FARMINGTON — To highlight the beauty and grace of rural life, St. Joseph Parish in Farmington and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay will host the Catholic Rural Life Festival on September 13-14. The 2019 edition of the festival features a dynamic lineup of special events, activities, and liturgies all designed to bring awareness to our call to be stewards of creation.

This year, as part of the festival, a keynote panel entitled “What is Catholic Rural Life?” will be held on Saturday, September 14, at 9:45 a.m. in the main room of the parish hall at St. Joseph Church on 133 Middle Street in Farmington. The panel discussion will help explain the concept of Catholic rural life and why the two parishes prioritize it.

“Our fragmented, modern urban society risks losing the inherent interconnectedness of nature, culture, and worship,” said Max Becher, who is the director of parish social ministry at both parishes and will participate in the panel discussion. “The Catholic Church has consistently articulated society’s need for a thriving rural culture, and this teaching has been given increased emphasis in recent decades.”

Another festival highlight will come on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. when Fr. Paul Dumais, pastor of both parishes, hosts a traditional flatbread demonstration in the basement of St. Joseph Church. A native of Madawaska, Fr. Dumais has been recognized for his work in spreading the popularity of buckwheat pancakes known as ployes, the traditional flatbread of the Acadians. This demonstration will feature Fr. Dumais cooking ployes alongside an immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to showcase that many food items are enjoyed across countries and cultures.

“The festival is both a celebration and a conversation about the relationship between nature and grace, between the temporal cycle of seasons and the liturgical life of the Church,” said Fr. Dumais. “We hope that the hundreds of people who have enjoyed the festival in the past will invite family and friends this time around.”

The always popular farm-to-table supper featuring five courses and products from over ten local farms will be held on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in the main room of the parish hall at St. Joseph Church. Tickets are $20 per seat (information below).

There is something for everyone on the festival schedule. Most events are free of charge, and all are welcome to attend.

On Friday, Sept. 13, the festival begins with an opening Mass at 5 p.m. at the St. Rose of Lima Parish camp on Boy Scout Road in Livermore. Immediately following the Mass, a potluck supper will be served with live music and a community bonfire scheduled. Participants are welcome to enjoy the grounds for free camping. There are toilets available, a common building, and a covered picnic area. Note: there are no showers.

All of events and activities taking place on Saturday, Sept.14’s events and activities will be held at St. Joseph Church and parish hall in Farmington:

7:30 a.m. –  Morning prayer in the main church and coffee in the church basement

8:30 a.m. –  “Canning Tomatoes” workshop with Annamaria Beal in the church basement

8:30 a.m. –  “Medicinal Herb and Tea” workshop with Emily Goepel in the Knights of Columbus room of the parish hall (bring a mason jar if possible, but not required).

9:30 to 11:15 a.m. – Children’s morning program in the parish hall’s downstairs classrooms

9:45 a.m. – “What is Catholic Rural Life?” panel in the parish hall’s main room

11:30 a.m. – Mass in the main church

12:15 p.m. – Free lunch

1:15 to 4:30 p.m. – Children’s afternoon program in the parish hall’s downstairs classrooms

1:30 p.m. – “Folk Art Exhibit” with Seth Goepel in the parish hall’s upstairs classroom

1:30 p.m. – Traditional flatbread demonstration with Fr. Paul Dumais

1:30 p.m. – “Living Church Feasts in Home” with Emily Goepel and Maureen Martin in the Knights of Columbus room of the parish hall

2:45 p.m. – Screening of “Growing Local,” a film by Maine Farmland Trust, in the Knights of Columbus room of the parish hall

3 p.m. – Craft beer tasting with Cushnoc Brewing Co. ($10 suggested donation) in the church basement

4 p.m. – Kombucha tea brewing workshop with Deirdre Becher in the Knights of Columbus room of the parish hall (bring a mason jar if possible, but not required)

5 p.m. – Evening vespers with choir in the main church

5:30 p.m. – Farm-to-table supper in the parish hall’s main room

5:30 to 7 p.m. – Kids’ supper in the parish hall’s downstairs classrooms ($5 per child or $20 per family)

7:30 p.m. – Free “Contra Dance” in the parish hall’s main room (contra dance is a folk dance made up of long lines of couples. It has mixed origins from English country dance as well as Scottish and French dance styles in the 17th century). Live music and free instruction will be provided.

To reserve tickets for the ticketed events (craft beer tasting and farm-to-table supper), call the parish office at 207-897-2173 or visit To view schedule updates or for more information, visit the festival’s Facebook page at

In addition, the parish’s bread guild (Ora Breads) will sell loaves and scones at the Farmington Farmer’s Market on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. The market is about five blocks away at the corner of Main and Park Street in the district court parking lot.

Past participants have said the festival offers a better appreciation for traditional rural culture and its relationship with the Church.

“Please join us to help our parishes continue the conversation of how we can all contribute to the Church’s vision for society with a strong rural backbone,” said Fr. Dumais.

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