Our families gather together at St. Mary

15 years ago

By Lynette Dobbs
Special to the Pioneer Times

    Being a military family, my husband and I with our four sons, spent 20 years attending chapels on Army posts. Families got to know one another and become very close, as they often shared the common bonds of being away from home and dealing with the separations that military families often endure.
ImageContributed photos
ARCHIVAL PHOTOS — This is the original St. Mary of the Visitation Church built in 1839.

    When we moved to Houlton, it was wonderful to see generations of families attending the same church. I hadn’t seen this since my youth.  It didn’t take long to realize the abundant history many of the parishioners hold deep in their hearts. Not just history of family, but also of the church they love. I’ve watched as families have come and gone. Children have grown up and some have returned with new families. I’ve also watched families, new to the community, be welcomed in and become part of the new history of St. Mary’s,  as we have been.
    St. Mary’s is truly rich with history that has strong roots and continues to grow abundantly. At the recent 170 year celebration of the church, it was evident that this church is loved by many. Whether a family new to the parish or a family with strong roots to the parish, all had a wonderful time and celebrated as one family — the parish family of St. Mary’s of the Visitation!
ImageARCHIVAL PHOTOS — The church that was rebuilt in 1941 to accommodate the growing Catholic population.
    St. Mary of the Visitation’s name is a constant reminder to us of the family of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The name speaks directly to the time that Mary was with Jesus in her womb and she went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was at that time 6 months pregnant. Elizabeth was said to be too old to bear children, yet she would soon deliver the child who would later become known as John the Baptist. Mary stayed with her cousin for three months. How close these two cousins must have been! How much they must have loved each other and valued family! And how important these two children in the wombs of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her cousin Elizabeth would be to the history of Christianity and to the future world.
ImageSAVED FROM THE ASHES — The bronze angels, above, were rescued when a devastating fire destroyed St. Mary, Jan. 12, 1958. The angels were presented at the 170th Anniversary celebration, Jun. 21.