St. Francis of Assisi Church's History

  • 1778 First recorded visit by a cleric to Belfast. Father Cheverus, an Indian missionary.
  • 1827 Visit by Bishop Fenwick via the ship “Patent” to Belfast.  He is the first to find Catholics present in town. Father Denis Ryan of Whitefield assumed charge of Belfast Catholics.
  • 1835 Arrival of William S. Brannigan in Belfast. He was the leading Catholic in Belfast at the time and became the parish’s earliest and most important benefactor.
  • 1851 Building on Primrose Street owned by Mr. Brannigan becomes the first known Catholic church in town. Herbert Blodgett, born in Belfast, became the town’s first ordained priest (1877).
  • 1860 Belfast is attached to Ellsworth as a mission.
  • 1877 Winterport is made a parish with Belfast one of its missions. Johnson’s Hall serves as the chapel until erection of a church. The first Confirmation conferred in Belfast occurred on October 7.
  • 1878 Mr. Brannigan donates a lot on which to build a church.
  • 1891 Construction begins on the church. Mr. Brannigan bears the cost of the building;  the parishioners pay for the furnishings. It is dedicated by Bishop Healy, Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1891.
  • 1894 Belfast becomes a parish by itself and Rev. Maurice J. O’Brien is appointed first pastor, June 3rd. A beginning is made on the building of a rectory which is occupied the following year.
  • 1895 The Catholic population in Belfast reaches 100.
  • 1901 Funeral services for Mr. Brannigan are held on January 19. A church is built on Islesboro; the first Mass is said August 4th.
  • 1926 A bell is installed in the church tower.
  • 1963 Stained glass windows are installed in the church by Fr. Coyne.
  • 1986 Parish Center is dedicated on January 12 by Bishop Edward O’Leary of Portland.

Rev. Fr. Maurice J. O'Brien1894-1895
Rev. Fr. John E. Kealy1895-1905
Rev. Fr. Herman H. Hamakers1905-1911
Rev. Fr. Denis J. McCabe1911-1913
Mission Church1913-1917
Rev. Fr. Timothy J. O'Mahoney1917-1926
Rev. Fr. James F. Savage1926-1940
Rev. Fr. Charles I. Brown1940-1956
Rev. Fr. James J. Tomlinson1956-1959
Rev. Fr. Thomas F. Coyne1959-1983
Rev. Fr. Paul M. Pare1983-1991
Rev. Fr. Christian F. Roy1991-1993
Rev. Fr. Marcel Robitaille1993
Rev. Fr. Raymond Richards1993-1997
Rev. Fr. Costanzo J. Piselli1997-2005
Rev. Fr. Joseph J. Koury2005-2008
Rev. Fr. Mark Reinhardt2009-2012
Rev. Fr. Richard Malo2012-2016
Rev. Fr. Robert Vaillancourt2016-Present