St. Therese Church
555 Middletown Ave. North Haven,Ct 06473
"To celebrate the Word of God in all activities
as we work to meet the constantly changing needs of our Parish Community
by using our God given talents."
We are very fortunate to have the Parish of St Therese Church as our sponsor organization. Their support and generosity enables the Troop's leaders to provide a quality, informative program to the local boys.
The scouts and leaders of Troop 810 would like to take this moment to thank them for their ongoing support and commitment to our program.
History of St. Therese Church:
The history of St. Therese church and your parish is steeped in the perseverance of its parishioners, which has allowed its maintenance as an integral and important part of the Hartford Archbishop. This parish has a strong sense of pride, which stems from its strong cultural heritage as depicted in the accomplishments of this cohesive parish community.
As you read, the history of this parish is eloquent testimony to the struggle against bigotry of early Catholics of this area, to the difficult sacrificial early decades, to the pastoral changes of priests, to the cooperative development of this beautiful church and now our new parish center.
The Montowese section of North Haven received its name from a Sachem Indian Chief who, in a treat with the New Haven settlers on December 11, 1683, reserved for himself and a dozen or more of his Indian followers that particular portion of land northeast of New Haven. It was part of a royal grant issued by James I of England in 1620 and confirmed by the grant of Charles II on April 22, 1622. Three New Haven families finalized the treaty of the New Haven settlers with the Sachem Indians in 1670: Barnes, Brockett, and Jacobs. The growth of the Montowese section of North Haven was slow. Farming was the chief occupation of its people.
A good combination of geographical attributes aided and assured the oncoming settlers of a good means earning a livelihood for their families. The flat fertile soil along a river’s edge and the gently rolling hills enticed the crop and dairy farmers to extensive acreage.
Clay beds beneath the salt marshes spurred the growth of the red brick-making industry to be rivaled as the principal industry only by growth of Cedar Hill Railroad Classification Yards. All of these guaranteed the continuing growth of the village.
In the later years of 1800, small numbers of Catholic families began to appear in Montowese as workers in the local industry and at that time these early members of a future parish were affiliated in the jurisdiction of the Holy Trinity Parish of Wallingford, Connecticut and remained in that assignment until 1891, when Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish was established. The Montowese Catholics then became a part of that parish.
Then Came 1925:
Our church, starting as a mission under the guidance of Father Fogarty, then pastor of St. George church in Guilford, was built in 1925 and dedicated by Bishop Nilan, in 1927.
During 1925, it was felt that the number of Catholics in Montowese warranted at least a Mission church. On May 28, 1925, land was purchased on Quinnipiac Ave. For the Hartford Diocese. St. Therese church was built by Laydon Construction Company of North Haven and dedicated in October 1925.
The Mission of St. Therese had only one Mass on Sunday. Father James Keating, then living at St. Francis Orphanage , in New Haven, and later pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in that city, celebrated the Sunday Mass at St. Therese’s. Between fifty and one hundred people attended.
Father Thomas F. Dignam
On Wednesday morning, April 29 1959, a fire broke out and completely damaged St. Therese Church on Quinnipiac Ave. Within twenty minutes, the fire had completely gutted the interior of the Church. The only two things that survived the fire were the statues of Our Blessed Mother and St. Therese. They were blackened from the fire but they were unbroken. During the fire, the Town of North Haven came to the aid of the Church by offering to Father Dignam, the use of the auditorium of the then new Montowese School for Sunday Mass and the offer was accepted.
However, for daily Mass, confessions, and visits to The Blessed Sacrament, the church looked to a garage that had been converted from an old horse barn. A parishioner contractor, Robert S. Fers, with the aid of men and women of the parish, fixed up this horse barn into a beautiful chapel for daily use. The total cost of the conversion of the barn to a chapel was $1,800.90.
On January 20, 1959, after receiving permission from the Archbishop of Hartford, a location almost central to the parish boundaries was found and purchased. Mr. Daniel Antonozzi was named architect and plans were drawn for a new church and rectory. The building firm of Cusano and Ocone was chose to do the construction work. Ground was broken on October 18, 1959. It took almost a year to complete, due to some unforeseen delays. The stained glass windows made of Munich glass, the work of the famous German artist Franz Mayer, were installed.
In 1968, it was Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien’s fervent prayer that St. Therese Church be dedicated to God so that it could enhance liturgical worship at St. Therese Church resulting in abundant grace from God’s gifts to its parishioners both then and in the future.
In 1975, the 50th Anniversary of St. Therese was marked with a special Mass on Sunday, October 5. Bishop John Hackett was the principal celebrant with Fr. Thomas O’Neil and three other priests concelebrating. (Fr. Mulcahy, Fr. Proulx, and Fr. Masiak). Bill Dell’Oro was the lector.
At that time one of the top priorities at the 50th Anniversary was given as follows.
“ The greatest challenge is the Religious Education of our children. . .a formidable task. . . where there is no parochial school.” (Anniversary Booklet)
How prophetic those words. In 1975 less than 200 children were receiving religious education. In 2005 we have just short of 800 children.