St. Paul Church (Cambridge, Massachusetts)

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For other churches dedicated to St. Paul, see St. Paul's Church (disambiguation).

The Church of St. Paul (Harvard Square) as viewed from the southwest at the intersection of Mount Auburn and Dewolfe Streets

St. Paul Church (also known as The Church of St. Paul | Harvard Square) is a parish church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and is located in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. In its unique mission, St. Paul's serves as:

  • The Parish church serving the needs of the local community as well as visitors to Harvard Square
  • The home of St. Paul's Choir School whose students serve as the choristers in the Choir of St. Paul's | Harvard Square
  • The home of the Harvard Catholic Center serving the academic community of Harvard University


The Church of St. Paul was one of many parishes in the area founded by Fr. Manasses Dougherty largely in response to the influx of Irish Catholics to the Boston area in the late 19th century. The original St. Paul Church building, a former meeting house of the Shepherd Congregational Society on the site of what is now Harvard University's Holyoke Center, was purchased by Fr. Dougherty in 1873. The cornerstone for the present church building, an Italian Romanesque monument located at Quincy Square (corner of Bow and Arrow Streets), was laid in November 1916 under the leadership of then pastor Rev. John J. Ryan.

The architect was Edward T. P. Graham, a St. Paul parishioner, graduate of Harvard University, and winner of the first Traveling Fellowship to Rome and the École des Beaux-Arts. Graham used Verona's Basilica of San Zeno Maggiore and Torre del Commune as inspirations. The new church building, which was dedicated in October 1924, was at the same site as the St. Paul School, which had been built some years before. By the mid-1960s, enrollment had declined and the parish school was replaced by the Choir School. In the 1991, under the direction of then-pastor the Reverend John P. Boles (now Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, Emeritus), the original school building was torn down and replaced with a multi-purpose building attached to the church, which houses the rectory, parish offices, the Choir School and the Harvard Catholic Center. The present Pastor of St. Paul's and Senior Catholic Chaplain to Harvard is the Reverend Michael E. Drea, who has served as pastor since 1 June 2009.


An organ of 35 stops was built for the original church building in 1904 by Jesse Woodberry & Co (Opus 251), designed by Edward MacGoldrick. The organ was enlarged to 50 stops and relocated to the gallery of the present building between 1923 and 1924 by Emil Mias. Mias died before the organ's completion, so his son, Paul F.C. Mias finished the organ. Casavant Frères built in 1947 a new console for the Woodberry/Mias organ, which was their Op. 1893. In 1959, Casavant annexed a Chancel organ (Op. 1893, 2560A) of 19 ranks in the south transept to the Woodberry/Mias gallery organ. The gallery organ underwent significant tonal alterations in 1971 under the direction of Arthur Birchall, former vice-president of Aeolian-Skinner. Most recently, a new “console" was completed in 1999 by Robert M. Turner, and several electronic "voices" were synthesized by Walker Technical Company. The organ presently has 57 ranks (plus about 55 electronic “voices"), and over 3,200 pipes.

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Coordinates: 42°22′17″N 71°06′56″W / 42.37126°N 71.11568°W / 42.37126; -71.11568