Today is ‘National New Hampshire Day’ and 2023 Marks a Catholic Milestone in the Granite State

This morning, thanks to the Crusade Channel, I learned that today is “National New Hampshire Day.” Really! As we here at Saint Benedict Center are into localism and we live here in the great Granite State, this is something to celebrate. I’m not sure how we will celebrate it other than praying for the conversion and sanctification of our fellow New Hampshirites. Maybe the Sisters will serve us up some of our own home-grown acorn squash for supper tonight, since today also happens to be “National Acorn Squash Day.”

This year marks the 200th anniversary of New Hampshire’s first Catholic church, an anniversary commemorated in a local newspaper: St. Mary in Claremont, state’s oldest Roman Catholic church celebrates 200 years. The origin story of that little church — known as Old Saint Mary’s — is the story of the Barber Family, which is told on this website. It is an edifying tale of conversion and vocation.

Old Saint Mary’s is on the National Register of Historic Places and has interesting short write-ups on the Connecticut River Joint Commissions web site and

Below are a couple of photos I snapped when the Brothers made a little pilgrimage to the cradle of New-Hampshire Catholicism. The red-brick building behind the Virgil Barber monument is the Church itself.