Article submitted to the local paper, Lincoln County News.
To the Editor:
I'm writing to share a wonderful experience that I was fortunate enough to have, on Aug 7, 2010 when I visited St. Patrick's, a little red brick church that sits on Academy Hill in Newcastle, Maine.
St. Pats is the oldest continuously used Catholic Church in New England. It was built in 1808 and it was the first Catholic Church in the United States to be named for St. Patrick.
St. Pat's was celebrating the 205th Anniversary of Lincoln County and the day included tours of the historic church, cemetery and museum.
I decided to start the tour with this historic church building which this historic church building which include, for a small donation, a chance to ring its bell, which was cast by Paul Revere Sr. asking a donation, I rang the bell five times in memory of my parents, in-laws and my only sister, who left us two years ago.
A fellow parishioner, Leo Martin, from Westport Island, led the tour and gave the most fascinating presentation filled with incredible facts, dates and names, all from memory. I felt like I was watching a National Geographic documentary with a famous historian moderating and pointing out all the golden nuggets of history that you probably wouldn't know, even if you studied the history of Maine or Damariscotta in school.
For example: I suppose I knew, but never gave much thought to, the Catholic history of the State of Maine is associated with the devoted missionaries, who came down the Kennebec Valley from Quebec to minister to the Indians and French settlers. However, the early history of St Patrick's is unusual because it is intimately associated with Boston, not Quebec, and the Irish settlers who came from Boston to carve out a new life, and gain fame and fortune in Maine.