Setting atop a hill with a view of the beautiful Damariscotta River, is the oldest Catholic Church in New England. The foundation for St. Patrick's Church was laid in 1807 and the actual building of the church was completed in 1808. Approximately $5,000 was spent to build a brick church with sufficient land for an adjacent cemetery and a rectory with an orchard.
St. Patrick's Church is a valuable part of New England history. Located in Newcastle, Maine, the Church was dedicated on July 30, 1808. The architectural design of the St. Patrick's Church was the responsibility of Nicolas Codd, an Irishman who came to New England to design and build the church. The walls are one ½ feet thick and made of solid brick. The original pews were constructed from trees found in the nearby forests and were backless plank benches. Two of these pews are still in use. The only amenities in St. Patrick's Church in the beginning were the hard benches and a wood stove used for heat.
The altar of the church is actually older than the church and resembles a tomb. It is thought that the altar may have been imported from France. The original Stations of the Cross were simply wooden crosses installed over doors and windows. The Stations of the Cross, which are present today, were installed in 1876.
St. Patrick's also has one of the 93 bells still in existence, which were manufactured by Paul Revere and his son, Joseph from 1792 to 1828. A brick tower was build in 1866 to house the bell and to protect it from the elements. Prior to this, the bell had been housed in a wooden structure.
The stained glass windows, pews and the white ceiling were added in 1886. A walk through the old cemetery with its headstones and Biblical inscriptions reveals the patriotism of the parish to the veterans buried there, representing all the wars from the Revolution to the present era.
St. Patrick's Church is now listed on the National Historic Register and continues to be an interesting piece of New England history. Mass is held within its historic walls whenever possible. Visitors as well as parishioners are welcome at any time.