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Religious Centres
St. Joseph’s Church
Chipman, NB

St. Joseph's - Chipman photo: Pax Vobis
St. Joseph’s – Chipman
photo – Pax Vobis

The first church erected to serve the parishioners in Chipman, a large proportion of which were Irish, was erected near Briggs Corner in 1862 but was never actually completed. For many years it was used irregularly.  It was located on Route 123, just above the old cemetery on the Stevenson Road.

In 1914, under the direction of the Very Rev. W. F. Chapman, this church was dismantled and St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, located on King Street in central Chipman, was built on land purchased by Rev. Edward J. Conway.  The church was constructed using much of the lumber from the first church.  

Many parishioners in those early days were of Irish stock. Some of the surnames among the families attending St.Joseph’s Church were Biddiscomb, McDonagh, McGinley, McNeill, Farraher, Cullion, Lucas, Lafferty, Curley, Duffy, Dillon and Malloy.

Father Edward Conroy was the first pastor of the new church, from 1914 until 1920, when he was replaced by Father W. Moore, who served for 12 years.  Father R. Fraser was appointed pastor from 1932 until 1937, when he was assigned to the new Holy Rosary parish in Minto.  

The rectory built next to St. Joseph’s Church around 1914 was later demolished around 1994.  The church was also renovated, with many changes to the exterior, including white siding added to the building and to the distinctive twin steeples. 

In the 1970’s the number of priests serving the Grand Lake area churches, including St. Joseph’s in Chipman, declined from a total of five priests to one.  By 1989, Father E. Higgins, pastor of Holy Rosary in Minto since 1967, was the only priest serving the entire Grand Lake area.  Due to a decline in the number of priests, that arrangement remains in place as of 2008.  Father Peter Stephen, pastor of the Holy Rosary Church in Minto, serves St. Joseph’s parish in Chipman as well as St. Patrick’s in White’s Cove.
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References:

Pax Vobis – A History of the Diocese of Saint John by Rev. Dr. Michael McGowan (2004

Chipman Then and Now by Chipman Historical Photo Committee (2002)