St. Ambrose History

St. Ambrose History

St. Ambrose Church was a mission of St. Mary’s Parish in Bath beginning in 1866, and later became a mission of St. Joseph’s Parish in Gardiner in 1889. Mass was held in individual homes until increased numbers required a larger space. Mass was then moved to the local Masonic Hall. In 1889, construction of the church was completed at a cost of $3,500 and a capacity of 120 people. Some Protestant brothers and sisters in faith from the Richmond area gave $200 of the pledges. E.D. Lewis of Gardiner designed the church. James Hodgkins, also of Gardiner, was overseer of the construction. However the church was built like an old-fashioned barn raising with townspeople, both Catholic and Protestant, taking part. The mural of angels over the sanctuary was a gift from the Russian Orthodox Church. The dedication Mass was held on December 15, 1889. This Mass was attended by all religious denominations. In fact, there were more Protestants in attendance than Catholics! Due to the failing health of the pastor of St. Joseph’s in Gardiner in 1924, the mission was attached to Sacred Heart Parish in Hallowell. Mass had been said once a month up to that time, but the Hallowell pastor generously began weekly Masses for the parish. In 1926 St. Ambrose became a separate parish and was given the mission church in Pejepscot as well. The house next to the church was purchased as a rectory at that time. Pejepscot remained part of our parish until 1935 when it was attached to St. Cyril in Lisbon Falls. St. Leo mission was built under the direction of our pastor, F. Lionel McKeone, in 1966 and remained attached to St. Ambrose until 2001. In July of 2001, St. Ambrose became a sister parish of Our Lady of the Rosary in Sabattus and its mission, St. Francis in Greene. In November of 2001 the handicapped ramp and new automatic door was built entirely by parishioner labor. Parishioner Kathy Gustin-Williams, a civil engineer, designed it. In July of 2002 ground was broken on the addition to our church. Design and construction oversight was provided by parishioner John Hurley Sr. This addition, dedicated to Fr. Paul Pare, was financed and built by the parishioners of St. Ambrose.

The priests who have served as pastor or administrator of this parish are Fr. Charles Biglin, Fr. William K. McDonough, Fr. Thomas B. Henderson, Fr. Rollin Martineau, Fr. Andrew V. Kelleher, Fr. Paul D. Gleason, Fr. Lionel McKeone, Fr. Lucien Grondin, Fr. Robert Martel, Fr. Daniel M. Nee, Fr. Ronald N. Schmit, Fr. Paul M. Pare, Fr. Maurice Morin, Fr. George Pelletier, Fr. Angelo Levasseur, Fr. Robert Parent, Fr. Stephen Concannon, and Fr. Frank J. Murray.

In 2005 Bishop Richard J. Malone's Pastoral Letter "Telling Anew the Story of Jesus Christ set the stage for the former parishes of Cluster 15 to plan a new future together. After much work, communication, compromise, and planning the historical “joining” day of July 1, 2009 happened. More than 200 years of parish histories came together. On this date, St. Ambrose Parish became part of the new All Saints Parish comprised of St. John the Baptist Church, St. Mary Church, St.Charles Borromeo Church, St. Ambrose Church, St. Patrick Church, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, and St. Katharine Drexel Summer Chapel.