St. Bridget Church Dedicated, Lexington, Massachusetts, May 1891

ST. BRIDGET’S DEDICATED.
Lexington Catholics Proud of Their Church.
Impressive Ceremonies and Notable Music in New Edifice.
Eloquent and Patriotic Sermon of Rev. Father Joyce.
The Boston Daily Globe, May 4, 1891, 13.

LEXINGTON, May 3.— The handsome new Roman Catholic church of St. Bridget’s was dedicated yesterday.

The ceremonies were opened at 10:30 with a procession around and through the church. The acolytes were led by cross-bearer Joseph O’Connor of Boston College, followed by the visiting clergy and Archbishop Williams. The whole presented an impressive spectacle. The sanctuary and body of the church were resplendent in potted plants and flowers loaned from the conservatory of Francis B. Hayes at Oakmount.

After the dedicatory exercises a solemn high mass was celebrated, the officiating clergymen being as follows: Celebrant, Rev. Father O’Toole of West Newton; deacon, Rev. Father Murphy of Hopkinton; sub-deacon, Rev. Father Gilligan of Medford; master of ceremonies, Rev. Father Donovan, of St. Francis de Sales, Charlestown.

Archbishop John Williams (1866-1907)

Inside the sanctuary rail were seated Archbishop Williams of the diocese of Boston and the following clergymen: Rev. John Flatley, Concord; Rev. Father Brosnahan, Waltham; Rev. Father O’Toole, West Newton; Rev. Father Stack, Watertown; Rev. Father Billings, St. James, Boston; Rev. Father J.J. O’Brien, St. James, Boston; Rev. Father McGlew, Chelsea; Rev. Father McCall, Concord; Rev. Father Qualey, Woburn; Rev. Father Gilday, Woburn; Rev. Father Nagle, Cathedral; Rev. Father F.M. Murphy, Hopkinton; Rev. Father Gilligan, Medford; Rev. Father Donovan, St. Francis de Sales, Charlestown.

Father Joyce, O.M.I.

An eloquent sermon was delivered by Rev. Father Joyce, oblate father, of Lowell, and in the course of his sermon he said:

“Today at this time and place, God has accepted this temple of worship as an offering to Him, and here God’s name will remain, and in it His eyes and heart will ever be. You are now in possession of a great privilege in having the satisfaction of knowing that God is always near. It was His spirit and inspiration that has buoyed you on through the many years through which you have made so many sacrifices that you might erect a house of worship worthy of Our Lord.

There is not a place or a country in the world where a Catholic is more at home than in this beautiful town of Lexington. Here it was that the gallant sons of liberty first met the enemy, which resulted in shaking off the tyrants’ yoke. Those in the congregation who are of Celtic blood should feel a certain gladness at being able to enjoy the constitutional and religious liberty, first purchased by the men of Lexington in olden times.

In congratulate the archbishop on this addition to his long list of churches and the people for their generosity in making so many sacrifices in order to erect this, one of the most beautiful places of worship in the archdiocese. The Almighty God hears the prayers of the church, no matter from whence they come, and always listens to us with the ear of mercy. Do not feel as though you can do too much to prepare a place for the visits of God. For as good Catholic should expect much from the holy mass, we should do all in our power to make churches worthy of the resting-place of our Lord, which place our churches are.

A meeting house without an altar, the sacrifice and the priest is not the house of God. All people, even the pagans of old times, made sacrifices, and it remained for Luther to say that the mass should be abolished, but it was not ordained to be. There is today in no part of the earth a place in the Catholic church in which the priest of God does not ascend the altar and offer sacrifice. The church is the gate of heaven and the way to heaven. As children you were brought to church, sanctified in God’s house, baptized and made children of God and given the right to celestial inheritance, and only by remaining away have you forfeited the right to eternal recompense.

The house of God will furnish all needs necessary that you may one day enter into your eternal home. Let the Catholic church and faith be your beacon from the cradle to the grave, and it will be your consolation and treasure that when your spirit has passed away from earth and the priest of God sings a requiem over the remains, prayers for mercy will ascend to the throne of the Most High that eternal happiness you will ever possess. Love God and the church and here you will enjoy a foretaste of the happiness which I fervently pray, will be yours in heaven.”

The music rendered was of a high order, the local choir being augmented by a quartet composed of Mrs. Shepard of Watertown, soprano; Miss Grace A. Monroe of Arlington, contralto; Mr. Fred Howard of Worcester, basso, and Mr. Walter Scott Kennedy of Worcester, tenor. Miss Melina J. Hureau ably presided at the organ.

Haydn’s imperial mass in D was sung. The solo parts of the Gloria, credo and sanctus were ably rendered by Mrs. Shepard. The solo in the kyrie was sustained by Mr. Howard. A duet in the Agnus Dei was given by Messrs. Kennedy and Howard. The Veni Creator was led by Mrs. Shepard, assisted by a large chorus. A soprano solo was also given by Mrs. J.A. McKenzie.

The special feature of the music was the rendering of Gounoud’s “Ave Maria,” by Mr. George A. Purdy, leader of the Boston Museum orchestra, on the violin, and Mr. Reed of the museum on the trombone, accompanied by Miss Hureau on the organ.

The services closed by the singing of the Te Deum by the choir.

The vesper services were held at 3:30; 110 persons received confirmation at the hands of Archbishop Williams. Mercadante’s vesper service was sung, Rev. James J. O’Brien of St. James’ church of Boston being the officiating clergyman.

The soloist of the morning also appeared, Miss Grace A. Monroe sustaining the solo parts. She gave a superb rendering of the “Salutaris,” and also appeared to the advantage in the “Veni Creator.” The “Tantum Ergo” was led by Mrs. J. McKenzie, assisted by the choir. The benediction was then pronounced and the ceremonies of the day ended.

The people of the faith in this town have reason to be proud of their work. With a beginning of a few people, who gathered at a little house on Concord hill and listened to the lamented Father Doherty of Cambridge, and received the rights of their church, they have passed through various stages of prosperity, until they now have a resident clergyman, and possess the handsome edifice dedicated today.

Father P.J. Kavanaugh, Pastor.

After Father Doherty came Father Qualey of Woburn, Father McCarty of Woburn, and Father Kenny, who lived in East Lexington. Then the parish came under the direction of the Arlington clergy, first Father Finotti and then Father Harkins, now Bishop of Providence, when finally the present and faithful Father Kavanaugh was selected as resident clergyman.

Originally services were held in the houses of Mr. Bartley White and Michael Crowley, from thence in the old Town Hall, Robinson’s Hall, and Village Hall, East Lexington.

The new edifice, while presenting a modest appearance on the outside, is handsomely finished in the interior. It is of gothic style of architecture, designed by Ford of Boston, and is richly finished in hard wood.
Handsome stained glass windows, presented by different societies and individuals present an attractive appearance, the principal window directly in the rear of the altar being a fine representation of the crucifixion.

The main altar is a superb work of the decorator’s art, and is flanked on both sides with miniature altars, also richly carved. Names of St. Joseph, St. Bridget, St. Patrick, the statue of the Sacred Heart and others adorn the sanctuary. Handsome brass candelabra are scattered throughout the church, and altogether it is a place of worship which compares favorably with any suburban church.

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