OLD Saint Norbert, Hardwick Vermont

OLD Saint Norbert, Hardwick Vermont

HISTORY: St. Norbert History

In the 1880’s Father Luger Marceau from Notre Dame des Victoires parish in St. Johnsbury brought the Sacraments to Hardwick.  Father Marceau offered the first Mass ever celebrated in Hardwick in 1890 at the home of John E. and Anna Sullivan and their children on West Church Street. This house is now occupied by Laurent and Teresa Bellavance.

In 1897 Father James P. Rand, pastor of St. Theresa Parish in Hyde Park, was assigned the Hardwick area as a mission.  He celebrated Mass in several public buildings as did his successor, Father Norbert Lachance, who was named pastor of St. Theresa in 1901. Father Lachance rented the Advent Church building on Mill Street where he celebrated Mass every other Sunday. Father Lachance also celebrated Mass in the Knights of Pythias Hall and the Hardwick Town House on Church Street which in those days was also known as “the opera house.”

The first church building
 The Catholic population of Hardwick increased and in 1901, Father Lachance’s plans to build it on a high plot of land at the corner of S. Main and Upper Cherry streets were
approved. It was dedicated to St. Norbert in tribute to Father Lachance. The new church with an 80-foot steeple was blessed in 1902. In years to come, St. Michael became a mission of the Hardwick parish.

Our current St. Norberts
In October 1974, a fire of unknown origin destroyed St. Norbert Church. The construction of the new church was overseen by a new pastor, Father Julien LaFlamme, who years earlier had been pastor of St. Michael Parish. The new St. Norbert Church was dedicated and consecrated by Bishop Marshall on June 6, 1977.  The beautiful stained-glass windows in the new church had been salvaged from the fire ruins of the old church, thanks to the skills of a talented craftsman.

St. Norbert Parish celebrated its centenary in 2002.

Pastors from the early years:

  • Father Norbert Lachance, 1901-1911
  • Msgr. William Crosby, 1911-1915
  • Father John Kennedy, 1915-1919
  • Father Charles Regan, 1919-1920
  • Father Arthur LeVeer, 1920-1946
  • Father Raymond Blais, 1946-1949
  • Father Patrick Hannon, 1949-1951
  • Father Leo Gingras, 1951-1964
  • Father John Shortill, 1964-1967
  • Father Joseph Pagliuca, 1967-1975.

OLD SAINT MICHAEL, Greensboro bend, Vermont

OLD SAINT MICHAEL, Greensboro bend, Vermont

HISTORY: St. Michael Church

In 1891, St. Michael’s Church was built on French Hill in Greensboro Bend.
It was first a mission to the St. Johnsbury parish. At that time 319 people were listed as members of the mission. Mass was celebrated at St. Michael on the second Sunday of each month. Seven Greensboro children made their First Communion in 1892. For a time in the 1890’s St. Michael was a mission of St. Paul’s Parish in Barton.  Father Joseph Turcot of St. Paul’s Parish baptized many Greensboro, Walden and Hardwick babies. 

In 1954, St. Michael became a parish and Father Raymond Cronin was the first pastor.
A rectory was built across the street from the church. Our Lady of Fatima then became a mission of St. Michael Parish. A new St. Michael Church was built in 1967 while Father John Ledoux was pastor.  St. Michael Parish had four more pastors, Father Julien LaFlamme, Father Leonidas Laroche, Father John Hamilton and Father Donald Ritchie.

In 1991, St. Michael Parish marked 100 years of service to its spiritual flock with Bishop John Marshall as chief celebrant at a special Mass.  In 1993, due to the shortage of priests, St. Michael was yoked with St. Norbert and Our Lady of Fatima in a Tri-Parish configuration under the spiritual leadership of one pastor based at St. Norbert. Father Ritchie was the last priest to serve as pastor of St. Michael as a singular parish.

HISTORY: Our Lady of Fatima

Father Patrick Hannon became pastor of St. Norbert Parish and St Michael Mission in 1949 and in 1950 Bishop Edward Ryan appointed Father Robert Hammond, a newly-ordained priest, as curate at St. Norbert. After consultation with Bishop Ryan, Father Hannon and Father Hammond conducted a census in the Craftsbury population and found there were enough Catholics to justify the celebration of Mass there on a regular basis.

Father Hannon celebrated the first Mass ever offered in Craftsbury.
It was held in the auditorium at Craftsbury Academy with about 100 in attendance. Father Hannon then rented the Craftsbury Grange Hall where Mass was celebrated every Sunday. Catechism classes were also held at the Grange Hall. During the summer of 1950, the Grange Hall was filled to overflowing because many summer residents attended the Masses.

Bishop Ryan approved planning for construction of a new church in Craftsbury.
In January 1951 property between the Grange Hall and the Craftsbury Graded School was purchased. In April 1951, Father Hannon was reassigned to another parish and Father Leo Gingras was appointed by Bishop Ryan to succeed him in Hardwick. The new church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima was built in the summer of 1951. It was completed on Nov. 8, 1951 and shortly after, Bishop Ryan came to bless the new chapel and celebrate a High Mass. In the summer of 1952, Father Hammond was reassigned to Notre Dame des Victoires in St. Johnsbury and Father Robert Whalen was named to succeed him in Hardwick. Father Whalen remained for two years. He and Father Hammond are the only priests who ever served as curates at St. Norbert and its mission churches.


Parish Snapshot

St. Norbert

  • Founded 1890 
  • Situated in Hardwick, Vermont
  • Average Number of attendees: 
    Sat. 4pm: 60; Sun. 8:30am: 70

St. Michael

  • Founded: 1954
  • Situated in
    Greensboro, Vermont
  • Average Number of attendees: 
    Su. 10:30am: 40n

Our Lady of Fatima

  • Founded: 1950
  • Situated in Craftsbury, Vermont
  • Number of attendees:
    Summers Only: 45