This brief history only covers the time since the two parishes have been served by a single pastor. Both parishes are considerably older. Space simply limits how much to put here onthe web page.
On July 1, 1996, Rev. Paul E. Coughlin became pastor of Holy Cross and St. John the Evangelist Parishes. He resided in the rectory at St. John’s. The rectory at Holy Cross was closed and later torn down. The Parish Office moved to the convent at Holy Cross.
In the summer of 1998, the sisters from both parishes moved out of their convents. The convent at St. John’s became the location of the joint parish offices for Holy Cross and St. John’s. The Parish Office, Business Office and Faith Formation Office were now at 29 Aspen Avenue and the Parish Office as Holy Cross was closed. The church bulletin became one entitled the Roman Catholic Parishes of South Portland.
Father Paul was instrumental in helping to establish the Food Cupboard which was set up in a former cry room at Holy Cross Church and due to its growth and need later moved to the basement of St. John the Evangelist Church where it is presently housed..
By the fall of 1998, the merging of the Pastoral Council was in process. By late 2001-2002 the parish commissions were beginning to merge. Many of the parish activities were planned together and held jointly and continue in this manner today. The Finance Councils have remained separate to date. They do meet together on occasion.
Shortly after Father Paul’s arrival, renovations took place at St. John the Evangelist with the addition of the narthex and remodeling of the church sanctuary. Later a capital campaign was held at Holy Cross for major renovations of the church. Mass was held in the school hall at Holy Cross from March 2003 while the renovations were taking place. On December 20, 2003 Bishop Richard Malone blessed the newly renovated church at Holy Cross in time for the Christmas liturgies.
Father Paul Coughlin stay ended in August of 2004 and Father Michael Gendreau arrived in Advent of 2004. During the interim, Msgr. Michael Henchal served as the Parish Administrator for both parishes.
During the summer of 2005 to June of 2006, the Cluster Planning committee met to determine the proposed model. In 2006, the sisters moved into the former St. John rectory and Father Mike moved to St. Maximilian Kolbe rectory. The Cluster 22 Pastoral Council was formed with representatives for Holy Cross, St. John the Evangelist, St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Bartholomew parishes.
Father Gendreau stepped down from his ministry in the fall of 2008. Once again, Msgr Michael Henchal served as the Parish Administrator. In January of 2009, Msgr. Michael Henchal was appointed the pastor of Cluster 22 and Msgr Paul Stefanko was appointed the parochial vicar. Together they pastor the four parishes in the cluster: Holy Cross, St. John the Evangelist, St. Maximilian Kolbe and St. Bartholomew.
The Cluster Council meets regularly and the churches have begun to share activities at the cluster level. We have been blessed to have the dedication of our parish priests, our retired priest who offer their ongoing support, and the pastoral teams at each church to guide us through the first decade of the twenty-first century.