Tag Archives: Catholic

Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs Roman Catholic Church, Adams (1887)

Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs Roman Catholic Church

In vol. II of The History of the Catholic Church in the New England States (1899), Rev. John J. McCoy relates the origins of Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs parish:

Just one year beyond a quarter of a century need we go to find the French-Canadian people of Adams assisting for the first time at Mass in a body by themselves. Then, January 4, 1872, Father Charles Crevier, the pastor of the Sacred Heart church at North Adams, gathered them into a hall on the third story of a building in the town, and said Mass for them and preached to them in their native tongue. Five years later, on Park street, upon land which he had already purchased for $2500, he built a frame chapel at a cost of $5000. The original yet serves the people as a school for the parish children. In September, 1882, Bishop O’Reilly made the Rev. John Baptist Charbonneau, then a curate of Father Crevier, the first resident pastor of the Canadians of Adams.

The parish acquired additional property at 21 Maple Street for $15,000 and

Father Charbonneau, in 1887, hardly five years from the time of his appointment, laid the foundation of the spacious and beautiful church which is the pride of the Canadian people today. Bishop O’Reilly is reported as having called the church of the Sept. Douleurs one of the most beautiful in his diocese. It is of Romanesque architecture, 150 feet long by 70 feet wide, and has seating capacity for 1500 people.

In 1998, Notre Dame des Sept Douleurs Roman Catholic Church and St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church in Adams formed a joint parish. In 2008, the two parishes merged to form Pope John Paul the Great Parish, now called Blessed John Paul Parish.

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Former Our Lady of Fatima Church, Worcester (1911)

43 Belmont Street, Worcester

The church at 43 Belmont Street in Worcester was built in 1908-1911. Designed by Fuller and Delano, it was the second building used by the First Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church, a congregation that was established in 1881. The congregation merged with two other parishes to form the new Trinity Lutheran Church in 1948 and moved to a new church on Lancaster Street in 1951. The church Belmont Street was sold to the Catholic Diocese of Worcester and became Our Lady of Fatima Church. Over the years the building suffered damage from vibrations from the nearby Interstate 290. Major repairs were made in 1999 and the bell tower at the southeast corner of the church was also removed. The parish served area Catholics until 2009, when the church was closed. It was merged with St. Bernard’s Church to form Our Lady of Providence Parish. The vacant church was in danger of being demolished, but in 2012 the Diocese sold the building to the Chinese Gospel Church of Massachusetts, which had previously been worshiping in a former A.M.E. Zion Church at 21 Belmont Street. The Chinese Gospel Church of Massachusetts also has a church in Southborough, where it was founded in the 1980s.

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St. John the Evangelist Church, Clinton (1886)

St. John the Evangelist Church

There were two St. John the Evangelist Churches in Clinton before the current one, at 80 Union Street, was built in 1886. Begun as a mission church to the growing community’s Irish immigrants in the 1840s, the the first church was dedicated on October 4, 1850. It was a wood frame church on South Main Street. As described by Andrew Elmer Ford in his History of the Origin of the Town of Clinton, Massachusetts, 1653-1865 (1896):

The inclosure of pine trees which today makes the former location of the church conspicuous, was set out under the direction of Father Boyce. At first, this church was much more simply furnished than in its later days. The galleries, the pews, the organ and the furnace were put in as the means of the people increased.

This building was soon outgrown, as was the second church, a temporary structure also built of wood, which was occupied in 1869. The original church was demolished in 1874. As related in a historical sermon by Rev. Edward J. Fitzgerald that appears in the volume commemorating the Semi-centennial Celebration of the Incorporation of the Town of Clinton, Mar. 14, 1850, which took place on June 17, 18, 19, 1900:

Already the old church was inadequate and the growing numbers and the increasing prosperity of the Catholics made the plan of erecting an enduring church, which would be a glory to the God who dwelt therein and an ornament to the town, no longer a chimera. The year 1875 saw the consummation of this project, when on August 8 the erstwhile curate, now the first Bishop of the Springfield diocese, laid the corner-stone of St. John’s Church in which we are assembled today. The basement finished, the work lagged somewhat for five years, when by the united efforts of the loyal and generous people of the parish, the superstructure was raised and ornamented, and 1886 saw it dedicated to God with the beautiful ceremonial of our church, the Right Reverend Bishop being surrounded by the most dignified members of his clergy, and the lesson of the event being pointed out by eloquent lips.

The parish is called Saint John the Guardian of Our Lady Parish at St. John the Evangelist Church.

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Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Westfield (1910)

Holy Trinity Catholic Parish in Westfield was founded in 1903 by Polish immigrants, who first settled in the town in the 1890s. Bishop Thomas Daniel Beaven of Springfield had asked the Missionaries of La Salette to come to the aid of his Polish-speaking parishioners. As there were no Polish speaking La Salette Fathers at that time, five missionaries were sent at the Bishop’s expense to Poland to learn the Polish language. In 1906, the first La Salette Father arrived in Westfield to take charge of the new parish. Holy Trinity Catholic Church, on Elm Street in Westfield, was built in 1909-1910. A parish rectory was also built next to the church, followed by Holy Trinity School in 1921.

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Descent of the Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Church (1920)

Catholics from western Ukraine who had settled in the area of South Deerfield formed Descent of the Holy Ghost parish in 1920. Land was soon purchased on Sugarloaf Street from Charles Mosher. An 1850s carriage shed on the property was moved to a new foundation and adapted to become what is now called Descent of the Holy Spirit Ukrainian Catholic Church. Across the street is Holy Family Roman Catholic Church.

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St. Patrick’s Church, Natick (1892)

St. Patrick’s Catholic parish in Natick was established in 1856. Parishioners worshiped in local halls and private homes before the church on East Central Street was built in 1892. At some point, the original steeple was replaced by the current one, finished in tarnished copper.

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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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