Friday, March 27, 2015

Blessed Renovation

From Dave Brigham:

I'm not a religious man, but I do love a nice church.

This beautiful building is the former Blessed Sacrament Church in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. I was in the area recently donating some supplies to the pet adoption center where we got our cat. I brought my camera with me, and before I even left the adoption center's parking lot, I spied the big green dome and knew I had to head in its direction.

Built between 1910 and 1913 and opened in 1917 by the Boston Catholic Archdiocese, the church closed in 2004. The massive church (approximately 1/2 acre in size) was the centerpiece of a campus that included a rectory, a convent and two schools.

Built in 1901, the Cheverus School (named after the first bishop of Boston) was closed for some time before the Hyde Square Task Force bought it and reopened the building as its Youth Community Development Center.

St. Norbert's School was built in 1926. The building was recently converted to 21 market-rate condos.

When I walked by the church, and saw boarded up windows where magnificent stained glass once resided, I was concerned that the building was being left to rot. Many of the old windows were removed to the Sacred Heart Church in Weymouth, Mass., but the church sat there like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla.

I was so happy to learn through my research that the building and its satellites are being repurposed.

The Hyde Square Task Force completed its purchase of Blessed Sacrament a little more than a year ago. They have big plans.

From the HSTF web site:

The Church will be a place where people from all races and ethnicities and from all walks of life from Hyde/Jackson Square, Jamaica Plain, and beyond will gather, perform, create community, and celebrate individual, family, and community wide events. It will also be a place that showcases the cultural richness of the Latin Quarter through arts and cultural events.

For a history of the task force's involvement with the church and its affiliated buildings, read this piece.

For a look inside the church on the cusp of the renovations, check this link.

To see historical photos of the church campus and surrounding area, check this out.

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