St. Matthew Church

Limerick, Maine


Copyright 2000-2013

The History of St. Matthew's Parish

In the Beginning

In the early days of the 20th Century, to attend Mass, the Catholics in Limerick had to travel great distances to Sanford or Springvale - often only able to make their Easter duty.  Later, the Catholic community met at the Lakefront Clubhouse (owned by the Limerick Mill and used as a recreation hall) or various private homes.

From 1912 until 1921, priests from St. Ignatius Parish in Sanford served the community as a mission of that church.  They celebrated Mass in the shipping room of the mill.  In the winter months, the priests commuted once a month on the train and in summer twice a month.

Rectory-to-Be and Holland Mill in Background

A Parish Is Born

In 1921, the first resident pastor, Fr. McLaughlin, arrived at St. Matthew's Parish.  That same year, the community worked together to build the original church across from Sokokis Lake and dedicated it on October 21st.

Eighteen years later as the community continued to grow, the community again labored to enlarge the church.  Shortly after the transition of St. Matthew's Parish from a mission church to an independent parish, it became the parent of the Star of the Sea Mission in York Beach, Maine.  From 1923 until 1961, the pastors of St. Matthew's Parish commuted weekly to York Beach to celebrate Sunday Mass.  Then the Star of the Sea became an independent parish.  In the 1970's, the Mission Church of St. Philip in Lyman became part of St. Matthew's Parish until it too, became an independent parish.

Our Current Home

As the parish continued to grow, the tiny church, which had been last enlarged in 1939, became inadequate.  The parish was given the option by the Bishop to spin-off another mission church, its third, or build larger, more adequate quarters.  The community again took up the challenge and chose to build a new church and rectory.  Alongside the contractors and laborers, the pastor and parishioners picked up their tools and bent their backs to build a fine new structure on Dora Lane, just a short walk from the original church.  The new church was dedicated June 28, 1987.

Less than 18 months later, on December 7, 1989, a tragic fire destroyed the church and rectory.  A shocked community gathered again in the old church building (through the generosity of its current congregation) to celebrate Mass until the rebuilt church was dedicated on June 2, 1991.  Two years later, in June 1993,  the stained glass window, with the likeness of Father Laurent Laplante's ordination chalice, was dedicated..

At the beginning of the 21st century the parish of St. Matthew’s serves hundreds of families in rural northern York County, Maine.      

The parish has evolved and changed in many different ways.  Throughout it all, it’s members’ desire to worship and committment to service has been steadfast.

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