Our history, like that of most pre-Vatican II churches, begins with faithful Catholics who refused to accept the changes enacted in the early 1960s by the Second Vatican Council declarations. One of these devout Catholics, Jackie Obie, lived in Maine, and thanks to her determination and perseverance, as well as that of many others we have a church.
She was among those who sought out priests who would offer the Immemorial Mass for the remaining faithful after the True Mass was replaced by the Novus Ordo Missae in the Conciliar church. In the 1980s, she hosted countless Masses in her apartment, which many of our parishioners attended. Later, Masses were offered in Boston, Lewiston, Rumford, and Lisbon but by the early 2000s, she had no Mass to attend in Maine and, being legally blind at the time, she couldn’t drive herself to Boston.
Jackie was a friend of His Excellency, our Bishop Mark Pivarunas, and she turned to him asking him how she could gain access to the true Mass. His Excellency asked for Jackie to wait until something could be arranged. For the next two years, Jackie waited patiently until this became a possibility.
Fr. Francisco Radecki, CMRI, came to Lewiston in early 2007 to celebrate Holy Mass in the Activities Room of Jackie’s apartment building. It was assumed that this would be a once-in-a-while weekday Mass. Father had expected only a few people to show up, but thirty-five did. Because of the large turnout, His Excellency Bishop Pivarunas offered Holy Mass and gave the Sacrament of Confirmation. Mass was soon offered on the second Sunday of every month.
Fr. Benedict assumed responsibility for the nascent mission and began visiting twice a month. In support of the Mass, Fr. Francisco dispatched a large package of necessary materials to Jackie. As a result, Jackie was designated the “sacristan”, responsible for the preparation for each Mass, including laundering, starching, and ironing of the Altar cloths and linens, ironing of vestments, purchasing and arranging altar flowers, among other tasks. The Altar cloths provided by Fr. Francisco has only recently been replaced by a new and exquisitely beautiful one. The original wooden altar cards are still in use on our altar today, and the old vestments have been gradually supplanted by new ones, although the former are still kept in storage. The Monstrance and candelabra were also part of the donation given to Jackie, which she promptly turned over to the new mission, christened “Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament” by Fr. Benedict.
The mission quickly outgrew the Activities Room, prompting the relocation of the Mass to C&J Hall in Lewiston, with Jackie remaining as the sacristan. This responsibility was her greatest source of happiness, often proclaiming that her life revolved around the Mass and the work she did for it.
Even when the CMRI Masses were relocated to the Cohen Center in Augusta, Jackie continued to tend to the altar and floral arrangements. However, transportation issues and declining health due to living in Lewiston caused her to relinquish her duties. Without Jackie’s tenacity in reaching out to Bishop Pivarunas for assistance, there would be no weekly, traditional Sunday Mass available in Maine. We will be forever indebted to her for her unwavering dedication.
Robert L. Despres, a faithful attendee of Mass at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, bequeathed the funds for the purchase and restoration of St. Theresa’s Church in Oakland.
Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI)
The priests, Brothers, and Sisters of the Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen (CMRI) are dedicated to the preservation of the Roman Catholic Faith, as it has been taught for 2,000 years, and to the living and spreading of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. To this end they engage in various apostolates, including parish work, teaching, editing and publishing Catholic literature, and performing missionary work throughout the world, all in the spirit of St. Louis Marie de Montfort’s Total Consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Since 1967, young men and women have left all to follow Jesus Christ in this Congregation. They live religious life as it had always been traditionally practiced in the Catholic Church prior to the radical changes introduced into most communities after the Second Vatican Council: the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, love for the Holy Rule, silence and community life, including common prayer.
“The general object proposed to those who enter our Congregation is to serve God and to acquire personal sanctity by the observance of the three simple vows and of these Constitutions and Rules” (Chapter VIII of the Holy Rule). This striving for personal holiness remains the object for which the Congregation was founded and for which all religious communities exist. It is by living and spreading the message of Fatima and the Catholic Faith in its entirety that the members of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen hope to fulfill their end and purpose: the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”