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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 de’ 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.
In 1982 Father Lawrence J. Murphy came to St. Alphonsus and served as parish priest until his transfer to St. Theresa's Parish in Nashwaaksis 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.
Another area of growth has been the parish cemetery located on the Pickwauket 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.
In October 2000 Father Barry met with Québec 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.
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