SOUTH BOSTON -- After years of planning and construction, Our Lady of Good Voyage Shrine will be dedicated by Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley the Saturday after Easter.
During an afternoon Mass on April 22 the cardinal will consecrate the altar and dedicate the new shrine, which will be the first Catholic church to be built within the city of Boston in more than 50 years. Because of the limited capacity of the shrine -- about 250 -- the Mass of dedication and consecration will be a ticketed event.
The new shrine will begin offering regular Masses on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 23, although the doors will be open during the day starting on April 21 for curious passersby.
The shrine has been under construction since the summer of 2015 following a ground breaking ceremony in late 2014. Once opened, it will replace the present one-story red brick chapel that has stood for over 60 years on Northern Avenue. Originally, planned as a chapel as well, the new Our Lady of Good Voyage will instead by dedicated as a shrine.
Initially, the schedule of the shrine will include Masses at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday. Daily Mass, Monday through Friday, will be offered at 7 a.m. and at 12:10 p.m., according to the rector of the shrine, Father Jim Flavin.
Confession will be available for around six hours each day and a priest will be available for much of the day.
With the shrine's schedule, one of the goals is to cater to employees of the ever-growing number of businesses in the area.
"There's such a need for folks in the work world to be able to come and find a little peace and solace with the Lord," said Father Flavin, who is also episcopal vicar of the Central Region and pastor of the three parishes of the South Boston Catholic Collaborative -- St. Monica-St. Augustine, St. Peter (Lithuanian), and St. Vincent de Paul.
"So, we're saying it's open to anyone who wants to come in and find some peace and quiet and be alone with God."
Located at "the gateway to the Seaport," just over the Moakley Bridge on the corner of Seaport Blvd. and Sleeper Street, Father Flavin noted that the shrine's location is a "great benefit."
Now, when "you come into the Seaport, the first thing you see is the shrine," he said.
An estimated 100,000 pedestrians will pass by the shrine each day, he said, noting that "It really is an exciting opportunity for evangelization."
The shrine will also be able to hold weddings, 27 of which have already been scheduled as well as baptisms, funerals, and other sacraments, said Father Flavin.
"Now that the cardinal has made this a shrine, he's designated that we can do all the sacraments there," he said.
The cardinal, as Archbishop of Boston, is, in a way, like the pastor of the shrine, said Father Flavin, and his role as rector is to serve as the cardinal's "direct representative."
This allows for "a lot more liturgical and sacramental work to take place than could happen in a chapel," he said.
The current Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel on Northern Ave. will hold its final Mass on Easter Sunday, April 16.