Timeline

May 26, 1906
St. Mary of the Angels parish was carved out of the territory that had been part of St. Joseph’s in Roxbury and was the westernmost parish until St. Mary’s in Dedham. The parish was established to meet the spiritual needs of the Irish domestics working in the homes of the wealthy merchants and brewers. Rev. Henry T. Barry was appointed the first pastor.

July 11, 1906
Julia Shulman deeded the Shulman Estate to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston for $1.00 for use as a rectory and for a future church building.

September 9, 1906
The first Mass was celebrated by Rev. Henry T. Barry at 7:00 a.m. in a temporary chapel in an old car barn located at 3134 Washington Street at the corner of School St. Father Barry celebrated a second mass at 8:30 a.m. and Father William J. Finn celebrated a third mass at 9:30 a.m. and a fourth at 11:00 a.m.  Each of the four masses was filled.

January 1, 1907
Rev. Barry died and Rev. Dennis Sullivan was appointed to be the second pastor.

August 2, 1907   
A permit was issued for construction of the lower church.  The architect was Edward I.P. Graham.

March 1, 1908
Construction of the lower church was completed.

November 21, 1910
The Sisters of Notre Dame opened Notre Dame Academy School and subsequently began religious education classes at St. Mary’s.

1910
New Italian and German immigrants added to a strong core of upwardly mobile Irish parishioners.

1916
The Great Chelsea Fire played a significant part in the development and character of the parish.  Many Jewish families displaced by the fire began moving into the surrounding neighborhood.

November 13, 1916
Rev. Charles A. Finnegan was appointed the third pastor.  He went on to serve for over thirty years.

December 1916
Electric lights were installed in the rectory.

1919
Prohibition had a major impact on the parish.  During the next few years, breweries in the area closed resulting in a decrease in the Catholic population.  In addition, the Jewish population continued to increase.

November 12, 1919
Father Finnegan notified the Archdiocese that the parish population was down to 1,000 adults and as a result, three priests were no longer needed.

January 27, 1925
Permission was granted to purchase a new organ to enhance Eucharistic Celebrations.

October 29, 1929
The stock market crash triggered the Great Depression, which had a major impact on the population of the parish.

October 1930
A new boiler and heater were installed in the Church.

October 11, 1935
Father Charles A. Finnegan notified Cardinal O’Connell that due to the changing population, there was no need to build the upper church.  The Chancery took over the financial books of the parish.

1940’s
Typical Sunday schedule:  Masses at 7:00 a.m., 8:45 a.m. (children’s), 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.  Sunday School 2:00 p.m. and Benediction 2:45 P.M.

Late 1940’s
Wealthy blacks, primarily from the South End, begin relocating to the “Sugar Hill” section of the parish.

April 29, 1952
Due to the ill health of Father Finnegan, Rev. James P. Donovan was appointed Parish Administrator.

October 10, 1952
St. John Berchman’s Sanctuary Society (alter boys) was established.

September 15, 1053
Rev. James P. Donovan was appointed Pastor.

May 27, 1957
The Fifth Annual Variety Show, “Bells and Beaux in Springtime,” was held at the Mary Curley School.

July 8, 1960
Permission was granted for the erection of the statue of the Virgin Mary in front of the church, paid for by the Holy Name Society and the Ladies’ Sodality.

February 23, 1965
Rev. Henry Barry was appointed Parish Administrator.

March 12, 1965
A small electric organ was purchased to replace the older, larger pipe organ.

Fall, 1965
Sisters of Notre Dame closed Notre Dame Academy and left the parish.  Religious of Sacred Heart Academy in Newton took over the religious education program.

1965
Rev. Lawrence Perry, Parish Assistant, worked with youth to renovate the rectory basement and establish a “Drop In Center” for youth.

1966
Major renovations were made to the interior of the church.

January 12, 1966
Rev. Henry Barry was appointed Pastor.

September 5, 1967
Construction of the chapel in the rectory was approved.

October 22, 1968
Rev. William F. Calter was appointed Parish Administrator.

1969
A Spanish speaking population began to move into the Egleston Square area, bringing a younger, vibrant community to the parish.  The white, English speaking population was aging and decreasing and the black population was increasing.

March 16, 1969
In an expression of solidarity with the black community, the parish requested and received approval to transfer two accounts to Boston’s first black bank.

May 20, 1969
Saturday afternoon mass began as a summer experiment and subsequently was made permanent.

June 2, 1969
Youth “Drop In Center” closed.

1971
Father William Mullen and Deacon John Gillespie celebrated the first Spanish Mass.

December 11, 1973
Rev. Anthony Vassatoro was appointed Parish Administrator.  He served until 1976.

1973
Weekly Mass in Spanish was begun.

1974
Youth programs were reactivated.

Spring, 1974
First Via Cruces (Good Friday) walks through the neighborhood began.

1975
Sister Mary Cahill was assigned to the parish for 6 months while home from working in Peru.  She taught the First Communion class.

December 9, 1976
Rev. John J. Roussin was appointed Parish Administrator, ushering in a period of social activism in the parish, including visits to prison, weekday Masses at parishioners' homes and programs for senior citizens.

1977
Sister Mary Cahill returned from Peru and began fulltime work at the parish.

1977
St. Mary of the Angels Food Pantry was established.

1977
In order to serve the medical needs of the neighborhood, the parish staff began bringing the Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ medical van to the Egleston Square area on Monday afternoons.  A physician parishioner and members of the parish staff volunteered as staff.  Approximately 12 patients were seen each week.

October 14, 1979
Cardinal Humberto Medeiros celebrated a mass in honor of the 75th anniversary of the church.  A reception was held in the rectory following the mass.

January 1, 1979
St. Mary of the Angels welcomed members of the Kmhmu community from Laos into the parish.  The office for the Kmhmu Family Association of Massachusetts opened in the parish house and offered ESL classes.

1982
Egleston Square Branch library, our next door neighbor, closed.

1984
A group of women from the parish were successful in getting the Egleston Square Branch Library reopened.  Several parishioners are still serving as “Friends of the Egleston Library.”

December 14, 1985
Bishop Robert J. Banks celebrated the ordination of Deacons Emmet J. Murphy and Paul M. Williams.

1987
A mass was celebrated to honor Sister Mary Cahill’s 40 years as a nun.

1987
The parish became financially independent, ending direct subsidies from the Archdiocese.

May 1989
To help address the increasing illegal-drug and gang activity facing the neighborhood, the parish led the “Take Back the Streets” initiative to help drive out the sale of drugs. The parish also helped to initiate a “Hands around Egleston Square” celebration.

June 1990
Last Saturday afternoon Mass.

November 24, 1990
Hector Morales, a 19-year-old X-Men gang member was shot to death by police in Egleston Square. Father Jack Roussin, of Saint Mary of the Angels parish, along with community leaders helped to maintain calm in the area in the hours and days after the shooting by advocating for non-violent response by gang members, conducting peace vigils, and holding constant dialog with gang members, community leaders and police.

April 23, 1991   
Rev. John J. Roussin was appointed Pastor after many years as Parish Administrator.

May 1992
Father Jack Roussin resigned from his pastor duties to fulfill a lifelong dream to do missionary work. He joined Missionary Society of St. James and went to Carabayllo, Peru, a town on the outskirts of Lima. At his urging Partners In Health established Socios en Salud, a system of community health workers in Carabayllo, built a pharmacy and conducted a health census.

December 17, 1992
Rev. Gerald J. Osterman was appointed Parish Administrator.  Sisters Mary Cahill and Katherine McGrath were responsible for the day to day running of the parish until a new Pastor was found.

December 21, 1993
Rev. John E. Fagan, S.J. was appointed Pastor.  Father Fagan continued the work of Father Roussin and added his own stamp of community activism, social outreach and concern for the spiritual and economic well being of the parish.

June 9, 1995
Father Jack Roussin died, result of Multi-Drug Resistant TB that he contracted during his missionary work in Peru.

1996
Sister Mary Cahill retired after many years of service at Saint Mary of the Angels.

August 10, 1997
In keeping with the spirit of community, St. Mary’s along with several other Catholic parishes of Roxbury and Dorchester celebrated a huge outdoor mass in Franklin Park.

1998 - Sr. Katherine McGrath left her post at Saint Mary of the Angels to continue the missionary work of Fr. Jack Roussin in Carabayllo, Peru.

October 17, 1999
The first “Youth Mass” was held at noon.

October 30, 1999
The parish held a “Town Meeting” to identify priorities, goals and objectives for the future.

February 5, 2000 
The parish held a “Day of Reflection” to develop the “Seven Bridges to the Future” as the ways and means to implement the results of the October 1999 Town Meeting.

August 2003
Rev. John E. Fagan left.  Parishioners convinced Rev. David Gill, S.J., to assume spiritual leadership of the parish.  The Archdiocese consented.

November 16, 2003
Rev. David Gill was installed as Pastor.

May 25, 2004
Cardinal Sean O’Malley notified St. Mary of the Angels that it was one of a large number of churches to be closed. The parish began to fight the closure.

June 13, 2004
Parishioners, neighborhood groups, local businesses and community leaders sponsored “Hands Around St. Mary of the Angels” to express the importance of St. Mary’s to the Egleston Square area.

June 26, 2004
Parishioners held a 24-hour vigil praying for St. Mary’s survival as a parish.

Fall 2005
Parish received a two-year reprieve of the closure decision.

June 16, 2005
Cardinal Sean O’Malley reversed the closure decision and announced that St. Mary’s would stay open.

February 2006
Parish began a year of celebratory events marking St. Mary’s Centennial Year.

Summer 2008
Rev. Robert VerEecke added duties of pastor of St. Mary’s to his pastorship of St. Ignatious in Brighton

Aug-Oct 2010
Rev. Jim Barry served as administrator of St.Mary’s

November 2010 - early 2011
Bishop Robert Hennessey served as pastor of St. Mary’s.

January 2011
Fr. Alonso Macias begins as pastor for St. Mary's in Roxbury, Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Thomas Aquinas in Jamaica Plain.

April 2012
3 parish convocation brings parishoners of the three parishs together to share our hopes and dreams.

June 3 2012
St Mary's says "goodbye" to Deacon Juan Pablo who returns to Chili for ordination after 2 years with us.

June 5 2012
Fr. Alonso Macias departs and Fr. Carlos Flor becomes pastor for the three parishes.

September 22 2012
Fr. Carlos Flor installed by Cardinal Sean O'Malley as pastor for the three parishes.

February 2013
Fr. Reynaldo Escobar is welcomed as parichial vicar of the three parishes.

 

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Fr. David Gill, pastor, and Archbishop Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap. celebrated Mass Sunday September 10, 2006 marking the beginning of St. Mary of the Angels' centenial year.


Egleston Square remembers
Fr. Jack Roussin

 
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