In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Lincoln, Maine

A Town of Hearty, Resilient Souls

Catholic Church

Responses from four students in Mr. Koscuiszka's class can be viewed below:

St. Mary's Catholic Church, Lincoln, ca. 1920
St. Mary's Catholic Church, Lincoln, ca. 1920

Item Contributed by
Lincoln Historical Society

Justin Chan
"Research your topic and summarize the ‘who, what, when, and where’ in the form of a few paragraphs"

The 1880s were some of the earliest, and the first recorded dates of Catholicism in Lincoln. The Native Americans were the first recorded people to have the religious faith of Catholicism in this area. The Indians were visited by Reverend John Bapst, S.J. and Reverend Eugene Vetromile from 1884 to 1885. They attended and visited the Indians to see how they were doing from time to time about their religion. They came by horse and returned by canoe. Soon, people from Benedicta started coming to worship the Catholic religion in Lincoln. Different reverends started visiting Lincoln to offer the Word and hold religious ceremonies from time to time.

Over the years, different reverends attended Lincoln, and services changed places from certain houses to different buildings. The different reverends attended up to four times a year over the 1880s. Winn was held as a center of Catholicism, and reverends attended different towns, Enfield and Lincoln, and held services at homes. Houses varied, depending on who wanted the services held at their house. Such houses were Joseph Corro's and Joseph Michaud’s houses. Monthly services were established at homes and reverends traveled far distances, even all the way to Vanceboro, although the enthusiastic spark of these reverends was too much to douse by distance and obstacles. The Winn and Lincoln parish was taken over in October 1898 by Reverend Matthew Reilly; by this time there was up to 24 families of the Catholic religion in Lincoln. Services were held at school houses, but soon moved to Pinkham’s Hall as a more worthy place to hold them.

Finally in September 1902, the work of a church building began on Ballard Hill, and on Sunday of November 30th, Reverend Matthew W. Reilly celebrated the first mass.
After 50 years of constant moving services in different homes, a church was established for people of the community to hold spiritual services of their faith. The church was named St. Mary of Lourdes. A Sacrament of Confirmation was held to a class of 30 school children at the same time. The huge population of Catholics, due to Father Reilly, was proof that perhaps he needed or was deserving of an assistant priest to be of help in his large mission. Reverend Joseph Quinn helped in 1904, and he was replaced by Reverend T.C. Maney in 1905, who helped Father Reilly until the end of his term. Two years later, Father Reilly was transferred to St. Martin’s Parish in Millinocket. Many different pastors and reverends took over as the resident pastor for the next 20 years, but finally Lincoln secured a resident pastor in 1920. That reverend purchased the Goodwin residence on Ballard Hill and moved into it, the building serving as the church rectory.

The Catholic Church, St. Mary Lourdes, has been standing for a tad more than 100 years. It is a cozy little church that is still attended today by many Catholic Church goers in the area, and will possibly stand for another 100.

Desirae LaGasse
"Create a statement and prove or disprove it with evidence from your research"

Statement: The Penobscot Indians started the Catholic Church in Lincoln.

By the mid-1800s, the Penobscot Indians had been practicing Catholicism for years, after being converted by European settlers. However, there was no official church among the Penobscots in the Mattanawcook area. In 1901, Father Feeney decided to start a Catholic Church in Lincoln after realizing there were twenty-four Catholic families in Lincoln that were traveling to Winn to go to church. In September of 1902, the building of the Catholic church started. The church was being built across from Pleasant Street, yet the rectory was two buildings away. They held the first mass in the church on Sunday, September 30th, 1902 by Rev. Matthew W. Reilly. Rev. William O’Connell decided to name the church “St. Mary of Lourdes” on October 6, 1903.

The Catholic Church is still standing where it was originally built. Today about two-hundred families belong to the parish. St. Mary of Lourdes has been going on strong for one-hundred-eight years.

Patrick Nason
"How does this topic connect to you in your life today?"

I am related to Father Savage who started to be the pastor of the Catholic Church in 1920. He purchased the Goodwin residence on Ballard Hill. He moved into it in November of the same year. Since then, the Catholic people of Lincoln have been very grateful to have a resident pastor. I think that it is cool to have a grandfather that was a pastor here in Lincoln. Even though I am not religious it is cool to know that some of my family actually helped the community.

My Grandmother is Catholic because she grew up being Catholic. The Catholic Church is located on the west side of Main Street, so the reason he bought his house on Ballard Hill was so that he could be within walking distance of the church. Father Savage started the repairs of the Catholic Church. A thousand dollars a year was donated to help with the repairs that he conducted. The Catholic people of Lincoln respected the pastor by raising money to help with repairs and being loyal to the church. If it hadn’t been for my Grandfather they might not have helped fix the church and it might not be there today if it wasn’t for him.

Mac Libby
"Using your new found knowledge of this topic, write a creative piece (haiku, cinquain, story, song) about it"

Indians Reside
The first Catholics they were
In our peaceful town

Nineteen hundred two
A priest built a peaceful church
In 1902

A church was risen
Used the reverend John Bapst
The church will not fall

Works Cited
Fellows, M.D., Dana W. "A Brief History of the Catholic Church in Lincoln." History of the Town of Lincoln. Penobscot County Maine ed. Lewiston: Dingley, Maine. 99-102. Print.