OAKLAND — St. Theresa Catholic Church, shuttered three years ago, will be resurrected as a place of worship by a small congregation of independent Catholics.

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church Inc. purchased the property from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland last week in a transaction that included Nicholas Isgro, the mayor of Waterville and a member of the independent church.

On Monday, Isgro said he entered into a purchase-and-sale deal with the diocese on behalf of his church. A deed granting the Church Street property to Isgro was filed with the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds on May 14, and he transferred the property to Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament in a deed recorded Monday.

Isgro declined to go into further detail about the sale and plans for the building. He said he did not want to be the public face of his church. He did confirm that the congregation planned to hold worship services in the building. The church’s Masses are currently held in space leased at the Cohen Community Center in Hallowell and are attended by approximately 50 people, Isgro estimated.

Benedict Hughes, the parish pastor, also declined to elaborate on the group’s plans for the church.

Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church is part of the Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, a group that started in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in 1967, according to the congregation’s website. The congregation professes a traditional approach to Catholicism and rejects the modernization of the Roman Catholic Church by the Second Vatican Council, held between 1962 and 1965, according to its theological position.


St. Theresa’s sits on a 1.29-acre property on Church Street. The 6,837-square-foot building complex includes a 19th century church and an attached rectory. The church hasn’t been used for religious services since 2012, when it was shuttered as part of a consolidation of the Waterville-based Corpus Christi Parish, which is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. The two other churches that closed as part of the parish building consolidation — Immaculate Heart of Mary in Fairfield and St. Bridget’s in Vassalboro — have also been sold by the diocese and are being renovated.

The Oakland property went on the market in late 2014. Oakland’s town government initially planned to purchase the property and convert part of it into town offices.

According to Kevin Fletcher, a broker from Malone Real Estate, who managed the sale for the diocese, Isgro had expressed interest in the property before the town of Oakland entered an agreement to buy it. Fletcher said the amount that Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament paid for the property was higher than the $150,000 the town of Oakland had offered, but less than the $170,000 the building was listed for. He could not recall the exact price and a record of the sale was not available Monday.

In January, the town of Oakland signed an agreement to buy the complex with the intention of converting the rectory into the town office and using the church as a venue for community gatherings.

The town was forced to abandon its plan after projected renovation costs grew close to $1 million, including material and labor costs for demolition, concrete work, new doors, windows and mechanical systems. The town also discovered it would need to remove asbestos and fix areas of water damage and broken pipes. The town’s insurance carrier further warned that the building would need a roof replacement in order to insure it. The town’s charter requires that any purchase above $1 million has to be approved by voters at a referendum, and the council eventually stepped back from the plan because a vote could not be organized by a deadline to finalize the sale.

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @PeteL_McGuire

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