Our Lady of Lourdes History
During the latter part of the 1800's the section of Revere nearest the Atlantic Ocean had rapidly developed. Father James Lee, of the Immaculate Conception Church in Revere, found it necessary to erect a second church. This one would take care of the Catholics in the Beachmont section.
Father Lee was a rather sickly man. Upon his visit to Lourdes, France he asked Our Lady to intercede in Heaven for him. If his wish were granted, he would build a church in her honor.
His prayers were answered and he fulfilled his promise by building Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Beachmont. His name is perpetuated in our city by the Lee-Burbank Highway and by Court James Lee No. 527 Catholic Daughters of America.
Father Lee purchased the land at the junction of State Road and Endicott Avenue in March 1902. On June 17, 1902 the cornerstone was laid with the late Bishop Brady officiating, assisted by Father James Lee and his curates, Father Mark Sullivan and Father Patrick M. O'Connor. On November 16, 1902 it was dedicated as a Mission of the Immaculate Conception Parish and named Our Lady of Lourdes.
The first Mass was celebrated by Father James Lee with the following altar boys serving their first Mass: Patrick A. Collins, Thomas L. Gannon, Frank Maden, Joseph Nevins, James Welch, William Gannon and George Bigelow. The firm of McGinnis, Walsh and Sullivan of architectural fame designed the church.
In 1905 Archbishop Williams and Father Lee decided that Our Lady of Lourdes Mission should become a separate Parish. Consequently, the Reverend Patrick M. O'Connor, a curate of the Immaculate Conception Church, was named its first Pastor. Reverend James W. Hickey succeeded a year later, when illness forced him to become inactive Father O'Connor. In 1907 his assistant was appointed, the Reverend Daniel F. Desmond, who later became the distinguished Bishop of Alexandria, Louisiana.
A house was needed for the new parish priests. Father Hickey purchased property directly across from the Church on Endicott Avenue for a parochial residence. Previously, the rectory was located at some distance from the church on Winthrop Avenue.
In order to give as intensive a Catholic training as possible without a parochial school, Father Hickey organized a very strong Sunday School under the direction of the Sisters of Providence, an active Children of Mary Sodality with weekly instructions in Bible History. The Pastor also formed a Catholic Literary Guild for the young woman in the Parish.
When Father Hickey passed away in June 1921, he left a Parish that was a splendid tribute to his heroic efforts. The Reverend John V. Cronan succeeded him.
During Father Cronan's pastorate of over a quarter of a century, many changes took place. Always alert for the best interests of his Parish, he realized the Church should be modernized, and accordingly, renovations were begun in 1927 and completed in 1929.
Father Cronan died in 1947; his name is perpetuated in the Parish Hall. During his long and fruitful pastorate, many organizations were founded or re-organized. To name a few there were: St. Vincent de Paul Society, Legion of Mary Presidium, A Canteen Unit, C.Y.O., Parish Library, Holy Name Society was re-organized, and three fine choir groups were formed.
Reverend John W. Cunningham, a man of exceptional ability and great personal devotion, succeeded Father Cronan. He continued the work started by his predecessor.
Father Cunningham started weekly devotions to Our Lady of Fatima. A Parish Nursery was maintained Sunday mornings where the young children were taken care of downstairs while their parents assisted at Holy Mass upstairs.
Through his efforts a park was erected and developed into a beauty spot at the junction of Endicott Avenue and Jones Road. Father Cunningham died in December 1962; the park was named in his honor and memory.
Reverend Timothy Howard who was our Pastor from 1963 to 1972 succeeded Father Cunningham. He retired to residence at the Regina Cleri Home for Retired Priests in Boston.
Reverend John McNally became our next Pastor. More renovations were made on the church as it stands today. Father McNally served until 1977. He was named Pastor to the Sacred Heart Parish in Bradford, Massachusetts.
Since Father McNally, Our Lady of Lourdes has been graced with the pastoral leadership of Reverend John E. Colahan along with Reverend James J. Bretta, Reverend Thomas Curran and Reverend Vincent Gianni.
Currently, Reverend Richard Casey is administering Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.