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Boston

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Archdiocese; comprises Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Plymouth counties in the State of Massachusetts, U.S.A., the towns of Mattapoisett, Marion, and Wareham excepted, embracing an area of 2,465 square miles.

The see was erected 8 April, 1808, and created an archbishopric in 1875. When the first Bishop of Boston was consecrated his jurisdiction extended over all New England and a mere handful of Catholics. There are now eight dioceses in the same territory with about 2,100,000 Catholics of whom 850,000 are within the limits of the Archdiocese of Boston where the first bishop found a scant hundred. The growth of the Church has been due mainly to the immigrants attracted by the advantages offered by the great and varied manufacturing interests of New England. The Irish came first, after them the French Canadians, the Italians, the Poles, the Portuguese, and representatives of nearly all the peoples of the globe.

Early history

Early Irish emigration to America took place in three distinct periods, from 1621 to 1653, from 1653 to 1718, and from 1718 to 1775. But the mistake must not be made, as it often is, that these immigrants were all Catholics. Many of them were not, and those who were had few inducements to settle in the Puritan colony where their Faith was held in detestation. Some who were sold to the Barbados in the time of Cromwell were afterwards found in the Massachusetts settlements. One of these, Ann Glover, and her daughter had lived in Boston before she fell a victim, in 1688, to Cotton Mather's witchcraft mania. In his "Magnalia" he calls her "a scandalous old Irishwoman, very poor, a Roman Catholic and obstinate in idolatry". Robert Calef, a Boston merchant who knew her, says "Goody Glover was a despised, crazy, poor old woman, an Irish Catholic who was tried for afflicting the Goodwin children. Her behaviour at her trial was like that of one distracted. They did her cruel. The proof against her was wholly deficient. The jury brought her guilty. She was hung. She died a Catholic." (More Wonders of the Invisible World, London, 1700.) Other immigrants came as bond slaves or "redemptioners" and were not so steadfast in the Faith as Goody Glover. Their environment precluded any open manifestation of their religion or the training of their children in its precepts. As an instance of many such may be cited the famous Governors Sullivan of Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Their grandfather was one of the "Wild Geese" who fled with Sarsfield from Limerick to France. His son married Margaret Brown, a fellow "redemptioner", and with their six children all drifted into Protestantism. One of their sons General John Sullivan, of Revolutionary fame, writing on 5 September, 1774, of the "Quebec Act" that gave religious freedom to the Catholics of Canada under British rule, denounced these co-religionists of his grandfather as "determined to extirpate the race of Protestants from America to make way for their own cursed religion".

Traces of the Church in New England begin with the arrival of the Jesuit missioner, Peter Biard among the Abenaki Indians of Maine in June, 1611. Others, notably Father Gabriel Druilletes (15 August, 1643), followed. About the same date, the ship of La Tour, the French commander of Canada, which visited Boston harbor had "two friars" on board but they did not land. In September, 1646, another French ship, commanded by D'Aulnay, also having two priests on board, was in port. The priests visited the governor, who entertained them at his residence. Four years later Father Druilletes visited Boston to confer with General Gibbons as to the details of a trading pact and alliance with the Canadian French against the Iroquois. The governor entertained him for two weeks at his home, which was on what is now Washington Street, near Adams Square (Memorial Hist. of Boston, II, p. xiv), and it is surmised that he said Mass in private there during that time. John Eliot, John Endicott and other noted men of the time were among those he met there and who united in urging him to prolong his visit though their efforts were unsuccessful. The "Andros Papers" (quoted in Memorial Hist. of Boston) declare that in 1689 there was not a single "Papist" in all New England. They began to drift in soon, however, for in the Boston "Weekly Rehearsal" of 20 March, 1732, is this statement: "We hear that Mass has been performed in town this winter by an Irish priest among some Catholics of his own nation of whom it is not doubted we have a considerable number among us." During the war with France one hundred French Catholics were arrested in Boston in 1746 "to prevent any danger the town may be in" but the sheriff much to the disgust of their captors refused to hold them. In 1756 the exiled Acadians of whom nearly 2000 had landed in Massachusetts were denied the services of a priest because, as Governor Hutchinson declared, "the people would upon no terms have consented to the public exercise of religious worship by Roman Catholic priests" The Boston "Town Records" (1772, pp. 95-96) while admitting that toleration in religion was what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced" excluded "Roman Catholicks" because their belief was "subversive of society".

With the Revolution, however, came the dawn of a better era, the upsetting of religious as well as political barriers, and the beginning of the slow but sure growth of the Church which has resulted in the wonderful change of the present. A favorite New England diversion was an annual procession, on 5 November, of the Pope and the Devil in celebration of the famous "Gunpowder Plot". In Boston it was usually attended by riot and violence. In 1775 Washington, while at Boston, issued an order in which he could not "help expressing his surprise that there should be officers and soldiers in this army so void of Common sense" as to thus insult the religious feelings of the Canadians with whom friendship and an alliance was then being sought. The stay of the French fleet in New England waters and the settling of some of the allies there after the war had ended laid the foundations of the first Catholic parish in the heart of New England. There appeared in Boston, in 1788, a French priest who called himself Claudius Florent Bouchard de la Poterie, "Priest Doctor of Divinity, Clerk, and Apostolic Missionary". He had faculties from the prefect Apostolic, Dr. Carroll, and announced his advent in a pompous "pastoral letter". He secured the old French Huguenot church at what is now No. 18 School Street and opened there on All Saints' Day, 1788, under the patronage of the Holy Cross, the first Catholic church in New England. The report of the celebration of the first Mass on that date can be read in the Boston "Independent Chronicle", 6 November, 1788. To the aid of this church subscriptions were received from Canada, and the Archbishop of Paris, in answer to an appeal from the little French colony in Boston, sent a needed outfit of vestments and vessels for the altar. He also notified them that the Abbé de la Poterie was an unworthy priest (Campbell in U. S. Cath. Magazine, VIII, 102). His conduct in Boston proved this, and the prefect Apostolic, finding he had been imposed on, sent the Rev. William O'Brien, O. P., of New York to Boston to depose de la Poterie. A violent pamphlet printed in Philadelphia (1789) followed. It was dedicated "To the new Laurent Ricci in America the Rev. Fr. John Carroll, Superior of the Jesuits in the United States also to the friar-monk-inquisitor William O'Brien", and represented de la Poterie as a victim to their wiles.

After his suspension de la Poterie went to Canada and was succeeded in Boston by the Rev. Louis Rousselet, who was in turn suspended and went to Guadeloupe, where he was killed in a revolution. In 1790 the Catholic colony numbered less than two hundred, and the Rev. John Thayer, a convert, was sent to take charge of the church which he found "dilapidated and deserted" after his predecessor's departure. Thayer had been a Congregationalist minister, and chaplain to Governor Hancock. At the close of the Revolution, being in his twenty-sixth year, he went abroad, and became a convert in Rome 25 May, 1783. He determined to become a priest in order to labor for the conversion of New England to the Catholic Faith and was ordained at St. Sulpice in Paris, in 1787. He returned to Boston 4 January, 1790. The first of a genuine New England family to enter the priesthood, he retained much of his inherited Puritanical oppressiveness, and, as Bishop Carroll said of him, he lacked "amiable and conciliatory manners" and was not a success as an administrator. Rousselet, who did not leave Boston immediately, set up a rival church and divided the little congregation, the French element siding with him and the Irish with Thayer. In the spring of 1791 Bishop Carroll had to visit the parish to restore unity. He was received with courtesy by all citizens and was made the guest of honor at the annual dinner of the most important social and military organization there, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. Governor John Hancock attended Mass as a mark of respect for him. "It is wonderful", the bishop wrote, "to tell what great civilities have been done to me in this town, where a few years ago a Popish priest was thought to be the greatest monster in the creation. . . . If all the Catholics here were united their number would be about one hundred and twenty" (U.S. Cath. Magazine, Baltimore, VIII, 149).

Father Thayer having failed as a pastor he was relieved by the Rev. Francis A. Matignon, one of the many French priests exiled by the Revolution, and to whom the Church in the United States owes so much. Born in Paris, in 1753, he was ordained priest in 1773 and taught theology in the College of Navarre. Having arrived in Boston, 20 August, 1792, he soon healed all the local dissensions and by his zeal, eloquence, piety, and winning courtesy made an immediate success of his pastorship. In 1796 he invited his old friend and associate, the Rev. John Louis de Cheverus, then an exile in England, to Boston to help him, and to his great joy the call was heeded. The Abbé de Cheverus arrived on the third of October of that year. He remained in Boston with Father Matignon until July, 1797, when he went at Bishop Carroll's request to visit the Indian missions in Maine. On his way, he looked after the scattered Catholics between Boston and the Penobscot. According to a report then made to Bishop Carroll of the Easter Communions of 1798 there were 210 Catholics in Boston, 15 in Plymouth; 21 in Newburyport, and 3 in Salem. Outside Boston the only important Catholic colony was at Damariscotta Lincoln County, Maine, where Roger and Patrick Hanly, two Irishmen, had settled some time before, and their descendants and friends made up the community. The leading merchants and shipbuilders of Newcastle, James Kavanagh (father of Edward Kavanagh, later Governor of Maine, the hero of Longfellow's novel "Kavanagh", and the first Catholic governor of a New England State) and Matthew Cottrill, built a chapel and later, in 1808, a brick structure, St. Patrick's church, for the use of their fellow Catholics. This was the only church in New England outside Boston. Having put these missions in order Father Cheverus returned to Boston and with Father Matignon exhibited heroic courage and charity during the yellow fever epidemic of 1798. By this time the old church in School Street was no longer fit for Divine service and another site on Franklin Street near Devonshire Street, was secured for $2,500. Speaking at the centennial observance (29 September, 1903) of the dedication of this church, Archbishop Williams said: "We bought that land from the Boston Theatre. Remember the site of the old cathedral was in the most beautiful part of the town at the end of Franklin Square and the theatre owned both sides of the lower part of the street. The theatre people agreed to sell us that lot at one-half what they could get for it when we bought it. And remember in that street in those days were some of the principal families of the city. I remember the Bradleys, the Wigglesworths, the Amorys, and others who lived each side of the street, showing what a choice spot it was and one of the select streets of the city." The Spanish consul-general, Don Juan Stoughton, father of the Don Tomas Stoughton, who had so much to do with the building of St. Peter's, the first church in New York, lived opposite the site selected. At a meeting held 31 March, 1799, he and John Magner, Patrick Campbell, Michael Burns, Owen Callahan, John Duggan, and Edmund Connor were named the committee to take charge of the new project. From the congregation they collected $16,000. Members of the leading Protestant families headed by President John Adams added $11,000 to this, and from Catholics in other places and other sources $5 500 more was received. The famous architect Charles Bulfinch, also a Protestant, who designed the capitol at Washington and the State House in Boston, supplied the plans without charge for a brick building 80 feet long and 60 wide of Ionic style, severely simple but impressive. Ground was broken for it on St. Patrick's Day 1800 and it was ready for dedication 29 September, 1803, having cost $20,000. Prominent among this first congregation, besides those already mentioned, were James Kavanagh, John Ward, David Fitzgerald, Stephen Roberts, John Driscoll, William Daly, Daniel English, Thomas Murphy, John Hanly, Abraham Fitton, Mary Lob, and representatives of the Duport, Dusseaucoir, Dumesnil, Lepouse, and Julien families Bishop Carroll went on from Baltimore to perform the ceremony of dedication. This visit of the bishop occasioned the greatest local satisfaction, and the two priests continued their zealous ministrations with such success that in 1805 their flock had increased to about 500. Soon Bishop Carroll saw the necessity of having a bishop in Boston and desired to nominate Father Matignon for the see, but the latter refused to allow his name to be considered. "The good accomplished here", he wrote, "is almost exclusively the work of Mr. Cheverus; he it is who fills the pulpit who is most frequent in the confessional." Bishop Carroll therefore sent the name of the Rev. John Louis Cheverus to Rome declaring him to be "in the prime of life, with health to undergo any necessary exertion, universally esteemed for his unwearied zeal and his remarkable facility and eloquence in announcing the word of God, virtuous, and with a charm of manner that recalled Catholics to their duties and disarmed Protestants of their prejudices". Bishop Cheverus was appointed 8 April, 1808, but owing to the difficulties of communication the Bull did not reach him for nearly two years afterwards, when he was consecrated the first Bishop of Boston, in Baltimore, 1 November, 1810. He then went back to Boston to continue his simple, modest way of life. His old friend, Father Matignon, enjoyed honor and the esteem of all to the end of his long and useful career which came on the 18th of September, 1818.

Bishops

John Louis de Cheverus

His many years of hard work at length began to tell on Bishop Cheverus and his physicians advised a return to his native land to escape repeated attacks of asthma. In 1823 King Louis XVIII of France nominated him to the vacant See of Montauban, and to the regret of all in the United States he embarked for Europe, 1 October 1823. He remained in charge at Montauban until 30 July, 1826, when he was promoted to the Archbishopric of Bordeaux. On 1 February he was created cardinal. He died at Bordeaux, 19 July 1836, in his sixty-ninth year. (See JOHN LOUIS DE CHEVEROUS.) During the administration of Bishop Cheverus the Ursuline nuns were introduced into the Diocese of Boston through the zeal of the Rev. John Thayer, who, when on a visit to Limerick, Ireland, where he died in 1815, enlisted the sympathy of Mary and Catharine, daughters of James Ryan of that city, in the project of founding a convent in Boston. They emigrated to Boston in 1817 and by direction of the bishop went to the Ursuline Convent at Three Rivers, Canada. They made their profession, 4 October, 1819. They returned to Boston, and a convent was secured for them on Federal Street near the cathedral. Here they remained until 17 July, 1826, when their new convent, Mount Benedict, Charlestown, was opened. This was the institution sacked and burned by an anti-Catholic mob on the 11th of August, 1834. Assisting in the work at the old School Street and Franklin Street Churches at various times were the Rev. James Romagne, a West Indian priest, who also looked after the Indian missions in Maine, the Rev. J.S. Tisseraud, Fathers Matthew O'Brien and F.X. Brosius, an Alsatian, who opened a school near Harvard University and was the only teacher of German then in Boston, also the Revs. Gabriel Richard, John Grassi, S.J., Philip Lariscy, the Augustinian, and Paul McQuade. In twenty years the bishop had no regular assistant. In 1817 he ordained his first ecclesiastical student, Denis Ryan, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland. In 1820 he ordained the second of his pupils Patrick Byrne, also from Kilkenny. In December, 1822, Virgil Barber (see BARBER FAMILY) was raised to the priesthood, and to the school he opened at Claremont. New Hampshire, were sent as further recruits for the work of the diocese James Fitton, William Wiley, who later became successful and long-lived pastors, and William Tyler, first Bishop of Hartford. Churches were built in Salem, South Boston, and other places. A cemetery was purchased near Dorchester Heights, South Boston, and a memorial erected there to Father Matignon. The chapel was dedicated to St. Augustine in compliment to Father Larisey who collected most of the funds for the purchase of the ground. There were a number of converts through the zeal and instruction of Bishop Cheverus, notable among them being Thomas Walley, who had a private chapel at his residence in Brookline; Dr. Henry B.C. Greene, who was elected to the State legislature in 1841 and served for four terms, being the first Catholic office-holder in the State; Stephen Cleveland Blythe, the Rev. Calvin White, William Wiley, afterwards a priest, Mrs. John C. Sefton, Samuel Bishop, Captain Bela Chase, Nicholas Hazelborn, the Barber family, and General Ethan Allen's daughter Frances, who was the first nun from New England.

Benedict Joseph Fenwick

Second bishop, appointed 10 May, 1825. He was born 3 September, 1782, near Leonardstown, Maryland, Cuthbert Fenwick, the founder of the family in America, being one of the original Catholic settlers of Lord Baltimore's colony in Maryland. He was sent with his brother Enoch to Georgetown College in 1793, and in 1805 entered the Sulpician Seminary at Baltimore to study for the priesthood. When the Society of Jesus was restored in the United States in 1806 he and his brother were among the first scholastics received. He was ordained priest 12 March, 1808. In the succeeding years he was pastor in New York, director of its first Catholic Collegiate school, administrator and vicar-general of the diocese, missionary in South Carolina, and twice president of Georgetown College. He was then named Bishop of Boston, was consecrated in Baltimore on 1 November, 1825, and took possession of his see, 3 December. There were then only two priests in the diocese, the Revs. P. Byrne in Boston and D. Ryan at New Castle, Maine; and besides the cathedral only three churches. The bishop at once started a seminary in his own house and, having prepared Fathers Fitton, Wiley, Smith, Tyler, and Thomas J. O'Flaherty, ordained them. Other students were sent to study at Rome, Paris, Baltimore, and Montreal. The Rev. John Mahony was sent to take charge at Salem; C. D. Ffrench, a Dominican, to Maine in 1826, and Robert D. Woodley to look after the scattered congregations in Rhode Island and Connecticut. In 1828 Bishop Fenwick enlarged the cathedral and began a school in the basement, which was taught by his theological students, assisted by Patrick Haney, a mulatto from the West Indies. The erection of new churches, the providing of more priests for the increasing number of Catholics, the promotion of Catholic education, and the regulation of the general discipline of the Church took up the remaining years of his life, which ended on the eleventh of August, 1846. In 1844 he was given a coadjutor, the Right Rev. John Bernard Fitzpatrick. Bishop Fenwick began, on 8 September, 1829, for the defense of the Faith, the publication of "The Jesuit, or Catholic Sentinel", one of the first Catholic papers printed in the United States. In 1843 he founded the College of the Holy Cross at Worcester and entrusted it to the Jesuits. In 1829 he attended the First Provincial Council of Baltimore. At his death Boston had about fifty churches with attendant priests, a college, an orphan asylum, and numerous schools, and a portion of its original territory the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island had been erected into the new Diocese of Hartford (28 November, 1843) Three Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg, Maryland, opened the first orphan asylum in 1831. The first diocesan synod was held n 1842 and was attended by thirty priests. The clergy of this period were all men of broad, solid culture and knowledge. Among others not named above may be mentioned the Rev. Jeremiah O'Callaghan, a native of Cork, Ireland, whose strict views on the doctrine of usury brought him into conflict with the bishop of that place. He later became a tutor in the family of William Cobbett and came to New York in 1830 The mission of Burlington, Vermont, was given to his care, and there in 1834 he published a book under the title "Usury, Funds and Banking". Dr. Thomas J. O'Flaherty, a physician from Kerry, Ireland, was ordained priest in 1829. He edited "The Jesuit" for the bishop and made a translation of Joseph de Maistre's "Spanish Inquisition". The Rev. C. E. Brasseur de Bourbourg was for a time in the diocese and two years after the bishop's death went to Mexico where he devoted much time to decyphering the native picture writings. In 1845 it was estimated there were 53,000 Catholics in the State, an increase of more than 20,000 in ten years.

John Bernard Fitzpatrick

Third bishop, was consecrated titular Bishop of Callipolis and coadjutor of Boston, 24 March, 1844. He was born in Boston, 1 November, 1812, his parents having emigrated from Ireland in 1805. His early education was received in the local grammar and Latin schools and in 1829 he went to the Sulpician college at Montreal. After eight years spent there as student and professor he entered the Seminary of St. Sulpice, Paris, to complete his ecclesiastical course and was ordained priest there 13 June, 1840. He then returned to Boston and after a year as assistant at the cathedral was made pastor of the church at East Cambridge. In 1844 he was appointed coadjutor to Bishop Fenwick. He took part in the Sixth Provincial Council of Baltimore in 1846 and attended the subsequent provincial councils and the first plenary council (1853), which further reduced the original limits of his jurisdiction by creating the dioceses of Burlington and Portland. During 1854 he paid his official visit to Rome after having suffered, together with his people the utmost indignities and persecution at the hands of bigots. In July of that year the churches at Dorchester, at Bath, and at Manchester, New Hampshire, were destroyed by mobs. In October, at Ellsworth, Maine, the Rev. John Bapst, S.J., was taken by a band of masked men, stripped, smeared with tar and feathers, and forced out of the place. The legislature of Massachusetts also appointed a special committee to investigate convents, and the members forced their way into several institutions. From the pope Bishop Fitzpatrick received consolation and encouragement and the message to his people to "persevere under afflictions". The anti-Catholic sentiment in the community continued. On 14 March, 1859, a Catholic boy named Thomas J. Wall was whipped for refusing to read the Protestant Bible and recite Protestant prayers in one of the Boston public schools. Thereupon so strong a protest was made by the bishop against the injustice done to the Catholics of the community by the system and regulations then in operation that for the first time in the history of the city a priest and several Catholic laymen were named on the school committee. For many years the bishop was an invalid and a great sufferer, but he kept up his activities to the end and before his death on 13 February, 1866, saw the prosperity of the diocese increased nearly threefold. In 1860 Bishop Fitzpatrick, intending to build a new cathedral, sold the old church in Franklin Street For $115,000, the neighborhood having changed into a business centre. Among his prominent converts may be noted Josue Moody, afterwards Bishop of Erie, Fathers George J. Goodwin, H. Tucker, J. Coolidge Shaw, S.J., Edward H. Welch, S.J., Orestes A. Brownson, the philosopher, Buckley Hastings, General Joseph W. Revere (Paul Revere's grandson), and other members of old New England families. Chaplains in the regiments who volunteered in the Civil War were Fathers Thomas Scully, Charles L. Egan, Nicholas O'Brien, and Lawrence S. McMahon (afterwards Bishop of Hartford). Editors and writers were Fathers Joseph M. Finotti, John P. Roddan, and John Boyce.

John Joseph Williams

Fourth bishop, consecrated 11 March, 1866; created first archbishop 12 February, 1875. He was born in Boston of Irish parents 27 April, 1822, and died in Boston, 30 August, 1907. His boyhood and early manhood were spent under the spiritual direction of Bishop Fenwicl He attended the cathedral school and thence passed to the Sulpician college in Montreal and their seminary at Paris, where he was ordained priest in 1845. He was the special friend of Bishop Fitzpatrick who made him his vicar-general at an early age and rector of St. James's church, where in 1842 he established the first Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in New England. Two other rectors of this church became bishops: the Rev James A. Healy, appointed Bishop of Portland in 1875, and M. A. Harkins Bishop of Providence in 1887. Shortly before his death Bishop Fitzpatrick sought to have Father Williams made his coadjutor, but he did not live to see him consecrated. Boston was made an archdiocese in 1875, and Bishop Williams was promoted to be its metropolitan. He received as an auxiliary the Right Rev. John Brady, consecrated Titular Bishop of Alabanda, 5 August 1891, and a coadjutor with the right of succession in the Right Rev. William H. O'Connell of Portland, who was promoted to be Titular Archbishop of Tomi and coadjutor of Boston, 8 February, 1906. Archbishop Williams also saw organized, within the limits of the Diocese of Boston as it was when he was born, the Dioceses of Springfield, 1870; Providence, 1872; Manchester, 1884; and Fall River, 1905, and among those immediately under his jurisdiction representatives of nearly every country and language of Europe. Prominent among the memorials of his long episcopate and priesthood were the new Cathedral of the Holy Cross, dedicated 8 December, 1875, and St. John's Ecclesiastical Seminary at Brighton, erected in 1884, which is in charge of the Sulpicians. Boston College was opened by the Jesuits in 1863. In the same year the Carney Hospital was established through the generosity of Andrew Carney, who with his family has given it $75,000. The House of the Angel Guardian for boys, founded in 1849 by the Rev. G. F. Haskins, in 1876 was entrusted to the care of the Brothers of Charity from Montreal. St. Mary's Infant Asylum was opened in 1872; the Home for the Aged by the Little Sisters of the Poor, in 1870; the House of the Good Shepherd in 1867, and the Daly Industrial School was made possible by the gift in 1899 of $50,000 from the Rev. Patrick J. Daly. The Home for Destitute children was opened in 1864; the Working Boys Home in 1883, and the Home for Girls in 1884. St. Elizabeth's Hospital dates from 1868, the Free Home for Consumptives from 1891 the Holy Ghost Hospital for Incurables from 1893 The Sisters of St. Joseph made their first foundation in the diocese in 1873; the Franciscan Sisters, in 1884; the Religious of the Sacred Heart, in 1880; and the Carmelites from Baltimore, in 1890. The Redemptorists began a mission in the late sixties, and built their first church in the Roxbury District in 1871. In 1883 the Marist Fathers began their local work, and the Augustinians established themselves in Lawrence in 1861. French immigration from Canada, which had been going on since 1815, began to attract special attention about 1870. In 1868 the first distinctively French parish was organized in Lowell. Italian and Portuguese congregations date from 1872, the former in Boston and the latter in Gloucester. One congregation in Gloucester has a respectable section made up of Gaelic speaking Scotch from Cape Breton and Antigonish. There is one German Congregation in Boston, and one in Lawrence; that in Boston, the church of Holy Trinity, dates from 1836 and has the distinction of starting in 1844 one of the first parish schools in New England. There are also Polish, Lithuanian, and Syrian congregations in Boston. Archbishop Williams was a quiet, conservative prelate, known best as an administrator. He was one of the bishops who attended the Vatican Council and helped largely to establish the American College at Rome.

William Henry O'Connell

Second archbishop, was born 8 December, 1859, at Lowell, Massachusetts, and received his early education in its local schools and at St. Charles's College, Ellicott City, Maryland. He then graduated in 1881 at the Jesuit College in Boston and was sent to the American College, Rome, to make his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained there 8 January 1884, and returned to Boston in 1886. The following years he was stationed as an assistant at Medford, and at Boston until 1895 when he was appointed rector of the American College, Rome. He held this office five years, and was then appointed Bishop of Portland, Maine, being consecrated 19 May, 1901. In the fall of 1905 the pope sent him as a special envoy to Japan in the interests of the Church. He was decorated by the Mikado and on his return to Rome was warmly commended for the success of his efforts by the pope, who on 26 January, 1906, named him titular Archbishop of Tomi, and coadjutor of Boston. On the death of Archbishop Williams, he immediately took possession of the See of Boston.

The Right Rev. John Brady, auxiliary bishop, was born at Crosserlough, County Cavan, Ireland, 11 April, 1842. He made his first studies in the local diocesan schools and then completed his theological course at the Missionary College of All Hallows, where he was ordained priest for the Diocese of Boston, 4 December, 1864. He served as a curate in Boston and at Newburyport until 1868, when he was made pastor at Amesbury. He continued in this charge until he was nominated Titular Bishop of Alabanda and Auxiliary Bishop of Boston for which see he was consecrated 5 August, 1891.

Social progress

"The foundation of a Catholic Church in Boston could only be surpassed by devoting a chamber in the Vatican to a Protestant Chapel" said William Tudor, writing in his "Letters on the Eastern States" (Boston, 1819). The records show that the notable constructive Catholic social period of the diocese did not begin until after the Civil War. Though the Catholics formed a quarter of the population of Boston in 1844 and two-fifths in 1853, not a single one of that faith ever held an elective or appointive public office in the city of Boston. There were only three Catholic teachers in the public schools until 1860. The first Catholic Member of the Common Council, John H. Barry, was elected in 1857, the first alderman, Christopher A. Connor, in 1870, and the first Member of Congress, Patrick A. Collins, in 1882. The changed conditions are shown by the fact that for ten of the past twenty-three years Boston has been ruled by Catholic Mayors, and public memorials have been set up amid general approval to the soldier, Colonel Thomas Cass; the poet journalist, John Boyle O'Reilly; and the statesman, Patrick Andrew Collins. In justice it must be said that much of the progress thus made was owing to Patrick Donahoe, who after the failure of "The Jesuit" continued in "The Pilot" (begun 2 January, 1836) the illustrations of Catholic truth and the defense of Catholic rights. From his publication house issued for more than half a century a steady output of Catholic literature that aided materially the education of his fellow Catholics and won for the Faith a general popular appreciation. Other periodicals and publications in the archdiocese are the weeklies "The Republic" and the "Sacred Heart Review" (Boston), "The Catholic Citizen" (Chelsea); "The Sunday Register" (Lawrence); the monthlies "Donahoe's Magazine" (Boston); "The Index" (Haverhill), the French weeklies "Le Defenseur", "La Justice" (Holyoke); "L'Etoile", daily and weekly (Lowell).

Statistics

Records of the Archdiocese of Boston for 1907 give these figures: 1 archbishop, 1 bishop, 598 priests (488 secular and 110 regular), 194 churches with resident priests, 54 missions with churches, 1 theological seminary with 86 students, 3 colleges for boys, 8 academies for girls, 76 parishes with schools and an attendance of 48,192 children; 6 orphan asylums with 650 inmates; 24 charitable institutions; the total number of children in Catholic institutions 48,740; 1 infant asylum, 538 inmates; industrial and reform schools 4, inmates 915; homes 7, inmates 826; brothers 140; religious women 1567; seminary for diocesan clergy 1, students 86; estimated Catholic population 850,000.

The following religious orders and congregations have foundations in the archdiocese: Communities of Men, Augustinians, 16; Franciscans (O.M.C.), 5; Jesuits, 32; Marists, 15; Oblates, 22; Congregation of St. Charles Borromeo, 4; Redemptorists, 16; Brothers of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, 25; Brothers of the Christian Schools, 11; Little Brothers of Mary, 19, Xaverian Brothers, 58. Communities of Women, Sisters of St. Ann, Sisters of the Assumption, Sisters of Charity (Madison, New Jersey), Sisters of Charity (Grey Nuns, Montreal), Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Sisters of Charity (Emmitsburg), Sisters of Charity (Halifax, N. S.), Sisters of the Holy Union of the Sacred Hearts, Sisters of St. Dominic (Jersey City, N. J.), Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis, Sisters of St. Dominic (Springfield, Kentucky), Sisters of St. Francis (Allegany, N. Y.), Sisters of St. Francis (Rome), Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Grey Nuns of the Cross (Ottawa Ontario), Religious of the Sacred Heart, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart (Rome), Sisters of St. Joseph, Sisters of Mary, Sisters of Mercy (Manchester, New Hampshire), Sisters of Notre Dame, of Namur, since 1849, School Sisters of Notre Dame (Baltimore, Maryland), Little Sisters of the Poor, Sisters of Providence, Sisters of the Holy Union of the Sacred Hearts, Filles de Jesus, Franciscan Poor Clare nuns, Sisters of the Holy Childhood.


Sources

SHEA, History of the Cath. Ch. in U. S. (New York, 1886); IDEM, Life and Times of the Most Rev. John Carroll (Ib., 1888); HAMON Vie du Cardinal de Cheverus (Paris, 1858, tr, WALSH, Philadelphia, 1839; tr. STEWART, Boston, 1839); FITTON, Sketches of the Establishment of the Church in New England (Boston, 1872), CREAGH, Laity's Directory (New York, 1822); Catholic Observer (Boston 1847), files; Mémoires de P. De Sales Laternere (Quebec, 1813), Gazette de Quebec (22 October 1789 supplement); American Cath. Hist. Researches (January 1889; July, 1902) FINOTTI, Bibliographia Cath. Americana (New York, 1872); CLARKE, Lives of the Deceased Bishops (New York, 1872); The Pilot (Boston, 2 January, 1836-1907), files; REUSS, Biog. Cycl. of the Hierarchy of the U. S. (Milwaukee, 1879); U. S. Cath. Magazine (Baltimore), VIII, 102 sqq.; U, S. CATH. HIST. SOC., Hist. Records and Studies (New York, October, 1906), IV, parts I and II; SULLIVAN, Catholic Church of New England, Archdiocese of Boston (Boston and Portland, 1895); LEAHY in History of Catholic Church in the New England States (Boston, 1899), I; Memorial Volume, One Hundredth Anniversary Celebration of the Dedication of the Church of the Holy Cross, Boston (Boston, 1904); H. F. BROWNSON, Orestes A. Brownson's Early Life; IDEM, Middle Life (Detroit, 1898-99).

About this page

APA citation. Meehan, T. (1907). Boston. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02703a.htm

MLA citation. Meehan, Thomas. "Boston." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02703a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph E. O'Connor.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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