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Saint Michael’s Catholic Church is a church in Duston Heights, Massachusetts. Members of its congregation included Johnny Dixon, his grandparents, and their neighbor, Professor Childermass. The church also operated a school, where Johnny attended elementary classes.

Its current rector is priest Father Thomas Higgins.

History

Saint Michael’s was constructed in the 1880s under the guidance of then-priest Father Remigius Baart. For the interior, Baart hired a wandering woodcarver named Nemo to create an altar piece with delicately carved “saints and angels and prophets.” The exterior of the building was just as impressive, though its construction was not met without issue: Mr. Herman, a wealthy farmer from Duston Heights, was crushed to death when a piece of the church fell upon him (The Curse of the Blue Figurine, 16-21).

The Church

Saint Michael’s is large brick building with a brick steeple on the northeast corner. Three pointed wooden doors are out front and flights of worn stone steps lead up to each door (Curse, 27). Inside the doors is the vestibule that contains the stoup, or Holy Water font. From this entrance area one may enter into the nave or take a flight of “dark varnished” stairs upward to the choir loft. A part of the vestibule is given over to the belfry; bell ropes hang through slots in the wooden ceiling panel, used to sound the bells high above in the steeple.

The basement is accessible through a wooden door in the vestibule. With dirt floors and no available electrical light, the subterranean area is mostly given over to storage and an old iron furnace.

Through the inner doors was the sanctuary containing wooden pews and a high, vaulted ceiling painted midnight blue with powdered with gold stars. At far end of the nave was the communion rail as well as the altar and its massive carved altarpiece. Elsewhere in the vast and gloomy sanctuary that smelled of incense and candle wax were a red sanctuary lamp, an iron rack for vigil lights, an enclosed confessional booth, a statue of Saint Anthony (The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull, 63), and many stained glass windows. Behind the altar was the rear exit of the nave, leading to sacristy (Curse, 28) and presumably the rectory; this passage was mostly regulated for use by the priest or on-duty altar boys. The sacristy housed a vault for sacred vessels used during Mass (Spell, 76).

The church holds Mass on Saturday nights (The Secret of the Underground Room, 28) and Sunday mornings. Outside of worship, activities of the congregation include classes for altar boy training - which Johnny had taken (Spell, 58) - plus meetings of the local branch of the Catholic Daughters, an annual Thanksgiving turkey raffle, a yearly paper drive organized by the school, and Friday night bingo games. During the month of May, special Masses (Spell, 63) and processionals (Curse, 90) are held to honor Mary, mother of Christ.

The School

Main article: Saint Michael's School

Saint Michael’s School is a grade school with classes taught by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  It is separated by the church by a narrow alley.

Congregation

  • Phil Absen
  • Roderick Childermass
  • Henry and Kate Dixon
  • Johnny Dixon
  • Wanda Sue Geiger
  • Mr. Herman
  • Mrs. McGinnis
  • Mrs. Mumaw
  • Mary Jo Potter
  • Willie Prine
  • Eddie Tompke

Staff

  • Mr. Famagusta

Rectors

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