WILMINGTON — Bishop Emilio Allué joined the parishioners of St. Dorothy Parish in Wilmington on Saturday, June 5, 2004, at the 4 o‘clock Mass to begin a year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of their parish. St. Dorothy Parish was established at midnight on June 6, 1954 by the late Cardinal Richard Cushing and comprises the Silver Lake section of Wilmington and south Tewksbury. The theme of the year long celebration was announced as “Two communities growing in Faith.” The church was built by a cross- section of two communities from south Tewksbury and Wilmington. The parish is the only in the archdiocese named in honor of the young Roman girl martyred for her faith in 311. Dorothy is the patron saint of brides, florists and gardeners.
Bishop Emilio S. Allué, was principal celebrant of the Mass and was joined by Father Kevin P. Horrigan, the pastor, and Father John R. McNeil and Father William Smith. In his homily Bishop Allué recalled the significant history of the patron saint and the faith community. He noted the spirit of the parish. The bishop encouraged the congregation to evangelize and reach out. He encouraged the community to nourish their faith family and welcome new neighbors. He asked parishioners to commit and work towards the full realization of their parish mission statement for the next 50 years.
More than 25 members of the Ladies’ Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary honored Mary Scelzo, well-known Wilmington resident and an original member of the parishes’ oldest society. Mary is 107 years old and was one of the early benefactors to construct the beautiful church on the grounds of Thompson’s Grove in Wilmington.
The parish choir and faithful sang joyful and generational songs during the liturgy. During the preparation of gifts, Debra McNeil representing the youth of the parish brought forth a special gift (basket of roses and apples) symbols of the patron saint and a reminder to all to nourish the faith and beauty of the parish youth. “It was a very beautiful Mass,” said Ann Marie Snyer, a native of the parish who returned with family members. A reception in the church hall followed the Mass. Many parishioners stayed late into the evening reminiscing.
Father Kevin Horrigan “was pleased with the energy and enthusiasm” shown by the parishioners. A large anniversary committee has been busy planning a calendar of social activities for the year long celebration. Some include an August parish trip to Estrimont Resort and local shrines in Canada, a Lowell Spinners baseball game, Fall Homecoming Weekend, a parish variety show, a winter snow sculpture contest, a 1950s sock hop dance, youth programs, a Spring 2005 barbecue and an old-fashioned double penny sale. Ron Colbert, anniversary committee member, reported that a full range of activities to honor the past and celebrate our future would be ongoing during this anniversary year. Father Horrigan noted that the committee has numerous liturgical events including special Mass for shut-ins, special weekend youth Masses, a parish mission and special feasts including blessing of Silver Lake and the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with blessings of family pets. In addition, the committee will undertake charitable projects during the year including blood drives, baby showers and food pantry projects.
In preparation for the anniversary an ambitious 1.2 million dollars church renovation occurred. St. Dorothy’s now boasts a magnificently designed liturgical space for the new century.