Our History

The story of the Catholic Church in New Milford began over one hundred and forty years ago. It is a story about people, a people of faith, a people of faith on a journey. The following are some milestones in that journey.
 

1840’s

  • Saw the arrival of the first Catholic families to New Milford. Some of these new families were from Poland.

 

1850’s

  • The Rev. James Smyth of New Haven, and the Rev. Fathers Brady and Ryan were early missionary priests who attended the faithful of the village of New Milford.

 

1853

  • The Rev. John Smith of Falls Village began celebrating Mass in homes and continued to do so for four years

 

1858

  • New Milford was made part of the Newtown parish under the Rev. Father Lenihan

 

1860

  • Fr. Lenihan bought property on Elm Street that included a sawmill and lumberyard.

 

1861

  • A transformation was made in the building and property which was dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, and it continued under the supervision of the parish priest of Newtown for ten years.

 

1871

  • On May 21, St. Francis Xavier of New Milford became a new parish of the Diocese of Hartford. Rev. Patrick G. McKenna became its first Pastor.

 

1873

  • St Francis Xavier Church was built and dedicated, replacing the old remodeled sawmill.

 

1886

  • The church was enlarged. A spire was built, and the interior of the church was renovated.

 

1890

  • A mission church was erected in Washington.

 

1892

  • A mission church was built in Brookfield and dedicated to St. Joseph.

 

1896

  • The house at 49 East St was purchased as a rectory.

 

1897

  • A new bell was installed on the church. St. Francis Cemetery was established.

 

1900

  • The church saw further expansion; the sanctuary and sacristy were altered.

 

1925

  • Fr. Joseph King purchased the old Treadwell home on Elm Street for the purpose of establishing a Catholic School

 

1928

  • On Sept. 2, St Francis Elementary School opened its doors and was staffed by the Sisters of St. Francis from Allegheny, New York.

 

1940

  • St Joseph Mission in Brookfield became a separate parish

 

1946-1957

  • Additions were made to St. Francis School

 

1957

  • The sanctuary of the church was renovated and decorated.

 

1968

  • The site of the present St. Francis Church was purchased by Fr. Robert Sanders

 

1970 

  • Ground Breaking for the New Church took place.

 

1971

  • On Sept. 11, the new St. Francis Xavier Church was dedicated by Archbishop Whealon.

 

1988

  • Archbishop Whealon announces that St. Francis will establish a mission in New Milford. Rev. Thomas Ptaszynski was assigned to establish the new Mission in the southern portion of New Milford.

 

1988

  • Fr. Ronald Genua Becomes New Pastor.

 

1989  

  •  The boundaries of the new Mission were established and the new mission was named Our Lady of the Lakes.

 

1990

  • December 8, Our Lady of the Lakes was established as a new Parish in New Milford. Fr. Tom Ptaszynski is installed by Fr. Genua as the first Pastor of Our Lady of the Lakes

 

1991

  • On may 19, Pentecost Sunday, St. Francis Xavier Parish celebrated one hundred and twenty years of a faith journey through the year, on it’s way to a second century of Faith in New Milford.

 

1997

  • St Francis of Xavier Church becomes a Franciscan parish with the arrival of Fr. Mario and Fr. Jack from the Immaculate Conception Province. Fr. Mario becomes new Pastor.

 

2004 

  • Fr. Michael MacInnis and Fr. Tom Washburn, from the Immaculate Conception Province arrive at St. Francis Xavier Parish. Fr. Michael MacInnis becomes new pastor.

 

2010

  • Fr. Lawrence Parent becomes new Pastor.