LEWISTON — The city's oldest Catholic church — St. Joseph's Church — will close its doors Tuesday.
Bishop Richard Malone will officiate over the final Mass, ending 152 years of history in the grand, brick building at 253 Main St.
"I would say the overwhelming sense is sadness," said Monsignor Marc Caron, who leads Lewiston's Prince of Peace Parish. "Some are grieving."
The cornerstone of the building was laid June 13, 1864, according to a parish history published in 2007. The church, designed by architect Patrick Keely of New York, opened three years later.
Today, the structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is known for its columned nave and the stained glass in almost every window, much of it hand-painted with extraordinary detail. Murals were painted in the 1920s by Monmouth artist Harry Cochran, according to the church's history.
Shrinking congregations throughout the Lewiston and Auburn churches forced the closure of St. Joseph's — as well as St. Patrick's Church, which will hold its final Mass on Oct. 27.
Bishop Malone is expected to approve the sale of both churches by the end of the year.
At Tuesday's 6 p.m. Mass, the Rev. Frank Morin, St. Joseph's former pastor, will give the homily. A banquet will follow at the Carriage House on Lisbon Street. Tickets for the banquet may be purchased for $20 each by calling the parish office at 777-1200.