Faith

Feast Day Celebration in St. Agatha to include unveiling of painting created by local priest

ST. AGATHA, Maine — St. Agatha’s life is one that has inspired many during the pandemic, particularly in the Maine church and town that bear her name.

 “St. Agatha remained faithful to God and persevered to the bitter end. She remains an example of faithfulness during trial and can intercede for us, asking God for the grace of perseverance.”

 The words of Fr. Alex Maria Doss, HGN, a parochial vicar who serves at St. Agatha Church, echoed the sentiment of the parishioners and community members of St. Agatha, a town of under 800 residents in Aroostook County found just miles from the U.S./Canadian border.

 There is great pride in their patroness, the very reason for a special celebration set for St. Agatha Church, located on 379 Main Street, on Monday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. The Mass will honor the Feast Day of St. Agatha, which is on Feb. 5. During the gathering, a new oil painting of St. Agatha will be unveiled. The 6- by 4-foot painting is the creation of Fr. Alex, a gifted painter, and will be placed in the church for permanent display. Those in attendance will also receive a small copy of the painting with a prayer included. At the Mass, special prayers will be offered for those who have bravely served as nurses during the pandemic as well as anyone who have been affected by breast cancer.

 “St. Agatha is the patron saint of breast cancer patients and nurses,” said Fr. Alex. “Therefore, during the Mass, we will be offering a pink candle light memorial service for the breast cancer patients and those who are deceased of breast cancer. We also will be praying for all our nurses who selflessly work hard during this pandemic to serve our communities. Following the Mass, a short film about St. Agatha will be screened for those in attendance.”

Fr. Alex has served at Our Lady of the Valley Parish, of which St. Agatha is a part, since 2017. It did not take long for Fr. Alex, a native of India, to realize the special connection between St. Agatha and the people in the parish and town. A connection that has grown ever deeper during the last year.  

 “There will always be times in our lives when everything appears to be falling apart and we are tempted to lose our faith in God. It is during those moments of difficulty where we need to cry out to God in our anguish and ask him for help. One powerful intercessor in this regard is St. Agatha. She refused to yield into the lustful desires of a Roman magistrate and was imprisoned, beaten, and subject to excruciating torture,” said Fr. Alex. “She was finally taken to prison where she died while praying. If anyone knows about pain, it is St. Agatha. As we recall her life, we hope that in whatever trial we endure, our faith will not be shaken.”

 St. Agatha, Maine, was originally called “Lac à Menon.” As the town grew, the people in the area petitioned Bishop James Healy to have their own church. The bishop consented to the request and St. Agatha Church was built in 1889. Ten years later, the town of St. Agatha was incorporated.

 For more information about the Mass on Feb. 8, including how to attend, call 207-543-7447 on Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and noon. You can also email ourladyofthevalley@portlanddiocese.org.

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