St. Bernard Church's History


      The first Roman Catholic Church was built in Rockland in 1858. St. David's was dedicated by the Most Reverend Bishop Bacon who was assisted by the First pastor, Father Andrew Barron. Father Barron remained pastor until 1866.

      The first church was constructed at a cost of $5,000 and was located on the corner of Park Street and Broadway. For the next thirty years, St. David's thrived while serving the spiritual needs of the many Catholics who lived in the mid-coast area. Serving as pastors during that period were the Reverends Louis L'Hiver, Edward McSweeney, and James Peterson.

      A new pastor arrived in Rockland in 1888. Reverend Richard Phelan was only here a short time when fire destroyed St. David's. The priest lost no time in an effort to erect a new church. In May, 1889, about two months after the fire, the foundation for a new church was laid. August of the same year saw the completion of the new building which was renamed St. Bernard's. The dedication was held on August 20, 1889, with the Most Reverend James Augustus Healy, Bishop of Portland, conducting the service.

      The newly built St. Bernard's was a fine structure. The architecture was plain but handsome. It was situated on Park Street on the same lot as the old church. St. Bernard's was larger than the old St. David's so the cost of construction was much greater and was estimated at $15,000. This building would serve Catholics from near and far for the next eighty-six years.

      During the eighty-six year period, much was done to enhance the spiritual well-being of the parishioners. In 1915, St. James' Mission in Thomaston was constructed. In addition, the Sisters of the Atonement Convent was established, and a number of structural changes were made. With each new priest came a number of changes at St. Bernard's.

      It was while Father William Nelligan was serving as Pastor of St. Bernard's that plans for a new church and parish hall were formulated. The present parish hall was built prior to the construction of the new church.

      Reverend Leo Goudreau was named administrator in 1973 because of the illness of Father Nelligan. Following the death of Father Nelligan in 1974, a building fund drive was started with the unveiling of plans for a new church. The ground breaking took place on October 14, 1974. The first mass was said on June 15, 1975, and the dedication of the newly built St. Bernard's was held on August 20 of the same year. Father Goudreau was named pastor in December of 1975. In addition to a new church and parish hall, a new rectory, convent, and social action building were constructed through the efforts of Father Goudreau.


Pastors/Administrators:
Rev. Fr. Andrew Barron1857-1866
Rev. Fr. Michael O'Brien1866-1868
Rev. Fr. Lois A. L'Hiver1868-1872
Rev. Fr. Edward McSweeney1872-1874
Rev. Fr. James Peterson1874-1888
Rev. Fr. Richard W. Pheland1888-1906
Rev. Fr. James A. Flynn1907-1939
Rev. Fr. James F. Savage1940-1948
Rev. Fr. Charles F. Bennett1948-1958
Rev. Fr. George W. Goudreau (Administrator)1950-1959
Rt. Rev. Msgr. H Boltz1959
Rev. Fr. David P. Surette1959-1965
Rev. Fr. Leopold Nicknair (Curate)1958-
Rev. Fr. William J. Nelligan1966-1974
Rev. Fr. Leo Goudreau (Administrator)1974-1975
Rev. Fr. Leo Goudreau1975-1986
Rev. Fr. Christian E. Roy1986-1991
Rev. Fr. Philip A. Tracey (Parochial Vicar)1986-
Rev. Fr. Valmont R. Gilbert1991-1999
Rev. Fr. Mark Reinhardt (Administrator)1999
Rev. Fr. Mark Reinhardt

2000-2012

Rev. Fr. Richard Malo2012-2016
Rev. Fr. Robert Vaillancourt2016-Present