St. Margaret Mary's Parish of Shelton celebrates 50 years during Mass on Sunday

Bridgeport Diocese Bishop Frank Caggiano will give the homily

The front entrance to the Roman Catholic church that serves the Long Hill section of Shelton.


St. Margaret Mary Parish in Shelton will celebrate its 50th anniversary this weekend with a special Mass on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 11:30 a.m.

Bishop Frank Caggiano

The Rev. John Strynkowski, church pastor and administrator, will celebrate the Mass.

Bishop Frank Caggiano, the newly installed leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport, will be a guest at the Mass and give the homily.

“We [will] come together to joyfully celebrate with gratitude for the many blessings the church has received for the past 50 years,” St. Margaret Mary officials said.


History of the church

In 1963, then-Bishop Walter W. Curtis of the Bridgeport Diocese decreed a new parish should be established, and that it should be erected on a piece of property atop Long Hill in Shelton.

Curtis said the new parish should be under the patronage of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. In September 1964, Mass was celebrated for the first time in the new church.

St. Margaret Mary Church in Shelton became a parish in the early 1960s, and a new church building was constructed in 1975 and 1976.

In September 1975, construction began for a new church behind the original one. The new sanctuary was dedicated on June 27, 1976.


Summer vandalism incident

A cornerstone at St. Margaret Mary’s marks the year the new church structure opened.

On June 10 of this year, during the early morning hours, St. Margaret Mary’s Church was vandalized.

Vandals poured oil on the pews and carpet, and smashed windows and statues. Outside, they destroyed the statue of Mary, and poured paint on two cars.

When parishioners heard of the vandalism, many came to the church to help clean and re-glue the heads and hands of statues.

The Rev. Strynkowski rededicated the church before the next morning Mass.


Spirit is strong, membership is growing

The cross on top of St. Margaret Mary Church in Shelton.

The vandalism has not broken the spirit of the church — if anything, it has made it stronger, according to St. Margaret Mary officials.

The parish now has more than 1,000 family members and the membership is growing, church officials said.

St. Margaret Mary Church is at 50 Donovan Lane, off Long Hill Avenue. It is located behind the Shelton Board of Education central office (formerly Ripton School).

A sign on Long Hill Avenue directs people to the 50-year-old parish.