History

Note to Parishioners

This history of St. Paul’s Parish was obtained from the 1961 Building Fund Campaign brochure, the 1964 dedication booklet, the 50th Anniversary booklet and may not be complete. It is intended that the parish history on this webpage become a living history and the Parish Council asks for your assistance in adding to this history by sharing photographs and documents you believe to be of historical significance. The Parish Council also requests your assistance with any additions and/or clarifications to the parish history as it is recorded here. It is the goal that by documenting the history of St. Paul’s Parish as part of this website our history will never be lost.

Saint Paul:

St. Paul was largely responsible for the initial spread of Christianity to many Mediterranean countries. A Hellenistic Jew, born in Tarsus, Turkey, St. Paul is known worldwide as one of the earliest Christian missionaries, along with St. Peter and James the Just. Paul was born in Tarsus in 10AD and was originally named Saul. In his early years he participated in the persecution of Christians, taking part in the stoning of St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr. Being momentarily blinded by the vision of the resurrected Christ along the road to Damascus, led Saul to convert. He was baptized as Paul and went to Arabia for three years of prayer and reflection. St. Paul, although not one of the original 12 apostles, is widely considered one of the most important first century apostles of Christ. In the mid-30s to mid-50sAD he founded several churches in Cyprus, Turkey, (called Asia Minor), mainland Greece, Crete and Rome.

Thirteen epistles in the New Testament have been credited to Paul. Many of them are credited to be absolutely genuine including Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon.

The Parish of Saint Paul:

parish-of-stpaul3On September 23, 1960 the Most Reverend Vincent J. Hines, Bishop of Norwich, addressed the urgent need for a parish to serve the people of southern Waterford and announced the creation of new parish with Father Kenneth P. Flint as the pastor. In keeping with the missionary work of St. Paul in establishing new churches during the first century, it was decided to name the new parish St. Paul’s Parish. The Diocese of Norwich had purchased 20 acres of land including a house from the Miller and Albanese families in the Logger Hill area of Rope Ferry Road. Father Flint took up residency in the house at 170 Roper Ferry Road on October 12, 1960 and shortly thereafter one section of the house was converted into a Chapel where daily mass was offered.

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First Rectory along Rope Ferry Road

Father Flint formed the parish from a group of Catholics who worshipped at St. Mary Star of the Sea, and St. Joseph in New London, St. Agnes in Niantic, and St. Mathias in East Lyme. The first Sunday services were held at St. Bernard’s High School in New London and for the next year and a half; Sunday Masses were celebrated at St. Bernard’s High School and Waterford’s Goshen and Jordan Firehouses. In addition to Father Flint, Reverend Edward Benedict, Principal of St. Bernard’s High School and Reverend Russell L. Boisvert served as temporary curates.

The plan was to erect a new church on that property to be colonial in style with a seating capacity for 800. Father Flint was later certified as the first Pastor by Bishop Vincent J. Hines in August 1963. In 1963 plans for the new church were drawn and construction was begun. Father Flint acted as general contractor to ensure construction proceeded on schedule. Once the basement was completed masses were held there until the upper portion of the church was finished. The first Mass was offered in the basement on Ascension Thursday in 1963. St. Paul’s Parish thrived before and during construction of the new church. It was never about the church, it was about the people and their devotion. The church is constructed in a Georgian Colonial design in an attempt to make it an authentic reproduction of a design made famous in the Williamsburg, Virginia area during the early 1700s. A unique feature of the church is the use of “culls”, imperfect bricks exploded in the baking process. They give the exterior walls a three-dimensional effect. Interior stenciled designs were taken from a design found in a colonial home in Salem, Massachusetts. Eight ‘Williamsburg’ chandeliers extend throughout the nave of the edifice.

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Father Flint overseeing construction from the Steeple Base

On December 6, 1964 more than 800 people filled the church on its dedication mass, a two hour ceremony celebrating Waterford’s fist Catholic Church. The celebration was attended by Bishop Hines of Norwich, Reverend Reynolds of New York City, the Schola Moderna Choral Society of New Haven, the New Haven Chamber Symphony led by Professor Konetchy of Alberta Magnas College in addition to many other Catholic Clergy, other denominations, and civic leaders from around New London County.

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Bishop Hines Completes St. Paul’s Church Cornerstone

“What I am sure you must be feeling on this momentous day in the life of our parish – the sense of accomplishment, of satisfaction, and of happiness – I share with you. Lastly, but in a very special way, I’m grateful for you, the parishioners…”
Reverend Kenneth P. Flint, Pastor
St. Paul Church

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Completed St. Paul’s Church Minus the Steeple

Shortly after the dedication Reverend Russell L. Boisvert departed after offering much needed assistance to Father Flint. Reverend Boisvert moved on to a vocational career at St. Bernard’s High School and eventually was named Principal.

In 1966 a new rectory was established in a frame house at 26 Gallup Lane and remained the rectory until July 1990.

Second Rectory

Second Rectory on Gallup Lane

In September 1970 Reverend Roland Cloutier joined the parish to assist Father Flint and in November 1974 departed for other services within the Diocese of Norwich.

After 19 years of leadership at St. Paul’s parish, Father Flint departed but continued to offer valuable services within the diocese until retiring in 1980 with 38 years of distinguished service. Succeeding Father Flint, Reverend Richard F. Roughan arrived in 1978 to become the new pastor of St. Paul Church. Father Roughan continued to bring the young parish together. Two of the many highlights of his stewardship was construction of a new rectory and the erection of the long awaited steeple which completed the construction of the church.

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Rev. Richard F Roughan

Reverend Richard F. Roughan
Second Pastor of St. Paul’s Church

In February 1980 Father Roughan established the 1000 Club. In the beginning, with 1000 members, the church collected $60,000 annually, earning $30,000 each year for the construction of the new rectory. In 1985 St. Paul’s Church celebrated its 25th Anniversary.

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St. Paul’s Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative

In 1989 permits were approved for construction of the new rectory and on July 9, 1990 Father Roughan took residency of this third rectory conveniently located behind the church. The 1000 Club continues to meet monthly and remains an important fundraising effort for the parish.

New Rectory located behind St. Paul’s Church

On November 21, 1998 the new steeple, prefabricated in Kentucky, arrived. The base stood ready for over 30 years to support this steeple. The new steeple was raised by crane and secured upon its foundation; thus completing construction of St. Paul’s Church.

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The Steeple Arrives

A steeples purpose is to draw people to the church. The steeple is like a crowning, it’s a crowning of this building. The whole idea about a church building is to invite the people in…
Reverend Richard F. Roughan, Pastor
St. Paul Church

In 1983, under Father Roughan’s stewardship, Richard Walker was ordained as a Deacon. Mr. Walker continues to provide valuable assistance to the St. Paul’s pastors and parishioners.

Richard Walker Deacon

Richard Walker – Deacon

Father Roughan established the first Pictorial Directory for the parish which was updated for the third time in the Spring of 2014. Father Roughan also established the “Spirit Rockers Children’s Choir in 1994 which continues to serve the Sunday morning 10:00 mass each week and the Vacation Bible School in 1996.

After serving the parish 28 years, Father Roughan retired in September of 2006. Succeeding Father Roughan as pastor was Father Dennis G. Carey and in October 2010 St. Paul’s Parish celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

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Reverend Dennis G. Carey and Program from 50th Anniversary Celebration
Third Pastor of St. Paul’s Church

In June 2012 Bishop Michael R. Cote appointed Father Joseph B. Whittel to be the new pastor of St. Paul’s Church. Father Whittel has embraced the parishioners as a community of followers of Christ who strive to live out the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of loving God and our neighbors as He taught.

Reverend Joseph B. Whittel

Reverend Joseph B. Whittel
Fourth Pastor of St. Paul Church