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From Generation Unto Generations: A History of New Hampshire's Oldest Catholic Parish

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This presentation offers a summary view of the rich history of the Catholic parish of St. Aloysius (later St. Mary), officially founded in 1830, and the oldest Catholic parish in the state of New ...

This presentation offers a summary view of the rich history of the Catholic parish of St. Aloysius (later St. Mary), officially founded in 1830, and the oldest Catholic parish in the state of New Hampshire. Read about the heroes of the faith such as Fr. Charles Ffrench, Fr. Patrick Canavan, and Fr. Daniel Murphy.

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From Generation Unto Generations: A History of New Hampshire's Oldest Catholic Parish From Generation Unto Generations: A History of New Hampshire's Oldest Catholic Parish Presentation Transcript

  • From Generation unto Generations Parish History St. Aloysius & St. Mary Dover, New Hampshire 175 Years 1830-2005
  • Yea, and we also give testimony
    • Parish History
    • By John Grimes
    • & Jim Farrell
    • With research assistance from John Farrell
    • Additional assistance from Patrick Farrell
    • Slide presentation prepared by Jim Farrell
  • I will still remember him
    • Dedicated to the memory of
    • Rev. Albert G. Baillargeon
    • Born Sept. 18, 1921
    • Ordained May 31, 1947
    • Died April 18, 2005
    View slide
  • Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land not their own.
    • In the early 1820s, small groups of Irish immigrants arrived in Dover to work in the mills. They came from Armagh, Cork, Waterford, Kildare, Monaghan, Sligo, and other counties. They were mostly Catholics, and mostly poor. They were not welcomed warmly by the local American “natives”.
    View slide
  • How shall we sing the song of the Lord in a strange land?
    • There was no Catholic church for fifty miles around, and no prospect of receiving the sacraments from a priest on a regular basis.
    • One of the Irish immigrants, Philip Scanlan, wrote to Bishop Fenwick of Boston asking him to send a priest.
    Philip Scanlan
  • In my trouble I called upon the Lord: and the Lord heard me
    • On October 22, 1826, Fr. Virgil H. Barber, S.J. said the first Mass in Dover. The Mass was celebrated in the old court house, and Fr. Barber preached on Luke 3:14, “And what shall we do?”
    The old Court House
  • Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to Him.
    • August 19, 1827: 40 people attended Mass at the home of John Burns in Dover. Bishop Benedict Fenwick was the celebrant. Before Mass the bishop heard confessions for several hours. At the Mass, two people were confirmed.
  • As a grain of mustard seed
    • In his diary that day the Bishop wrote that he
    • “ recommended to them to subscribe something worthy towards purchasing a lot of ground for a church. A subscription was immediately opened when 25 obligated themselves to each pay one Dollar per month—Was greatly pleased with the spirit manifested on the occasion”
    Bishop Fenwick
  • Whoever will be greater, shall be your minister
    • Bishop Fenwick assigned Fr. Charles Dominic Ffrench to minister to the people of Dover. Fr. Ffrench was a Dominican friar from Galway, Ireland stationed at Portland, Maine.
    A Dominican friar
  • Come into the land which I shall show thee
    • On January 11, 1828, Fr. Ffrench purchased the lot at the corner of Chestnut Street and Third Street in Dover from the Cocheco Manufacturing Company for $300.
    Original Deed
  • I will lay a stone in the foundation of Sion, a tried stone, a precious stone
    • On May 14, 1828, Fr. Ffrench laid the cornerstone for the first Catholic church in Dover. The only notice in the local paper said simply:
    • “ The foundation stone of a Catholic church was laid in this town on Wednesday by the Rev. Charles Ffrench with an appropriate prayer.”
    [ not the original cornerstone ]
  • That I may build a house to the name of the Lord my God
    • The church was built by Jacob Clark at a cost of $2800, after a design by parishioner John Cosgrove. No image of the original structure survives, but it was a simple wood building like that depicted here. It measured 50 x 36 feet, and was constructed in “a gothic style.”
  • In whom all the building, being framed together, groweth up into an holy temple in the Lord
    • Fr. Ffrench raised most of the money for construction of the church by taking up collections in Boston. A house and barn were also constructed on the lot.
    • On November 20, 1828, Fr. Ffrench reported to Bishop Fenwick that the church at Dover was nearly completed, and that Mass would be celebrated there before year’s end.
    Detail from 1834 Dover Map Showing church lot and graves
  • And they all came to the house of God
    • On a rainy September 26, 1830, Bishop Fenwick dedicated the church in Dover to St. Aloysius. Fr. Ffrench celebrated High Mass, and the bishop preached the dedication sermon, offering “an able and highly interesting discourse.”
    St. Aloysius
  • The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few
    • Fr. Ffrench remained pastor of Dover while also tending his flock at Portland, Saco, and Eastport Maine. Bishop Fenwick had only a few priests to minister to all of New England. Indeed, from July 1831 to September 1833, St. Aloysius had no pastor, and relied on visits by priests from other parishes in Massachusetts or Maine.
    • Earliest Pastors
    • of St. Aloysius
    • Fr. Charles D. Ffrench:
    • 1828 – 1830
    • Fr. Michael Healy:
    • 1830 – 1831
    • Fr. Constantine Lee
    • 1833 – 1834
  • Thou art a priest forever
    • In 1834, Bishop Fenwick assigned Fr. Patrick M. Canavan to Dover. Fr. Canavan remained until 1862, enlarging the church and the congregation during 28 years of solitary ministry. Fr. Canavan was a native of County Longford, Ireland, and died in Boston on April 26, 1870.
  • The famine was heavy upon the land
    • In 1847, Famine struck Ireland, and hundreds of thousands died of hunger and disease. The people of St. Aloysius, mostly Irish themselves, contributed their mite to relieve the suffering poor of Ireland. Answering Bishop John Fitzpatrick’s plea, Fr. Canavan’s small congregation contributed $258, about $5300 today.
  • Behold, I will open your graves
    • In 1848, the parish outgrew the small graveyard next to the church, and 25 parishioners purchased lots in a new Catholic cemetery on Stark Avenue.
    • Parish record [at left] shows the names of those who purchased gravesites.
    19th-century Dover map (above) showing the location of the Catholic cemetery on Stark Avenue.
  • And do you therefore love strangers, because you also were strangers
    • That same year, sixteen members of the parish petitioned the state legislature for a charter to form the Hibernian United Benevolent Society , perhaps the earliest parish organization.
  • So laboring you ought to support the weak
    • The purpose of the H.U.B. was to assist new immigrants, and to support those who, because of sickness or injury, could not work to support themselves.
  • And thou shalt make merry in thy festival time
    • Each year the H.U.B. organized a St. Patrick’s Day celebration that began with High Mass in the morning.
    • After Mass the group held a procession through town, followed by dinner and dancing into the evening.
  • And he built there an altar
    • In 1850, Fr. Canavan enlarged St. Aloysius church. Bishop John Fitzpatrick came in November to bless the new altar, and to confirm 140 young parishioners. The church, he noted, had been “enlarged by about double its original size.”
    Most Rev. John Fitzpatrick 3 rd Bishop of Boston
  • And he will keep his as the shepherd doth his flock
    • In 1853, the Diocese of Portland was established, and the following year Rev. David Bacon was appointed the first bishop of the new See.
    • All of New Hampshire became part of the new diocese. St. Aloysius was one of only two parishes in the state.
    Most Rev. David Bacon, First Bishop of Portland
  • I shall be saved from my enemies
    • In the 1855 election, Ralph Metcalf and the Know-Nothing party were victorious in New Hampshire.
    • Dover citizens voted 2-1 in favor of the anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant candidate for governor.
    Ralph Metcalf
  • He that is a friend loveth at all times
    • In 1860, parishioners formed the Young Catholic Friends Society , the purpose of which was to raise funds for the poor children of St. Aloysius, to send them to the public schools, to teach them Christian doctrine, and to clothe them and bring them to Sunday School. The organization also started a parish library.
  • Lest the people of the Lord be as sheep without a shepherd
    • Following the retirement of Fr. Canavan in 1862, a series of priests served the parish temporarily.
    • In 1863, Fr. John Brady, another native of Ireland, was appointed pastor, but he remained at the parish less than two years.
    Fr. John Brady
  • All that were able to go forth to war
    • At an 1862 Civil War rally Fr. John McShane, one of those temporarily assigned to St. Aloysius, offered his support for the Union cause:
    • “ I should think there is no one, with a spark of patriotism in his bosom, who would not come forward to assist in restoring and maintaining the integrity of the Union.”
  • He that shall abide in this city, shall die by the sword
    • Many parishioners joined the Union Army. They wished to prove their loyalty and patriotism. They did so even though many Americans distrusted Catholics.
    • 111 parishioners served during the war. At least eleven of them died.
    Partial list of Dover Volunteers
  • The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.
    • In 1864, Fr. James Drummond, a native of Ireland, arrived from Nova Scotia to become pastor of St. Aloysius. He remained until his death in 1882, having served the parish for 18 years.
    Detail of Fr. Drummond’s Gravestone in St. Mary’s Cemetery
  • For it was founded on a rock
    • On Tuesday afternoon, October 5, 1869, Bishop Bacon, assisted by Fr. Drummond, blessed the cornerstone of the new Catholic Church in Dover.
    • The cornerstone contained a Latin parchment inscription: “This cornerstone of the church is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Feast of St. Placidus and his martyred companions.”
    Hunc angularem lapidem templi “ Maria,” B. V. Dicandi Festo SS. Placidi et Soc. Mart. Die Octobris Vth A.R.S. MDCCLXIX
  • And the fire shall try every man’s work
    • In the early morning hours of November 1, 1870, a fire started in a shoe factory on Fourth Street, and quickly spread to St. Aloysius.
    • Before it was extinguished, the old church, the rectory, and everything flammable in the new church under construction, had burned.
  • And the ruins thereof I will rebuild
    • The cost of the fire was high, and the church was uninsured. Fr. Drummond and the parishioners, however, were determined to rebuild. By 1871, the new church was completed.
    1877 Map Detail Showing the new Church.
  • A woman clothed with the sun
    • On Tuesday morning, August 15, 1871, the Feast of the Assumption, Fr. Drummond celebrated the first Mass in the newly constructed St. Mary’s Church. The first Sunday Mass followed five days later, when the new church was “filled to its utmost capacity by a happy, yet devout congregation.”
  • That he might present it to himself a glorious church
    • A year later, on August 25, 1872, St. Mary’s church was officially dedicated by Bishop Bacon.
  • Nor have you drunk wine or strong drink
    • In 1874, Fr. Drummond, encouraged the formation of the Catholic Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society , dedicated to promoting temperance. A second temperance organization, the Fr. Mathew Society , was established in 1891.
    Catholic Temperance Medals
  • Continue in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety
    • The temperance groups were among the most active parish organizations for many years. They had their own drama club, baseball team, and marching band. Each year on Fr. Mathew Day (Oct. 10), they held a parade and dinner dance – soft drinks only, of course.
    Dennis Cash, St. Mary’s CTA & B President, 1877
  • As the shepherd visiteth his flock
    • On August 4,1875, Most Rev. James Augustine Healy, newly appointed Bishop of Portland, visited St. Mary’s parish in Dover to confirm 352 young parishioners.
    • The bishop remarked on the “large and well-built church, too near the Railroad.”
    • Bishop Healy, whose mother had been a slave, was the first African-American bishop in the United States.
    Bishop James Augustine Healy
  • Thy enemies shall distress thee within all thy gates.
    • On January 19, 1876, Dover was visited by an anti-Catholic lecturer, Arthur Devlin. The robust objections of many St. Mary parishioners led to a “disgraceful riot” in the city.
    • Bricks and rocks were thrown at the lecturer as he tried to make his way to the American House Hotel. Fr. Drummond “condemned the rioters in the strongest terms.”
    American House Hotel
  • And I will visit against all that afflict them
    • Not only anti-Catholic, but anti-Irish sentiment prevailed in much of the city of Dover.
    • This cartoon (right), depicting an ape-like “Irish” mother and son, appeared in an 1880 issue of the Granite Monthly, published in Dover.
  • Because thou hast been my helper
    • The growing parish and the advanced age of Fr. Drummond led bishop Healy to appoint Fr. Patrick Lunney as the first assistant pastor in the parish on May 23, 1876. Fr. Lunney died less than two years later.
    Rev. Patrick Lunney
  • For my inheritance is goodly to me
    • In June 1877, a second Irish group formed in the parish when Div. 1, of the Ancient Order of Hibernians was organized. The A.O.H. joined the H.U.B. in the annual celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Later, two more Dover divisions formed.
  • Rejoice therefore, O young man, in thy youth
    • In 1878, Rev. Herbert Blodgett replaced Fr. Lunney, and quickly became indispensable to the parish. He was elected delegate to the state CTA convention, and president of the local chapter of the Irish Land League (despite his Dutch heritage). He also purchased the property on which St. Mary Academy now stands.
    This unidentified photo from the Dover Library is probably Fr. Blodgett
  • My harp is turned to mourning
    • Sadly, only three years after he arrived in Dover, Fr. Blodgett died at the age of 30, on May 23, 1881 . He was much beloved by the people of St. Mary’s and the city of Dover, who erected a monument in his honor in the new St. Mary’s cemetery.
    Fr. Blodgett Memorial
  • And I will raise me up a faithful priest
    • In 1881, Rev. Daniel W. Murphy was assigned to St. Mary’s. After the death of Fr. Drummond on September 6, 1882, Fr. Murphy was made pastor, and remained so for nearly thirty years.
    Rev. Daniel W. Murphy
  • Then were little children presented to him
    • In 1883, on the property purchased by Fr. Blodgett, Fr. Murphy constructed the Sacred Heart School. The old “New Hampshire House” hotel became a convent for the Sisters of Mercy.
    Sacred Heart School and Convent
  • If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
    • On April 15, 1884, the Holy See created the Diocese of Manchester, comprising all of the State of New Hampshire.
    • Rev. Denis M. Bradley was appointed the first Bishop of Manchester.
    Most Rev. Denis M. Bradley
  • To set at liberty them that are bruised
    • On May 6, 1886, the Irish societies of the parish and the city rallied at City Hall in support of Parnell and Irish Home Rule. Parishioner John Kivel chaired the meeting at which many local officials spoke. A collection was taken up in support of Irish freedom, with Fr. Murphy, and his assistant Fr. John Bradley, leading the contributors. Despite their efforts, the bill for Irish Home Rule did not pass the British Parliament.
    John Kivel
  • The priests that were anointed
    • Later in 1886, four Dover boys--Edward Hughes, James McGill, Patrick McCooey, and Francis Quinn--left for Ireland to study for the priesthood. McGill and McCooey were later ordained, the first of many from the parish who would receive Holy Orders during Fr. Murphy’s pastorate.
    Rev. James McGill Ordained, 1895 Rev. Patrick McCooey Ordained, 1895
  • For all you are the children of light
    • In 1888, despite objections from some local school officials, Fr. Murphy began construction of a second parochial school. In September, St. Joseph’s School for boys opened under the direction of the Christian Brothers.
    St. Joseph’s School (Left) Early graduating class with their teacher, Brother Ammidy.
  • Thou wilt be a helper to the orphan
    • In 1888, Fr. Murphy purchased property on Court Street which he quickly turned into an orphanage under the care of the Sisters of Mercy. Later he also took into his care the Catholic orphans at the county farm.
    St. Mary Orphanage
  • And the bridegroom shall rejoice over the bride, and thy God shall rejoice over thee
    • On the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in 1889, Mary Parle of Dover became the first woman from the parish to take solemn religious vows. She entered the Sisters of Mercy on July 19. The following year, two more young women took the veil.
    Unidentified Sister of Mercy (Photo from Dover Public Library)
  • To repair the house of the Lord
    • Fr. Murphy directed numerous repairs and improvements to the church building. In 1889 new windows were installed, and the interior of the church was painted. In 1890, the tower was raised, and new bell was hung.
  • I will clothe her priests with salvation During the Murphy era, numerous priests served the parish as curates. Rev. Stephen Murphy, 1881-83 Rev. Edward Furlong, 1886-91 Rev. Patrick McEvoy, 1883-85 Rev. John Casey, 1886-99 Rev. James Riley, 1891-92 Rev. Hormisdas Bellefleur, 1892-94
  • Let thy priests be clothed with justice Rev. Daniel Cotter, 1903-05 Rev. Jeremiah Desmond 1894-95 Rev. Walter Dee, 1907-10 Rev. Thomas Redden, 1905-07 Rev. Maurice Redden, 1907-11 Rev. Daniel O’Neil, 1896-1902 Rev. Francis O’Neil 1900-01 Rev. Thomas Finning, 1899-1900 Rev. John Moran, 1910-12
  • For laughter they make bread
    • Throughout the late 19 th century, the people of the parish gathered each year for a Summer picnic. They also held a parish fundraising fair each year. The parish baseball team took on the YMCA & other local teams.
    1891 Dover Enquirer Ad Typical 1890s Church Picnic (not St. Mary’s)
  • And he brought forth his people with joy
    • The children of the parochial schools offered regular recitals, concerts, processions, and shows for the entertainment of fellow parishioners
  • To be renewed again to penance
    • In 1891, the Paulist Fathers from New York conducted a parish mission for two weeks. The church was crowded to standing room for the separate missions for men and women.
    • The following January Fr. Doyle of the Paulists returned to give a well-attended lecture, proceeds from which went toward the construction of a new residence for the Christian Brothers.
    Paulist Fathers (1894)
  • For it is the year of jubilee
    • In 1892, the parish joined the city in celebrating the 400 th Columbian jubilee. There was a special Mass on October 12, and a dinner dance the following Friday.
    • All the Catholic organizations participated in the City’s parade, and parishioner Dennis Cash was the Chief Marshal.
  • There abide till you depart from that place
    • On November 12, 1893, the French parishioners of St. Mary’s, having appealed to Bishop Bradley for a separate French parish, held their first French Mass at Lowell’s Opera House with Fr. J. J. Richard. 500 French Catholics attended. St. Charles Church, originally located on Third St., was dedicated in 1898.
    Old St. Charles Church
  • I rose at midnight to give praise to thee
    • On January 1, 1900, parishioners celebrated the end of the century with a midnight Mass, allowed after a special dispensation by Pope Leo for the jubilee year of the 19 th century. It was the first midnight Mass ever celebrated in Dover. Frs. Murphy and Finning presided.
    Pope Leo XIII
  • And they clothe him with purple
    • On November 28, 1901, the parish and city celebrated as Fr. Daniel W. Murphy was designated a “Domestic Prelate of the Papal Household” by Pope Leo, and assumed the title of Monsignor.
  • He gave testimony to the truth
    • In January of 1902, the parish hosted Passionist Fr. Xavier Sutton, who offered a series of lectures directed mainly at Protestants . Parishioners could attend only with a non-Catholic friend. Protestants were encouraged to submit their inquiries in a question box at the door. The papers report that the lectures were well attended, and more than half the audience was non-Catholic.
  • Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh
    • During the Winter of 1906, Fr. Murphy made a point of warning the young men and women of the parish to stay away from the skating rinks, which he considered “not a proper place for young people to spend their evenings.”
  • How lovely are thy tabernacles
    • 1907 was a year of major repair work and redecoration. The interior of the church was frescoed and painted, and the now-familiar statue of the Blessed Virgin was placed on the exterior front of the church tower.
  • Well done, good and faithful servant
    • On April 3, 1911, Msgr. Murphy died. He had been pastor for nearly 30 years, during which time he built schools and an orphanage, watched his parish grow considerably, and inspired many vocations. His funeral was among the largest ever seen in Dover.
  • And there was in the midst of the city a high tower
    • After the death of Msgr. Murphy, Rev. Thomas Reilly was appointed pastor.
    • Soon after he arrived, he discovered that the church tower was rotted and near collapse, and had to be lowered and repaired.
    Rev. Thomas Reilly Before After
  • Come, children, hearken to me.
    • On May 10, 1912, Bishop George Guertin announced that a new Catholic school would be built in Dover. In November of that year, he laid the cornerstone for St. Mary Academy, which replaced both Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Schools.
    Bishop Guertin
  • And every man shall sit under his vine, and under his fig tree Fr. P. J. McDonough, Fr. Thomas Reilly, Fr. Leonard Geisel Outside the rectory with a canine friend, around 1913.
  • I will deliver them out of the hand of death
    • Fr. Reilly died on March 29, 1915, after a lengthy illness.
    • In September of that year Fr. John J. Bradley became pastor, returning to St. Mary’s, where he had served as a young curate in the 1880s.
    • Fr. Bradley remained as pastor until his death in 1926.
    Rev. John J. Bradley
  • In the land which I gave to your fathers from the beginning
    • Fr. Bradley, and his assistant, Fr. Edmund Quirk, gave both their eloquence and money to support Irish political freedom.
    • In 1916, Fr. Quirk was elected to the board of directors of the local branch of Friends of Irish Freedom, formed to support Irish Independence.
    Rev. Edmund Quirk
  • And he chose twelve of them
    • In July of 1917, Fr. Bradley installed a new set of stained-glass windows depicting the Apostles and other saints.
    • Each of the windows (the ones currently in the church) bears a memorial inscription from a person or organization in the parish at that time.
    St. John St. James St. Patrick St. Simon St. Thomas
  • The sound of the trumpet, the cry of battle
    • Known for his oratorical skills, Fr. Bradley was a frequent speaker at patriotic rallies in the city during the First World War. He advocated purchase of Liberty bonds, and support for “Rest Camps for Soldiers.”
  • A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence
    • The 1918 Influenza pandemic forced the city authorities to forbid all public gatherings, including church services. Even funerals were strictly private.
    • With schools closed, the Sisters of Mercy reopened Hayes Hospital (above) to care for flu victims. Young women from the parish volunteered to serve as nurses during the overnight hours. On October 5, 1918, St. Mary’s curate, Fr. Edward J. Connor, died of influenza. He was 28.
  • As a shepherd putteth on his garment
    • On February 10, 1921, Rev. Thomas M. O’Leary, native of Dover and St. Mary’s parish, was consecrated as Bishop of Springfield, Massachusetts. He was the only priest from the parish to be made a bishop.
    Most Rev. Thomas M. O’Leary
  • Thou art my servant, I have chosen thee
    • In 1926, Fr. Bradley died, and Fr. Joseph Creeden was named the new pastor.
    • In the midst of the Great Depression, no notice was taken of the 100 th anniversary of St. Mary’s parish in 1930.
    • In 100 years, however, the parish had grown remarkably.
    Rev. Joseph Creeden
  • Give an account of thy stewardship
    • In his ledger book, Fr. Creeden recorded that at year’s end, 1929, there were 854 families at St. Mary’s, and 3539 parishioners.
    • During the previous year there had been 19 marriages, 77 baptisms, 39 deaths, and 45,700 communions.
  • He hath filled the hungry with good things
    • In 1933, Bishop Peterson sent a letter to all members of the clergy directing them to encourage parishioners to attend Sunday Mass, even if they have no money for the collection, nor proper Sunday attire.
  • The Lord of hosts will protect them
    • The Knights of Columbus, by now an active parish organization for several decades, held an “anti-Communist Communion” on October 25, 1936.
    • All members were directed to report for confession on October 24 th , and to be present at the Mass on the following day.
  • And the streets of the city shall be full of boys
    • During a July 1940 outing to Fenway Park, St. Mary’s altar boys met Red Sox players “Black Jack” Wilson and Jimmy Foxx, along with manager Joe Cronin.
  • And the war began again
    • During World War II, 428 parishioners served in the U.S. Armed Forces. In 1943, the parish held a flag dedication ceremony to honor those who served.
  • And now divide the land
    • On January 17, 1945, Most Rev. Matthew Brady was installed as Bishop of Manchester. Later that year, the bishop created the new parish of St. Joseph’s in Dover .
    • The first Mass at the new church was held at midnight on Christmas, 1947.
    Most Rev. Matthew Brady
  • Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints
    • On September 15, 1945, the pastor, Fr. Joseph Creeden died after a long illness.
    • Four days later, Fr. Peter J. McDonough, a Dover native, and former curate at St. Mary’s also died.
    • Fr. Thomas Connor was appointed the new pastor.
    Fr. Creeden Fr. McDonough
  • And they shall make me a sanctuary
    • In 1947, the interior of the church underwent a significant redesign. The altar pieces, statuary, and stations of the cross were replaced.
  • I remembered the days of old
    • On May 11 & 12 of that same year, the parish held a “Tri-Celebration” commemorating the 117 th anniversary of the parish, the Diamond (75 th ) anniversary of the official dedication of St. Mary’s Church, and the rededication of the church building.
  • Behold the handmaid of the Lord
    • On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith, 79 years after the first Mass was celebrated at St. Mary’s Church on the Feast of the Assumption in 1871.
    Pope Pius XII
  • Let fear and dread fall upon them
    • On November 18, 1953, in the midst of the “Red Scare,” 1500 people came out to the new Woodman Park School to hear Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who spoke at the invitation of the Knights of Columbus. Bishop Brady, although invited, was “unable to attend.”
  • The Lord, your God hath multiplied you
    • 130 years after the first Mass was celebrated in Dover, the Diocese of Manchester (in 1956) had 115 parishes, with 220,000 Catholics in the state. 27,000 students were enrolled in Catholic schools.
    Msgr. Thomas Connor presides at the marriage of Walter & Monica Hensel in 1956 St. Mary Academy Social Studies Class 1950s
  • O death, where is thy victory?
    • On January 4, 1960, Monsignor Connor died. He had been pastor since 1945.
    • In May, Bishop Primeau, only recently installed himself, appointed Fr. Paul McDonough as the new pastor of St. Mary’s.
    Monsignor Thomas Connor
  • Keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary
    • In 1964, Fr. Edwin Francoeur, Director of the Diocesan Commission for Liturgy, Music, and Sacred Art held a two-day meeting at St. Anselm’s to “inform all Catholics on the changes in the liturgy brought about by the Second Vatican Council.”
    • In 1972, Rev. Francoeur directed that changes be made to the sanctuary of St. Mary’s, giving the church the familiar appearance it has today.
  • Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day
    • In February 1968, Bishop Primeau announced that Saturday afternoon Masses would be permitted on a limited basis at only three churches in the diocese.
    • At St. Mary’s all the Masses remained on Sunday at:
    • 6, 7, 8:15, 9:30, 10:45, and 12:00 Noon.
    Most Rev. Ernest J. Primeau
  • Behold my servant, I will uphold him
    • On August 31, 1974, the pastor, Msgr. McDonough resigned, and was replaced by a temporary administrator, Msgr. Richard Boner. (Msgr. McDonough died a year later.)
    • On February 11, 1976, Msgr. John Burke was named the new pastor.
    Msgr. John Burke
  • Because of the sanctification of the Jubilee
    • On September 14, 1980, under the direction of the pastor, Fr. Warren Regan, the parish celebrated its 150 th anniversary.
  • Be unto me a father and a priest
    • In 1987, Fr. Gerald Dunn replaced Fr. Regan as pastor. Fr. Dunn served until his retirement in 2000.
    • Fr. Fritz J. Cerullo, O.S.A. assumed his duties as pastor that year, and has led us to the celebration of our 175 th anniversary.
    Fr. Dunn Fr. Cerullo
  • When you come together in the church
  • You shall be my people
  • And I will be your God
  • And entering into Jerusalem with a great train The END
  • For what thanks can we return to God for you
    • Carrie Tremblay, Dover Public Library
    • Denise LaFrance, Dover Public Library
    • Cathleen C. Beaudoin, Director, Dover Public Library
    • Sr. Rita-Mae Bissonette, RSR, Chancellor, Diocese of Portland
    • Robert Johnson-Lally, Archivist, Archdiocese of Boston
    • Judith Fosher, Curator, Diocesan Museum
    • Rev. Sydney C. Mifflen, Chancellor, Diocese of Antigonish
    • Reference Staff, University of New Hampshire Library
    • Reference Staff, St. Anselm College Library
    • Library Staff, University of New Hampshire–Manchester
    • Rev. Msgr. L. W. McGrath, Librarian, St. John’s Seminary
    • Rev. Steven Avella, Archdiocese of Milwaukee
    • Chancellor’s Office, Diocese of Springfield
    • John Devine, Reference Librarian, Boston Public Library
    • Reference Staff, Somersworth Public Library
    • Megan Pinette, Belfast Maine Historical Society
    • Betsy Paradis, Belfast Free Library, Belfast, ME
    • Dana Chevalier, Peavey Memorial Library, Eastport, ME
    • McArthur Public Library, Biddeford, ME
    • Ann McMahon, Santa Clara University Archives
    • Maureen Nimmo, Lawrence, MA Public Library
    • Robert Marston, Dover Historical Society
    • Rachel Richardson-Bach, Seaside Glass Works
    • Sandwich Glass Museum
    • Gail Bardhan, Corning Museum of Glass
    • Assessor’s Office, City of Dover
    • Clerk’s Office, Strafford County Superior Court
    • Staff of the Strafford County Register of Deeds
    • Staff of the Strafford County Register of Probate
    • Rev. Msgr. Wilfred Paradis
    • Sr. Mary Monica Markey, RSM
    • Rev. Fritz J. Cerullo, OSA
    • Rev. Gerald Dunn
    • Rev. Robert Cole
    • Rev. Paul Gregoire
    • Rev. Aaron Pfaff
    • Danny Arnold
    • Yvette Bohn
    • Rachel Dupuis
    • Tyler Foss
    • Julia Grimes
    • Monica Hensel
    • Thom Hindle
    • Tommy Makem
    • Peter Michaud
    • Bea Reil
    • David Staples