WATERVILLE — The Rev. Joseph Daniels, pastor of Corpus Christi Roman Catholic parish will be reassigned Aug. 1 to parishes in Farmington and Jay, after serving four years in the city.

Daniels is one of 10 Maine priests whose reassignment was announced Monday by Bishop Robert Deeley of the Diocese of Portland.

The Rev. Daniel J. Baillargeon, a former parochial vicar at Corpus Christi, who has been serving at St. Paul the Apostle in Bangor, will return to Waterville as pastor, replacing Daniels.

Daniels said Monday that it is always difficult to leave a parish.

“You leave behind people of great warmth and spirit and great love for the church everywhere you go and you certainly do miss them when you leave,” he said.

Corpus Christi includes Notre Dame and Sacred Heart churches in Waterville, St. Helena Church in Belgrade Lakes and St. John the Baptist Church in Winslow.

Daniels has been appointed pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Farmington and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Jay.

“This is a completely new territory and area of the state for me,” Daniels said Monday. “I look forward to following Father Thomas Lequin. They are two very distinctive, very different communities of a different character and I think the focus at both St. Rose Lima in Jay and St. Joseph in Farmington is serving the people generously and well.”

Lequin, a member of the Society of Jesus order, has been administrator at St. Joseph and St. Rose of Lima. He will retire from active ministry July 1.

In addition to Corpus Christi, Daniels has served at parishes in Presque Isle, Lewiston, Bar Harbor, Bridgton and Fryeburg. He also has been chaplain for Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph College.

In another transfer, the Rev. Paul Sullivan has been appointed parochial vicar at St. Michael Parish, which includes Sacred Heart Church of Hallowell, St. Augustine Church of Augusta, St. Denis Church of Whitefield, St. Francis Xavier Church of Winthrop, St. Joseph Church of Gardner and St. Mary of the Assumption of Augusta. Sullivan, like Lequin a Jesuit, taught for many years at Cheverus High School in Portland.

The Waterville parish’s new pastor, Ballargeon, was ordained in 2007.

Baillargeon, an Old Town native, previously was parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle and at Good Shepherd Church in Saco in addition to his previous service at Corpus Christi.

He was not immediately available for comment Monday, but Corpus Christi parishioner Kenneth Quirion said he and others are thrilled Baillargeon is returning.

“He’s just awesome,” Quirion said. “He’s just so friendly. He has communication skills that are incredible. He greets everyone with a smile. He is probably the best thing that could happen with this parish and (St. John Catholic School in Winslow). He knows the people, he knows the parish.”

Daniels said his four years at Corpus Christi were a “packed four years.”

“It’s a very challenging time, and my time here reflected a lot of the changes that are taking place across the Diocese — meeting the decline of the number of priests, changing demographics, the economic downturn and dealing with an aging population and maintenance issues with aging properties.”

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church on Elm Street was demolished and a residence for the elderly built in its place during Daniels’ tenure. He said the housing is much needed.

He said that, in a way, the transition from church to housing is symbolic, as it preserves the former church’s stained glass, bell and interior woodwork and represents the new and the old.

He said he knows the closing of churches has been difficult for many people.

“It has been a time that has exacted great sacrifices for both priests and people and I’m grateful for the patience and understanding and generosity of the parishes through some very difficult times,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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