125th Anniversary


Sacred Heart Roslindale Celebrates 125 Years

Our Sacred Heart Parish was established in 1893. That means we are 125 years old this year. This is a time to look back and remember the people who built Sacred Heart and the legacy this parish has created in our community. It is also a time to look forward and ask ourselves what we want our parish to be and do in the future and what we can do to help this future come to be.

Over the next year, there will be many occasions to celebrate Sacred Heart Parish, to strengthen our fellowship, to build our spirituality, and to contribute to the future of this faith community. We will have opportunities to strengthen our bonds with each other, to support our neighbors in Roslindale and beyond, and to enrich our faith. Watch the bulletin and the Sacred Heart website for announcements of events, projects, and services. And make plans to participate in our celebration!

Father Cummins is a Popular Man . . .

Father Cummins had a wide and well-connected set of friends, and he called upon these friendships to help build Sacred Heart. We’ve already seen how the local alderman donated the Texas steer for the first Ox Roast. The panoply of orators who spoke at the festivals over the years (believe it or not, this was a popular feature of the event 100+ years ago) also reflected Father Cummins’ connections. How else did Sacred Heart come to host Congressmen, U.S. Senators, Tammany Hall’s greatest orator, Jacob A. Cantor, and even the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, William McAdoo?

As the building fund grew along with Sacred Heart’s reputation, so also did Father Cummins’ fame. He was in demand as a preacher and lecturer, even traveling as far as Portland, Oregon on a lecture tour in 1900. He also served as chaplain to the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the state mental hospital in Mattapan, the small pox hospital, the Catholic Ladies Society, and the Spanish American War Veterans. Clearly he was endowed with enormous stamina and well as great spiritual and personal charisma.

The parishioners of Sacred Heart returned his devotion. When the local newspaper The Boston Traveller started a “Send Your Pastor to Europe” contest in to drum up readership, any pastor, Protestant or Catholic, was eligible to win. When the results were announced in February 1897, Father John F Cummins of Roslindale won with 574, 552 votes. From his departure on May 8 until his return on July 19, Father Cummins detailed his experiences—kissing the Blarney Stone, attending a session of Parliament, being entertained by Monsignor O’Connell in Rome—for The Traveller.

And when he arrived home, he was welcomed with a “grand reception.”

*Based on The Centennial History of Sacred Heart Parish by Neil J. Savage.

Click here to see prior posts

Prior Topics Include:

  • Before the Beginning

  • Two Lots, One Tent and Christmas

  • We receive a name, boundaries . . . and a Priest

  • Lawn Parties, Lectures, Fund-Raisers Galore 

  • The Ultimate Fund-Raiser--the Ox Roast

  • The Golf Tournament—Still Raising Funds



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