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August 5, 1938 - LORDSHIP BEACH TO GET EDIFICE: Dr. Anderson Reviewing Plans for Catholic Chapel in Stratford: Tentative plans for a Roman Catholic chapel in the Lordship section of Stratford are being reviewed today by Reverend Dr. John Anderson, pastor of St. James Church in Stratford. The chapel it is believed will be constructed in time for the celebration of mass next summer. The chapel will be served by Dr. Anderson and his two assistants at St. James Church. Mass is now being said at the Crystal Ballroom each Sunday. The chapel when constructed will seat 400 persons.

September 2, 1938 : LORDSHIP CHAPEL AT CRYSTAL BALLROOM: It was not until this summer that thought was given to caring for the Catholic families who reside both winter and summer at Lordship Beach in the tenth District. Following a survey, Dr. Anderson celebrated the first mass at the Crystal Ballroom with more that 250 persons attending. The following Sunday the congregation increased to better than 300 and on the third Sunday rose to 450. There are 200 Catholic persons living in Lordship throughout the entire year the balance being summer visitors. In July it was announced that a site for a permanent chapel will be sought during the winter months and by next spring a new church will be constructed at the beach area.

August 2, 1940 - LORDSHIP CHAPEL IS REFUGE DEDICATED TO WORLD PEACE: A refuge of hope for those seeking surcease from the current talk of war and desolation, the new and beautiful Catholic edifice which has just been completed at Lordship is aptly named Our Lady of Peace. What is your suggestion? Bishop McAuliffe had countered when asked by Rev. Dr. John Anderson, pastor of St. James in Stratford in regard to a name for the new Chapel. Dr. Anderson recalled a passage from the Litany which bestows upon the Virgin Mary the title Queen of Peace. That was his suggestion and by changing the title to Our Lady of Peace, the chapel was to be known as an isle of redemption in troubled times. No more appropriate name could have been found. Although finishing touches to the $35,000 structure, the building of which began in May have not quite been completed, the beauty of the church is at once apparent. Notable for its simplicity, the interior reminds one of pictures of old monastery churches of the 13th century, with its high pointed rafters, straight backed pews and plain chandeliers. The secret to its appeal lies in the sanctuary, Dr. Anderson pointed out. The sanctuary is overshadowed by a 12 foot crucifix of walnut and carve oak, at the foot of which is the high altar of catacomb style. Carrying out the 13th

CrystalBallroomSM century motif, the choir section has been build adjoining the Sanctuary, a design unique in Bridgeport and vicinity where the more modern architecture has placed the choristers in a loft at the rear of the church. The Lordship chapel seats 360 worshippers in the main auditorium, but by swinging open huge accordion doors leading to the annex, an additional 120 can be accommodated. Ordinarily however the doors will be closed and the annex used for group meetings, church suppers, etc. From the outside the chapel is a handsome French Provincial structure of white brick and slated roof, set in the middle of a wide lawn. Again simplicity is the keynote. Mass was first celebrated in the new chapel last Sunday with the priests of St. James Church officiating. This week a regular schedule of two masses each Sunday at 8 and 10 a.m. will begin. Rev. Dr. Anderson, Rev. John Dooley and Rev. Leonard White will each in turn officiate at the services. The parishioners are happy at long last to worship in a real church and such a beautiful one. In the past the Lordship services have been conducted at the school hall in winter and at the Crystal Ballroom in summer. Formal dedication of the new church will be held about September 1, Dr. Anderson said with a regular dedication service as prescribed for all Catholic Churches. Most Reverend Maurice McAuliffe Bishop of the Hartford Diocese will officiate.

September 9, 1940 - BISHOP DEDICATES LORDSHIP CHAPEL: 500 Persons Attend Ceremony Father John Bennett Delivers Sermon: Our Lady of Peace Chapel in Lordship, new mission of St. James Church in Stratford was dedicated by the Most Reverend Maurice McAuliffe, Bishop of Hartford, Sunday morning. More than 500 persons attended the ceremony. The Reverend John Anderson, pastor of St. James Church officiated at a high mass following the dedication. The Rev. John Bennett, assistant pastor of St. Marys Church, delivered the sermon. The dedication ceremonies consisted of a procession around both the inside and the outside of the church with Bishop McAuliffe blessing the edifice with holy water as the priests, led by Father Anderson recited psalm 50 Misere Mei. At the main alter the Litany of Saints was recited with the Bishop intoning the verse Ut hanc ecclesiam. Included in the clergy who attended were: the Rev. Andrew Plunkett, Derby; the Rev. John Moore, Sacred Heart, Bridgeport; the Rev. Edward Morrison, Waterbury; the Rev. James Grady, Long Hill; the Rev. John Sullivan, St. Augustine, Bridgeport; the Rev. Henry Coleman, St. Ann, Bridgeport; the Rev. Joseph Pisarcik, Holy Name, Stratford; the Rev. James Killian, St. Mary. Also the Rev. Leonard White, St. James, the Rev. Frederick Coholan, Blessed Sacrament; the Rev. Thomas Dillon of Washington, Connecticut and the Rev. John Dooley of St. James who was master of ceremonies.

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October 11, 1947 - OUR LADY OF PEACE chapel in Lordship. Mass: 9:45

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June 24, 1948 - BISHOP SETS UP LORDSHIP AREA AS NEW PARISH: Rev. John F. X. Walsh Is Named Pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church: Three new pastors have been named and a new parish has been created at Lordship, it was announced by the Most Rev. Henry J. O'Brien, Bishop of Hartford in The Catholic Transcript today. Two other pastors have been transferred, one to a permanent rector ship. The new parish is Our Lady of Peace, Lordship, which until now has been a mission chapel included in St James parish, Stratford. The first pastor of the new parish will be the Rev. John F. X, Walsh, who has been assistant at St. Peter's Church, this City since 1936. The new Lordship parish will comprise an area bounded by the Housatonic River, on the south by Long Island Sound, the west by the Stratford-Bridgeport town-line and on the north by the Bridgeport airport and Chance Vought plant. The church was dedicated as a mission chapel by the late Bishop Maurice F. McAuliffe in 1940. Father Walsh, the new pastor is a native of Hartford, where he received his education in St. Joseph's Cathedral school. He studied at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, and at St. Barnards Seminary, Rochester and was ordained by Bishop McAuliffe in St. Joseph's Cathedral May 1, 1930. His only assignment before coming to St. Peter's was at St. Joseph's, New Britain.

July 23, 1948 : NEW OUR LADY OF PEACE RECTORY PURCHASED: The former Aiken home at 207 Maple Street will become the rectory of Our Lady of Peace Parish. Announcement of the purchase was made this week. The Rev. John Walsh, first pastor of the newly created Lordship parish will take up residence there the first part of August. Father Walsh announced to his congregation Sunday that the former chapel will now be known as Our Lady of Peace Church. The church which was erected ten years ago was until recently a mission chapel of St. James Church, with services being conducted by priests from St. James.

August 10, 1948 - TESTIMONIAL GIVEN REV. J. F. X. WALSH: The presentation of a gift climaxed the testimonial honoring the Rev. John F X Walsh former assistant at St. Peters Church which took place last night in the church hall. More than 400 poisons took part in the program during which Daniel F. Conroy presented Father Walsh with a check on behalf of the parish. The Rt. Rev. Leo M. Finn pastor and principal speaker at the dinner praised Father Walsh for 12 years of service as curate of the church. The Rev. John J Toomey and the Rev. Joseph W. Reynolds, members of the arrangement committee also spoke briefly. Father Walsh has assumed his new duties as pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Peace in Lordship. A program of entertainment featuring Walter Ryan, church organist and Manning Cox pianist brought the program to a close. Mrs. John Scanlon president of the Rosary society of which Father Walsh was chaplain during his 12 years of service at St Peter's parish represented the women of the parish on the speaking program.

April 2, 1951 - PILGRIMAGE DRAWS 1,500 IN STRATFORD: Members of St. James Parish In Jubilee Holy Year Visit to Churches: More than 1,500 members of St. James Parish, led by their pastor, the Right Rev. John H. Anderson, D.D., participated in a stirring religious display in Stratford yesterday as they visited Roman Catholic churches of the town in a jubilee Holy Year pilgrimage. The procession of the parishioners formed at St. James church at 2 p.m., stretching more than a mile and requiring a special police detail for the rerouting of traffic. In St. James Church, the first of the four visitations prescribed by His Holiness Pops Pius XII, Msgr. Anderson recited the necessary prayers and the Rev. James O. Lambert led in the singing of hymns. As the procession moved up West Broad Street on the start of the six mile walk, Msgr. Anderson, Father Lambert and the Rev. Martin O'Connor led in the recitation of the Rosary and the singing of hymns. At the Holy Name of Jesus Church at Barnum and Boston Avenues, the pilgrimage was met by the Rev. John Filip, assistant, who extended greetings for the Rev. Joseph Pisarcik, pastor. Here the prayers and hymns were repeated and the procession moved back to St. James Church for the third of the prescribed visitations and Msgr. Anderson again led the prayers. Re-forming, the parishioners marched from St. James church through the south end of the town, to Lordship, where the Holy Year pilgrimage was met at Our Lady of Peace Church by the Rev. John F. X. Walsh, pastor. Here, as the final prayers and hymn were completed, the pilgrims joined the clergy in singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

September 1, 1953 - LORDSHIP CHURCH TO CONSTRUCT $90,000 CLASSROOM ADDITION: Work will be started this week on a $90,000 addition to Our Lady of Peace Church in the Lordship district of Stratford which will house four classrooms for religious instruction. The Reverend John Walsh, pastor, announced plans for the annex after permission to begin by the Most Reverend Henry OBrien, Bishop of the Hartford Diocese. The addition to be constructed on the rear of the present church will follow the French provincial design of the original building. The E and F Construction Company of Bridgeport is the general contractor and Andrew Patrick of Stratford is the architect. The structure will be controlled by folding partitions so that the unit may be converted into a parish hall. A baptistery will be included in the new addition. The unit will be so designed that Masses may be celebrated in the hall in addition to the main church auditorium, Father Walsh said. The present church hall to the right of the sanctuary will be converted into additional seating capacity for the main church increasing its seating capacity for 365 to approximately 500. In the new section there will be a kitchen and a stage for parish activities. Father Walsh said the construction work is expected to be completed by March 1, when the more than 400 children now receiving religious instruction in the main church will be assigned to the various classrooms.

March 14, 1954 - STAGE LORDSHIP PARISH SHOW IN NEWLY BUILT CHURCH HALL: Our Lady of Peace Church, Lordship will present its first St. Patricks show, Shamrock Capers Saturday at 8:15 p.m. in the new church hall, which has a seating capacity of 450. Two performances will be given on Sunday with a childrens matinee at 2:15 p.m. and a final show for adults at 8:15 p.m. The cast lists 78 persons, with 55 parish members and the remainder as guest entertainers. The new hall was erected by the E. and F. Construction Company and designed by Andrew Patrick. It will also be used as a religious instruction center as well as for recreational purposes. Participating in the show will be the In Betweens, who have appeared on the Paul Whiteman TV Teen Club show; Kids and Company; Two Queens and a Jack, recently on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour; and Yvonne Young who appeared on the Ted Mack show last December. The choreography was done by Muriel Howe, Mrs. Fahey is musical director. The cast includes: Judith Curran, Marilyn Holcomb, Patricia Decker, Laurel Hessels, Mary Ellen Clark, Sharon Lewis, Kathleen Keating, Sally Ann Keating, Elain Sorrentino, Sandra Passannante, Dina Brighindi, Sharon Richardson, Suzanne Morrissey, Patricia Hoag, Helen Fedock, Natalie Kuntz, Loretta May, Gail Connelly, Gail Williams, Elaine Thibault, Mary Ann Tristine. Also Peggy Robinson, Jane Reynolds, Virginia Gorman, Mary McPadden, Sandra Goddu, Mary Schofield, Patti Pjura, Thomas Kriksciun, John Rooney, Nancy Donlon, Kathy Donlon, Suellen Salvaggio, Candy Allen, Sheila Carten, Doreen Lewis, Tommy Carten, Dave Martin, Bill Robinson, Marilyn Menosky, James Carten, Donald DiGennaro, Bud Hewitt, Mike Curran. Also Ed Curran, Hal Connelly, Bill Pellechia, Barbara Thomas, David Connelly, Joanne Williams, Marjorie Rieder, Ann Newton, Noreen Wilson, Peter Cirella, Carolina Ritzul, Bonnie Eastman, Barbara Kongsvold, Vivian Hutchins, Marie Costantini, Mary Ann Fritzky, Linda Rudis, Barbara Petretti, Yvonne Petretti, Mercy Ellen Buswell, Gloria Trzcinski, Betsy Lou Ruoss, Kathy Mucherino, Betty Dubee, Judy White, Diane Ducsay, Reva Sylvetsky, Cheryl Rubenstein, Doris Dubee, Jacqueline Weilk, Chester DElia and Dolores Duda.

May 2, 1955 - 1,000 PAY HONOR TO FATHER WALSH: Religious and secular programs marked the 25th anniversary of the ordination of the Reverend John Walsh, pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church, Stratford which was attended by more than 1,000 persons yesterday. There were more than 400 in the church at 11 a.m. when Father Walsh celebrated a solemn high Mass of Thanksgiving and more than 600 in the church hall last night when parishioners, clergy and friends joined in a reception honoring the Lordship pastor. Seated in the sanctuary during the Mass was the, D.D., pastor of St. James Church, Stratford; the Right Rev. James Murphy of St. Augustine Cathedral; the Right Rev. Leo Finn, pastor of St. Peters Church; the Right Rev. Joseph Heffernan pastor of Blessed Sacrament and the Rev. J.D. Donahue, S.J. Assisting Father Walsh at the Mass were the Rev. Thomas Henahan, pastor of Holy Family Church, Fairfield as Deacon; the Rev. Albert Taylor pastor of St. Stephen in North Haven as sub-deacon; the Rev. Bartholomew Skelly pastor of St. Theresas Church in Long Hill and the Rev. John Clancy, S.J. of Fairfield University as preacher. Attending the Mass as special guests were the members of the Right Rev. John Anderson General Assembly, Knights of Columbus who escorted Father Walsh from the rectory of the church; Edward Walsh of Hartford, the pastors brother; Mrs. Raymond Gilligan of West Hartford, sister of the pastor and Mr. Gilligan and delegations of nuns from Blessed Sacrament School, Caldwell College, N.J. and St. Josephs School in Hartford. During the evening celebration during which Father Walsh greeted each guest personally, Father Clancy acted as master of ceremonies. There was special entertainment, instrumental and vocal by parishioners. Clergy seated on the stage included Father Henahan, the Rev. Joseph Reynolds, the Rev. John Speer, the Rev. James Galvin, the Rev. Joseph Fitzgerald S.J., president of Fairfield University; the Rev. Francis Deevy S.J., the Rev. Joseph Murphy S.J., the Rev. Thomas Murphy S.J., the Rev. Robert Draper and the Rev. William Nagle.

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May 9, 1955 - LORDSHIP PARISH BUYS CONVENT; NUNS TO TEACH ONE GRADE IN FALL: Plans for the establishment of a parochial school in the Lordship district of Stratford were announced yesterday by the Reverend John Walsh, pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church. Father Walsh said a convent has been purchased and nuns have been assigned to start one grade, the seventh, in September. Father Walsh told his parishioners at all Massed that the Most Reverend Lawrence Shehan, Bishop of Bridgeport, had given his approval to the program. Property of Louis and Catherine Accardi, on Prospect Drive, a short distance east of the church has been purchased for the parish convent, Father Walsh said. Renovations of the seven-room, one and one-half story brick structure are scheduled to start in mid summer. The property is 100 x 120 feet fronting on Prospect Drive, east of Stratford Road.

October 18, 1955 - JAMES KLOSEK IS ELECTED LORDSHIP CYO: James Klosek has been elected as president of the Catholic Youth Organization of Our Lady of Peace Church in Lordship the Reverend John F. X. Walsh, pastor has announced. Other officers named include: Virginia Gorman, vice president, William Rabineau, treasurer, Jane Reynolds, secretary. Installation has been scheduled for October 30, the Feast of Christ the King at 3 pm.

May 22, 1960 - REV. JOHN F. CAVANAUGH: The Rev. John F. Cavanaugh, pastor of Our Lady of Peace church, Lordship, marks the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a priest May 30. The occasion will be observed by Father Cavanaugh and his parishioners May 29 with a High Mass at 11 a.m., benediction at 2 p.m., and a reception in the church hall during the afternoon. Frank Pepe is general chairman of the parish committee arranging for the reception and Warren Ernst will be master of ceremonies. Mrs. Arlene Stone and Mrs. Dee Ernst are co-chairmen of refinements and Carl DeLorenzo will have charge of the refreshments for the children of the parish. The Rev. James Devine, assistant to Father Cavanaugh, has been named as honorary chairman. Father Cavanaugh, who came to Our Lady of Peace parish in May 1958 from St. Mary's church in Norwalk, where he had been assistant pastor, was born in Bridgeport's East end Feb. 23, 1908. He is the son of the late John J. and Nellie Cavanaugh. He was graduated from St. Mary's school in Bridgeport and the 1926 class in Harding High School. He was graduated with a bachelor of science degree from the Catholic university in Washington in 1930. Father Cavanaugh studied the graduate school for another year and then completed his studies for the priesthood in St. Mary's seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained May 30, 1935 in Hartford. He said his first Mass in Blessed Sacrament church June 2, 1935 and his first assignment was in St. Anthony's church in Bristol. Thereafter he served in churches in New Haven, Rockville, Norwich, Forestville and Torrington before his assignment to Norwalk and then to Stratford.

June 10, 1960 - PASTORS NAMED FOR 2 CHURCHES: The Diocese of Bridgeport announced yesterday that the Rev. John F. Cavanaugh, pastor of Our Lady of Peace church, Lordship, has been appointed pastor of St. Ambrose church, and that the Rev. John V. Horgan, Curate at St. Joseph's church, Danbury, will succeed Father Cavanaugh as pastor of Our Lady of Peace. In another appointment, Bishop Sheehan appointed newly-ordained Rev. Francis G. Galla as assistant to the Danbury church. Father Cavanaugh succeeds the Right Rev. Thomas F. Henahan who assumed the pastorate of the Church of the Assumption, Fairfield, last week.

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July 7, 1963 - Father Horgan Feted before Departure for Peru Mission: The Rev. John V. Horgan, former pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church, Stratford, who will leave today with two other diocesan priests for Peru to help establish the first overseas mission for the diocese of Bridgeport, was honored by more than 1,000 former parishioners and friends at a testimonial this week. Presentations were made by the altar Boys, CYO, Boy Scouts, Holy Name Society and Rosary Society. Father Horgan served at Our Lady of Peace three years. A program of selections by the Junior Choir, under the direction of Beatrice Dancourt, and selections from the parish variety show were presented. A number of area clergymen including Rev. Vincent P. Cleary who will succeed Father Horgan attended the reception.

June 15, 1963 - BISHOP APPOINTS REVEREND V.P. CLEARY: South Norwalk Priest Named Pastor of Our Lady Parish Lordship: The Most Reverend Walter Curtis, Bishop of Bridgeport, today announced the appointment of the Reverend Vincent P. Cleary of Saint Josephs Church, South Norwalk, as pastor of Our Lady of Peace Church in the Lordship section of Stratford. Father Cleary will replace the Reverend John Horgan who has been assigned to a mission territory of Peru which will be staffed by Bridgeport priests. Father Horgan is director of a group of three missionaries who will leave for their South American assignment in mid-July. Father Cleary has served in St. Josephs Church since June 1962 when he was appointed temporary administrator. His appointment to Stratford is his first assignment as pastor. Born August 21, 1918 in New Haven, he studied for the priesthood at St. Thomas Seminary, Hartford and St. Marys Seminary in Baltimore. He was ordained to the priesthood May 18, 1944 in St. Josephs Cathedral in Hartford by the Most Reverend Henry OBrien. From 1944 to 1959 he served as assistant priest at St. Augustines parish in Bridgeport and as principal of the parochial school. From 1959 until his appointment last year, he was assistant priest at St. Johns parish in Stamford. Father Cleary will assume his pastoral duties at Our Lady of Peace early next week.

October 7, 1966 - POPE HONORS FATHER HORGAN: The Rev. John V. Morgan, 51, pastor of St. Joseph's church, South Norwalk, who returned to the diocese of Bridgeport recently after directing a diocesan mission in Peru, has been named a domestic prelate by Pope Paul VI, the Most Rev. Walter W. Curtis, bishop of Bridgeport, announced today. Father Horgan will have the title "right reverend monsignor." Born in Waterbury, April 5, 1915, Father Horgan studied for the priesthood at St. Thomas Seminary, Hartford, and completed philosophy and theology courses at the Seminary of St. Sulpice, Paris, France. He was ordained August 10, 1950 in St. Joseph's Cathedral, Hartford, by Bishop Henry J. O'Brien. After serving as an assistant priest in parishes in Baltic, Kensington and Torrington, St. Mary's Church, Norwalk, and St. Joseph's Church, Danbury, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish, Stratford. While in Stratford, he was the first chairman of the Diocesan Ecumenical commission. In June 1963, Father Horgan volunteered for mission work in the parish of Santa Cruz, Peru, for which the Diocese of Bridgeport had just assumed responsibility.

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September 20, 1990 : OUR LADY OF PEACE CHURCH CELEBRATES 50th ANNIVERSARY: Our Lady of Peace Church in Lordship celebrated the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the church building with a celebrated Mass of Thanksgiving and a gala picnic on Sunday September 9. The Most Reverend Edward Egan, Bishop of Bridgeport was principal celebrant of the Mass offered at the 11:30 a.m. service. Other celebrants included: Monsignor John Gilmartin, who has been the pastor of the church since May 1989. Monsignor John Horgan, now retired who preceded the late Reverend Vincent Cleary who was pastor of the church from 1963 to 1989; the Reverend Thomas Lynch, the pastor of St. James Church, who grew up in Lordship and whose family have been parishioners of Our Lady of Peace for 39 years; and other former parishioners who have been ordained in the Roman Catholic Church. The Our Lady of Peace choir sang under the direction of the church organist, Mrs. David Miller. The St. James choir accompanied by Mr. Don Brelsford, organist and director of liturgical music at St. James, were guest performers. For eight years, Our Lady of Peace was a mission church attached to the St. James parish. People who belonged to the parish and lived in Lordship, attended mass at the skating rink on Washington Parkway in the summer and in the Lordship School during the winter. In order to raise money for the new church, games parties were held at St. James on Monday nights. Our Lady of Peace was designated as a separate parish in 1948 and the Reverend F.X. Walsh was named as its first pastor. The land for the church was purchased in 1939 by the Late Monsignor John Anderson the pastor of St. James. The church was built in 1940 at a time when Europe was embroiled in World War II in a style that is reminiscent of the country churches of Normandy. Monsignor Anderson who had traveled through Europe in happier days had a special regard for that particular region of France. The bricks used in the construction of the chapel were salvaged houses being torn down on the East Side of Bridgeport and the use of the old bricks gave the new church a mellowed look. Vincent Foley remembers the day of the churchs dedication 50 years ago. It was a beautiful day in early September and people overflowed from the church. Mr. Foley is 94 years old and has been a Trustee of Our Lady of Peace for 50 years. He has lived in Lordship since 1912 and is its oldest living resident. Under the Reverend John Horgan, Our Lady of Peace School was begun in 1960. It was forced to close in 1971, 10 years after it was opened due to declining enrollment. The building is now used for religious education and parish activities. Bishop Egan was the guest of honor at the festive picnic which was held on the Lordship Bluffs following the service. Many of the churchs 580 families participated and were entertained by the Melody Men, the balloon artistry of Neil Prete, Zito the Bubbleman and an old fashioned bake-off with prizes. Among the honored guests invited to the picnic were five parish couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries and the two other Lordship clergymen, the Reverend Anthony Kopka, pastor of St. Josephs and the Reverend John Collins, pastor of the Lordship Community Church and their families.

VINCENT FOLEY: When Father Anderson announced in the spring of 1938 that a mass would be held every Sunday in the skating rink starting that same July, it was so exciting that it was had to believe. Up to that time Lordship Catholics went to St. James, their mother church in Stratford or if they traveled by bus many went to the Blessed Sacrament Church. In the early days when automobiles were rare most people went to the latter church as it was more convenient. As a matter of fact in the early days of the trolley car if you missed one at 9:30 Sunday morning, the next one came in at 12 noon; you walked the Meadow Road to get to mass. Before the Blessed Sacrament was built, St. Marys Church on Pembroke Street was your nearest church. So you can easily understand the excitement of the local Catholics. Father Anderson brought down the altar stone, books and other necessary items for the celebration of the mass and we stored them in the living room underneath the sofa. They were dutifully carried down to the skating rink every Sunday morning and carefully carried to home to rest under the sofa until the following Sunday. George Guckert Sr. had constructed a very beautiful folding altar that was really a work of art. Every Saturday we trucked a load of old fashioned wooden folding chairs from St. James basement, set them up in the hall and after Sundays mass each person lucky enough to get a chair would fold it up, stack it in a pile and we would cart them back to St. James. Strange what a kick we got out of so much work. Needless to say the hall was always crowded with worshippers and these was a feeling of the great outdoors during the mass as the birds darted in and out of the large open windows. Father Anderson remarked that he felt like St. Frances of Assisi with the birds whirling around his head. When summer ended we were pleasantly surprised to learn that mass would be continued through the winter in the Lordship School Auditorium. Permission had been obtained from the Stratford Board of Education and whether we suspected it or not we were on our way towards a permanent parish. Our winter attendance probably comprised of about 75 people but we were warm and comfortable. We also had the luxury of a kneeler for communion, something we did not have at the skating rink. This too was the work of our very able handy man, George Guckert. When spring rolled around and Father Anderson informed us that he was picking up some lots for a new church building we thought he was joking. It seemed like a reckless impossibility. He finally assembled six lots, contacting owners as far away as California. The six lots cost $1,800 (note the amount) and later another lot at the corner of Stratford Road and Ivy Street was added at a cost of $700. The entire cost of the land on which the present church now stands was $2,500. During the year of 1939 plans were drawn up for the new chapel. It was to resemble a building Father Anderson had seen in a small French fishing village. The plans were submitted to several contractors and when the bids came back they ranged from $29,000 to $32,000. This was more the Father wanted to spend. The money of course was being supplied by St. James Church. He tabled the matter for the time but a few weeks later one of the bidders the E & F Construction Company called him and asked how much the good Father wanted to spend. Father Anderson replied $25,000. E & F replied we will do the job. There was an extra item of $550 for enclosing the ceiling so the final cost was $25,500. Adding in the land cost, the entire cost came to $28,000. This of course did not include the stained glass windows, all of which were donated. During the summer of 1940 we held our first outside bazaar on the land in back of Pops Restaurant. We had a lot of fun and much hard work clearing the land, but of course our labors were greatly alleviated by frequent visits to partake of Pop Tristines hospitality. He was a great host and a still greater Catholic. I remember working alongside Mary Tristine and debating the various merits of Wendell Wilkie and F.D.R. I think Marty was a rabid Wilkie man. In spite of a solid week of rain and fog we cleared almost $1,000. Our summer visitors were most generous with their patronage. About the same time we started a weekly bingo at the rink and carried it on through the winter in St. James Hall which was given free to us by Father Anderson. We did this quite successfully for over two years and a large part of the success was due to the tremendous work performed by our chairman Bill Jacob. He not only worked hard himself, but he brought over his bingo crew from the American Legion. These boys, not even members of our parish, ran their own bingo on a Saturday night, but came over regularly every Tuesday to help run ours. We had also some men from St. James Parish assisting us and all told it was a wonderful example of charity. Our beautiful chapel was completed in the late summer of 1940. Most of the furnishings were donated by the parishioners, outside friends and many items such as windows, etc. were personally solicited by Father Anderson. His family and good friends were most generous. He took special pride in building this church and we should be forever grateful for his uncanny judgment in building at this particular time and tremendous efforts he put into its final completion. This same building the following year would have cost $55,000 and had we waited a few more years the cost would have been prohibitive. Our large hall added in 1954 cost $90,000. Note: It might interest you to know that the bricks used in the walls of our church were from buildings some over 100 years old torn down to make way for the first housing development in Bridgeport, Father Panik Village on the lower east side of Bridgeport. On a beautiful Sunday in August 1940 our church was blessed by the late Bishop McAuliffe of the Harford Diocese to which we then belonged. The altar was beautifully decorated with flowers, the high mass was most impressive and the priests in beautiful vestments accompanying the Bishop as he led the procession around the exterior of the building, sprinkling holy water in the blessing. This was one of the most exciting events in our memory. Enthusiasm naturally was at fever heat when we settled down in our new home and the Womens Guild got off to a flying start. They were miles ahead of the men. It seemed like they were running a continuous fair or bazaar. When one ended they started working on the next. They really raised a very substantial amount of money considering the limited field to work in. The men eventually picked up steam, another beach bazaar was successfully held, bingos were held, car raffles also and the wonderful work on the various drives are a great credit to the men of our parish. It seems strange to look back to the first years in our new church. During the winter months we had but one mass at 10:00, the church would be half full. The first communion class would have about 5 children. The war years came on and growth was pretty static. However about 1947 we managed to be free of debt and we automatically became an independent parish. We did not like the idea of being cut adrift from St. James and losing our beloved Father Anderson but soon came to loving and admiring our first and new pastor - now Monsignor John F.X. Walsh. We lost him after 7 years, then followed Father Cavanaugh, Father Horgan and our present pastor Father Cleary. In closing we should remember some of the people who worked very hard in the early years working for the church. Charley Comlish, an excellent electrician who transformed our foot pumping organ into an electric one. Always willing to set up a light or fixture when we needed one. Bill Jacob of course on the bingo. Tom and Mary Burns who took such good care of the church, the women who kept the altar looking so beautiful and host of others who contributed so much time in a very quiet way. Might add also that the E & F Construction Company not only did a fine job at a reasonable price but for years afterwards they came back cheerfully to correct anything that needed attention. They deserve to be commended.

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