Bath, New Brunswick
Erected in 1958
On June 16, 1914, the first sod was turned for St. Joseph’s church in Bath. Michael Sullivan donated the original site, and additional land was later purchased. The contract for construction went to Charles Bowlin of Woodstock. Father Bradley had bequeathed a sum of money in his will to build a rectory in the village, but the money was used to build the church. In 1959 Katie Keenan willingly offered her home for the rectory. The first mass was celebrated by Rev. Richard J. Coughlin in September 1914. A temporary altar was erected on one side of the church with the congregation numbering 58 sitting in the sanctuary.
In June 1958 Most Rev. A. B. Leverman, Bishop of Saint John, erected the new parish of St. Joseph’s in Bath. The new parish was made up of the missions of Saint Anthony’s in Juniper and St. Bartholomew in Clearview. The first pastor was Rev. J. P. Quinn. The mission of Clearview still stands on the banks of the St. John River – a memorial to the early pioneers who came to this area in the 1800’s. The church is maintained and Mass is celebrated on the Feast of Bartholomew, August 24. Today St. Joseph’s and its missions along with St. John the Evangelist, Johnville, and St. Leo, Florenceville-Bristol, are served by one priest, who resides in the Village of Bath.
St. Anthony of Padua
Juniper, New Brunswick
The first church in Juniper, St. Anthony of Padua, was blessed by Most Rev. Patrick A. Bray, C.J.M., Bishop of Saint John, on October 6, 1940. The church measured 60′ x 30′ and was constructed of wood. The bell was blessed the same day. The first Mass was sung by Father Masse, O.F.M. The church was served by the Franciscan Fathers from Aroostock until 1948. Before 1940 Mass was celebrated in the train station. In 1948 St. Anthony’s became a mission of St. John the Evangelist, Johnville. The church was destroyed by fire in November 1962. In 1963 a new church was erected and St. Anthony’s became a mission of the new parish of St. Joseph, Bath. This church was also destroyed by fire on March 8, 1984. The United Church in Juniper extended an invitiation to Father MacLean to celebrate Mass there until such time as a new church was built. This church was completed in September of that same year. With the help of a government grant and donations of lumber from Maritime Lumber in Woodstock, the Irving’s in Saint John and Juniper Lumber, a new church rose from the ashes, on the same foundation. The church was blessed by Most Rev. J. Edward Troy, Bishop of Saint John, in the spring of 1987. The present church in Juniper serves about 35 families.
St. John the Evangelist
Johnville, New Brunswick
Erected in 1864
The Parish of Johnville was established under the guidance of Bishop John Sweeny. In 1860 he petitioned the government of New Brunswickfor a large tract of land on which he could bring families to settle. In 1861 the first survey was taken of 10,000 acres of land divided into 100-acre lots. The settlement was named Johnville by Rev. T. L. Connolly in tribute to Bishop Sweeny who had worked so diligently to establish the settlement.
On a 100-acre parcel of land, provided by the government for $400, was to be built a church, rectory, hall, convent and school. Two cemeteries were also established. The first open-air Mass was offered in the wilderness in 1862 by Rev. T. L. Connolly near the spot where the present church stands. Under the watchful supervision of Rev. W.F. Chapman, a second church was started in 1876. A sum of money had been bequeathed to the parish and used toward the building of the larger church named St. John the Evangelist. Donations were received of lumber, nails and labour. The building was 40′ x 60′ with a 12′ x 20′ chancel and a 20′ x 22′ sacristy. By January 1883 the construction on the outside was completed. In the interior the side aisles were 9′, the five Gothic arches rose 30′ to the apexes, and the church interior was painted blue with white fresco trim. The woodwork was pine.
During the time of Father William Dollard (grand-nephew of Bishop Dollard) the course of the highway was changed to run diagonally across the parish farm and the entrance of the church was changed to correspond. A vestry was built was built at the rear, an alcove added for the altar, a bell tower and a spire and cross were erected and the gallery was extended. The Way of the Cross, erected on January 25, 1888, was painted on 30 x 20 canvas and framed. In 1904 Tara Hall was constructed and soon became the social centre of the community. In September 1924 the first three members of the Sisters of Charity came to Johnville. They lived for a time in the Charles Riley house until a permanent home, Holy Name Convent, was built in 1927 and opened on January 2, 1928.
In 1941 to C.Y.O. was organized in Johnville. The Catholic Women’s League since it’s inception has prospered and contributes much to the spiritual and temporal affairs of the parish. Among their many activities are the Harvest Supper, picnic supper, wedding receptions, reception for th RCIA, graduations, first Holy Communion, Confirmation, receptions following funerals, quilting, and a variety of other activities. The first Johnville picnic was held in August 1878 under the sponsorship of Father Chapman who needed to raise funds to cover the cost of building the new church. The Johnville picnic is an event that continues to attract thousands of people from far and wide for a day of fun, food, and celebration of heritage.
A letter from Rev. Francis Bradley to Bishop John Sweeny dated May 22, 1891, states that after his appointment as pastor of the new parish of Florenceville, he visited and celebrated Mass in all of the churches: Williamstown, Newburg, Hartland, River do Chute, NB and River de Chute, Maine. A fire swept through Florenceville destroying most homes except the church and rectory in 1911. Father Bradley had served Florenceville until 1917. As the population declined, it became expedient for the priest to reside in Lakeville. The rectory was no longer needed and it was therefore sold to Andrew and Laura McCain in 1918. Florenceville became a mission of Lakeville. Due to the church building being no longer in use, Mass was celebrated in the home of parishoners. In 1938 the church building was being vandalized, deeming it necessary for Bishop Bray to have it demolished.
On July 1, 1962, rev. E. J. Higgins, pastor of Lakeville, planned for a new St. Leo’s Church in Florenceville. On September 26, 1962, the new church was blessed by Bishop A. B. Leverman. The wooden church was 50 x 25′ and provided seating for 120 persons. Bishop Leverman blessed the exterior of the church, then entered it to bless the interior, as well as the altar. Dr. R. B. Higgins and Mrs. Higgins donated the Stations of the Cross. In 1968 St. Leo’s became a mission of Johnville.
In 1978 father R. F. MacLean received permission from Bishop Arthur Gilbert to extend St. Leo’s Church. The property was donated by A.D. McCain. In 1987 the cemetary was enlarged with the acquisition of new land from the A.D. McCain family and on June 4, 1987, Bishop J. Edward Troy blessed the cemetery.
Many new families moved to this area because of employment opportunities at McCain’s. A new church was built and opened in 1999.