Our historic Mass with Cardinal Sean

Our historic Mass with Cardinal Sean

Yesterday dawned as an amazingly beautiful day, following the last rainy remnants of Hurricane Hanna. It was a perfect day for the celebration at our parish, Immaculate Conception Church in Salem, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the present church. The parish was founded in 1826 and the current church was dedicated in 1858 and is now the oldest parish church in the Archdiocese of Boston. On such a momentous occasion Cardinal Sean O’Malley graciously agreed to come and celebrate Mass for us.

As you can see in the musical slideshow below, the church was filled and joyful. (You’ll also catch a glimpse of me and Melanie and the kids a couple of times.) The photos were taken by George Martell, a gifted photojournalist with more than 30 years experience working as a newspaper photographer and a wedding photojournalist. If you look at his his Web site you can see why I say photojournalist and not just photographer because he documents the event, and doesn’t just take snapshots.

The music was very nice, featuring both Spanish and English hymns, for the sake of both of long-time English-speaking parishioners and the newer community of mostly Spanish-speaking immigrants from the Caribbean. The readings were also bilingual and the cardinal—who is fluent in Spanish—gave his homily in both Spanish and English and recited some of the Mass prayers in Spanish from memory too. There was also an incidental tribute to the French heritage of Salem because our new transitional deacon, who will be staying with us for the year, is a native Frenchman.

After the Mass, there was a luncheon in our church hall, which was yet another great opportunity to celebrate. It was great to catch up with folks we don’t see all the time because they go to a different Mass normally.

It was really a blast and perhaps the biggest turnout for any parish event in a longtime. I’m really happy about it and I think it could be very good for the parish.