History of St. Leo Parish

The Catholic population of North Stamford continued to grow throughout the 1950’s. The first Bishop of Bridgeport, Lawrence Sheehan, later Cardinal Archbishop of Baltimore, founded a new parish carved out of St. John Parish, the mother church of Stamford. He named Monsignor Daniel Foley as first pastor in 1960. Ten acres of land was purchased at the intersection of Long Ridge Road and Stillwater Road from land owned by Sheila Martin, listed by its earlier owner as “grazing land for cows.” The new parish would be dedicated to Saint Leo the Great, the fifth century pope, who helped save the city of Rome from invaders and promoted authentic Christian teaching.

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Our Patron, Pope St. Leo the Great

Leo is one of two Popes to have been acknowledged for centuries as “Great.” The other, Gregory I, Bishop of Rome from 590 to 604, lived quite a while after Leo, who was born about the year 400, and died in 461.

Leo was a native of the city of Rome. As a boy of 10 years or so, he would have experienced the trauma of Rome’s being captured and plundered for the first time since the establishment of the Empire by the first Emperor, Augustus, contemporary of Jesus Christ. This catastrophe occurred in 410 at the hands of the Goths.

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