Father John Bapst, a Jesuit, knew little of America or Maine when he arrived in Old Town in 1853 from Switzerland. He built churches and defended Roman Catholics against Know-Nothing activists, who tarred and feathered the priest in Ellsworth in 1854.
Like many cities in France, Lewiston and Auburn's skylines are dominated by a cathedral-like structure, St. Peter and Paul Church. Now designated a basilica by the Vatican, it stands as a symbol of French Catholic contributions to the State of Maine.
John Bapst High School was dedicated in September 1928 to meet the expanding needs of Roman Catholic education in the Bangor area. The co-educational school operated until 1980, when the diocese closed it due to decreasing enrollment. Since then, it has been a private school known as John Bapst Memorial High School.
Prior to this there had been only one Catholic Church in town, Church of the Immaculate Conception (later Church of the Assumption, then St.