FORT KENT, Maine — St. John Vianney Parish received the Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce Longevity Award at the chamber’s annual dinner on Friday, Jan. 24. The award was presented to the parish’s pastor, the Rev. James L. Nadeau.
St. John Vianney Parish, which includes St. Louis Church on 26 East Main St. in Fort Kent, was selected for meeting the spiritual and financial needs of parishioners and the community for more than 140 years.
“Over the years, St. Louis Church has undergone a number of changes that included renovations, the replacement of the rectory and the installation of the steeple,” said Town Manager Donald Guimond during the presentation of the award, according to a Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland press release. “The church has also suffered from a number of natural disasters, such as fires and flooding. Under the leadership of Father Nadeau, the parish continued to meet the religious needs of its parishioners during these very stressful times.”
The parish’s foresight over the years has aided the community in many ways, including its work in establishing the People’s Benevolent Hospital in 1952, and by providing religious education to youths and adults, as well as to the school community at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
“Today, St. Louis Church continues to evolve with the times and needs of the region,” said Guimond, in the press release. “Under the auspices of Father Nadeau, the parish continues to serve the religious needs of the entire northwestern part of the St. John Valley. In addition, individuals suffering fiscal hardship can receive nourishment from the food pantry, clothing from Good Shepherd Ministries, and at times, direct financial assistance.”
Good Shepherd Ministries, a shop sponsored by the parish at 273 Main St., provides clothing and small household items at affordable prices. The parish’s Social Justice & Peace Commission uses the money raised to assist other individuals and families in need.
“This church has served our region in a multitude of fashions depending on the needs at the time,” said Guimond. “St. John Vianney Parish has provided visionary service over the past 143 years, but has always remained true and focused on its core mission of providing for the religious needs of its parishioners.”