WEYMOUTH – Reverend Sean Connor said he was in his final year of seminary when he was assigned to Church of the Sacred Heart in Weymouth 21 years ago, shortly after the parish celebrated its 125th anniversary.
He returned to the parish seven years ago to serve as a pastor and said it continued to thrive.
There are young roots, and it’s culturally richer now, âhe said. Families and church members then gathered for a picnic and orchestral music and hymns by the church music ministry. We are very blessed.
Cardinal O’Malley:Mass for the 150th anniversary of the Sacred Heart is Sunday in Weymouth
The Sacred Heart kicked off its 150th anniversary celebration on Sunday with an anniversary mass celebrated by Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston at King Oak Hill Park in Weymouth. Families and church members then gathered for a picnic and orchestral music and hymns by the church music ministry.
Reverend Connor said the mass was the biggest event the church has hosted since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 and forced many gatherings to be canceled.
âThis is the perfect place for it,â he said. “We are blessed that so many people can help.”
The first Church of the Sacred Heart was built by Irish immigrants at the end of the 19th century. It is then reborn from its ashes 134 years later, rebuilt in two years after a seven-alarm fire destroyed it in 2005.
Cardinal O’Malley explained how the potato famine in Ireland brought thousands of immigrants to Massachusetts, many of whom were Catholics.
âBeing Catholic in this part of the world 150 years ago was not easy,â he said. “It’s not easy today. I always say being Catholic in Massachusetts is a contact sport, so you can only imagine what it was 150 years ago.”
Cardinal O’Malley said these immigrants were determined to build community, which he said is important in the faith. He said that the Sacred Heart is an example of the combination of prayer and community, and that it is the work of parishioners to âturn the crowd into a communityâ.
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âIf we do this, in 150 years another group of people will come together in this park to celebrate a big anniversary and pray with gratitude for us,â he said.
Nancy Ladison from Quincy said she started dating Sacred Heart years ago at the request of her friend, Karen Keeley, also from Quincy. Ladison said parishioners are like family and support each other.
âIt’s a wonderful community,â she said. “People go out of their way to do things for each other.”
Ladison and Keeley said Sacred Heart School attracts many families to the parish, which helps the sense of community flourish.
Chiamaka Okechukwu attended mass with her four children, students of the Sacred Heart School. She said her family had moved to Holbrook from Weymouth, but still attended mass every Sunday.
âIt’s great that we’ve been able to come together as a community,â she said.
Patriot Ledger reporter Sue Scheible contributed to this report.