DENOMINATION/AFFILIATION: Roman Catholic; part of All Saints Parish

 

HISTORY: The Rev. Peter McLaughlin, the first resident priest of Bath, was assigned the task of building a Catholic church. The cornerstone was laid in 1855 on land purchased from J. T. Gilman at 838 High St., where the Morse High School science wing is now located. The church was completed in 1856, the same year that the first baptism was recorded. Diocesan records indicate that Bath became a separate parish (no longer a mission church) in 1857.

It was called the Parish of the Immaculate Conception but from early times was commonly referred to as St. Mary’s Parish.

the 1960s the parish had outgrown the original church. The Rev. Morrissey initiated plans for the current church and rectory and instituted semi-annual fundraising field days which eventually provided a considerable share of the construction costs. Unfortunately, he passed away in April 1967, leaving completion of the building of the church and the rectory to the Rev. Butler. He was instrumental in obtaining another strip of land added to that on Lincoln Street which had been bought in 1960.

On Sunday, May 4, 1969, the new church opened its doors for Mass. On June 15, 1969, it was officially dedicated by Coadjutor Bishop Peter Gerety as chief celebrant. The new church was modern and less traditionally embellished than the old one, with plenty of space for the 625 families. Designed by Boston architect Leo Whelan and constructed in the shape of a cross, it is very open, and light streams in through large abstract epoxy windows.

Over the years, St. Mary’s has successfully evolved to meet the changing needs of the community. The hand-carved crucifix, which originally hung above the main altar, was moved to the rear wall, stained to highlight its features and floodlit.

The console of the Baldwin Model N organ has been moved several times, and the organ itself has been updated. A piano has been added. Four communion stations enhanced by a simple wheat design, which were originally spaced around the altar, have been removed to allow for distribution of communion at the end of the middle and two side aisles.

Concerned that the church had no outward visible sign of our Blessed Mother, whose name it bears, a group of similar-minded women banded together and obtained permission to install a statue and memorial garden. A year of fundraising culminated in the purchase of a 5-foot white marble statue from Carrarra, Italy, a landscape design and the hiring of a landscape company to place the statue and install the garden during the summer of 2003. Dedication of the statue and garden took place on Oct. 4, 2003.

There are plans for an expanded garden at the front of the church, which will complement the beautiful grounds and Mary’s Garden.

In 2005 Bishop Richard Malone’s Pastoral Letter set the stage for the formation of All Saints Parish. After much work, communication, compromise and planning, on July 1, 2009, more than 200 years of parish histories came together with the establishment of the new All Saints Parish, which is comprised of St. Mary’s; St. John the Baptist Church, Brunswick; St. Charles Borremeo Church, Brunswick; St. Ambrose Church, Richmond; St. Patrick Church, Newcastle; Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Boothbay Harbor; and St. Katharine Drexel Summer Chapel, Harpswell.

St. Mary’s is centrally located in the parish and many parish meetings are held at the church.

For more information on the history of the church, Calvary Cemetery (1899) and St. Mary’s Parochial School (1909), visit www.allsaintsmaine.com/st-mary-history/.

 

WORSHIP: Daily Mass is at 8 a.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday Mass is at 4 p.m. and Sunday Mass is at 9:30 a.m.

Faith Formation sessions for grades pre-K through 5 are held at 4 p.m. Wednesdays, September through May.

 

CONTACT: Phone: church office, 443-3423 and parish office, 725-2624. The website is: www.Allsaintsmaine.com