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History of Saint Patrick's

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ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH

34 Amherst St.
Milford, NH 03055
603-673-1311 



A History of St. Patrick Church

St. Patrick Church is the gathering place for Catholics in the towns of Milford, Mont Vernon, Amherst, and Brookline. Its history and heritage date back to 1848 when the first Catholic family, that of Patrick O'Connor, settled in the Souhegan mill pond area. The first official visit of a priest, however, occurred years later in 1853. The first Mass was celebrated in 1855 in the home of the O'Connor family. In 1855, the first St. Patrick Church was erected on Souhegan Street. In 1890, the site of the present church was acquired by Bishop Bradley. As the population grew, it became necessary to build a larger church. The present church building (basement only) was begun in 1890, at a cost of $20,000. Because of the lack of funds, the upstairs of the church was not completed. In 1916, the upstairs of the church was finished in oak with beautiful pews, new stained glass windows and a pipe organ. A campaign was initiated to pay off the church debt of $12,500. In 1919, ninety devoted families and their pastor accomplished that goal.

In 1976 there was a need to create a Religious Education Facility. Through the donations of many generous parishioners, the Religious Education Center was built and completed in 1977. The building has proven to be of invaluable use for many gatherings, committee meetings, and religious education classes. In 1987 a three-year fund drive was initiated to repair and renovate the church and Religious Education Center. An elevator was also installed to accommodate our disabled parishioners. In 2008, air conditioning was installed in the church as a result of fundraising. St. Patrick Church, as it stands today, is the result of the combined efforts of all the dedicated church faithful and their priests over the years.

In addition, we offer a brief history of the former Infant Jesus of Prague Mission at Main Street, Route 130, Brookline, NH: Infant Jesus Chapel, as a mission of St. Patrick, was built largely through the efforts and generosity of Dr. Charles A. Brusch of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Brusch purchased the property on which the chapel rests in 1939. Because construction took place during the war years, materials were difficult to obtain, resulting in a church built of materials and furnishings from various and unique sources. The task was finished in a year and a half and deeded to the Diocese of Manchester, debt free. The first Mass was celebrated on June 20, 1943, with dedication of the chapel two weeks later on July 5. The Rt. Rev. Jeremiah S. Buckley, Vicar General of the Diocese of Manchester, officiated. Across the street from the chapel and set in an outdoor shrine is an Infant of Prague statue made of marble which was carved by a Roman Sculptor. The statue was also donated by Dr. Brusch and was dedicated on October 13, 1949. In 1983, plans were begun to build a meeting hall at the rear of the chapel and it was completed the following year. It was dedicated to Dr. Brusch during a ceremony on March 4, 1984, by the Most Reverend Odore Gendron, D.D., Bishop of Manchester.

Today the chapel is closed due to the clergy shortage. The closing liturgy was celebrated on September 9, 2007 with the Rev. John W. Keegan, S.J. presiding. On April 4, 2008, the chapel was sold to the Town of Brookline, NH.

 

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