Although Castine’s Roman Catholic church is the newest of the town’s four churches, its origins are older than the town itself. In the summer of 1863, a Castine mariner uncovered a copper plate that had been placed at the site two centuries earlier by a French monk, who named his mission “Our Lady of Holy Hope.”
When the French lost control of this region to the British in the 1760s, Catholicism went into decline until the early twentieth century. In 1920, with the help of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, enough money was raised to buy a farmhouse that sat on the remains of the French Fort Pentagoet. It was converted into a church, and an impressive dedicatory ceremony drew more than a thousand Castine residents and dignitaries, including representatives from the Penobscot Nation on Indian Island. In honor of the early French mission, the church is named Our Lady of Holy Hope.
The congregation today continues to celebrate Mass on Sundays. It also offers meals and firewood to the local community.