St. Paul’s Catholic Church
522 High St. • (757) 484-7335.
St. Paul’s Catholic Church was first built in 1813 by French and Irish immigrants. It was the first Catholic congregation in Portsmouth. This is actually the congregations’ fifth building (once the membership expanded and twice the previous churches were burned down). St. Paul’s was built of shaved granite in 1905 and features many fine stone carvings. It is an elaborate example of a compact Gothic Revival cruciform plan church featuring tracery windows of cathedral glass, pointed Gothic arches, flying buttresses and a steep roof. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The relief of Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemene above the door is magnificent. Above the relief of Christ, you will see St. Paul. If you keep looking up, you will see the 200 foot tall copper-clad steeple.
As you enter the church you will view twenty-eight stained glass windows which were ordered from Mayer & Co., Munich, Germany from 1900 to 1914. On November 13, 1905 a Portsmouth Star newspaper article observed, “The fifteen stained glass windows of St. Paul’s … are among the most beautiful works of art in the south.” In 1928, eleven murals were commissioned and adorn the front of the church over the main altar that is made of Italian marble and Mexican onyx.
Weekend Mass Schedule:
Reconciliation: 3:00pm – 3:45pm (Saturday)
Sunday: 8:00am & 9:30am
Holy Day: 12:10pm