Sacred Heart Church, Natick (1889)

While Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Oldtown Folks depicts life in South Natick at a time in the late eighteenth century, when Congregationalists still dominated New England towns, other denominations would be established in the course of the nineteenth century. The first Catholic Church in Natick was Sacred Heart, constructed between 1873 and 1889 on Eliot Street. Services were held in the church before it was finally completed, with members meeting in the basement, sitting on plank and barrel benches, on Easter Sunday 1874. Sacred Heart Parish continued for 130 years, but was closed at Christmas 2004. The Archdiocese of Boston announced the closing of several parishes due to a shortage of priests and dwindling attendance and, perhaps, the financial impact of the priest sex abuse scandal. Most members of Sacred Heart soon joined other parishes, but others protested the decision. The appeals of Sacred Heart and nine other Boston-area parishes were denied by the Vatican earlier this year, although vigils continue at many closed parishes.

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