Our History

The Story of St. Margaret Mary Parish

     In 1963, the Long Hill area of Shelton was still primarily a large mass of rolling hills, sprawling farms and beautiful, wooded areas. Here and there one could see a secluded home, a field of corn or a lazing cow. The now familiar landmarks such as Long Hill School, the First Methodist Church, Long Hill Convalescent Home and Trio Industries were not yet conceived in the mind of man.
    
In that year the Most Reverend Walter W. Curtis, Bishop of Bridgeport, decreed that a new parish should be established, and that it should be erected on a piece of property atop Long Hill.
    
He further decreed that it should be placed under the patronage of Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin, whose feast is celebrated on October 17th.
    
The boundaries of the new parish were prescribed in a document authorized by Bishop Curtis and presented to the first pastor, Reverend William Fletcher.
    
The first Mass was celebrated in the gymnasium of Sunnyside School on River Road. During the following week the Ladies Guild and Men's League were organized.
    
Ground was broken for the new church/school before the winter snows frosted the ground. By the spring of 1964 the structure was taking shape. By summertime the ground was being landscaped and furnishings installed.
    
In September of 1964, one year after the establishment of the new Parish, Mass was celebrated for the first time in the new church. A few days later Saint Margaret Mary Parochial School opened.
     In 1968 the Reverend Philip Brady succeeded Reverend William Fletcher as pastor of Saint Margaret Mary. In his first pastoral assignment, Father Brady was asked to solve the dilemna of a small parish with limited resources and staggering mortgage debt. At approximately the same time, our nation was victim of an unparalleled economic disaster, accentuated by spiraling inflation in the face of dollar devaluation and record unemployment. It was a burden that Saint Margaret Mary School could not survive. 
     In June of 1973 the parochial school was closed. It was an agonizing but necessary decision in light of economic realities. The closing presented yet another problem, that of what to do with the large empty structure. The church-school-convent complex proved to be a not easily marketable product.
     Finally, in September of 1975, God answered the prayers of Saint Margaret Mary parishioners. The City of Shelton purchased the complex for use as a regional school for special needs children. Proceeds from the sale were used to eliminate the mortgage debt and establish a building fund for a new church to be situated on a piece of ground behind the original structure.
     Ground was broken in November, 1975. Construction proceeded throughout the winter. In the meantime, Mass was celebrated in the gymnasium of Long Hill School, much the same as it had been in Sunnyside school some twelve years earlier.
     In 1976 Mass was celebrated in the new church for the first time on Dedication Day, Sunday, June 27th.

 

 
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