MACHIAS---Like many first-time visitors before him, Fr. Philip Clement quickly felt a special connection to the Machias area and the benevolent individuals and families of St. Peter the Fisherman Parish.
“It’s a true delight,” said Fr. Philip Clement, who was appointed administrator of the parish (Holy Name Church, Machias; Sacred Heart Church, Lubec; St. Michael Church, Cherryfield; service to this parish also includes St. Timothy Church in Campobello, New Brunswick) in July of 2018. “Not only have I come to know it, but I’ve also come to love it.”
Catholics have been in Lubec since the early 19th century and Holy Name Parish in Machias was established for Irish immigrants in 1828, long before the Diocese of Portland came into existence. Rich in history and culture, the extraordinary Catholic community has been a beacon of light in the rural area for over 200 years.
But, despite the faith and spirit on display inside the churches, time has taken its toll outside of them. Parish facilities include three aging churches, two rectories, and three parish halls, all suffering from deferred maintenance. Operating costs such as heat also cost nearly $25,000 annually.
To address the issues facing the parish, a capital campaign planning committee was formed, and two goals were established: a maintenance goal ($153,350) and a stewardship goal ($230,025).
The maintenance goal is the amount needed to address urgent repairs at parish facilities, including the replacement of badly deteriorated shingles at Sacred Heart Church and St. Michael Church; rebuilding the chimney at Sacred Heart; replacing the boiler and chimney at the Holy Name Rectory; and repairing the chimney at Holy Name Church.
The stewardship goal is the total amount the parish hopes to raise. The extra funding will allow the parish to plan for future repairs and capital improvements that will help sustain the parish.
“To date, we have received $172,218!” said Fr. Clement. “This means we have already received enough pledges for our maintenance goal and are just under $60,000 away from our total goal.”
Part of the motivating factor behind the quick support received was the gratitude local people feel for those who came before them.
“The capital campaign is an ambitious opportunity to remember the sacrifices of those who built these beautiful places of worship,” said Fr. Clement. “We are so grateful for the generosity of our parishioners today. They are helping to create an enduring commitment to stewardship that will ensure future generations can enjoy this wonderful parish family.”
There are many ways to contribute to the campaign: pledges can be made and paid over a three-year period (2019-2022) to maximize the total amount of support, pew envelopes have been placed in parish churches, donations can be mailed to the parish (P.O. Box 248, Machias, ME 04654), and online gifts can be made at the campaign website.
“People can also make a pledge in the memory of a loved one,” said Fr. Clement. “It’s a wonderful way to honor a deceased loved one, former parishioners, or those who have guided you on your faith journey.”
Special events to help support the capital campaign are also planned. The parish will hold the “Bake Sale and Bazaar” on Saturday, August 17, and Saturday, August 24, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Holy Name Parish Hall on 42 Broadway in Machias. Then, on Sunday, September 1, jazz musicians Greg Abate and Jon Wheatley will perform at the Holy Name Parish Hall from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased after parish Masses, by calling the parish office at (207) 255-3731, or by clicking here.
The willingness of parishioners and community members to enthusiastically donate their gifts, time, and energy to making the capital campaign a success proves, once again, that Fr. Clement’s initial reaction to St. Peter the Fisherman Parish was a correct one.
“For this and many other reasons, I will always consider St. Peter the Fisherman Parish my home away from home,” said Fr. Clement.
For more information about the capital campaign and how you can help, visit the campaign website above or call the parish office at (207) 255-3731.