Religious Structures

St. Augustine's Cathedral
359 Washington Street • Bridgeport, CT • Fairfield County

The precursor to the cathedral was Saint James the Apostle Church, dedicated on Arch Street by Bishop Benedict Fenwick of Boston on July 24, 1842. The Catholic population of city at the time was estimated at 250 souls. The first Catholic church in Fairfield County, Saint James predated the establishment of the Diocese of Hartford (now an Archdiocese) by four months ... [ more ]

Church of St. Peter
104 Main Street • Danbury, CT • Fairfield County

The Parish of St. Peter is the third oldest parish in the Bridgeport diocese, founded in 1851. The church was established by the growing Irish immigrant community, which first occupied a former Universalist church building. By 1870, they were able to commission the leading Catholic church architects of the time to design the current church building ... [ more ]

St. Peter's Convent, School and Rectory
88, 98 and 104 Main Street • Danbury, CT • Fairfield County

St. Peter's Convent, School and Rectory are all associated with St. Peter's Catholic church, which is one block north of them and on the other (east) side of Main Street. They were built to serve St. Peter's predominantly Irish congregation. All three buildings face east and they occupy most of the Main Street frontage of the block between Boughton Street and Wooster Street ... [ more ]

St. Mary Roman Catholic Church
669 West Avenue • Norwalk, CT • Fairfield County

Bishop William Tyler of Southern New England was given the task of founding communities throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island. He resided in Providence, Rhode Island because there were more Catholics there, but he visited the small group of Catholics in Norwalk in 1847. That same year he wrote these words about his pastoral visits: "Next Summer I expect three priests from the College of Drumcondra, Dublin, Ireland. I have no vestments, chalices, etc. for them. I wish to send these newly ordained priests to serve places where there are bodies of poor Catholic laborers, and in some of these places there is not the semblance of a church" ... [ more ]

The Basilica of St. John the Evangelist
279 Atlantic Street • Stamford, CT • Fairfield County

The parish was founded by immigrant Irish Catholics, and the present church was built with stone dragged from a local quarry by the Irish Catholic members of the parish themselves. At the time it was the largest stone church in southern Connecticut. The stained glass windows form one of the largest collections of American 19th century church stained glass on the east. The Basilica is now home to the largest Catholic community in Stamford, whose members hale from dozens of countries ... [ more ]

St. Patrick's Church
64 Pearl Street • Enfield, CT • Hartford County

St. Patrick Church of Enfield, built by early Irish immigrants who came to work on the Windsor Locks canal or at the carpet mill, is the mother church of the Catholic churches in the Enfield, Connecticut, area. Mass was first celebrated in private homes, and later a wooden church of St. Patrick was built at the corner of Pearl and Cross Streets. Incoming carpet workers caused rapid expansion of the parish, and necessitated building a larger church ... [ more ]

St. Mary Star of the Sea
153 Main Street • Farmington, CT • Hartford County

The church's architect, Patrick Charles Keely, had immigrated to the U.S. in 1842 from Ireland and designed almost 600 Roman Catholic Churches over his career. The church was built to serve the Irish immigrants who had moved to Unionville to work in the paper mills in the 19th century ... [ more ]

St. Patrick Church
285 Church Street • Hartford, CT • Hartford County

St. Patrick-St. Anthony parish has played a central role in the rich history of the Catholic Church in Connecticut since its very beginning. Located in the heart of Connecticut's capitol city, it traces its roots back to Holy Trinity parish, the first Catholic Church in Connecticut. Holy Trinity was founded in 1829 to welcome and serve the thousands of Irish immigrants who had begun to crowd into Hartford in the mid-19th century ... [ more ]

St. Peter’s Church
160 Main Street • Hartford, CT • Hartford County

In 1859 St. Patrick's Parish, which had been founded in 1829 under the name of Holy Trinity, was still the only Catholic Church in Hartford. James Buchanan was president, there were 33 states in the United States, and the population of the City of Hartford had by that time risen to the proud total of 28,000, a fraction of who was Catholic. On September 25, 1859, during Sunday vespers at St. Patrick's, the Rt. Rev. Francis P. McFarland, Bishop of Hartford, announced that he was creating a second parish from the southern half of St. Patrick's ... [ more ]

St. Peter’s School
180 Main Street • Hartford, CT • Hartford County

As soon as refurbishing of the new church was completed, construction of a school was started. It was built on the largest area of land available at that time, to the rear of the church. The school was opened in the fall of 1860 with 200 students. The principal and the three laywomen who taught in the school had their salaries paid by the city of Hartford. Father Kelly was the first Catholic pastor in Connecticut to ask for and obtain recognition of a parochial school as part of a city school system ... [ more ]

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church
544 Main Street • New Britain, CT • Hartford County

This is the first Roman Catholic church in New Britain. It was founded in 1848 Rev. Luke Daly and a group of 25 Irish Catholic families. The church was built in 1886 with labor provided by the parishioners, most of whom working in New Britain's many factories. The church burned to its walls in 1902 and was rebuilt under the direction of Keely's firm ... [ more ]

St. Bernard's Church
7 Maple Street • Simsbury, CT • Hartford County

The church is located in the Tariffville Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Saint Bernard's parish was organized and built its first church, c.1850, to serve Irish immigrants who came to Tariffville as laborers. The first Mass in Tariffville was celebrated in 1846 by Father John Brady. Priests from Hartford, such as Fathers Brady and Peter Walsh, served Tariffville until Father Luke Daly of New Britain assumed this duty in September 1848. In 1876 the church was destroyed by fire  ... [ more ]

St. Mary's Church
42 Spring Street • Windsor Locks, CT • Hartford County

The church was built to serve the congregation of Irishmen working on the Windsor Locks Canal who had been ministered to since 1827, primarily by priests traveling from the Hartford area. In 1852 Father James Smyth purchased land on which to build a church for the sum of $1. On September, 14 1852, Bishop Bernard O'Reilly blessed the cornerstone of the new church building, and Patrick Quirk became the first infant baptized in the new parish on January 2, 1853 ... [ more ]

St. Patrick Church
24 Beebe Hill Road • Canaan, CT • Litchfield County

St. Patrick Church was the first Catholic parish in northwest Connecticut, established in 1851 in Falls Village. At that time, Masses were said in private homes, in a schoolhouse in Amesville, or outdoors, weather permitting, under an apple tree on Beebe Hill Road. The congregation of mostly Irish immigrant families reached 800 when the local ironworks was at its peak. Rev. Peter Kelly, the first priest ordained in Hartford, was St. Patrick's second resident pastor after Rev. Christopher Moore ... [ more ]

St. Joseph's Convent
12 Elm Street • Salisbury, CT • Litchfield County

Irish immigrants probably began joining the iron-manufacturing workforce in the greater Lakeville area in the 1830s and 1840s, around the same time they migrated to Northwest Connecticut to take railroad construction jobs. The rise of the Irish population in Connecticut at that time reflected the impact of a mass migration responsible for bringing two million Irish to America in the 1840s alone. One million of these refugees settled in New England--driven to this country both by famine and and by the religious and political strife in their homeland ... [ more ]

St. Mary's Parish School
35 Sharon Road • Salisbury, CT • Litchfield County

The school was dedicated on the same day, September 5, 1882, as the St. Joseph Convent nearby. Dedication day also marked the arrival of four nuns from the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic order started in the 1820s in Ireland. In 1852 the Sisters of Mercy had founded a Hartford branch devoted to the care of orphans and the destitute and to the religious and moral education of female children ... [ more ]

St. John Roman Catholic Church
19 St. John Square • Middletown, CT • Middlesex County

In 1823, Boston's bishop sent the movement stirring. He made a visit to Hartford and said Mass. This was followed by Bishop Benedict Fenwick who had Rhode Island and Connecticut under his care. He assigned the task of visiting the small groups of Catholics in Connecticut to Fr. Robert D. Woodley. In 1829, Rev. Woodley visited New London, New Haven, and Middletown ... [ more ]

Church of the Assumption
61 North Cliff Street • Ansonia, CT • New Haven County

The present Church of the Assumption was the concept of Rev. Joseph Synnott, the third pastor of Assumption Parish, who became pastor in April (on Holy Thursday) of 1886. Fr. Synnott immediately saw that the first Church was too small. In August 1888, he secured from Mrs. Charles H. Hill the property where the present Church stands on North Cliff Street at a cost of $25,000. On April 4, 1889, ground was broken by the men of the parish for the new Church of the Assumption. The Church was designed by Irish-born architect Patrick Charles Keely (1816-1896) of Brooklyn, New York. [ more ]

St. Bridget Church
175 Main Street • Cheshire, CT • New Haven County

Early clergy in Cheshire were all Irish or of Irish descent. The first known Mass in Cheshire was offered in 1843 at the Booth homestead on Meriden Road by Father Bernard Tevin of St. Mary, New Haven. The priest also celebrated Mass from 1852 until 1854 at the Main Street home of Michael Garde (currently the site of the Hull Memorial Baptist Church). In 1854, Cheshire passed to the care of St. Rose, Meriden, whose pastor, Father Hugh O'Reilly, said Mass on Main Street at Baldwin Hall and later at the home of Martin Brennan. In 1855, Father O'Reilly bought an acre of land at Highland Avenue on Route 10 for $200 and presented it to  ... [ more ]

St. Mary the Immaculate Conception
212 Elizabeth Street • Derby, CT • New Haven County

On September 10, 1833, the first Irish Catholics landed on the Derby docks. A late nineteenth century history of Derby states that, "A son of Erin at that time was rather a curiosity for the denizens of the town. Michael Stokes, Patrick Quinn, John Regan, Farrell Reilly, and others soon followed the first until their numbers were legion."  ... [ more ]

St. Francis of Assisi Parochial School
294 Church Street • Naugatuck, CT • New Haven County

St. Francis of Assisi School was designed by James Murphy, who was born in 1834 in County Tipperary, Ireland. In 1852, he emigrated to the United States . Soon after his arrival, Murphy entered the Brooklyn, New York firm of Patrick C. Keely, another Irish immigrant, as an apprentice. Keely was already an established architect specializing in ecclesiastical design. Eventually, Murphy became a partner in the firm, which operated as Keely & Murphy. In 1875, the partnership was dissolved and Murphy established his own practice. Murphy continued to specialize in church design ... [ more ]

St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church
304 Church Street • Naugatuck, CT • New Haven County

New Haven pastors assumed spiritual responsibility for the growing numbers of Irish Catholics in the Naugatuck area, then called Salem Bridge. In 1847, Waterbury pastor Father Michael O'Neil began visiting Naugatuck to offer Mass at private homes as well as the Naugatuck Hotel. The town soon passed to the care of Derby priests, but reverted again to Waterbury in 1859. Local men bought Water Street property for a church site, which they deeded to the Diocese. At first named for St. Anne, the Naugatuck church was dedicated by Bishop Francis P. McFarland on ... [ more ]

Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center / Knights of Columbus Museum
1 State Street • New Haven, CT • New Haven County

The Knights of Columbus Museum has been renamed the Blessed Michael McGivney Pilgrimage Center which commemorates Fr. McGivney's extraordinary life. Docent-led group tours are available at no cost but donations are accepted. The building still houses the Knights of Columbus Museum and special exhibitions are still mounted during the year. The McGivney Center was created in response to Pope Francis' approval of a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Father McGivney and ... [ more ]

St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church
5 Hillhouse Avenue • New Haven, CT • New Haven County

In 1832 Father James McDermot, a priest of the Diocese of Boston, which encompassed all of New England, was sent to assist the pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Hartford. Fr. McDermot's special duty was ministry to the Catholics in the western part of the State of Connecticut including New Haven, Bridgeport, Norwalk, Derby, Waterbury, Meriden, and Middletown. Later that year he became the resident pastor in New Haven while continuing the pastoral care of the Catholics in the western Connecticut. At that time, there were about two hundred Catholics in New Haven ... [ more ]

St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church
35 Washington Avenue • Seymour, CT • New Haven County

Rev. James Smyth of New Have offered the first Catholic Mass in Seymour to six Irish immigrants in 1844. The first St. Augustine's Church (now the rectory) was dedicated in 1856. Ground is broken for a new church in 1888 and it is formally dedicated on May 18, 1890. The new church has a capacity of 600 and it cost $13,000. The congregation at that time was a mix of Irish, Polish and German. A tolling bell is placed in the bell tower in 1895 and an organ is purchased in 1910. The church interior sees the installation of ... [ more ]

St. Patrick's Church
50 Charles Street • Waterbury, CT • New Haven County

St. Patrick's Church is in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Waterbury. Like most of Waterbury's neighborhoods, Brooklyn was virtually a self-sustaining community with its own stores, two churches, taverns, bakeries, factories, and schools. As early as the 1860s, Irish immigrants began settling in Brooklyn, followed by the Polish and Lithuanians in the 1890s. St. Patrick's was founded in the area where new Irish immigrants lived and was Waterbury's second Catholic church ... [ more ]

St. Mary Star of the Sea
10 Huntington Street • New London, CT • New London County

St. Mary Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church in New London began in the 1840s, serving Irish workers from a storefront on Bank Street. Soon, St. John's parish was formed and a chapel was erected on Jay Street. In 1855 a new church, St. Patrick's, was consecrated on Truman Street ; the original church on Jay Street was used for Sunday-school purposes. St. Patrick's parish acquired a large lot at the corner of Washington and Huntington Streets in 1866 and the following year work began on a new church. The parish was renamed St. Mary Star of the Sea in 1874 and ... [ more ]

St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception
70 West Main Street • Sprague, CT • New London County

Several mills, beginning with the Spraque Mill in 1856, attracted immigrant labor to the area. Many Irish, French- Canadians and Poles settled in the village of Baltic and they formed a substantial Catholic community. By the late 19th century they were able to build several parish buildings, including the Second Empire style St. Mary Convent, erected in 1888, Immaculate Conception Church (1911) and Academy of the Holy Family (1914) ... [ more ]

Father William Dunn Rectory and Chapel
48 Pompey Hollow Road • Ashford, CT • Windham County

The house, along with a 135 acre farm, was purchased by the Catholic Diocese of Hartford in 1921 with the intention of establishing a new parish in the Ashford area. The Diocese assigned Father William J. Dunn, Connecticut native and son of Irish Immigrants, to this daunting task. There were only about 100 Catholics around Ashford at the time and they were a multi-ethnic mix of Slovaks, Poles, Hungarians, Italians, French-Canadians and Irish ... [ more ]

St. Philip the Apostle Roman Catholic Church
74 Pompey Hollow Road • Ashford, CT • Windham County

The small, but growing Catholic parish in Ashford decided to build a church for themselves in the early 1930s. Their energetic priest, Father William Dunn (son of Irish Immigrants), convinced summer resident Paul Chalfin to design the new building. Chalfin was not an architect, but he was an architectural designer whose best known building is the Villa Vizcaya in Miami, Florida, which is listed in National Register of Historic Places, He created a church with classical proportions and detail that is punctuated by a tower with an onion dome ... [ more ]

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