In 2021, the Manchester parishes of Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Saint James were unified into a single Catholic community under the guidance of the Archdiocese of Hartford. Now we celebrate our shared history as one larger Manchester Catholic community, and the unique path that brought us here!
The history of our combined parish begins in the mid-1800's.
Father James Campbell became Manchester's first resident Catholic pastor, establishing St. Bridget Parish in 1869. At the same time, the success of the Cheney silk mills brought a large number of Irish immigrants to Manchester for employment and with them came an increased need within the Church. The Cheney brothers donated land on Main Street for the construction of a new Catholic Church, and the cornerstone of St. James Church was blessed in 1874. Construction was completed, and St. James was blessed and received its first resident priest--Father Daniel Haggerty--in 1876.
By the turn of the century, the St. Bridget Parish realized their own need for a much larger church to serve their parishioners. The new St. Bridget Church was built and blessed by Bishop Michael A. Tierney in 1903.
As part of its growing mission, in 1922 St. James Parish dedicated a brick school and convent on Park Street behind the Main Street church. Three decades later, in order to meet the needs of the growing Catholic community in town, Archbishop Henry J. O'Brien authorized the construction of a new church building on Adams St. in Manchester. The Church of the Assumption was dedicated in 1954, and then made into its own parish in 1955.
In 1958, as the Catholic population of the town kept growing, an additional new parish--St. Bartholomew--was created from the territories of St. Bridget and St. James. In 1961, Assumption School opened its doors. And the full church, school, and convent at St. Bartholomew were officially dedicated in 1962. By 1970, however, St. Bart's school was closed, the former classrooms converted to offices and religious education spaces.
As the needs of parishioners evolved over the intervening decades, the Archdiocese of Hartford helped guide the disparate parishes of Manchester towards a more unified Catholic mission. In 2015, Assumption School closed its doors.
In 2017, St. James and Assumption unified as St. James Parish. At the same time, St. Bridget and St. Bartholomew unified as the Parish of St. Teresa of Calcutta.
Finally, in 2021 the two parishes became one in order to best serve the faith needs and Catholic mission of the Manchester Catholic Community. One Community. One Parish. One Mission. One Faith.
We can't wait to see where our path takes us next!