Bishop, community to celebrate 100th anniversary of St. Catherine of Sienna on Oct. 18

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NORWAY — Canonically established in 1914, St. Catherine of Sienna Church will welcome former priests and parishioners to celebrate the church’s 100th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 18.

Bishop Robert P. Deeley will celebrate a special Mass at the church, at 32 Paris St., starting at 4 p.m.

Many priests with ties to the church will concelebrate with Bishop Deeley, including Fr. Innocent Okozi, the current pastor of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Parish, of which St. Catherine of Sienna Church is a part; Fr. Richard McLaughlin, who served as the church’s pastor from 2009-13; Fr. Maurice Lebel, pastor from 2000-03; Fr. Donald McAllister, a retired priest who was born in Norway and attended the church as a child; and Fr. John Gallagher, who has filled in at the church for many years.

Deacon Denis Mailhot and Deacon Hazen Kenney, who serve at St. Catherine of Sienna, will assist at the Mass.

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A reception will follow the Mass in the parish hall and will feature a slideshow of photos from throughout the years, newspaper articles detailing the church’s history and a papal blessing commemorating the anniversary.

The original church of St. Catherine of Sienna was built in 1911, but was not given canonical status until 1914. Two years later, Fr. Philip Boivin was the first pastor to take up permanent residence. He served at the church until 1918, when he offered his pastoral services as a chaplain during World War I. Father J. Francis Brady is the longest-serving pastor in the church’s history as his pastorate ran from 1929-68.

By 1977, the parish had grown to more than 250 families and the parishioners realized a growing need for additional space. The three-part structure adjacent to the rectory on Paris Street in Norway was razed in May of 1977. In the interim, the church community grew stronger through faithful attendance at weekend Masses celebrated at Oxford Hills High School, Christ Episcopal Church and various halls. Religious education classes were held at the Norway Knights of Columbus building.

The stained glass windows, original altar, the Stations of the Cross, the tabernacle and other items from the original building were preserved and moved to the new church, which was dedicated on July 9, 1978, by Bishop Edward C. O’Leary.

Father Donald Proulx, pastor at the time of the transition to the new church, said the experience displayed the true spirit of the St. Catherine of Sienna family.

“The building is the material aspect of the parish. That’s secondary to the tremendous support of the people,” said Proulx in 1978. “The fact that people went along with changing homes like this continuously, with total support, is what is really something.”

For more information, contact Dave Guthro, communications director at the Diocese of Portland, at 207-321-7810 or at dave.guthro@portlanddiocese.org.

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