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THE HISTORY OF ST. ALPHONSUS
St. Alphonsus Parish
Hampton, New Brunswick
1877 - 2011
Hampton, New Brunswick
1877 - 2011
The story of St. Alphonsus has been one of faith and growth.
The Church of St. Alphonsus was erected in 1877 by the late Rt. Reverend J. M. O'Flaherty. It was attended by priests from the Cathedral staff until 1927, when Reverend J. R. McCarthy was appointed the first resident parish priest and it became a parish church October 9, 1927.
St. Alphonsus Church was not the first place of worship for the Catholics of the area. Prior to 1877 they attended St. Stephen's Church near Norton. St. Stephen's was destroyed by fire and it was after that St. Alphonsus was built.
The church was named St. Alphonsus after the founder of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. St. Alphonsus was born in Naples in 1696. He was a lawyer but he left the legal profession and entered the priesthood. He was chosen Bishop of Saint Agata dei Goti, but soon resigned his office to work as a simple priest. He died in 1787.
The story is told that the Hampton parishioners requested that the new church be named St. Alphonsus after a mission was conducted here by members of the Order which he had founded.
The growth of the parish has kept pace with the growth and development of the community and it seems timely, in this account, to note some of that development.
In 1980 the new St. Alphonsus church was built on the other side of Church Street to the old church building. The first Mass at the new church was held at noon on Sunday, March 1st, 1981. Father Frank McDonald was the pastor at this time having come to Hampton in 1975. He retired in 1981 and resided in Hampton until his death on November 4, 2010. He was 95.
From 1976 to1980 the population of the town of Hampton doubled, as did the size of the parish communty at St.Alphonsus. During this time Father Frank McDonald encouraged Sister Teresa Hucul to come to St. Alphonsus, to lead the faith formation program. Even before her time at St.Alphonsus Sister Hucul was hearing songs come to her out of scripture, life expreiences and creation. Songs emerged out of her experince of God. She would waken with song, sometines in its begining, sometines in fulness connecting the events of peoples lives within the symbols and rituals of the sacraments . Between 1985 an 1999 she recorded five albums, enhancing relations of marriage , baptism, and seasons of the year of faith, bringing joy in parish liturgy and drawing all into God's continuing incarnation.
In 1982 Father Lawrence J. Murphy came to St. Alphonsus and served as parish priest until his transfer to St. Theresa's Parish in Naswa0aksis in 1989. He was instrumental in establishing a Saturday evening folk music group in the parish. He also enjoyed home visits with new parishioners, encouraging them to use their gifts and participate in the parish ministries.
The Pastoral team of Father Kevin Barry and Sister Doreen McGuire came to St. Alphonsus parish in 1989 and worked closely with the parish council to bring together a team of dedicated parishioners and professionals to design and erect a cross and bell tower at the back of the church building. The cross was erected in October of 1992 and on May 29, 1993 (Pentecost Sunday) the parish blessed and dedicated the new Cross-Bell Tower. The bell came from the original St. Alphonsus church. A parish time capsule was placed in the bell tower prior to it being bricked in. In 1992 the church name was installed, on the front right hand side of the church, in 10 inch aluminum cast letters created by Charlie Branscombe.
In October of 1993 an exterior wheelchair ramp was completed giving access to the church hall with the installation of an exterior side door and the construction of an interior ramp. This ramp has been essential in the distribution of food for the Hampton Food Basket that has been established in the church hall since 1995. The hall floor was tiled in 1997.
The parish house, located at the back of the church at 39 Tiley Street, is the location for all parish meetings as well as the location of the parish office. With the continuous growth of parish ministries and the need for additional meeting, counseling and living space the parish house was expanded in 1996.
Another area of growth has been the parish cemetery located on the Pickwacket Road, on Route 845. From 1996 until 2000 additional parcels of land were purchased, doubling the size of the original cemetery. The expansion allowed the cemetery committee to relocate and enlarge the entrance to the cemetery and create an adequate parking area. The committee continues to develop and make on- going improvements to the cemetery with plans to open a new section to the cemetery in 2011.
With the continuous growth of the parish ministries and involvement by parishioner in these ministries, there have been three "Ministry Appreciation Dinners". The first dinner was held in 1998, then again in 2002 and in 2004. The parishioners from St. Anthony’s parish, in Upham, were very supportive of these parish endeavours by preparing the meals for each of these occasions.
To rectify a serious water drainage problem on the church property, an extensive excavation project was commissioned in 1997 with the installation of an underground culvert system tying the property into the Town of Hampton's drainage system. Once the water problem was resolved, the church grounds were landscaped and in 1999 the church and parish house property (including all of Tiley Street) were paved, creating easy access to the church and much needed parking spaces in the front and back of the church.
In October 2000 Father Barry met with artisan Jacques Bourgault, on behalf of Father McDonald, to obtain a magnificently carved wood statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is currently positioned in the church interior on the left side wall. Again in 2002 the parish commissioned Mr. Bourgault to carve a statue of the "Resurrected Jesus" which was erected, in the church interior, by the cross at the front of the church in 2003.
Starting In 2000 and over a two year period, nine beautiful stained glass windows from the original St. Alphonsus church were repaired by stained glass artist Paul Blaney. In 2003 six of those stained glass windows were incorporated in the church interior.
Parishioner David Martin received his Deaconate in 2002 and in 2003 he was ordained at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. David celebrated his first mass at St. Alphonsus in May 2003. David was the pastor at St. Patrick's Newmarket parish and the chaplin at St. Thomas University Chapel. He is currently on a one year sabattical.
Over a two year period from 2002-2003 the parish brought the church and the parish house up to the fire code per direction from the fire marshall and the diocesan insurance company.
The parish launched its first website in 2004 and has had several upgrades over the years. A new website currently being designed will be officially unveiled at the 30 year parish celebration on June 4, 2011. Also in 2004 the parish launched a cook book ““Pilgrims Pantry" which was a very successful fund raiser. In 2005 the parish photo directory was completed by Universal Portrait Studios.
From 2005 through 2008 there were numerous maintenance and construction projects required for the upkeep and enhancement of the church and parish house. In 2005 the church interior was painted and a new roof for the church was installed. In 2006 the front steps of the church entrance were repaired, a new roof was installed on the parish house garage and a new ceiling put up in the church hall. In 2007 hardwood flooring was installed on the church altar, a new baptismal font was installed at the back of the church and lightening rods were installed on the church roof.
As a means of improving the parish finances the Finance Administration Committee launched the Customer Automatic Fund Transfer (CAFT) program to the congregation in 2008. The name of the program was changed to "Easy Offertory" to help parishioners understand the ease of enrolling in this offertory option.
In 2009 the parish celebrated two special occasions; Father McDonald's 68th year of ordination and Father Barry's 50th year of ordination and in 2010 the parish celebrated Sister Doreen McGuire 50th anniversary as a Sister of Charity.
Over the years, St. Alphonsus parishioners have been trained as lay presiders and as delegates for taking annulment statements. St. Alphonsus continues to have little rock scripture study and audit spiritual direction sessions. Taize and evening prayer are held monthly. Partnering a Parish is continuously fund raising for Jamaica and Peru. For the last 19 year the parish has held the Christmas Times Strings with the Buckley Family Ensemble. .
As part of the parishes 30th year celebration, new carpeting will be installed in the church in May, 2011. On June 4th parishioners are invited to participate in the 30th year parish celebration starting at 6:00 PM, in the church hall. This parish event will give parishioners an opportunity to reflect on the past as well as explore the future, while mingling with companion parishioners and enjoying a roast beef parish supper. This is an occasion to be enjoyed by all. To coordinate this festivity, parishioners are asked to take a moment, to indicate their attendance, on the sign up sheet in the foyer.
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