St. Joseph's Church (Fall River, Massachusetts)
St. Joseph's Church
|Location||Fall River, Massachusetts|
|Architect||Patrick C. Keely|
|Architectural style||Gothic Revival|
|MPS||Fall River MRA|
|NRHP Reference #|||
|Added to NRHP||February 16, 1983|
St. Joseph's Church is a historic church located at 1355 North Main Street in Fall River, Massachusetts. It was built in 1880 in the Gothic Revival style and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. It was designed by notable church architect Patrick C. Keely.
The church's pipe organ was built in 1883 by W.K. Adams & Sons in Providence RI. It is one of the largest built by them. It was once run by water and then by bellows.
The parish was founded in 1873 to accommodate the growing numbers of Catholics who had settled in the northern section of the city in the 1870s to work in the cotton mills, including the Border City, Narragansett, Mechanics, Sagamore Mills. The current Pastor is Rev. John Raposo.
History that was written for the 50th Parish Anniversary: Saint Joseph's Church of Fall River, Mass. in commemoration of whose golden anniversary this historical number was prepared for presentation to the parishioners, was established in the spring of 1873, when it was set apart from old Saint Mary's, the mother church, and now the Cathedral of Fall River by order of Right
Reverend Thomas F. Hendricken, Bishop of the Diocese of Providence, R.I. The first pastor, and consequently the founder of the parish, was Reverend william H. Bric, who had been located in Harrisville and Slatersville, R.I. and who took possession here in the early part of April of that year. He made his abode in what was then known as the Leland house, located on North Main street at a point just north of the present President avenue. There it was that the first mass was celebrated for the scattering flock that comprised the congregation, on Low Sunday, April 20, l873. A temporary edifice was gotten under way in short order at a spot close by what is now known as Vestal street, and here the faithful Catholics of the northern section of the city worshipped for a period of between three and four years.
With that keenness and sagacity which were marked characteristics of the man, Reverend Father Bric began to look about for a site that he considered would be an ideal one, taking into consideration the future growth of the parish, and he eventually purchased a large tract of land at the corner of North Main and Weetamoe streets. To the rear portion of this lot was then removed the small building that was being used for the offering up of the Holy mass, and to it were added two wings and a small choir loft, all of which is still preserved in the minds and memories of the few, very few, survivors of that band of loyal religious followers of the beloved founder of the parish who encouraged him in his zealous efforts by kindly words and supported him in his every move by generous financial backing.
Realizing that his congregation was growing by leaps and bounds, and with the added knowledge that the seating capacity was becoming totally inadequate to accommodate the adults and children at the Sunday Masses, Reverend Father Bric confided to his people that the time was opportune for them to join with him in the erection of a temple to the glory of God that would ever be a fitting monument and memorial to themselves as among the pioneers of Catholicity in this great industrial city.
Architect Patrick H. Keeley of Brooklyn, was entrusted with the working out of the details, and on Monday, April 5, 1880, ground was broken on the North Main Street side of the lot, the first shovel of dirt being raised by the pastor in the presence of a goodly number of men and women who exhibited a pardonable pride in the splendid progress that the young parish was making. The contract called for an excavation nine feet deep, the work to be finished within four weeks. And it was so done. The building of the foundation walls was pushed ahead with all due speed, and Sunday, August 15, 1880, was decided upon as the date of the
laying of the corner stone.
Then came the first dark days in the comparatively brief history of this church. Reverend Father Bric, ailing for several months with heart trouble, aggravated undoubtedly by worries in connection with the great task in hand, succumbed on Saturday, August 7, a short measure of eight days prior to the occasion that was to have been one of the proudest and happiest epochs in his priestly life. His funeral on the following Wednesday, August 11, was marked by a Solemn High Mass of Requiem, with all the pomp and ceremonial that the church ritual calls for upon the passing away of one of its anointed sons, his body being subsequently placed in a tomb specially constructed in the basement of the church at a point under the altar. It was without question the greatest outpouring of people of all faiths that the northern section had ever witnessed, for the deceased had a city-wide reputation for public service altogether apart from his pastoral duties and responsibilities.
The laying of the corner stone was carried out as per program in the presence of a great concourse of spectators. A beautiful, bright day, as well befitting such a glorious affair, the heat of the afternoon was such that it was necessary at times to shield the church dignitaries from the piercing rays of the sun. Right Reverend Bishop Hendricken, in full canonical robes, and surrounded by a dozen clergymen including all of those located in Fall River and a few from outside the city, first read the prayers for the dead over the grave of the late pastor and then proceeded to the southwest corner of the building, where the exercises proper followed. Several of the church sodalities were grouped about the platform, their banners draped in deepest mourning. The handsome and massive piece of granite, with the numerals 1880 cut into it, marking the date of erection, was swung into place at the appointed moment. Under the direction of the contractors, Messrs. Hogan & Lord, the Right Reverend Ordinary using in laying the mortar a solid silver trowel that was then awarded to the late James Hayden of Durfee Street.
Within the corner stone was deposited a copper box in which were copies of recent date of the Fall River Herald and News, Boston Herald and Pilot, New York Herald, Providence Journal and Freeman's journal; current coins of the United States; portrait of Reverend Father Bric and this inscription in Latin: "In the year of our Lord l880: Leo XIII, Pope; Right Reverend Thomas P. Hendricken of Providence, R.I., Bishop: Rutherford B. Hayes, President; John D. Long, Governor; William S. Greene, Mayor; this stone was placed by His Lordship, the present Bishop." The latter then delivered the sermon of the day, prefacing it with a tribute to the lamented Reverend Father Bric and his work in the Bowenville parish. He concluded his discourse with these prophetic words: "I have the deepest possible interest in the progress of religion here in this rapidly-growing city. Eight or nine years ago I found it with but two Catholic churches. Now we have not got enough with five or six, and what the city is to become God only knows!"
Words truly spoken, indeed. What the City of Fall River was destined to become, God alone knew then. But with a retrospective glance over the dim and musty pages of local church history covering more than four decades of time, what do we find today as matters of common knowledge of which Catholics one and all may well feel proud? Fall River, an Episcopal See, under the wise guidance of Right Reverend Daniel F. Feehan as the successor of the late lamented Right Reverend William Stang, its first Bishop; 23 Catholic churches where, in addition to the English tongue, the worshippers are representatives of the French, Portuguese, Polish, Italian, and Syrian nationalities; a city with a population of rising 128,000 and more than 80 per cent of them Catholics; a Catholic, Honorable John W. Cummings as President of the Fall River Bar Association and a Past President of the Massachusetts State Bar Association; A Catholic, Honorable Hugo A. Dubuque, as a Justice of the Superior Court of Massachusetts; a Catholic, Honorable Edward F. Hanify as Justice of the Second District Court of Bristol County; A Catholic, Honorable Edmond P. Talbot, as Mayor of the city; a Catholic, Hector L.Belisle, as Superintendent of Schools; a Catholic, Martin Feeney, as Chief of Police; a Catholic, Jeremiah F. Sullivan, as Chief of the Fire Department; Catholics as heads of several of the other important bureaus in City Hall; two Catholics, Honorable John T. Coughlin and Honorable Thomas F. Higgins, former mayors and present members of this parish; a Catholic, and likewise a parishioner, Michael J. Orpen, Esquire, as clerk of the Second District Court of Bristol, and a Catholic, Honorable Frank M. Silvia, as one of its Special Justices; Catholic Church, fraternal and charitable organizations seemingly without number; Catholic laymen as leaders in the industrial, business and social pursuits of the municipality. Fall River has certainly taken its place in the sun as one of the bright sparkling centers of Catholicity in these United States!
Following the decease of Reverend Father Bric, the then curate, Reverend John H. Gormley, was "locum Tenens" until November 1, l880, when selection was made of Reverend Andrew J. Brady. He came here from Sandwich, on Cape Cod, and entered into the work of the parish with the one thought of carrying to fruition the well-laid plans of his predecessor. Reverend Father Brady, was not in the best of health, however, being a sufferer from rheumatism and Bright's disease. As a consequence, he was not able to push along matters of construction as fast as he would have desired. In the fall of 1884 he visited the Arkansas Hot Springs in the hope of gaining rest and relief, but this proved of little avail, for on Ash Wednesday, February 18, l885, he was gathered unto his fathers with these last words on his lips: "I'm tired; I want to go home." As one of his intimate friends in the clergy remarked: "For five years, he had walked with Death as his companion." The funeral took place on the following Friday morning and the Solemn High Mass of Requiem marked the holding of the first religious service in the new Saint Joseph's Church. Alongside the body of the first pastor, the mortal remains of the second pastor were laid at rest in the basement. Just two days later, on February 22, l885, the initial Sunday devotions consisting of Masses and Vespers were held in the church.
There was little delay in the appointment to the vacancy, and on Thursday, February 26, Reverend Father Bernard Boylan, assistant under Reverend Father Edward J. Mongan at Saint Mary's in North Attleboro, assumed charge at Saint Joseph's and has remained to the present day. He made his bow to the people at all the masses on Sunday, March 1, and the splendid impression that he then created has, like the stately and towering oak, grown stronger week by week, month by month, and year by year, until, honored and recognized as the Dean of all the clergy of our city, he commands the respect and confidence not alone of those who bend the knees at Saint Joseph's, but of all god-fearing and liberty-loving residents within the city's gates. His first energies were necessarily directed at completing the preparations for the dedication of the church to the service of the Almighty God, and this event, notable in the annals of the parish was set for Memorial Day of 1885, Saturday, May 30.
Right Reverend Bishop Hendricken presided over the lengthy ceremonial of dedication, and this was followed by a Solemn High Mass with these officers: Celebrant, Reverend Father James F. Roach of Taunton; Deacon, Reverend Father Michael P. Cassidy of Fall River; Sub-Deacon, Reverend Father Patrick McLaughlin of Woonsocket, R.I.; Master of Ceremonies, Reverend Father Michael O'Hare of Fall River. The sermon was by Reverend Father R.J. Barry of Hyde Park, who spoke in English and French from the text: "How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel." After paying deserved tribute to the three clergymen who had initiated, carried on and finished the erection of the noble building, he entered into an explanation of the meaning conveyed to the faithful in the dedication of a church and of the great power for good it would be in the community. A score of priests were in the sanctuary, and the congregation that filled every seat in the edifice followed his words with a rare degree of interest.
The church is a large and handsome structure of brick with stone trimmings, 170 feet in length, 78 feet wide and surmounted by two golden crosses. The walls are 30 feet high, while from the loftiest point of the roof to the floor the distance is 73 feet. There is a seating capacity of about a thousand. Built without galleries, it is well lighted by several large stained glass windows on the north and south sides, and its cheerfulness is one of the things for which the church is noted. The pictures on the windows are emblematic of episodes in the life of our Blessed Lord. Among the donors of the original set of windows were Mr. and Mrs. James Hayden, Cornelius L. Kelly and Family, Mrs. David Sheedy and Family, Mr. and Mrs. John Collins, In Memory of Reverend Father Bric, In Memory of Reverend Father Brady and a number of the church societies.
These windows, after long and valiant service, were replaced in 1921 by new ones, the donors of which were: Sanctuary, Sacrifice of Abraham, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James H. Mahoney; Sacrifice of Melchisedech, In Memory of John J. and Mary Shay; Glorification of Saint Joseph, Gift of Altar Society; Coronation of the Blessed Virgin, Gift of Children of Mary Sodality. Vestry - Gift of Rev. Thomas J. McLean, in Memory of Evelyn Walsh; In Memory of Frank Sullivan. Vestibule - In Memory of Thomas Hudner; In Memory of Frank C. Sullivan; Confessionals - In Memory of Joseph H. Sullivan; In Memory of John R. Sullivan. Gallery - In Memory of Helen Powers; In Memory of Thomas O'Neil; In Memory of Parents of Mr. & Mrs. Owen Luddy; Gift of Mr. & Mrs. John R. Sullivan. Choir, in Rear of Organ - In Memory of Parents of Mr. & Mrs. James A. Burke; In Memory of Jeremiah and Annie Murphy; In Memory of Living and Dead members of the Holy Name Society. Nave - In Memory of Bernard and Bridget Mullaney; In Memory of Rev. Andrew J. Brady; In Memory of Mary L. Brady (by the Family); In Memory of Evelyn and Angela Whalen; In Memory of Richard and Mary Rigby (by the Family); In Memory of William and Jane Roscoe; In Memory of Mary O'Brien (by Michael O'Brien); In Memory of Catherine Higney (by the Family); In Memory of James and Mary Sullivan; In Memory of James and Kathryn Kerrigan (by the Family); In Memory of Sarah Sullivan; In Memory of Rev. William H. Bric; In Memory of James Sullivan.
On the walls between the windows, on the north and south sides, there have been recently installed new stations of the cross of a most impressive character, the donors being, in the numerical order of their appearance: Reverend Father Bernard Boylan, Mr. and Mrs. John J. Shay, Mrs. and Miss Hannah Bric, Mrs. Mary Dwyer, Mrs. Mary Rigby, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Waldron, Mr. and Mrs. M.H. Sullivan, John Lewis, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Riley, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Walmsley, Hanora Crowther, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas O'Donnell, William Ashton, Mr. and Mrs.Luke Boylan.
The three broad entrances from North Main street open into large vestibules from which swinging doors lead into the body of the church. In the south and north vestibules stairs ascend to the choir gallery, which extends across the entire western portion of the edifice and to a depth of 30 feet. The auditorium is divided by three broad aisles. The flooring is or hard pine and the pews are of ash with black walnut trimmings. An even dozen iron pillars, six on each side, are enclosed in wood, presenting the appearance of clustered columns and upholding the hardwood groins that support the roof.
The ceiling and sides are frescoed in panels and show a very neat effect. The sanctuary is fitted up with rare beauty and taste. Running almost the entire width of the church, the sanctuary has a smaller altar at either side, dedicated to Saint Joseph, the patron saint, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary. These have just been under the skilled hands of decorators, and, like the main altar, painted in white and gold, are more resplendent than at any time since the day of their construction. A handsome new carpet on the floor of the sanctuary, green in color with red trimmings, adds the last detail to the beauteous ensemble.
The sanctuary is separated from the auditorium by a highly-polished, elaborately-carved oak railing, in front of which communicants kneel upon a raised step, and it matches superbly a most substantially-built pulpit of oak with heavy brass trimmings. In the windows above the side altars are striking colored representations of the Glorification of Saint Joseph and of the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the wall back of the main altar and rising high above it is a large fresco of Christ's Crucifixion and Mary clinging to the cross; on the south wall a painting of the Resurrection and on the north wall one of the Annunciation.
The story of the administration of Reverend Father Boylan, covering a stretch reaching almost into the third generation, is as brilliant as it is lengthy. One of his first acts was to reorganize the Sunday School, over which he placed as its first Superintendent William J. McGrath, drawn from the ranks of the Christian Doctrine Society, and who held the position for a number of years. the initial mission in the parish history was in October 1886 and lasted two weeks - the first for the English-speaking members conducted by Reverend Fathers McGrath and Fitzpatrick, the second for the French speaking members in charge of Reverend Fathers Bournigable and Lagier, of the Oblate Order from Lowell.
During all these years the parish had been a mixed one, but with the increasing roll of French-Canadians they began to agitate for the formation of a church of their own, and so on December 1, l887, they were set apart as a new parish to be call Saint Matthew's and with Reverend Father J.A. Payan as their spiritual head. The death of Right Reverend Bishop Hendricken had occurred in the meantime, and in April of 1888, his successor, Right Reverend Matthew Harkins, made an official visitation to Saint Joseph's. He read the 8 o'clock Mass, gave Holy Communion to the children, assisted by his presence at the High Mass of the Sunday and preached on the feast day - the Patronage of Saint Joseph.
For a long time it had been realized that the small and antiquated house that was being used as a rectory was wholly unfit for the purpose, and Reverend Father Boylan had plans prepared for a more commodious parish home. In the summer of 1889 the old residence was sold and moved off the premises, which soon housed a new building erected at the cost of between $8000 and $9000 including the furnishings. It is still doing service as Saint Joseph's rectory and has within the past few months been repainted without and partially refurnished within, so that it presents a cozy and attractive appearance. The domestic affairs of the household are presided over by the two sisters of the pastor, the Misses Ellen E. and Kathryn A. Boylan, who have served most acceptably and helpfully virtually from the day of his coming into the parish.
On Sunday, November 22, l889, the League of the Sacred Heart was introduced. Reverend Father Noonan, of the Society of Jesus, from Saint Joseph's Church in Providence, spoke at length at the morning masses that day on the advantages and blessings of membership in the league and again at the evening service, when the names of many who expressed a wish to become associated in the formation of a new center was taken.
In the fall of the following year, from October 26 to November 9, inclusive, a two weeks' mission was given by Passionist Fathers from Hoboken, N.J., Reverend Fathers Alphonsus and Norbert, the first week for the women and the second for the men. A week later, November 16, the parishioners rejoiced in a visit from Right Reverend Bishop Harkins, the Ordinary of the Diocese, who administered the rites of Confirmation at the High Mass and spoke most interestingly on the fruits of the sacrament. On the Sunday within the octave of the Feast of the Sacred Heart in the following year, 1891, a program of Musical Vespers was offered in the evening, during which a most able sermon on "The Sacred Heart" was preached by Reverend Father John Lynch at Saint Charles' Church, Woonsocket, R.I. Preceding the Solemn Benediction, diplomas and crosses were conferred on the promoters of the League of the Sacred Heart. So steady had been the numerical growth of the parish that another large class was soon in preparation for the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation, and Right Reverend Bishop Harkins officiated at the service on October 23, l892.
A two weeks' mission was opened on Sunday, February 11, 1894, and was conducted with most successful spiritual results by Reverend Fathers James and Hyacinthe from the monastery of the Passionist Fathers at Hoboken, N.J. On the closing afternoon the first-named clergyman delivered a special discourse on "The Holy Name," and formed a society of that character, the first board of officers appointed by the pastor consisting of the later Reverend Father William S. Flynn (uncle of His Excellency William S. Flynn, present Governor of the State of Rhode Island), as Chaplain and Spiritual Director; the late Gilbert P. Cuttle as President; the late John Hanrahan as Vice-President; William J. McGrath as Secretary, and the late Michael Maley, Sr., as Treasurer. One of the big events in the early history of the organization was the reception of new members a few weeks later, on the first Sunday of April, the sermon, of a highly impressive nature, being given with all the power of the preacher, Reverend Father James Coyle, then pastor of Saint Joseph's Church at Newport, R.I. and at the present time, a Right Reverend Monsignor and Permanent Rector of Saint Mary's Church at Taunton.
The visitation to the parish for the year 1895 by Right Reverend Bishop Harkins proved an event of marked interest and much pride on the part of pastor and people, for it was his gracious privilege to bestow the holy rites of Confirmation on 125 children and seven adults, five of the latter being converts. At the High Mass of that morning he selected words from the gospel as the text of his sermon and paid a merited tribute to the pastor for his zeal and efficiency. On the afternoon of Sunday, June 2, during the Vesper service, the preacher was Reverend Father John A. Hurley, then of Pawtucket, R.I., but long since deceased, and a brother of Danuel Hurley of Stanley street and Mrs. Susan McDonald and Miss Mary Hurley of North Main street, all members of Saint Joseph's parish. The particular object of Reverend Father Hurley's presence at his old home church was to asssist at the reorganization of two of the girls' societies - the Infant Jesus and Children of Mary. His discourse was on "Devotion to the Blessed Virgin" and was as powerful from the spiritual standpoint as was the preacher from the physical point of view. It is worthy of note that Miss Mary G. McDonald, niece of the lamented clergyman, is now and has been for many years President of the Children of Mary Sodality.
And thus, and so runs the long and interesting story of the growth of Saint Joseph's parish - in number, in influence, in affluence. With the annual service of the Forty Hours' Adoration, the yearly First Communion classes, the Confirmation classes at stated intervals, special services of the nature of missions or retreats at periodic seasons, in addition to the regular daily and Sunday devotions, the spiritual side was well taken care of by Reverend Father Boylan and his assistants; with parish picnics at the old Ashley's Grove (now the site of Saint Vincent's Orphans' Home), with bazaars and dramatic entertainments and coffee suppers in the parish hall that long since was wiped out in the course of improving the church grounds, with the annual excursion down the river that became known as the one big summer event of the north end, the social side was amply provided for; with a fine response to the appeals of the pastor for financial help when the parish stood in need of extra funds for building or renovation, the financial side caused little or no worry; and with a handsome, new, well-equipped Parochial School, in charge of experienced teachers of the Sisterhood, the educational side left nothing to be desired.
Saint Joseph's has ever been a happy and united household in the faith, people working harmoniously and effectively with the pastor and his curates and these religious leaders giving of their best in return to the people. Small wonder that Catholics generally throughout the city looked upon Saint Joseph's as a model parish and upon its pastor as one of God's noblemen! With an eye always to the training of the children of today, who are destined to become the men and women of tomorrow, he banded them together into various organizations, urged them to attend Holy Communion regularly and frequently, and gave them a thorough insight into the practices of their religion and the reception of the sacraments. Thus directed and encouraged, they grew into young manhood and young womanhood well equipped for the battles of the world and prepared to take their places as full-fledged parishioners when the fond and loving parents were forced into involuntary retirement or were perhaps called upon to give the final account of their stewardship at the judgment seat. The spiritual advancement of his flock has been for more than 38 years the chief thought in the mind of the venerated Father Boylan, and how well he has succeeded is too well known to need recital here.
Mention may be made briefly of a large Sunday School for boys and girls, an Altar Society for married women that approaches the communion table on the first Sunday of each month, a League of the Sacred heart for men and women that receives the sacrament on the first Friday, the Children of Mary Sodality on the second Sunday, the Holy Name Society and the Holy Angels' Sodality on the third Sunday and the Sacred Heart Society for boys on the fourth Sunday. The members of the Children of Mary Sodality gather on the Monday evening following their communion for religious instruction from their chaplain, Reverend Father Thomas J. McLean, and the Holy Name Society members on the night of their communion for religious instruction from their director, Reverend Father Thomas P. Doherty. It is Reverend Father Boylan's custom to arrange for special sermons during the Lenten periods of each year, with Missionary Fathers as the speakers, and during the Lenten season just closed the preachers were Dominican Fathers from the Providence College.
While in the 50 years of life at Saint Joseph's parish there have been but three pastors, a large number of young priests have filled in as curates or temporary assistants, the greater part of them having long since gone to their eternal reward. The list follows: 1874, Reverend Father Daniel A. Ryan; 1874, Reverend Father Edward E. Norbert; 1878, Reverend Father Thomas F. Briscoe; 1878-1881; Reverend Father John H. Gormley; 1881-1882, Reverend Father James F. Roach; 1883, Reverend Father James J. Brady, now pastor of Saint Killian's Church in New Bedford; 1883-1885, Reverend Father Michael P. Cassidy; 1885, Reverend Father Thomas P. Elliott; 1885, Reverend Father Daniel J. Coughlin; 1886-1887, Reverend Father William S. Flynn; 1888-1889, Reverend Father Daniel Driscoll, 1890-1896, Reverend Father William S. Flynn; 1896-1910, Reverend Father Thomas A. Kelly, now pastor of Saints Peter and Paul's Church in this city; 1910-1912, Reverend Father John F. McDonnell, now curate at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Springfield; 1912-1913, Reverend Father Timothy J. Duff; 1914-1921, Reverend Father John E. Morris, now attached to the Catholic Foreign Mission Seminary at Maryknoll, N.Y. The present young and energetic assistants of Reverend Father Boylan are Reverend Father Thomas P. Doherty, who with the exception of a few weeks has spent his entire priestly life here, and Reverend Father Thomas J. McLean, who came among us in 1921.
One of the leading events in the social life of the parishioners of Saint Joseph's was the annual excursion, it growing from a small party of a few hundred until it became known, in the words of Reverend Father Boylan, as the annual reunion, not alone of his own flock, but of countless former parishioners who had removed to various sections of the city and even to other nearby cities. The first affair of this nature took place on Tuesday, August 20, 1895, on steamer King Philip, to Crescent Park. Arranged at rather short notice, nevertheless the boat was well filled when it headed down the river to the summer resort. The next year, July 28, l996, the crowd was so large that when Weetamoe Mill wharf was left behind the officials would not stop at the Globe wharf to pick up the delegation that was there awaiting the arrival of the craft.
Year after year thereafter until the earlier days of the Great World War struggle this outing was conducted regularly under the auspices of the Holy Name Society of the parish, and the series was regretfully terminated only when it became impossible to charter a boat of any kind for the purpose. Steamer Warwick, with a capacity of 1800, had been regularly leased for a date in the latter part of each July or the beginning of August when once it was seen that the King Philip could not begin to accommodate the party, and there have been occasions when the full limit was taken on the larger craft and late comers were left on the wharf. Besides Crescent Park, the destination was often Rocky Point, and after spending several hours at the pleasure spot a sail through Newport Harbor was usually enjoyed on the homeward-bound trip.
Excursion recollections are exceedingly enjoyable ones for many of the older parishioners. It was the one day in the year when it might well have been termed "Evacuation Day" for Bowenville and all roads seemed to lead to the wharf where the steamer was in waiting for its human cargo. From babies in arms to veterans who had passed the allotted three score and ten, with Reverend Father Boylan usually at the starting point to marshall his forces and always the last man to debark at the end of the day's journey after the assurance that all had gone well, with a financial profit to the parish running in the last few years over the thousand dollar mark, with a social enjoyment to men, women and children that could not be measured by money, it was, indeed, a matter of the deepest sorrow when conditions entirely beyond the control of the committeemen brought to a close Saint Joseph's parish excursions.
Not a little justifiable pride is taken in the Parochial School, a solid brick structure of two floors and eight rooms, with all the accessories, a large yard for play purposes in good weather and a clean and well-kept basement for use in adverse weather. It is located on the North High street side of the church property and is thoroughly equipped for the uses to which it is put, several thousand dollars having been spent within during the past few years in renovating and refurnishing it. At the beginning of the school year in September of 1907, it was opened for business with Reverend father Thomas A. kelly in charge, he remaining at the helm until may of 1910; then followed Reverend Father John F. McDonnell until June of 1912, the late Reverend Father Timothy J. Duff for one year and Reverend Father Thomas P. Doherty from June of 1913 to the present date.
At the head of the teaching faculty was Sister Mary Paula from the opening session until December of 1908, Sister Mary Magdalen from January of 1909 to June of 1911, Sister Mary Ephrem from September of 1911 to December of 1913, Sister Mary Felix from December of 1913 to June of 1914, Sister Mary Catherine from September of 1914 to June of 1917, Sister Mary Assumpta from September of 1917 to June of 1919 and Sister Mary Augustine from September of 1919 to the present day. The first graduating class numbered two, the second increased to three, there were 26 in l922 and to date a total of 165 graduates. John Chippendale of Harvard street, to be ordained to the priesthood in May of this year, will have the signal honor of being the only graduate of the school so far to have conferred upon him the sacrament of Holy Orders.
As showing the financial strength of Saint Joseph's parish, afew figures gleaned from the annual report of the year 1922 may be significantly quoted. With but a single night's entertainment of a social nature (which netted $2,505.80), and with nothing of an extraordinary nature to add to the general revenue, the receipts aggregated $31,681.82 and the expenditures totaled $20,400.88, leaving a balance in the church treasury of $11,280.94 on the first of January of the current year. This compares most favorably with a balance of $5,633.83 at the end of the preceding twelve-month. One item that was of an especially pleasing character and size was the annual collection, this offering amounting to $4,272.33. "I am truly and deeply grateful," was the comment of the Reverend Father Boylan, and these few words spoke volumes.
Reverend Father William H. Bric, the first pastor and founder of Saint Joseph's parish was born in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, in 1841, and made his preparatory studies for the priesthood at Killarney, in the beautiful and historic lake section of the Emereld Isle, and then at Cambrai, in Southern France, after which he came to this country and was sent by the then Right Reverend Bishop McFarland to the Seminary of Saint Sulpice at Baltimore, Md., where he was ordained to the priesthood. After curacies at Woonsocket, R.I., and at the Providence Cathedral, he was named as pastor for Harrisville and Slatersville, R.I., remaining in charge there for four years. Then it was that he was selected by Right Reverend Bishop Hendricken to form and get into being the new Saint Joseph's parish in this city, where his tasks were large and his labors unceasing for a period of seven years. He had long suffered from rheumatism, and when this painful disease touched a vital spot on Saturday, August 7, l880, he was called away from earthly activities and summoned to the higher life. Apart from his priestly duties and responsibilities, he had served two full terms of three years each as a member of the Fall River School Committee, being regarded far and wide in the community as a man of scholarly attainments and broad-minded views.
The funeral of Reverend Father Bric took place on Wednesday morning of the next week, every avenue of approach to the church being packed by people. The various parish organizations of men, women and children assembled with full ranks and wearing mourning emblems, half a hundred priests from all sections of the Diocese occupied seats in the sanctuary and in the front pews, while scores upon scores of non-Catholics were scattered throughout the congregation. The officers of the Solemn High Mass of Requiem were: Celebrant, Reverend Father McCabe of Woonsocket, R.I.; Deacon, Reverend Father Campbell of Hartford, Conn; Sub-Deacon, Reverend Father Kinnerney of Providence; Master of Ceremonies, Reverend Father Kane of Valley Falls, R.I. Right Reverend Bishop Hendricken pronounced the absolution and gave the final blessing, following a touching eulogy by Reverend Father Walsh of Waterbury, Conn. The body was then interred in a specially-constructed tomb in the basement of the new church, directly under the main altar. Reverend Father Bric's survivors of today are a brother, Thomas M. Bric of Newport, R.I., and a sister, Katherine Bric of Hingham, Mass.
Reverend Father Andrew J. Brady, the second pastor of Saint Joseph's, was like his predecessor, a native of Ireland, having first seen the light of day in a small village of County Cavan in 1847. Following a common school education, he pursued his collegiate and classical studies in one of the Irish colleges, then coming to this country and continuing his theological course in the Grand Seminary, Montreal, where he was ordained in 1871. His first assignment was to Olneyville, R.I., and subsequently he labored in Attleboro. When Reverend Father Matthias McCabe was transferred from Sandwich to the pastorate of the Church of the Sacred Heart in this city, his duties among the Cape Cod Catholics were taken up by Reverend Father Brady, and there he toiled early and late until drafted to take the place of Reverend Father Bric here. He found the church in an incomplete state, but by his own energy and the encouragement of the parishioners the edifice was all but finished during his administration of affairs. An interesting event of one year while he was pastor was the celebration of Saint John's day, when all of the French-speaking organizations of the city marched in parade from the center to Saint Joseph's Church and there attended the offering up of Holy Mass, with outdoor festivities following. On many a Sunday Reverend Father Brady was in no physical shape to perform his priestly duties, but he insisted on celebrating the Holy Sacrifice and speaking to his people until he actually wore out.
The end came on Ash Wednesday, February 18, l885, and the last words that he gave utterance to were these; "I'm tired; I want to go home!" On the Friday of that week, february 20, the funeral ceremonies were held with the first religious service in the new church, the officers of the Solemn High Mass of Requiem being: Celebrant, Reverend Father McCabe of Fall River; Deacon, Reverend Father Roach of Taunton; Sub-Deacon, Reverend Father Grace of Fall River; Master of Ceremonies, Reverend Father Briscoe of Fall River. The eulogy was ably delivered by Reverend Father Kinnerney of Pawtucket, R.I., with the absolution and the final blessing by the head of the diocese, Right Reverend Bishop Hendricken. As in the death of the founder of the parish, the body of Reverend Father Brady was laid at rest in a vault in the basement of the church.
Reverend Father Bernard Boylan, the third pastor in the half-century existence of Saint Joseph's, was born in Wareham, Mass., on September 25, l853. He attended the public schools of his native town until he was 11 years of age and then prepared for college at Pierce Academy in Middleboro. In 1868 he entered Saint Charles' College at Ellicott City, near Baltimore, Md., where he completed the regular college courses and graduated with high honors in June of 1872. The fall of that year marked his entrance as a student of Philosophy in Saint Laurent's College, near Montreal, he remaining there for a period of two years. Next he engaged principally in the study of Dogmatic and Moral Theology, the Scriptures and Canon Law at the Grand Seminary in Montreal, the culmination of his efforts being his ordination to the priesthood there by Right Reverend Edward Charles Fabre, Bishop of the Diocese of Montreal, on December 23, 1876.
Having been adopted by the Providence Diocese, Reverend Father Boylan presented his letters to Right Reverend Bishop Hendricken and was selected by the latter as assistant to Reverend Doctor Michael A. Wallace, pastor of Saint Michael's church at South Providence, where he remained for eight months. In those comparatively early days of the Middle Western States there was a great demand for the services of Catholic priests, and Reverend Father Boylan was one of the first to respond to the call. He was stationed by the late Right Reverend Bishop John L. Spalding of the Diocese of Peoria as pastor of Saint Paul's Church at Odell, Ill., and there he labored for five years with such marked success for his church and the people that some time subsequently, after he had returned to the East, a new parish was created in his Illinois settlement and in his honor it was named Saint Bernard's, a flattering but most worthy tribute.
Recalled to the Providence Diocese, the first assignment of the young clergyman was to Saint Charles' Church at Woonsocket, R.I., and three months afterwards he was transferred to Saint Mary's Church in North Attleboro. Upon the demise of Reverend Father Brady early in 1885, he was selected as the clergyman in the diocese best fitted to assume the onerous burden of completing the erection of Saint Joseph's Church and arranging for the paying off of the large debt that had been necessarily contracted. Like the hero of centuries past, the historian might well and truthfully write of him: "He came, he saw, he conquered." From that day to the present he has given of his best for the moral and spiritual uplift and advancement of the thousands and thousands who have in all the intervening years been committed to his temporal care, sharing with them their joys and sorrows, a veritable shepherd of the flock. In the earlier years of his pastorate he was often forced to carry on the work single-handed, owing to the scarcity of priests, but he never faltered or hesitated in his tasks.
For a long period Reverend Father Boylan was Treasurer of Saint Vincent's Orphans' Home, being the first to assume this position and retaining it until a permanent resident chaplain for this great local charity was appointed in the person of the late Reverend Cornelius S. Kelly. While he was at the head of affairs, he was the director of numerous fairs, bazaars and like social ventures upon whose profit the institution well-nigh depended for the funds to support it and carry on its work. Likewise he was treasurer for several years of Saint Patrick's Cemetery and in the conduct of this was compelled to devote no inconsiderable part of his time to its supervision. He is now and has been for an extended period a member of the Board of Consultors of the Fall River Diocese. For a great many years he and his curates have ministered to the spiritual wants of the Catholic inmates of the City Hospital, as well as to those of the old City Almshouse when it was located within the parish lines, offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on Sundays and holy days and attending to the sick and dying at any hour of the day or night. Of a class of 35 young men ordained the day that Reverend Father Boylan took the solemn vows, eight were assigned to the Providence Diocese, and the only other survivor today of this latter group is Reverend Father James A. Gleeson of Providence.
A matter of great pride to Reverend Father Boylan is the large number of Saint Joseph's boys who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders and who are today staunch leaders of the church in their various spheres of activity. They are: Reverend Father Edward A. Higney, pastor of Saint Joseph's, Newport, R.I.; Reverend Father John A. Hurley (the only one deceased and at the time pastor of Saint Mary's, North Attleboro); Reverend Father David F. Sheedy, pastor of Saint John's, Attleboro; Reverend Father Peter J. Malone, pastor of the Holy Name, Providence; Reverend Father William K. Dwyer, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows, Corona, L.I.; Reverend Father Daniel A. Dwyer, assistant to his brother at Corona; Reverend Father James R.J. Burns, curate at the Holy Name, New Bedford; Reverend Father Robert V. Dwyer, curate at Saints Peter and Paul's, New York City; Reverend Doctor Patrick A. Collis, professor of Latin at Saint Charles' Seminary, Overbrook, Pa.; Reverend Father John J. Shay, curate at Saint Mary's, Taunton; Reverend Father John Kelly, curate at Saint Mary's Cathedral, Fall River; Reverend Father Edward L. O'Brien, curate at Saint John's, Attleboro. In addition, Reverend Father Cornelius J. Holland, pastor of Saint Charles' Church, Woonsocket, was a resident of the parish at the time of his ordination.
The trustees of the church are Henry J. Whalen and James H. O'Neil.