Parishioners attend Mass at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lewiston on Sunday.
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.

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Monsignor Marc Caron gives his blessing to Gilbert Morrison during Mass at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lewiston on Sunday morning. St. Joseph’s will close its doors following the church’s final Mass on Tuesday. Morrison was married to his wife Patricia at Saint Joseph’s in 1962 and has been coming to the church for 48 years. He has been a collector at the church for 36 of those years.

The rectory next door to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church will also be put on the market.

An old drawing of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church and rectory.

Father Anthony Dass, left, father Tony Amato, Monsignor Marc Caron, father Antoniar and father Bob Vaillancourt administer Mass at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lewiston on Sunday.

Monsignor Marc Caron greats parishioners following Mass at Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church in Lewiston on Sunday morning.

Several maintenance issues with the building, such as the balcony being deemed unsafe and water damage to the church hall, contributed to the decision to close St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church decorated for Christmas in 1933.

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