Home/Stay Informed/All Diocesan Articles

All Diocesan Articles

Beloved ‘Mother Church' in Need of Care

Posted on February 08, 2023 in: News

Beloved ‘Mother Church' in Need of Care

Rescue the tower or close the church: That’s the dilemma facing congregants of St. Mary Church in Norwich and their pastor, the Rev. Robert Washabaugh.

Parts of the exterior of the 100-year-old church are crumbling and have been declared a safety hazard - so much so that the perimeter is fenced off. The interior is also in need of repair and restoration.

St. Mary’s is the second oldest parish in the Diocese of Norwich, and the oldest in the diocese east of the Connecticut River. 

It was established in 1845 by newly-arrived Irish immigrants who came to work in Norwich’s factories. It soon became the home and a place of welcome for new arrivals from many other countries. Many people refer to St. Mary’s as the area’s “mother church” because several local churches grew out of it, including the Cathedral of St Patrick in Norwich. 

Today, St. Mary’s parish serves Catholics in the Greenville neighborhood of Norwich. It is home to Spanish-speaking people from many Latin American countries and Puerto Rico, as well as congregants from Haiti and Portuguese speakers from Cape Verde. Masses are celebrated in Spanish, Haitian Creole, and English.

Father Washabaugh believes that it is very important for immigrants to have a church that they feel is “our house,” rather than feeling like guests in someone else’s house. “They need a place to sink their roots in,” Washabaugh said. “St. Mary’s sustains the people of Greenville, which is an immigrant population.” 

St. Mary’s is a large, beautiful church that can accommodate 600 people, and contains some of the loveliest stained-glass windows in the diocese. Unlike other parishes with aging populations, St. Mary’s has a relatively young congregation. 

“This parish is looking ahead, not backward,” Washabaugh said. He feels that because of its historic significance and its vital role in the faith life of Greenville, every effort should be made to preserve it. He also sees St. Mary’s complimenting the other churches in the area. “The anchors, the oldest churches, are probably the last ones you want to close.”

In order to preserve the church, St. Mary’s has started a pledge campaign among its parishioners as well as an extensive fundraising effort. However, because repair and restoration will cost well over $1 million, more help is needed. 

Applications have been made for state funding for historical buildings and there are also some community grants which might be available for local institutions that are seen to be vital to the viability of Greenville. 

St. Mary’s is viewed as a community resource center by its Greenville neighbors. For example, during the Covid pandemic, it was used as a community information center. It is also a resource center for those seeking U.S. citizenship. 

Father Washabaugh is hopeful that since St. Mary’s is not only a historical building and Catholic church but is also very involved in the community life of Greenville that state and local funding might be made available to rescue the church.

To help rescue St. Mary’s, please visit the St. Mary’s Restoration Project website:


By Deacon Ben LoCasto

Most Viewed Articles of the Last 30 Days

Calendar of Events

Posted on May 10, 2024 in: Events, Around the Diocese


Calendar of Events
Calendar of Events Sunday, May 19, June 16, July 21 Healing Mass & Healing Service Church of the Holy Family, Hebron 2 PM to 4 PM, the third Sunday of every month Fr. Ray Introvigne and Fr. Michael Phillippino. Music by: Joe D’Ambrose, Jayvee & Tina Mateo. “Remember- Jesus is the Healer!” For more information contact Andrea Hoisl at faithevents@norwichdiocese.net or 860-848-2237 ext. 203 Thursday, May 23  "Open Your Heart" Gala to benefit St. Vincent de Paul Middletown. Thursday, May 23, 2024, 5:30 to ...

Read More

Why Mary is Our 'Perfect Mother'

Posted on May 09, 2024 in: Reflections


Why Mary is Our 'Perfect Mother'
Mary is our heavenly mother and the month of May, dedicated to her, always provides us an opportunity to consider how much our Mama loves us and cares for us. Nowhere is her maternal protection over us more evident than in the numerous visits from heaven that she has made. Each apparition of Our Lady demonstrates that the Queen of the Universe loves us and will do all that she can to aid us and bring us to her Son. Many people know about the marvelous visit of Mary to Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, beginning in May and culminating in October with the great miracle of the ...

Read More

Healing Mass Schedule for 2024

Posted on May 09, 2024 in: Events


Healing Mass Schedule for 2024
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. -Matthew 11:28 Come join us for a Healing Mass & Healing Service 2:00-3:00 pm 3:00-4:00 pm 2 PM the third Sunday of every month with Fr. Ray Introvigne and Fr. Michael Philippino All masses will be celebrated at the Church of the Holy Family 185 Church St, Hebron, CT, 06248 (RT 85) January 21 February 18 March 17 April 21 May 19 June 16 July 21 August 18 September 15 October 20 November 17 December 15 Music by Joe D’Ambrose, and Jayvee & ...

Read More

Monthly Pro-Life Mass to be Held June 1

Posted on May 20, 2024 in: ProLife


Monthly Pro-Life Mass to be Held June 1
The monthly Diocesan Pro-Life Mass will take place at the Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich on Saturday, June 1 at 8:30 A.M. Please join our celebrant Rev. Raymond Introvigne at Mass as we pray to end abortion and for the healing for those who have had an abortion. Following the Mass, the Rachel Rosary will be prayed at the Cathedral. A brunch in the Cathedral Hall will follow the Rosary this month.      

Read More

The Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne Formally Succeeds Archbishop Leonard P. Blair as Archbishop of Hartford
At 6 AM local time (noon in Rome) today, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Archbishop Leonard P. Blair upon reaching the retirement age of 75. At the same time, the Most Reverend Christopher J. Coyne immediately assumed office as sixth Archbishop and 14th Bishop of Hartford. A Mass to mark the inauguration of his ministry will be held on Sunday, May 5th at 11 AM, as the Archbishop takes possession of the Cathedral of St. Joseph, the mother church of the Archdiocese. Upon his succession as chief shepherd of the Archdiocese, Archbishop Coyne said, “After a ...

Read More

The 2024 Annual Catholic Appeal: How to Help

Posted on May 01, 2024 in: ACA


The 2024 Annual Catholic Appeal: How to Help
Together we can all be the loving hands and feet of Jesus Christ!   Thank you for your generosity! Gifts and pledges received: $1,752,541 Progress toward meeting our goal: 64.9% Parishioners who have donated: 10.63%  Please help the ACA reach our goal of $2.7 million!   Watch Bishop Cote's 2024 Annual Catholic Appeal Message:

Read More

Annual Catholic Appeal





Latest Articles
Eucharistic Pilgrimage Brings Christ to the World
90 Years of Loving Service to Others
Banns of Ordination
Catholic Charities 18th Annual Golf Tournament
The Giver of Rosary Beads
Transforming Tragedy into Triumph: A Journey to Forgiveness
Catholic Church Responds to Mental Health Crisis Across the U.S. and Globally
Carlo Acutis to be First Millennial Saint: Pope Francis Recognizes Miracle for Canonization
Recently Added Galleries
Click to view album: Nativity photos
Click to view album: Archbishop Kevin S. Randall - Episcopal Ordination, Nov. 4, 2023
Click to view album: Rite of Election
Click to view album: Mass of Ordination  for Fr. Jacob Ramos
Signup for Weekly Newsletter


    Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich
    201 Broadway
    Norwich, CT 06360-4328
    Phone: 860-887-9294