St. Francis of Assisi Parish was established in 1903 to serve the South Farms section of Middletown, as well as the towns of Durham and Middlefield. The parish’s first pastor, Rev. Patrick McGivney, was the brother of Fr. Michael McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus. The parish’s new church (10 Elm Street in Middletown), built at a cost of $27,000, was dedicated on November 4, 1904.
At 22 Lyme Street in Old Lyme is a former church building that is now a private home, with the old choir loft converted into children’s bedrooms and a half bathroom where the confessional had once stood. The church was built in 1843 for Old Lyme’s Baptist community, which had previously gathered intermittently at various locations, often private homes. The Baptist Society disbanded in 1923 due to declining membership. Episcopalians purchased the building three years later. In 1934, the church was leased by the Roman Catholic Diocese, which dedicated it as Christ the King Church in 1937. The Parish now has a new church building, completed in 2005, at 1 McCurdy Road in Old Lyme.
In the early twentieth century, many Italian immigrants were settling in Middletown, with large numbers coming from the Sicilian town of Melilli. Seeking to build their own church in Middletown, they launched a massive fund raising effort. Local companies donated materials for the building of St. Sebastian Church and many parishioners contributed their labor for its construction. The church was designed by architect Raymond C. Gorrani, who was heavily influenced by the design of the Basilica of St. Sebastian in Melilli. The first Mass was celebrated in the church in December, 1931.
St. John’s Industrial School, a Catholic residential school for boys in need of care, was established in Hartford in 1904. An impressive new building for the school, overlooking the Connecticut River, was built in Deep River in 1907-1908. The school was staffed by the Xaverian Brothers, a worldwide teaching congregation, until 1919. An orphanage for boys in Hartford, run Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery, moved to the site in Deep River and the Sisters of St. Joseph administered the home and school until 1958. Over the years, many additions were made to the facility, which evolved into a a Home and School for Boys. The residential program closed in June 2013 and in September The Academy at Mount Saint John (135 Kirtland Street, Deep River) reopened as a Clinical Day School.
St. Peter Catholic Parish in New Britain was established to serve German and Austrian immigrants. The cornerstone for St. Peter Church, at 98 Franklin Square, was blessed by Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon on November 23, 1890 and the basement church was dedicated by Vicar General Father James Hughes on July 19 the following year. The completed church edifice was dedicated by Bishop Michael A. Tierney on February 4, 1900. At the turn of the century, many French Canadian immigrants joined the parish.
Ukrainian immigrants in Colchester formed a church in 1921, purchasing a house on Pleasant Street. The ground floor was to serve as a chapel and the second floor as the residence of the pastor. The new church was called the Greek Catholic Orthodox Independent Church of St. Mary. The parish became a member of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese in 1948 and a church with a gilded Byzantine cupola was soon constructed. The church was destroyed by an explosion on September 10, 2004. The cornerstone for a new St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Church was dedicated on Monday, August 15, 2005 and the building, located 178 Linwood Avenue, was completed the following year.
Merry Christmas! For Christmas, here is a church in Thompsonville (in Enfield). A Catholic mission church was first built in Enfield at the corner of Pearl and Cross Streets in 1860. The basement of a new church was begun at the corner of Pearl and High Streets in 1892. The completed Saint Patrick Church was dedicated by Bishop Michael A. Tierney on November 20, 1904. On January 5, 1949, a fire, ignited by a vigil light, gutted the church leaving only the outside walls standing. The church was fully restored by November 12, 1950. Today St. Patrick Church and St. Adalbert Church, also in Thompsonville, form the Catholic Communities of St. Patrick and St. Adalbert.