To serve the Irish community in Kensington (in Berlin), Father Luke Daly of New Britain acquired land on Main Street for a church in 1873. Construction began in October of 1878 and the unfinished church was dedicated in May 1879. St. Paul’s became a full parish two years later. A suspicious fire destroyed St. Paul Church on March 5, 1913. Construction soon began on the current church, at Alling and Peck Streets. The cornerstone was blessed on November 2, 1913 and the church was dedicated on May 24, 1914. According to the Hartford Courant (“Bishop Dedicates Kensington Church,” March 25, 1814):
The edifice itself was built of red brick with Kentucky limestone cornices. The roof is Spanish tile. The architecture is English Gothic with a hint of Spanish mission in the tower. There are three porticos.
The first Catholic parish in Union City in Naugatuck began as mission of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Naugatuck, becoming St. Mary Parish in 1907. A chapel was erected the following year and the finished St. Mary Church, located at 338 North Main Street, was dedicated on May 27, 1923. St. Hedwig Parish, Union City’s other Catholic parish, was founded by Polish immigrants in 1906. The current St. Hedwig Church and school complex on Golden Hill Street was dedicated in 1968.
Ukrainian Catholics first settled in Terryville in Plymouth in 1895. They did come directly from Eastern Europe but initially settled in central Pennsylvania before relocating to Connecticut. They established a voluntary association called the Rus Ruthenian Brotherhood of St. Michael the Archangel in 1902. Having worshiped in New Britain from 1896 to 1904, the Archangel St. Michael Ruthenian Greek Catholic Congregation then began holding services in a school on Main Street in Terryville. The congregation acquired land on Allen Street in March 1905 on which to build their own church. The cornerstone for the new church was blessed on July 4, 1910 and St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church at 35 Allen Street was soon completed. A sacristy was added to the north side of the church in 1944.
St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Branford traces its origins to 1855. The original church, located on Montowese Street, was built in 1854. The next church building, on Main Street across from the Blackstone Memorial Library, was completed in 1904 and burned later that same year. It was restored and rededicated on October 19, 1906. A Renaissance Revival structure, it had a 10-story bell tower. On June 18, 1972, the church was destroyed in a fire and replaced by the current church in 1974. For many years the church’s 1917 two-ton cast bronze bell, which survived the fire, sat on a concrete slab on the church grounds. In 2009 the bell was restored and placed in a new exterior bell tower. That same year the church dedicated a new 2,500 square-foot social hall.
Happy Easter! St. Gabriel Catholic Church is located at 379 Broad Street in Windsor. Before St. Gabriel parish was established in 1921, Catholics in that part of Windsor had been the responsibility of St. Mary parish, Windsor Locks (1852-1892) and then of St. Joseph parish, Poquonock (1892-1921). Father James Smyth purchased an Episcopal church named for St. Gabriel on November 1, 1865. A wood frame building, it had been built in 1843-1845. It served as St. Gabriel Catholic Mission Church until a new stone edifice was erected in front of it. The cornerstone of the current St. Gabriel Church was blessed on May 16, 1915 and the church was dedicated on May 14, 1916.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish in South Windsor was established on September 17, 1941. Early parish Masses were held at the town hall auditorium on Main Street before a new church was built on 2.2 acres on Ellington Road that werepurchased from Elizabeth A. Nevers. The new church was dedicated on November 29, 1942. The church was renovated in 2006.
The Knights of Columbus, a Roman Catholic fraternal service organization, have their headquarters in a 23-story modern building completed in 1969 at One Columbus Plaza in New Haven. Also known as the Knights of Columbus Tower, the building was designed by Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates. The KOC was founded in New Haven in 1882 and held its early meetings at St. Mary’s Church. In 1906 the first building specifically built for the organization was dedicated on Chapel Street. From 1953 to 1969 the Knights of Columbus Supreme Office was located in the former headquarters of the New Haven Railroad.