St. Patrick's stained-glass windows sold to church in Japan

LEWISTON — Thirteen stained-glass windows from the former St. Patrick's Catholic Church are on their way to Japan.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Detail of one of the 13 stained-glass windows at St. Patrick's Church, which closed in 2009.

St. Patrick's
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Clear glass windows at the former St. Patrick's Catholic Church replaced 13 historic, 16-foot, stained-glass windows last week. The antique German stained-glass has been sold to a church in Japan. St. Patrick's closed in 2009 due to declining attendance.

St. Patrick's
Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Stained glass in the 13 side windows of the former St. Patrick's Catholic Church has been removed and sold to a church in Japan. The tabernacle and crucifix have also been sold. The tabernacle is in a new Catholic church in Texas; the crucifix in a Catholic church in Arizona.

The Gothic windows have been sold and will become part of a new church in Japan, Monsignor Marc Caron of Prince of Peace Parish said Friday.

A crew worked for a week to remove the windows in pieces. By Feb. 9, they were gone.

“It's very, very sad,” Caron said. “It's tragic because they really are masterpieces the community has been blessed with for over 80 years. It is a loss. On the other hand, they were not serving any purpose.”

Historic stained-glass windows in an abandoned church run the risk of being destroyed by fire or vandalism, Caron said. “That weighed heavily on my mind." The church closed in 2009 because of dwindling attendance.

Gil LaPointe, parish business coordinator, said parish officials didn't know which church in Japan the windows were sold to. “It's a Christian church; that's all we know,” LaPointe said. The sale was done through a broker.

He declined to say how much the windows sold for, only that they are valuable. The windows are 16 feet high and 6 feet wide and depict scenes from the life of Christ.

“They were the best stained-glass windows in this part of the state, in my opinion,” LaPointe said. “They were done in Germany around the 1920s. They have very detailed hand-painting. It's really artwork you're selling.”

But with so many churches closing, there's a glut of valuable stained-glass windows. “The broker we dealt with was selling 80 sets," Caron said. "There's a tremendous supply. We were lucky. Many of these sets will never be sold.”

Because the windows are so large, they can't be installed in an existing church. The church has to be designed around them, Caron said.

St. Patrick's was built in the 1890s, but the windows weren't added until the 1920s because it took time for parishioners to raise the money, LaPointe said.

“We always prided ourselves on those stained-glass windows,” said Frank O'Connell, 79, of Lewiston, who was baptized in the church. “The windows were gorgeous. I never thought I'd see the day the church was being sold. But what can you do?”

Donald Marsh, 77, of Lewiston, was also baptized at St. Patrick's. He said the church is architecturally beautiful, “but the windows were like the frosting on the cake. At least they've got a new home.”

The broker is King Richard's Liturgical Design and Contracting in Alpharetta, Ga. Valerie Wright of King Richard's said the company sells church windows and possessions to churches only. Most buyers are Catholic, she said.

King Richard's has also found new homes for St. Patrick's tabernacle, which is in a new Catholic church in Texas, and the crucifix, which is in an Arizona church.

Some religious items from St. Patrick's are being used by St. Dominic Academy and other Lewiston churches, Caron said.

Michael Poulin said he, his wife and son heard the windows were going out of  state to a new church. They were sad, realizing “our beloved St. Patrick’s is truly gone.” They then thought it would be nice to see the windows in a new church. They talked about a road trip.

When they found out the new church is in Japan, they decided the road trip will be a bit longer. “I guess we'll go,” Poulin said.

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Robert M. Belanger's picture

St. Patrick's Catholic Church

It's sad that attendance is dwindling at most Catholic Churches, all due to bad judgement by a few Priests and Bishops. I only hope the extensive bad publicity hasn't pushed the Church into its demise. I also hope we as Catholics can look past this and continue to guide our children accordingly. I'm glad to hear new Catholic Churches continue to be built, even though they are not local.

Bob Stone's picture

Memories of St. Patrick's

This story brought back to some great memories of St. Patrick's parish. I am pleased that the windows are being used in a new church. They are truly stunning windows.

I graduated from St. Patrick's School. My mom ran the 'hot lunch' program for years. I worked 4 years at Mt. Hope cutting grass for Bunny Mynahan. My children were baptized there. I've said the final goodbye to a number of family and friends at St. Pats. Memories of great joy and of profound sadness.

Time moves along and communities change. I am finally realizing that you can never, ever, go home again. But the memories are locked, safe and secure, in our minds. And those memories will one day be erased as we join the good people of St. Pat's on the other side.

Good luck, Lewiston, you are going to need it.

Peter Blake's picture

Times Change

This is just another sign of the times. It used to be the propagation of the faith was enough to sustain the church and they grew they would all go to church and participate in the religious community. However, in the last 40 yrs. the family as a unit has desintegrated and the free thinking individual has become the focus of society. Churches close because children no longer believe or attend or just moved away. The larger churches always had large attendence and with that came large amounts of money in the form of donations. With the recent sex scandals in the Catholic Church during the past decade, many have had their faith shaken. Why not? Those who were supposed to be the examples of the faith have proven unworthy of any support as have several of their superiors who covered things up by moving priests around the state or region. I love old well build buildings and it is very sad to see them come down, but our memories and faith in what we learned can never be destroyed by perverts. Like any large group, the priesthood has its rotten apples, but let's focus on the good memories. This will not save several churches from closing, but it might help our senior citizens cope with the losses of their faith, at least in the physical sense. Remember the spirit of an individual is great and can be made even greater by sharing these positive memories with others. In conclusion, I blame the Catholic Church for the problems in the priesthood. Certainly the one thing that the Protestant Church does and the Catholic Church should do is allow its priests to marry. I believe the first nine hundred years of church history showed this to be a viable option. Please correct me if I am in error.

Randall Pond's picture

St. Patrick's stained-glass windows sold to church in Japan

As Sad as I am hearing of the sale of these windows taken out of one of the most beautiful Catholic Churches in Maine is sad for Lewiston. As well as the Tearing down on The Former United Baptist Church. I hope with St. Patrick's as well as the Former United Baptist Church that the Pipe Organ in this Church a E & G.G. Hook & Hastings Pipe Organ Found a new and good Home as well. I had the chance in my youth when Monsignor Gleason was at St. Patrick's to Practice on the Organ at St. Patrick's as well as the one at the Former United Baptist Church. Both were beautiful sounding Organs and both had Excellent Organists at both Churches. I was sorry I never met the organist at St. Patrick's. I did at United Baptist.

Sad to see such beautiful places of worship close. I do hope something can be done with St. Patrick's and St. Joesph's Church that they do not see the fate United Baptist Church Saw. Torn down for a Parking Lot! That's A Cardinal SIN!


Randall F. Pond, Former Lewiston Resident.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

How sad to see such a fine

How sad to see such a fine edifice being cannibalized for the harvesting of its individual parts.AARRGHH!!!


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