St. Jerome’s Roman Catholic Church was the city of Holyoke’s first Catholic church. Holyoke Catholics were first organized in 1856 and the church, located at 181 Hampden Street, was built in 1858-1860. The church was designed by prominent church architect Patrick Keely. A fire in 1934 destroyed everything but the church’s brick walls. The building was rebuilt to plans by John W. Donahue of Springfield. A chapel was added to the rear of the church, plans starting in 1939. Read More
Mater Dolorosa Parish in Holyoke was established in 1896 as a Polish Roman Catholic parish. Worship took place in the basement of Our Lady of the Rosary Church until Mater Dolorosa Church, at 173 Lyman Street, was dedicated in 1901. Mater Dolorosa Catholic School opened a decade later. The church was closed in 2011 when Mater Dolorosa parish was merged with Holy Cross to form the new Our Lady of the Cross parish. This occurred came following a ruling from the Vatican after five years of appeals and court actions to prevent the closing. Next came controversy between the Catholic Diocese of Springfield and those who want to establish a Polish historic district on Lyman Street that would include the deconsecrated Mater Dolorosa Church. The proposed historic district was rejected by the City Council, but efforts to save the building continue.
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.
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.
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.
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.