Portland Churches Now Offering Masses in Eight Languages
PORTLAND---In a reflection of the area’s rich tradition and diversity, eight different languages are now employed during Masses at the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes (Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Portland; Sacred Heart/St. Dominic Parish, Portland; St. Christopher Parish, Peaks Island; St. Louis Parish, Portland; St. Peter Parish, Portland).
The newest comes on Sunday, May 15, when Mass in Portuguese will be celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located on 307 Congress Street, at 4 p.m.
“In recent months, we’ve seen a large influx of Angolan refugees and asylees who speak Portuguese,” said Fr. Seamus Griesbach, pastor of the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes.
Offering Masses and programming that celebrate and respect the traditions and heritage of parishioners has long been a focus of the churches in Portland:
Mass in Spanish is offered each Sunday at 1 p.m. at Sacred Heart Church on 65 Mellen Street. The church is the home for Hispanic Ministry in Greater Portland, serving people from 12 Spanish-speaking countries through a variety of events like Bible study in Spanish, Holy Hours in Spanish, and special retreats.
Azande Masses for members of Greater Portland’s Sudanese Community are celebrated at St. Peter Church on 72 Federal Street each Sunday at 3 p.m. The Mass is celebrated in Azande and Arabic.
Masses in English and French are celebrated at Sacred Heart Church on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. The tradition of French Masses in Maine dates back to the early 17th century, with the community growing with an influx of French Canadians in the area during the late 19th century.
Masses are offered in English and Polish at St. Louis Church, located on 279 Danforth Street, on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. In addition, Fr. Robert Będziński makes frequent visits to the church to offer the sacrament of reconciliation in Polish. St. Louis is the only Polish parish in Maine. It was established in 1915 when over 250 Polish families were living in the immediate area. The red brick church that stills stands today was opened in 1924.
Mass in Vietnamese is offered on certain Sundays throughout the course of the year at the Cathedral. Four of the Diocese of Portland’s current seminarians are Vietnamese: Hoa Nguyen, Thanh Pham, Vinh Nguyen, and Lam Vo.
As mentioned above, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will hold a Mass in Portuguese on Sunday, May 15, at 4 p.m. in the chapel. A social gathering will be held following the Mass. The Mass will be celebrated by Fr. John Mazzei, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1992 at Paróquia Santo Inácio de Loyola de Lajeado, part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Cruz do Sol in Brazil, where Portuguese is the national language of Brazil. Fr. Mazzei began serving in the Diocese of Portland in 2008.
Mass in Latin is offered in the chapel of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception each Sunday at noon. The Mass is done according to a simple form of the “Missa Cantata” (sung Mass) with all of the prayers and hymns in Latin. The St. Gregory the Great Latin Mass Chaplaincy in the Diocese of Portland serves those who wish to make use of the Missal of 1962 as provided by Pope Benedict XVI’s motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.
Masses in English are offered each weekday at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 12:15 p.m. and St. Peter Church at 7 a.m.; on Saturdays at the Cathedral at 4 p.m. and St. Peter at 5:15 p.m.; and on Sundays at the Cathedral (8 a.m. and 10 a.m. (also livestreamed), St. Peter (9 a.m.), St. Louis (11:30 a.m.), St. Christopher (8:30 a.m.), and Sacred Heart (10:30 a.m.).
For more information about the offerings at the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes, call (207) 773-7746 or visit www.portlandcatholic.org.