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 McGarry . . .

Sacred Heart’s third pastor was Father John McGarry. Fifty-eight when he was named pastor in January 1937, he was a scholarly and highly educated man. After graduating from Boston Latin School, he studied at Laurente Colege in Montreal, Canada and St. John’s Seminary in Brighton before being selected to continue his studies in theology at the North American College in Rome. He received his doctorate in canon law and was ordained at St. John Lateran in 1904.

Father McGarry’s first assignments in Boston involved him in with youth movements, most notably when he sponsored activities for medical students at Tufts through the Louis Pasteur Club, and the needs of the wider community, when one of his assignments included the chaplaincy of the Concord Reformatory. These two areas continued to be of special interest to Father McGarry throughout his career. But his arrival at Sacred Heart brought him face to face with something completely different: repairs and maintenance.

Leaking roofs, windows in need of repair, boilers, coal storage, stokers, hot water heaters required attention and money. The purchase of tubular chimes for the belfry must have provided a bit of relief from the nitty gritty cares of parish upkeep. All of Father McGarry’s work received a serious setback when the hurricane of September 1938 dealt considerable damage to the church, school, and convent. In arranging for repairs, the pastor did not forget his sense of social justice or the needs of the working man during the Great Depression. When bids came in to repair and modernize the boiler, Father McGarry was able to persuade the Chancery to award the job not to the lowest bidder who was non-union, but to the second lowest, who was a union man.

*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

  • Father Cummins is a Popular Man

  • Father Cummins Moves In

  • Dedication and Dedications

  • The Church Finished

  • The Windows

  • Integrated into the Fabric of Boston

  • Out of Debt . . . What Next?

  • The Cardinal and the Pastor 

  • The End of the Road

  • Transitions: New Priest, New Sisters, New Property 

  • St. Theresa House


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