Groundbreaking for Weymouth church to be rebuilt after fire

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley joined members of Sacred Heart Parish in Weymouth for the groundbreaking ceremony for the rebuilding of their church Sept. 8. The original building was destroyed in June 2005 when an old refrigerator sparked a fire in the church basement. See story p. 20 Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy

WEYMOUTH — It was standing-room only in what parishioners at Sacred Heart Parish call their “churchatorium” on Sept. 8. The auditorium at Sacred Heart School has been the parish’s site for worship since June 9, 2005 when the 134-year-old church was decimated in a seven-alarm fire.

On Sept. 8, the feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary, the community gathered for the school’s opening Mass, followed by a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of Sacred Heart’s new church building. Construction is scheduled to begin within the next two weeks and be completed at the end of November 2007.

“Our gorgeous, new church is just 14 months away,” pastor Father Daniel J. Riley said. “We’re thrilled.”

The Mass began with a student choir singing the entrance hymn.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said in the homily that he was glad to celebrate the feast day and “mark a very important moment” for the parish.

Cardinal O’Malley urged parishioners to say “yes” to God, just as Mary did at the Annunciation. That “yes” was the first word from Mary in the Gospel, and her last words recorded in the Scriptures was at the wedding of Cana when she said, “Do whatever He tells you,” he said.

“So the first word from Mary is ‘yes,’ and her last word is telling us to say ‘yes’ to God, too,” he added. “Sometimes God calls us to change our plans, but every time we say ‘yes’ to God, something wonderful happens.”

After the homily, parishioners recited Sacred Heart’s building prayer.

“You give us grace upon grace to build the temple of Your Holy Spirit, creating its beauty from the holiness of our lives. As we build the new Sacred Heart Church, send Your Holy Spirit upon us,” they prayed. “We entrust our new church to the loving heart of Your son, Jesus.”

At the conclusion of the Mass, Father Riley thanked the cardinal for his constant support.

“After the church burnt down, the very first person to call us and offer sympathy was Cardinal Seán. A couple of days later he was here to celebrate Mass at our ‘churchatorium,’ and about three days later the cardinal gave us his blessing to build our new church,” he said. “As the cardinal said, if Mary hadn’t said yes, Jesus wouldn’t have been born. But if the cardinal had not said yes, our new church wouldn’t be born.”

Cardinal O’Malley and Father Riley processed out of the school auditorium first, followed by students who had donned yellow hard hats. The cardinal gave a blessing before the groundbreaking.

“Bless all those who are working to provide this site on which a church will be built. Today may they rejoice in work just begun. Soon may they celebrate the sacraments in Your temple,” he said.

Then he and school children representing different grades picked up shovels adorned with red and white ribbons and dug into the mound of dirt at the site.

Insurance will pay to replace the building that the State Fire Marshall’s Office determined was destroyed by fire from a malfunctioning refrigerator in the basement of the church.

Very few items survived the flames, but firefighters were able to salvage the tabernacle and its contents. Several of the Stations of the Cross, two bronze plaques with the names of parishioners who served in both World Wars, two marble holy water fonts, and a few statues were also retrieved.

It took over a year to clear the rubble, design the new church and prepare for construction. It will take about the same amount of time to rebuild, according to Robert Cassidy, assistant director of Facilities Management for the archdiocese.

The facilities office completes $20 to $40 million of work each year on parish centers, renovations or expansions. The most recent major project was a renovation at St. Patrick Parish in Stoneham, which was completed last year. But the new parish at Sacred Heart is a much larger project, he said.

“This is probably the largest contract we’ve undertaken in a long time,” he added.

Kerry Dunn, a parishioner who has two daughters enrolled in the school, said she is excited about the new construction.

“I’m glad that they got to rebuild the church. The people here are really great; they deserve it,” she said.

Dunn said she and her family were in Vermont when the fire broke out.

“By the time we got here, it was completely demolished,” she said. “We were devastated.”

Lois Bisson grew up in the parish, attended the high school before it closed and taught there for a year after college. She and her husband, Al, married at the church. They also watched the building burn down.

“I’m just so thrilled that the church is coming back,” said Lois. “My roots are here.”

Father Riley also mentioned that the lack of a church building has not negatively affected the school.

“The church is not even built and yet the school enrollment is up by 25,” he said. “The enrollment was great last year, and it’s terrific this year.”

The school now has 306 students who will have the opportunity to learn from the construction of the new church, according to principal Mary Reardon Ferrucci.

The school’s theme this year is “Let us build the city of God,” and the principal already has plans to bring electricians and bricklayers into the school to explain the construction to students.

“We’re really embracing it,” she said. “We’re really hoping to incorporate this historical event with our daily school.”

Caroline Cameron, a seventh-grader, and her brother, Johnny, a fifth-grader, have attended school at Sacred Heart since preschool. They both say they miss the old church but are ready to see it rebuilt.

“It’s nice that they’re gonna build it,” Caroline said. “I think it’s cool that we get to see how they do it and watch from school every day.”

Johnny, who held one of the shovels during the groundbreaking, added “I’m really excited.”

World
Cardinal beatifies 22-year-old Romanian as 'martyr to chastity'

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- A 22-year-old Romanian peasant has taken a step closer to sainthood as a "martyr to chastity," six decades after she was murdered ...

Nation
Maryland attorney general will review church records on child sex abuse

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- In a Sept. 24 letter to the clergy of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Archbishop William E. Lori informed priests and deacons that the ...

Nation
People helping people is what attracted actor to 'God Friended Me'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Television audiences may recall seeing actor Joe Morton as Eli Rowan Pope, the father of professional Washington fixer Olivia Pope, ...

Nation
Pa. bishops support creating fund to compensate survivors of sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The bishops of Pennsylvania's eight Roman Catholic dioceses are supporting creation of an independent fund to compensate survivors ...

Nation
CRS sells fair trade coffee, supporting Mexican farmers and land

Baltimore, Md., Sep 24, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Catholic Relief Services is now offering fair trade coffee beans that will benefit local farming communities ...

World
The Jesuit who survived the KGB

Vilnius, Lithuania, Sep 24, 2018 CNA.- When Pope Francis visited a former KGB building in Vilnius, Lithuania Sept. 23, Archbishop Sigitas Tamkevicius ...

World
Next step toward artificial reproduction violates human fundamentals, ethicist warns

Washington D.C., Sep 25, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Artificial human reproduction appears to be on the horizon with Japanese scientists’ claim to ...

World
Update: Scandals create outrage, but there is time for conversion, pope says

TALLINN, Estonia (CNS) -- In what is probably the least religious country in Europe, Pope Francis said he is surprised by how many people hold firm to ...

Nation
Catholic leaders oppose administration's plan to limit green cards

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholic leaders are speaking out against a Trump administration proposed rule announced Sept. 22 that would deny green cards to legal ...

Nation
Head of Georgetown Prep urges renewed commitment to being 'men for others'

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In a letter to the school community, the president of an all-boys Jesuit high school in suburban Washington emphasized the schools' ...

Nation
Today is 'hour of the laity,' Archbishop Gomez tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Hispanic Catholic leaders are living an important moment in the history of the Catholic church in the U.S. and are called to ...

World
Stay close to the suffering, forgive one another, pope tells Latvians

AGLONA, Latvia (CNS) -- What would Mary do? was the question Pope Francis, in effect, asked Latvian Catholics gathered at their nation's popular Marian ...

Nation
Joy, hope contagious for Encuentro participants as they discern priorities

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Joy, hope, energy and a spirit of continued collaboration are contagious among the participants of the Fifth National Encuentro, ...

World
Update: Pope in Lithuania: Don't let anti-Semitism, hatred resurge

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Outside the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius, Pope Francis ended a day of paying homage to victims of totalitarianism and ...

World
God is patient, even with failures, pope tells young Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- Meeting young Lithuanians in Vilnius, Pope Francis said he wanted a relaxed conversation, like they were sitting in a pub ...

World
Update: Vatican signs provisional agreement with China on naming bishops

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- For the first time in decades, all of the Catholic bishops in China are in full communion with the pope, the Vatican announced. Pope ...

World
Find strength in tolerance, solidarity, pope tells Lithuanians

VILNIUS, Lithuania (CNS) -- In Lithuania, a nation that experienced invasions, atrocities and persecution, Pope Francis began his visit with a plea to ...

Nation
Ospino: Encuentro reflects 'energy, maturity' of a church 'here to stay'

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- The thousands of Hispanic Catholic ministry leaders gathered in Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro shared views on the maturity ...

Nation
N.J. cardinal won't attend synod, asks to remain home at 'time of crisis'

NEWARK, N.J. (CNS) -- Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark told the people of his archdiocese Sept. 21 that Pope Francis has granted his request that he ...

Nation
Detroit Archdiocese welcomes investigation into Michigan dioceses

DETROIT (CNS) -- Michigan's attorney general has opened an investigation into the handling of sexual abuse by clergy in all of Michigan's seven Catholic ...

Nation
Catholics believe in God but 'don't believe in us,' Miami archbishop says

MIAMI (CNS) -- The crisis the Catholic Church is facing is not "a crisis of faith" or "mainly about a crisis of sexual abuse by clergy," but is "a crisis ...

Nation
Update: Disney animator says grounding in Catholic schools led to success

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (CNS) -- Ron Clements is a renowned animator, screenwriter and producer-director of award-winning Disney films, including the blockbuster ...

Nation
#WhyImCatholic movement aims to share hope at difficult time for church

CHICAGO (CNS) -- Catholic Extension has launched a new social media campaign called #WhyImCatholic to offer "hope and unity" for Catholics by inviting ...

Nation
Continue to be an evangelizing church, nuncio tells Encuentro delegates

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- Quoting from Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation "The Joy of the Gospel," Archbishop Christophe Pierre encouraged Hispanic Catholic ...

Nation
Encuentro opens with procession, papal message, prayers for abuse victims

GRAPEVINE, Texas (CNS) -- A video message from Pope Francis and a procession of Encuentro crosses representing all of the participating episcopal regions ...

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...