How New Haven churches, schools connected Wooster Square to Italy

Nov 05, 2021 180

BY: Frank Carrano

I always wondered how it came to be that there were five churches within the geographic area of Wooster Square. One of them, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (now St. Paul and St. James), on the corner of Chapel and Olive streets, was actually a vestige from the time when the area was predominantly Yankee and Protestant. It is a beautiful stone church very much in the style of the late 19th century churches in New Haven.

As a child, walking past the edifice, I was always reminded of the fact that not everyone was Catholic, and that seemed somewhat mysterious to me as a product of a large, religiously oriented Catholic family. Then there were three Catholic churches in very close proximity: St. Louis which served a French congregation, St. Casimir, which served a Lithuanian congregation, and, of course, St. Michael, which was the first church in the state to be organized as a parish for the burgeoning Italian immigrant population. 

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