Church History

A History of Corpus Christi Church

Corpus Christi Church began in 1922 and it was a busy first year. The first Mass was celebrated on June 25, 1922 in Norumbega Hall above the former Keyes Drug Store (now BreadSong Bakery) on Auburn Street in Auburndale. A meeting was held that same day to discuss plans for a new church. The Rev. Thomas McManmon had been assigned as pastor on June 19th and on July 2nd; and, the parish was named Corpus Christi Parish.

In the first visitation and census of July 1922, 190 families were listed as members of the parish. The first parish Sunday School was formed in Norumbega Hall on September 3rd and on September 10th, the Hildreth home at 45 Ash Street was acquired and renovated as the parish rectory. On April 8, 1923, plans were submitted for a new church and the blessing of the ground, and turning of the first sod, took place on April 15th. By the following November, the basement chapel was completed and ready for the first Mass.

In the early 1940s, funds were accumulated to erect the present church. With the completion of the interior of the upper church, the church was solemnly consecrated on February 26, 1955 by Cardinal Richard J. Cushing. From the 1940s, Corpus Christi pastors encouraged greater lay involvement in parish life. Numerous organizations and committees existed over the years. Father Joseph F. McGlone came to the parish as administrator in 1972 and was made pastor in 1973. Fr. Joe had been at Corpus Christi Parish for 30 of its 80 years!


A History of St. Bernard Church

In the northern part of the city, St. Bernard's Church was the first church to be erected in Newton. Fr. Bernard Flood, of Waltham, who offered Mass in this section occasionally from about 1866 onward, bought a lot at Washington and Prospect Streets on May 17, 1869, and, wishing to gather all the local Catholics to discuss church building, hired the Town Hall for services on Sunday, May 30, 1869. The arrangement was made with Constable Cole, who had the authority to lease the building. It was announced from the altar in the Waltham church on May 23, 1869.

The cornerstone of St. Bernard's was blessed on November 12, 1871, and on August 23, 1874, Bishop Williams dedicated the tasteful Gothic brick church, which had cost about $45,000.00. Two years later, West Newton was made a separate parish under Father Michael T. McManus (appointed April 20, 1876). Under its third pastor, Rev. Lawrence J. O'Toole (1886-1911), the church was almost completely destroyed by fire on the evening of June 23, 1889. Once more, the congregation went for a sesson to the Town Hall, but, thanks to the resolute efforts of the pastor and the people, the church was promptly rebuilt substantially along its old lines, but larger and more beautiful than ever. The church was rededicated on April 27, 1890.


A History of Corpus Christi-St. Bernard Parish

On July 1, 2006, Fr. Frank J. Silva became the first pastor of the newly formed parish. For those first years Fr. Silva assembled a new pastoral staff, created and developed councils and commissions, made significant improvements to the 2 worship sites, and sought to bring unity to these communities. The new parish has emerged from its own visioning and strategic pastoral planning for the future to be a model for other parishes with respect to being good stewards and disciples in mission each day. In December 2012, Fr. Dan O’Connell became the pastor. His energy and vision for the parish continues to build upon the vision of those priests who served both Corpus Christi and St. Bernard’s for more than 2 centuries.