Help save St. Joseph Church.
Pledged to Date: $450,000
An Update to Supporters
On August 7, 2023, the Preservation Society Board members met with the Reverend Marc Drouin, as well as Mac Bryant, Finance Officer and Robert Eib, Director of Real Estate and Construction from the Diocese of Manchester. The purpose of the meeting was to review the cost of implementing the plan approved by the Diocese and to confirm the Preservation Society’s commitment to help raise the necessary funds. The Diocese’s approved plan is for the front section of the Church to continue in use as a day chapel. The Blessed Sacrament will be reserved for prayer and specifically Diocesan arranged services. The back of the Church will be converted into a columbarium. A columbarium is a structure for the reverent housing of cremation urns in niches. This new combined purpose for the Church will secure the preservation of this historic and beautiful Church for the St Andre Bessette and Lakes Region Community to continue to enjoy.
The cost of the project is estimated to be $2 million. At the meeting, the Preservation Society expressed its commitment to jointly work with the St Andre Bessette and the Diocese of Manchester to raise the funds necessary to preserve the church.
We continue to be committed to preserving St Joseph Church.
We need your help!
Stay tuned to this website for future information on how to help save the Church.
St. Joseph Church Preservation Society
PO Box 145, Laconia, NH 03247
- Rally of community support On May 11, 2019, the Laconia Daily Sun reported “Preservationists rally to support St. Joseph Church.” In addition to numerous parishioners and concerned citizens, the city’s Heritage Commission and The NH Preservation Alliance took an interest in saving the church. In early June the City met to create an Historic District, however it was unable to stop the Diocese from filing a demolition permit on June 10, 2019. On August 4, 2019 a crowd of people formed a human ring around St. Joseph Church expressing their desire to save the church from demolition. This made a difference, but the demolition permit still exists!
- St. Joseph Church Preservation Society On August 20, 2020, a letter from St. Joseph Church Preservation Society Board was sent to Pastor, Reverend Marc Drouin stating the Society’s mission and steadfast and unrelenting commitment to preserve the church. In May 2021, the Society achieved 501(c)3 status and has now raised over $400,000 in donations and pledges.
- Common goals On August 25, 2020, Pastor Drouin acknowledged the Society’s letter indicating he would continue to be in discussion with the Diocese regarding the matters raised in the letter. On September 22, 2020, members of the St Joseph Church Preservation Society met with Pastor Drouin, Monsignor Richard Thompson, Finance Advisory Committee members Paul Simoneau and Thomas Garrity. The Society left the meeting uplifted by the willingness of both groups to work collaboratively to preserve the church.
- Uphill battle Through 2020, Pastor Drouin repeatedly declined attending the St Joseph Church Preservation Society’s monthly meetings indicating there were no updates to report. On May 13, 2021, the Society sent a letter to Bishop Libasci and Pastor Drouin inviting collaboration, stating the mission to preserve the church and the organization’s 501(c)3 status. However, on June 7, 2021, Bishop Libasci’s reply stated, “As this is the first notice I have received of the establishment of the Society or its intentions, I am not prepared to respond at this time…” Denying he knew of the Society despite Pastor Drouin’s contact with the Diocese.
- St. Joseph Church closed to personal prayer The March 27, 2022 parish bulletin announced: “Until further notice, St Joseph will, unfortunately, no longer be open for prayer as we investigate a potential mold issue in the church.” This notice was followed by a donation offer to remediate the mold. The donation was rejected.
- Letters ignored Letters dated April 15, 2022 and September 24, 2022 were sent to Bishop Libasci from the Society outlining a proposal to permanently resolve the future of St Joseph Church for prayer and Catholic worship. The Diocese has not responded.
- In April, the Preservation Society met with Fr Marc to discuss the plan for the church and to get some answers to questions we had regarding fundraising. We also made some requests which would help us in our efforts to raise funds to preserve the church, but didn’t get an answer on these requests. A short while after that meeting, Fr Marc contacted me and indicated the Finance Director at the Diocese of Manchester wanted to meet with the Board as soon as possible. Fr Marc did not indicate the purpose of the meeting. Since that request, I have been diligently trying to schedule a meeting with the Director, Fr Marc and the Preservation Society’s Board. There have been a couple of meetings scheduled only to be canceled by the Finance Director as we got close to the date. The latest date scheduled for the meeting is August 7th. In the meantime, the Preservation Society has not held any meetings because we need answers to our questions and requests. Once this joint meeting is held, the Preservation Society will meet.
- Help save St. Joseph Church Don’t let neglect or perception that it doesn’t matter be the justification for demolishing St. Joseph Church, when generous donors and the St. Joseph Church Preservation Society are willing to do the work to restore and maintain the church for future generations!
The mission of the St Joseph Church Preservation Society is to retain in perpetuity St Joseph Church, 30 Church Street, Laconia, NH, as a sacred place of Roman Catholic worship. Honoring the spiritual and historical significance of St Joseph Church, we are committed to raising the necessary funds associated with the church’s continued maintenance and care.
Our vision is that individuals, families and the community will be enriched by Roman Catholic worship at St. Joseph Church, 30 Church Street, Laconia, NH, for all generations.
Our values are to honor the spiritual and historical significance of St. Joseph Church; protect it as a valued, sacred place of Roman Catholic worship; and preserve it for all future generations, in perpetuity.
Who we are
The St. Joseph Preservation Society was formed in August 2019 when it was announced that St. Joseph Church would be demolished. Led by Linda Normandin, the society sought the help of an attorney with expertise in church preservation and Vatican law. The society’s goal was to reverse the decision to demolish the building and raise the funds necessary to work in conjunction with St. Andre Bessette Parish to keep the church open and in good repair, without being a financial strain on the parish. We are members of the community and parish who value the historical, spiritual, and cultural significance of this beautiful building and are committed to preserving it as a place of prayer and reflection.