JACKMAN, Maine — In recent years, parishioners at St. Anthony of Padua in Jackman have met countless challenges with resiliency, and sorrow with steadfast hope. As a result of tireless effort and faith, their belief that shared sacrifice and staying together as a church community would lead to better days is becoming a reality.
In June 2010, the parish’s statue of Jesus, valued at $55,000, was dragged off its mount and across U.S. Route 201 by a vehicle, receiving serious damage. The statue’s arms and nose broke off and the cement base was cracked.
The incident occurred just months after deterioration and rising heating costs had led to the parish’s decision to close St. Anthony Church on 370 Main St. in Jackman.
“It truly was a tough time for this community,” said the Rev. Kevin J. Martin, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish, in a Diocese press release. “St. Anthony Church closed which was so difficult for many parishioners, and then their beautiful statue was defaced as it stood in front of the closed church.”
Now, parishioners who have worshiped at the American Legion Hall for four years and lived through these difficult moments dreaming of a new church and the return of their beloved statue are being rewarded. On Tuesday, Nov.r 26, the statue of Jesus was returned to Main Street in Jackman. After a long restoration process, the statue shines anew, like the spirit of those who wished for its return. Standing behind the statue is the new St. Faustina Church of St. Anthony Parish, which will be dedicated by Bishop Richard J. Malone at the 11 a.m. Mass Sunday, Dec. 15.
“I am immensely grateful for the many sacrifices and contributions that have been made by both local people and our friends and family members from out of town that have helped make all of this possible,” said Father Martin.
Fundraising efforts by St. Anthony of Padua Parish forge ahead. If individuals or businesses would like to make a contribution designated toward St. Faustina Church of St. Anthony Parish in Jackman, please contact Fr. Kevin J. Martin at 695-2262, or mail the donation to St. Faustina Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 457, Greenville 04441. Memorial donations can be made in memory of a relative or friend, or in honor of a birthday or anniversary.