Norwich’s new priest notes special gifts of region, congregations

NORWICH – Growing up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side surrounded by a large, close knit family and a community of church-going neighbors has enabled Father Ralph Bove to identify the special gifts in people and in Norwich.

After only a few short weeks behind the pulpit, the new priest of St. Paul’s and St. Bartholomew’s Catholic churches said he feels comfortable and at home. The surrounding hillsides and downtown thoroughfares are “very beautiful” he said, and his Sunday masses have been filled with people “who want to be fed spiritually.”

“I feel very blessed to be here,” he said simply.

The neighborhood between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges where Father Ralph lived was anchored by the pillared bastions of St. Joseph’s (Italian), St. James (Irish) and the Transfiguration (Chinese) churches. All of his cousins, friends and neighbors went to the Catholic schools there, and all of the schools were bulging with students, he said.

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