.00.  We give below a list of the names of those who drew several articles disposed of on chance…a beautiful Tidy was won by Patrick Herrick….”  A tidy was another name for an antimacassar which was a crocheted covering placed over the backs of chairs and heads of sofas to protect the cushions from dirt, grease, and wear.  The word antimacassar is derived from a product named Macassar, which was a hair oil in general use during the nineteenth century.

                1882. On November 24th, the Argus Spectator reports on the progress of the building of the Catholic church in Newport: “The new Catholic church is fast approaching completion, and now presents a pleasant appearance on the commanding eminence on which it is located.  The frescoing was begun on Wednesday of this week and is in charge of C. J. Schumacher of Boston who enjoys high reputation in his line of business.  The work will be mostly done by a son of the above-mentioned gentleman, J.F. Schumacher, and P. Heidenrich.  We have been shown a sketch representing the style of the frescoing, and if the work looks as well when completed as is represented on paper, all interested in the church will have simple reason to feel satisfied with its internal appearance.

                 1882. On December 1st, the church directory of the Argus Spectator lists the various religious services offered by the various denominations.  Among them is the Catholic Mass which was held every few weeks as previous mentioned by other sources.  “Catholic Society: Rev. Patrick Finnigan, of Claremont, pastor.  Services in Burke’s block on the third Sunday of each month at 8:45AM.”

                1882. On Friday December 22nd, the Argus Spectator writes: “High Mass will be observed at the new Catholic Church next Monday morning at 8:30 o’clock, a choir being present from Claremont.  The services will be as public as ordinary church services, and seats will be found by all who desire to attend. The dedication of the church we understand will not take place for several months.  The furnishing of the interior of the edifice is not yet fully completed.  Settees will supply the place of pews, and other contemplated and necessary objects, will be wanting, only to put off for a short time, however, the day when the interior as well as the exterior of the edifice will be pronounced not inferior to church in this county.”

                1882. Monday, December 25th, Christmas morning, marks the day when the Mass is celebrated for the first time in the Catholic Church of Newport which will be later called St. Patrick Parish.  The Argus Spectator reported, “Christmas was observed at the new Catholic Church with High Mass.  A fine quartette was present from Claremont as was also a large delegation of visitors.  A considerable audience was present.  It was the first religious service held in the church, and, we understand, the first time the impressive ceremony of High Mass has been performed in Newport.  Christmas of ’82 will be one of the red-letter days of the Newport Catholic Church.

                1883. Mass now begins to be celebrated on a regular basis in the new church building as it awaits its dedication.  Records indicate that Mass was celebrated every other Sunday at 10:30AM and 3:00PM and on Monday mornings at 8:00AM.

                1883. Sunday October 14th.  Having recently installed the pews in the new church edifice, they were used for the first-time during Mass on this day.  The Argus Spectator announces the dedication of the new parish Church: “The Church is to be publicly dedicated according to the impressive forms of the denomination with the celebration of high Mass.  Bishop Healey, of Portland, ME and three or four priests, will participate in the services…so…our village will have five churches in good running order; but the Catholic (in one sense the youngest, but the mother of them all in another) will probably be the point of interest for the day, at least.”

                1883. On Tuesday November 20th, the Argus Spectator publishes the diagram of the original design of St. Patrick Church as it appeared in 1883 after its construction.  In nine days, the Catholic Church of Newport would receive its solemn dedication from the hands of the second bishop of the Diocese of Portland ME, to which New Hampshire belonged at that time: the Most Rev. James Augustine Healey.

The Birth of St. Patrick Church

1883.  On Thursday, November 29th at 10:00 o’clock in the morning, the new parish church of Newport was solemnly dedicated to God.  The Argus Spectator reported of that day: “During the growth and development of our pleasant town there has gathered here quite a population of Irish and others who worship according to the Catholic faith.  This element which has thus become ingrafted into our social and political being is an important one, and embraces many substantial and useful citizens.  At length, the increasing need for more convenient accommodations for worship created a sentiment in favor of erecting a new church, and that sentiment having become well formulated, active measures for the accomplishment of this object were begun.  The enterprise was carried steadily and successfully onward; its entire cost was $5600.00.

                The architect and builder was Hira Beckwith of Claremont; the frescoer was C. Schumacher of Boston; the slater was John McGrath of Springfield VT; the staining of the glass was done by Continental Glass Works Co. of Boston; and the pews were manufactured by Freeman and O’Neil of Claremont.  The work entrusted to each of these parties was faithfully and thoroughly performed.

                The house [of worship] is located at the corner of Chase (now Beech) and Winter (now Summer) streets in the north-west part of the village, and being on a commanding eminence may be seen at quite a distance from nearly all surrounding points.  It is of Gothic style architecture, and its external appearance is very fine.  Inside the work and arrangement is also pleasing and attractive.  The frescoing, the window staining, and the beauty and elegance of the altar are especially noticeable features.  The altar was donated by Mrs. Patrick Herrick (Catherine), the beautiful circular window over the altar by Mr. Herrick, and many other windows by friends of the cause whose names we do not recall.

                According to previous announcement the dedication of this church took place on Thursday forenoon, Nov. 29.  There was a large number of people in attendance.  Among the distinguished Catholics present were Rt. Rev. Bishop James A. Healey of Portland ME; Rev. H. A. Lessard of Lancaster NH; Rev. James Stoneham of Portland ME; Rev. N. Cournoyer of North Walpole NH; and Rev. J. P. Finnigan of Claremont, the present officiating clergyman.

                The services were opened by the recitation of a prayer—an invocation of the Holy Spirit to preside over the ceremonies.  After this a procession embracing his Lordship and the assistant clergy, marched around the church during which were chanted selections from the psalms of David.  At the conclusion of the circuit the procession halted while appropriate prayer was recited by the Bishop, after which it entered the Church.  As the entry was made, Rev. Father Finnigan intoned the Litany of the Saints.  The recitation of the Litany continued about ten minutes and then came the regular service of High Mass.  The dedicatory sermon by Bishop Healey occupied about three fourths of an hour, and was very able and interesting.

                We congratulate our Catholic townsmen on the successful completion and dedication of their new edifice which is given the name St. Patrick Church.  Its graceful architectural figure adds essentially to the physical aspect of our village."

                1883.  After the solemn dedication, St. Patrick Church continued to remain a mission of St. Mary Church in Claremont until 1902.  Rev. Fr. Patrick Finnigan visited the missions of Newport and Charlestown every other Sunday for the celebration of Mass.  Fr. Finnigan noted that at this time, St. Patrick Church was comprised of about 150 parishioners and was entirely Irish in its ethnicity.  Fr. Finnigan had been a native of Ireland but grew up in Boston, Massachusetts.  He was a former Jesuit who had taught at Georgetown University and was ordained a priest in 1875.  He became the pastor of St. Mary Church in Claremont after serving in Lebanon, NH.  Prior to this he had been stationed at St. Dominic Church in Portland, Maine.  Fr. Finnigan was an excellent singer who continued to participate in the Holy Week Services at the Cathedral in Portland while he was stationed in Claremont.  He also was renowned for lending his voice to various liturgical rites in the various parishes throughout the area and for joining in other local concert venues in New Hampshire and Vermont.  It was under the pastoral leadership of Fr. Finnigan that the parish in Newport continued to expand and grow.  Fr. Patrick Finnigan is the great great uncle of Fr. Jack Finnigan, a current priest of the Diocese of Manchester who was ordained in 1961 and who retired as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Newmarket.

                1884. On April 15th of this year, His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII established the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire taking its territory from the Diocese of Portland, Maine; it was the 109th Diocese to be established in the United States with the help of the Most Rev. James A. Healey the second Bishop of Portland ME who had dedicated St. Patrick Church in Newport a year earlier.  Upon its juridical establishment, the Holy Father appointed Rev. Fr. Denis Mary Bradley, chancellor of the Diocese of Portland and rector of the Cathedral in Portland ME to be the first Bishop of the Diocese of Manchester.  Born on February 25, 1846 in Castle island, County Kerry Ireland, he (at the age of eight) and his family emigrated from Ireland to the United States, settling in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Upon completion of his primary education at local schools in Manchester, he attended Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts and St. Joseph Seminary in Troy, New York.  He was ordained a priest on June 3, 1871 by the Most Rev. David Bacon, first Bishop of Portland.  After serving as chancellor of the Diocese of Portland ME and rector of the cathedral in Portland, he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Manchester, NH in 1881.  When the Diocese of Manchester was established in 1884, St. Joseph Parish became his cathedral and Fr. Bradley became the first Bishop of New Hampshire consecrated to the episcopacy on June 11, 1884.

The Establishment of a Parish

                1902.  Bishop Bradley establishes the Catholic Church in Newport as its own parish.  February 1, 1902 marks the date that the Church in Newport becomes St. Patrick Parish, a grouping of Catholic faithful living within a canonically established territory determined by the bishop.  Upon its establishment, St. Patrick Parish encompassed the towns of Newport, Sunapee, Bradford, Newbury, and Warner.  Rev. Fr. James J. Hogan is appointed the first pastor of the newly established parish.

                Fr. James Hogan was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts attending local schools in Cambridge.  He graduated Holy Cross College in Worcester and then pursued his study of theology at the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris.  He was ordained to the priesthood by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris in 1891, the Servant of God Francois Marie Benjamin Cardinal Richard, whose cause for canonization was introduced to the Congregation of the Saints in 1924.

                Upon a tour of England and Ireland, Fr. Hogan returned to the United States as a newly ordained priest and was appointed parochial vicar at the Catholic Church in Concord and then as parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish in Nashua, and finally as parochial vicar of St. Ann Church in Manchester.  In 1898 Fr. Hogan was appointed as pastor of Holy Angels in Plaistow and was additionally given charge of Sacred Heart Church in Newfields.

                Upon his arrival as pastor of the newly established St. Patrick Parish in Newport in the latter half of February 1902, there was of yet no rectory.  He resided at the home of a parishioner on Sunapee Street.

                The February 28th edition of the Argus Spectator reports, “Fr. Hogan was very much pleased, indeed, to find here such a pretty and artistic Church, having electric lights and one of the best bells of any small church in the Diocese of New Hampshire…and he feels confident that an early day the parish will own a parochial house, which will complete the best church property, of a relatively small town, to be found in the state.  Fr. Hogan comes here as the first resident pastor, with the best wishes of his many friends of the cities and towns where he has exercised the ministry, and is heartily pleased and grateful to the people of Newport for the very warm welcome that been extended to him since his arrival."

The First Easter

                1902.  The first Easter Sunday Mass on March 30th celebrated in the newly established St. Patrick Parish is described in detail by the Argus Spectator:

                “Easter Sunday, one of the principal feasts of the year in the Catholic Church, was observed with due ceremony at St. Patrick…the altar was richly covered with silk and gold lace and tastily and profusely decorated with Easter lilies, roses, tulips, and other cut flowers with dozens of beautifully blossomed potted plants which came to the church from all over the town.  A rich new set of altar or sanctuary furniture, which was presented by the Canadian-American ladies of the parish added much to the rest of the decorations, also a magnificent sanctuary lamp of wrought brass, finished in satin gilt lacquer hung from the vault of the sanctuary, was lighted for the first time.  This lamp is of the one-hundred-dollar class of lamps in value, of recent design and largest in size made in Boston.  This lamp was the gift of Mrs. Patrick Herrick, one of the most zealous workers of the parish.  The church had many visitors from all denominations during the day, who were lavish in their praise of the floral display and the artistic arrangement of the altars.  Much credit is due to the work done by the young ladies of the church, and gratitude is expressed to the many citizens of Newport, without distinction of creed, for their generosity in sending in potted plants and lilies.

                Holy Communion was given at 8AM.  The High Mass was sung at 10:30. The music was of a high order.  The choir having manifested great interest in the preparation of the Mass, which was Leonard’s Mass in E Flat, one of the difficult Masses rarely undertaken outside the large cities.  Miss May Herrick presided at the organ.

                Next came the sermon by the pastor, Rev. James J. Hogan.  The subject from the words of the Gospel, “He is Risen” of which we give the following resume:

                The Resurrection establishes beyond question the Divinity of Christ and consequently places the stamp of Divinity upon His work and institutions.  The Lord has raised the dead to life.  The Apostles and others had done this by Divine power, but it is the sole privilege of the God-man to raise Himself to life.  The fact of the resurrection has been held up by the Apostles and their successors as the principal factor in establishing the truth of their teaching.  'If Christ be not risen’ says St. Paul, ‘then is our preaching vain and/or faith is also in vain.’  When St. Peter wished to fill the place in the Apostolic college made vacant by the treason of Judas, he declares the chiefest duty of the one chosen will be that of bearing testimony to the resurrection.  ‘He must be made witness with us of the resurrection.’  The resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian system and all of that is built on Christianity, of the civilization of the world, and of all liberty and wellbeing.”

                High Mass next Sunday at 10:30. Music of Easter Sunday will be repeated.

                The music at the evening service (Benediction) was by the children’s choir.  The program of evening hymns included Holy God, We Praise Thy NameGerman CoralO SalutarisRegina CaeliTantum ErgoLaudate.  Organist was Miss Mamie Louiselle.  The children received much praise from all who heard them, the oldest member being but thirteen years old.  The manner and ease with which these little ones acquired a knowledge in so short a time of such difficult church music reflects great credit on the musical department of the public schools."

A Glimpse of Daily Parish Life

                1902.  The Argus Spectator continues to report on the daily life of the newly established parish.  With the advent of its first pastor, regular sacramental and devotional life begins to develop among the parishioners.

                In May of 1902, the Argus Spectator reports, “The May devotions will begin Thursday evening May 1, at St. Patrick Church at 7:30PM, which will consist of singing May hymns.  Sermon on the Devotion to Mary in the Catholic Church, followed by benediction of the Blessed Sacrament."

                Thursday, May 8, the Feast of the Ascension of Jesus Christ will be observed at St. Patrick Church.  Morning services will be at 6 o’clock and evening services at 7:30. High Mass, Sunday morning at 10:30, evening service at 7 o’clock.  Service will be held at Sunapee Sunday morning at 8 o’clock."  This is the first time that mention is made of Mass being celebrated at least on occasion in Sunapee.

                1902.  The Argus Spectator continues to observe, “St. Patrick Church, Friday, June 6, feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Benediction and sermon in the evening at 7:30, subject, ‘Devotion of the Sacred Heart in the Catholic Church.’ High Mass Sunday at 10:30.”

                1902.  The parish also begins to coalesce socially as well: “The members of St. Patrick Parish are making preparations for holding a grand Bazaar early in October at the opera house, for the purpose of aiding the building fund of the society. The ladies of the parish are actively engaged in making handsome articles to be disposed of at that time.  Many valuable donations have been made to the committee in charge, not only by members of the parish but from many friends outside this church.  Among these gifts is a very handsome lace and hand-worked pin cushion which has been received from Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, wife of our illustrious President, accompanied by an autograph card one which was written, ‘With best wishes for the Fair, Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt.’ This is a high honor to all our citizens as well as to the members of St. Patrick Church.  It has been proposed to present this valuable gift to the most popular lady in town without distinction as to church or society.  Therefore, its possession will be open to all competitors…. Ice cream, candy and other refreshments served each evening, and there will be dances the two first evenings with music by a first-class orchestra…. The Bazaar promises to be a great success and all are cordially invited to attend.  Admission only 15 cents."

A Marriage of Local Historical Interest

1902.  On Wednesday the 25th of June, a young man of twenty-five years by the name of Francis Parnell Murphy marries Ms. Mae Belle Herrick, daughter of Timothy Herrick who was the brother of Patrick Herrick.  The Argus Spectator reports, “The marriage of Francis Parnell Murphy and Miss Mae Belle Herrick, which occurred at St. Patrick Church, Wednesday evening, June 25, at 8 o’clock, has been a subject for general conversation for some time past.  Over 300 invitations were issued, and the response was general.  The decorations of the church were elaborate and beautiful.  Evergreen, cut flowers, palms, and a large variety of potted plants, and indeed many of the choicest products of the floral kingdom adorned the altar and walls.  The bridal party appeared in church to the step of Mendelssohn’s wedding march, played by the Claremont Chorus orchestra.  [Following the wedding party] was the bride, leaning on the arm of her eldest brother, John Herrick.  The party was richly and elegantly attired.  The ceremony, and all connected therewith, was beautiful and touching.  It was performed by Rev. Fr. James Hogan, pastor of St. Patrick Church, assisted by Rev. Fr. Fitzgerald of Clinton, Mass; Rev. Fr. Glynn of Cambridge, Mass; Rev. Fr. Owens of Charlestown, Mass; and Rev. Fr. McCooey of Claremont.  The bridal party then retired from the church, to the step of Lohengrin’s wedding march, by the orchestra, and were taken, by carriages together with most of the company, to the bride’s home, on Spring street, where a most enjoyable reception was held.  Mrs. Herrick and Mrs. Murphy assisted in receiving.  The bride is a native of this town…a young lady whom none know but to hold in the highest regard.  The bridegroom, who formerly resided in Hudson, Mass., has been a resident of Newport about four years.  He is a young man of character, and has made many friends since he resided in Newport.”

                In 1922 Francis Murphy and two partners organized the J.F. McElwain Company, a manufacturer of shoes, which by 1936 had grown to twelve shoe manufacturing plants; J.F. McElwain Company was the largest employer of labor in New Hampshire.  Arising from the McElwain Company, a more popular brand of shoe was created called Thom McAn; the first retail Thom McAn store opening in New York City in 1922.

                In 1931 Francis Murphy entered politics, serving as a one term member of New Hampshire House of Representatives.  He next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1936 as the 74th governor of New Hampshire. He won reelection to a second term in 1938. During his tenure, construction on the state house annex was initiated; state tourism was promoted; the state's real estate tax was eliminated; a tobacco tax was authorized; and the state police department was organized.  In 1940, just before he was due to retire as governor, Murphy entered the broadcasting business. He founded Radio Voice of New Hampshire, Inc. and opened WMUR (AM 610, now WGIR) in 1941. When television came, he set up WMUR-TV in 1954.  Governor Francis P. Murphy passed away on December 19, 1958, and is buried in St. Patrick Cemetery in Newport, New Hampshire.

A New Set of Stations

1909.  The first renovations to St. Patrick Church were made under the pastoral supervision of its first pastor, Rev. Fr. James Hogan.  The Argus Spectator reports, “The Catholic Church and rectory have recently been renovated and the church redecorated by the well-known church decorator of Boston, William J. Dolan.”

1910.  The present Stations of the Cross were put in place on the church walls.  The stations are bas-relief and made of stone composition, finished in water colors by Italian artists and are considered a fine work.  As a note of interest, prior to the Second Vatican Council, only the Franciscans (who had custody of the shrines of the Holy Land) had permission to erect and bless a set of Stations of the Cross in a particular church building.  However, if no Franciscans were present, then bishop of the Diocese must obtain from the Holy See the faculty to delegate a priest to erect the Stations of the Cross. This delegation of a certain priest for the blessing of the Stations must necessarily be done in writing. The pastor of such a church, must then take care to sign the document the bishop sends, so that he may thereby express his consent to have the Stations erected in his church, for the bishop's and the respective pastor's consent must be had before the Stations are blessed, otherwise the blessing is null and void.  This rescript is no longer required since the revision of Canon Law.

                The particular set of stations in St. Patrick Church were installed by Rev. Fr. James Hogan.  The necessary faculty to erect the stations of the Cross was obtained by the then reigning bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, the Most Rev. George Guertin.  Bishop Guertin received the faculty from Pope Saint Pius X in 1907.  The parish archives possess the document of the granting of this faculty signed by Fr. Hogan:

                “Reverendo Dno Jacobo J. Hogan: Salutem in Domino!  Vigore facultatum quas in audientia diei II mensis Januarii A.D. 1907, Summus Pontifex Pius X nobis ad quinquennium benigne concessit, tibi, Reverende Dno, facultatem, his praesentibus, delegamus, benedicendi, et erigendi in Ecclesia Sancti Patritici apud Newport, NH Imagines et Cruces dictas Stationes Viae Crucis; simulque imperitimur iis, qui pia exercitia coram iisdem peregerint omnes indulgentias quas Sancta Sedes concedere solet.  +Georgius Albertus Guertin, Episcopus Manchestericensis

                Litteris supradictis munitus ego presbyter, Viam crucis cum annexis indulgentiis erexi in Ecclesia Sancta Patritici justa regulas a sacra Indulgentiarum Congregatione die decima Maii A.D. 1742 praescriptas.  In quorum fidem hoc testimonium mea manu exaravi hac X die mensis Feb. A.D. 1910.  -Jacobus J. Hogan

                “Reverend James J. Hogan: Greetings in the Lord!  In virtue of the faculty kindly granted to us during the audience of the 2nd of January 1907 by Pope Pius X for a period of five years, we hereby delegate you Rev. Father, to bless and erect in the Church of St. Patrick in Newport, NH, the images and crosses known as the Stations of the Way of the Cross, and we make them partakers in all the indulgences which the Holy See alone grants, those who by loving exercises make pilgrimage before them.” George Albert Guertin

                “Strengthened by the above-mentioned letter, I, Rev. Fr. James Hogan, erect with the attached indulgences the Way of the Cross in the Church of St. Patrick according to the regulations by the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences as prescribed on the 10th day of May A.D. 1742.

                By the faith of this testimony which my hand has set down in writing on this 10th day of February 1910.” Rev. Fr. James J. Hogan

Beginnings of a Mission in Sunapee

             1910. On July 26, 1910 a building in Georges Mills was given to Fr. James Hogan, the first pastor of St. Patrick Parish.  Although this building was not named, it was used for the celebration of Mass until 1942; the building was given a Billy B. Van who was a prominent entertainer in the early 1900’s.  He stared in minstrel shows, vaudeville, New York stage and silent movies.  Originally born as William Webster Van de Grift in 1878 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, his name was shortened by a manager for a play he starred in as a child, the H.M.S. Pinafore.  He later changed his acting name to Bill B. Van.  Mr. Van moved to Georges Mills around 1906.  Having contracted tuberculosis while acting in Boston, he was told about the Lake Sunapee area as a restful place to recuperate.  Upon his recovery, he had accumulated enough money to purchase more property in Georges Mills, an area known as Prospect Hill.  He operated a dairy farm of sorts and also constructed a casino and playhouse where he would host summer plays.  It is said that he brought up famous New York actors and actresses such as Ethel Barrymore, Jeanne Eagels, and Marie Dressler.  

                In 1915 Mr. Van moved to Newport, New Hampshire which had a population of about 4000 at this time.  He constructed a large home with a barn and other structures on a site behind the present Hilltop Hotel.  He also owned the old Cutting farmland on the other side of Route 11 from the present Hilltop Hotel.  This he used as pasture for his livestock.  Married to a Grace Walsh from Newport, they had three children.  Van is credited with naming Newport as The Sunshine Town.  Always the optimist, especially during difficult times, he was often quoted as saying: "I come from a little town called Newport, N.H., where the sun shines on both sides of the highway at the same time.”  In 1925, Van became a regular contributor to radio. His short “Sunshine Talks” regularly referred to Newport as the “Sunshine Town,” a nickname taken up by the Argus-Champion in 1926.

                Upon leaving his acting career in 1927, he established himself as a motivational speaker and established a business venture called Pine Tree Products which manufactured and sold pine scented soap and bath oil as well as other products; it was reportedly used in upscale hotels around the country.  The business ended in the 1940’s.  He also known for advertising Wrigley’s Chewing Gum on the radio.  Billy B. Van died in the Newport Hospital on November 16, 1950 and is interred in Pine Grove Cemetery located in Newport.  A full article on Mr. Billy B. Van can be accessed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_B._Van as well as the Valley News Website: http://www.vnews.com/Newport-and-Sunapee-Historical-Societies-present-a-program-on-native-son-Billy-B-Van-1878-1950-3933453. The Newport Historical Society possesses some of his memorabilia.  An article published by the society also gives greater details concerning his life: http://www.newportnhhistory.org/geekfree/uploaded/pdfs/nhsapr2014newsletter.pdf  A dedicated website to locate his lost films is listed below.  Details concerning the possible showing of one his lost films in Sunapee in the summer of 2017 can be had at the website: http://www.billybvan.com 

Expansion and Renovation

           1919.  In addition to the building in Georges Mills, acquired from Mr. Billie B. Van, a house and lot on Main Street in Sunapee was also acquired on December 19, 1919 which was used as a mission until it was sold on November 29, 1948.

           1938.  During the pastorate of Rev. Fr. Michael Griffin, St. Patrick Church was renovated through the generous donations of the then Catholic governor of New Hampshire, Frances Parnell Murphy.  Fr. Griffin brought to completion the renovations begun by his predecessor, Rev. Fr. Thomas J. Finning, second pastor of St. Patrick Parish.  During this time St. Patrick Church was enlarged by the architectural work of John P. Heffernan of Boston and the cemetery was renovated with a semi-dry fieldstone wall around the grounds built by the Fortune family, a family of stonemasons from the Sunapee area.  The final cost of the renovation of the Church was $29,878.45.

            1938.  The rededication of St. Patrick Church took place on Sunday November 6, 1938.  The local newspaper described the event:

                “Most Reverend John B. Peterson, Bishop of Manchester, officiated at the services, serving as celebrant of the pontifical High Mass and confirming the class of 87 students during the afternoon.  Thirty-six received Holy Communion at the 8 o’clock Mass Sunday morning.  The rededication service preceded the pontifical High Mass at 10:00AM and began with a procession from the altar to the front entrance.  Here the procession waited while the Bishop blessed and sprinkled with Holy Water the foundation and the upper walls of the Church exterior….re-entering the Church, the procession passed up the center aisle to the altar, where the Litany of the Saints was recited.  Again, leaving the altar, the Bishop and his assistants went up the side aisles blessing and sprinkling with holy water the interior walls of the Church.  The sermon of the day was delivered by Rev. J. F. Happny of Somersworth.  In his remarks, he praised the pioneers of Newport, who 56 years ago saw fit to begin the erection of the present edifice, and he praised the people of the parish today for their generous support in the past which made possible the renovation of the Church.  The Church itself, completely renovated both inside and out and enlarged to twice its former seating capacity, is one of the most beautiful religious edifices in New Hampshire.  The rich symbolism of the Catholic Church has been incorporated in the design of the stained-glass windows set in the steel frames.  Throughout the design of construction every effort was exercised to produce a church of liturgical requirements, adequate seating accommodations, proper egress, and an interior to inspire devotion to Almighty God.  Among those in attendance were Governor and Mrs. Francis P. Murphy, the governor having given the Church a gift of $10,000 toward the total cost of its renovation.”

Moving Forward

           1948.  On October 1st of this year, the land for the present St. Joachim Church was acquired on Route 11 and Central Street.

            1950.  On September 21st of this year, Assumption Hall was built on land purchased from a Newport resident by the name of Mr. Harry Ayers.

            1952.  Rev. Fr. John A. McCarthy began the building of St. Joachim Mission which was completed the following year.

            1953.  On July 26th of this year, St. Joachim Church was consecrated and dedicated by the Most Rev. Matthew F. Brady.  He was named the fifth Bishop of Manchester, by Pope Pius XII on November 11, 1944. He presided over a period of unprecedented growth in the Manchester Diocese, founding 27 parishes in 11 years and authorizing the construction of nearly 50 churches and numerous schoolsconvents, and other facilities.  During his time as Bishop, the number of Catholics in New Hampshire jumped by 50,000 and the number of priests and religious grew from around 650 to over 1,600. For all these accomplishments, he was nicknamed "Brady the Builder.”

            1965.  On December 10th of this year, land in Newbury had been purchased by St. Patrick Parish at the south end of Lake Sunapee as the future site of another mission church.  However, this plan was never realized and the land was eventually sold on December 31, 1978.

            1972.  The total number of Masses celebrated each Sunday during the summer months is eleven.  Masses were celebrated St. Patrick Church, St. Joachim Church, and at the Town Hall in South Newbury.  The towns and villages that were part of the canonical territory of the parish included: Bradford (transferred to St. Theresa Parish in Henniker on September 19, 1972), Croydon, Croydon Flat, East Lempster, East Unity, Georges Mills, Goshen, Grantham, Guild, Kelleyville, Lempster, Mount Sunapee, Newbury, Newport, North Grantham, North Newport, Pollard Hills, South Newbury, Sunapee, and Wendell.

            1977.  The beginnings of the Parish Food Pantry started with an appeal for canned goods the previous December.  On February 27, 1977, the kitchen at Assumption Hall opened its doors to provide food and necessary supplies to those in need.  Every Saturday from 11 to noon someone would be available to dispense food according the various needs.  This was eventually expanded to the distribution of clothing as well.  Today an Ecumenical Food Pantry operates in Newport for the benefit of the area residents.


                This brings to an end the history of St. Patrick Parish according to the records which form the parish archive.  There is always much to be gained in knowing one's roots and the blessings that have arisen from the labors and sacrifices of those who have preceded us.  History also helps us to understand better what makes each institution what it is.  The present has arisen from out of the past, and though not defined by the past, will always have elements from whence it has proceeded.  In an article from the Encyclopedia Britannica written in 1911, we read: "The word history is used in two senses. It may mean either the record of events, or events themselves. It includes everything that undergoes change; and as modern science has shown that there is nothing absolutely static, therefore the whole universe, and every part of it, has its history.”  Thus, even though the records of a particular institution may be limited to a certain period of time, history continues to be written and made every day in the life of the faith of God’s people.  The interweaving of the lives and events which make up the parish family of St. Patrick continue to form the history of our forebears and ancestors who first brought the Catholic faith to the Upper Valley of New Hampshire, and for this we must renew our thanksgiving to God.  It is remarkable to think that this year, December 25, 2017 will mark 135 years of history since the very first Mass was offered and celebrated in the present St. Patrick Church building.

                In the final analysis, the history of St. Patrick Parish is part of the wider of history of the Kingdom of God.  This Catholic Community is part of the fabric of the faith of Jesus Christ which the apostles were commissioned to preach and the Gospel they were entrusted to bring to the nations.  The parish’s individual history is a part of the salvation history of God’s people, who have been saved by the Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  In conclusion then, let us recall the words of the first pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Rev. Fr. James J. Hogan, which he preached at the occasion of St. Patrick Church becoming for the first time a parish on Easter Sunday, March 30, 1902: “The Resurrection establishes beyond question the Divinity of Christ and consequently places the stamp of Divinity upon His work and institutions...The resurrection is the cornerstone of the Christian system, of the civilization of the world, and of all liberty and wellbeing…and all of that is built on Christianity!”

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