Our Lady Queen of Peace, Boothbay Harbor, Maine
Our Lady Queen of Peace is a Catholic church in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The foundation of the church was laid in 1916 and completed in 1917 with a belfry and steeple added in 1924. Built to accommodate summer visitors, the church has a seating capacity of 600. In the early years, there was a large summer congregation but only twelve Catholic families in year round residence. A small chapel was built in the basement that met the needs of the small winter congregation, according to the church website. The parish then, as now, covered an area of 30 square miles, including the towns of Southport, Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay, Edgecomb and Wiscasset. In the 1940s, the exterior walls of the church were painted white and floodlights were installed. The building became the most prominent landmark in the region and also a navigation aid at night. The small chapel under the main church was expanded to three times its original size.
President Kennedy visited the Boothbay peninsula and attended Mass at the church in August 1962; the 50th anniversary is discussed in the August 16, 2012 Boothbay Register article “The Boothbay Region Remembers JFK’s Trip to John’s Island in August 1962.” “On August 10, 1962, Kennedy landed on Air Force One in Brunswick Naval Air Station. ‘It looked like a good way to spend a weekend and Kennedy would look for good weekends’” said Sid Davis, a reporter who covered Kennedy. According to Davis, Kennedy may have been mending fences or trying to pull both parties together with the trip. “The only time Kennedy spent on the peninsula during that weekend was church on Sunday morning. About 2,500 people gathered to greet him when Kennedy attended mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Boothbay Harbor.”
In 1983 a parcel of land across the street from the church was donated to the Fisherman’s Memorial Committee. The committee cast a bronze fishing dory (small boat) which was dedicated to the memory of the over 229 fishermen from the Boothbay Region who were lost at sea during the last two centuries. At this time Father Lee began the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet after the memorial service that is now an important part of the Annual Fisherman’s Festival every spring according to the church website.
In 2009, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish became part of the new All Saints Parish comprised of St. John the Baptist Church, St. Mary Church, St. Charles Church, St. Ambrose Church, St. Patrick Church, Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, and St. Katharine Drexel Summer Chapel.