JACKMAN, Maine — With a major winter storm expected to move through the area this weekend, the Rev. Kevin J. Martin, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Jackman, has announced that the Mass for the Dedication of the new St. Faustina Church will be moved to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Sunday Mass will be held at the usual time of 11 a.m. on Dec. 15.
The inclement weather also will prevent Bishop Richard J. Malone, Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Portland, from celebrating Saturday’s Dedication Mass. Bishop Malone delegated the responsibility to Father Martin in an official letter.
“In view of the ‘altogether special circumstances’ (Ceremonial for Bishops, no. 867) of a major snow storm forecast for Western Maine the weekend of December 14 and 15, 2013, I hereby delegate you by special mandate to preside at the rites of dedication of the new church and altar of St. Faustina Church in the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua, Jackman, Maine,” wrote Bishop Malone to Fr. Martin.
By delegating Father Martin to celebrate a ritual usually presided over by a bishop, Bishop Malone is acknowledging his desire to not delay the dedication of this new church in which the Eucharist, the central act of worship for a Catholic community, will thereafter be celebrated regularly, including the approaching solemn feast of Christmas.
The parishioners in Jackman are ready to celebrate after meeting and conquering countless challenges in recent years. In June 2010, the parish’s beloved statue of Jesus, valued at $55,000, was dragged off its mount and across U.S. Route 201 by a vehicle, sustaining serious damage. The incident occurred just months after deterioration and rising heating costs led to the parish’s decision to close St. Anthony Church in Jackman. Parishioners have worshipped at the American Legion Hall on Main Street for four years.
Saturday will mark the culmination of a journey of steadfast faith for a resilient parish community. On November 26, the restored statue of Jesus was placed in front of the new St. Faustina Church, and organizers and parishioners continue to excitedly prepare for the Dedication Mass.
“Please express my affection, gratitude and promise of prayer to your good people,” wrote Bishop Malone. “Congratulations, Father Kevin, on this wonderful moment in the life of your parish.”