By Dave Jolivet

WELLFLEET — For the most part, life on Outer Cape Cod is far from warm and cozy. Often, the area is battered by Nor’easters, bringing with them snow, sleet, freezing rain, howling winds, frigid temperatures, and rough seas on the shorelines.

This cross, created from Cape Cod driftwood, was a gift to the parishioners of St. Peter’s Church in Provincetown

Yet, there are some havens of refuge from Old Man Winter in Wellfleet and Provincetown. Refuges that not only provide warmth and coziness, but also quiet and peace.

Thanks to some generous donations, Father Phil Hamel, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Wellfleet and St. Peter’s Parish in Provincetown, has created, through several beautiful pieces of artwork, places where folks can spend time in prayer and reflection in both churches.

On Nov. 2, 2001, Father John L. Andrews, who was responsible for building Our Lady of Lourdes Church, which was dedicated in 2009, passed away at Marian Manor in Taunton at the age of 85.

“When Father Jack died, his sister, Carol Mills of Berkley, requested, in lieu of flowers, that donations be made to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in her brother’s memory,” Father Hamel told The Anchor. “The response was overwhelming and because of that, we have been able to add some nice features to both our churches and make some repairs and replacements of other objects to help keep the churches beautiful houses of worship.”

The first task Father Hamel took on, with the help of parishioners, was to create a small shrine to the Blessed Mother in Our Lady of Lourdes Church. A small area in the church was chosen to house a new statue of the Blessed Mother along with votive candles. Father Hamel himself grabbed a paint brush and a can of paint, made his way up and down a ladder and painted the shrine background blue.

“I selected a wonderful statue of the Blessed Mother, hand carved in linden wood created by Studio 

Demetz in Italy, to be placed in the shrine area,” said Father Hamel. “We were able to purchase the piece through Tally’s Religious Goods in Cranston, R.I. The votive lights were created by Shrine Design.

“When the piece arrived I was stunned when we took it out of the box and unwrapped it. It was gorgeous. The parishioners were thrilled with the statue of the Blessed Mother and the small home we made for her. It’s such a warm and inviting presence to sit or kneel and pray and meditate.”

There were more additions to come. Years ago, when things were being moved from the old Our Lady of Lourdes Church in the village to the new church, one of the angels that adorned the altar was substantially damaged.

“The story as I know it is that during the move n elderly gentleman accidentally hit it with his cane and knocked it over. The ‘fallen angel’ was beyond hope,” Father Hamel told The Anchor. “Since the response to donations in Father Jack’s memory were substantial, I was able to find an angel to complement the ‘non-fallen angel,’ back on the altar.”

The angels again stand watch over the faithful in Wellfleet.

St. Peter’s in Provincetown also recently received some wonderful pieces of art to make that church even more warm and inviting.

St. Mary of the Harbor,’ a painting created by impressionist artist Sam Barber of Cape Cod, was gifted to Father Hamel, pastor of St. Peter’s Parish in Province town, for the benefit of the parishioners of the Outer Cape church.

There is an impressionist artist who lives on the Cape, Sam Barber, born in Europe, but a resident of the Outer Cape for more than 50 years. He created a colorful painting titled “St. Mary of the Harbor.”

“Mr. Barber created the painting for a Christian church in the area,” explained Father Hamel. “The church ended up closing and they returned the painting to Mr. Barber. Sam wanted the piece to be viewed in a place of worship, where it could be an source of inspiration and reflection. He generously donated the painting to St. Peter’s, with the stipulation that should the church be closed for any reason, the painting was to be returned to him.

“St. Mary of the Harbor is a wonderful addition to St. Peter’s.”

Father Hamel also had enough from the donations in Father Jack’s memory to purchase a statue of St. Jude that has found a home at the tip of the Cape.

Lastly, Father Hamel received another gift for St. Peter’s Church, a lovely cross made of Cape Cod driftwood.

The cross originally belonged to Msgr. John J. Egan of Chicago. When he died in 2001, the cross was gifted to a friend.

Eventually the cross found its way into the hands of Jeffry Korgen of Wellfleet, who in turn gifted it to the Outer Cape parishes.

Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Peter’s churches may not lie on the beaten path, and are in fact the eastern-most mainland churches in the Diocese of Fall River. Unless one is a resident of the area, the ride there is a lengthy one, especially in the winter months. Despite the lure of the ocean and sand during the summer months, a trip to Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Peter’s churches would be worth the ride, with both offering warmth, coziness,  quiet, peace, and a welcoming pastor and parishioners — enough to warm the heart and soul in even the nastiest Nor’easter.

Our Lady of Lourdes Church is located at 2282 Route 6, Wellfleet (www.ololwellfleet.org); and St. Peter’s Church is at 11 Prince Street, Provincetown (www.stpeters-ptown.org).

Dave Jolivet is the
former editor of the
Anchor who retired in January.