|Immaculate Conception Parish is a community of believers in
Jesus Christ, under the care of His Blessed Mother Mary. As
Roman Catholics, we seek to live the gospel, celebrate our faith
with joy, serve those in need and invite all to live in God's love.
Below you will find parish Staff & Contact Information, Map & Directions to our church, How to Register as a New Parishioner, a Picture Gallery and the Parish History of Immaculate Conception dating back to 1845.
Staff & Contact Information
Map & Directions
Our Parish is located in E. Weymouth, Massachusetts. We are easily accessible from Route 3. From Rt 3 take Rt 18 north. At CVS go left on to Rt. 53 (Washington Street) and at first set of lights take right on Broad Street. Pass through 2 sets of blinking yellow lights and a regular set of stop lights (a gas station will be on your right) and Immaculate Conception will be on your left less than a 1/4 mile beyond the gas station (our church is round). Please use 720 Broad Street, East Weymouth as your address if using a GPS.
How to Register as a New Parishioner
Welcome to all new families/individuals who are new to Weymouth and new to Immaculate Conception! We invite you to register as soon as possible. Membership is a condition for reception of Baptism, Reconciliation, First Eucharist, Confirmation and Marriage. Registration is also required before the parish can issue a certificate for sponsorship. Registration forms may be obtained at our parish office weekdays between 9:00 AM and 3:30 PM. Always feel free to contact us at (781) 337-0380 with any questions that you may have about our parish community.
A Brief History of Immaculate Conception Parish
The roots of Immaculate Conception Parish can be traced to 1845. Weymouth was then a "mission" of St. Mary's parish in West Quincy. According to the Pilot, the pastor of St. Mary's, Rev. Bernard Carraher, celebrated Sunday Masses in South Weymouth on November 16th of that year and in East Weymouth on December 21. On December 10, 1848, Rev. John T. Roddan was appointed Pastor of St. Mary's in West Quincy; he had been ordained in May of that year, and was editor of the Pilot. According to the historian James S. Sullivan, author of One Hundred Years of Progress: A Graphic, Historical and Pictorial Account of the Catholic Church of New England, Archdiocese of Boston, it was Fr. Roddan and another priest, Rev. Michael Lynch, who in 1851 first celebrated Mass in private houses in East Weymouth; this is where the largest portion of Weymouth's Catholic population resided. The reminiscences of a parishioner named Elizabeth Fogarty Reid describe the Masses celebrated in her parents' home before there was a church building in Weymouth:
Mass was said about once a month in the home of William and Johanna Fogarty on a street off Lake Street which is now Lakeside Avenue. The years were approximately 1855-1856. The altar was in the parlor between the two front windows. Seats were boards resting on chairs. The priest, whose name could not be recalled, came from either Quincy or Randolph on Saturday nights and slept in a downstairs bedroom. Confessions were heard in the front hall. Mass was a Low Mass with no singing. Vestments were kept in the house in a chest of drawers in the parlor. Services were sometimes held in the home of John Drury on Pleasant Street or the Hurley home, also on Pleasant Street. Some East Weymouth people walked to Saint Mary's Church in West Quincy to Mass until there was a church built on "Gravel Hill."
(Gravel Hill was the location for Weymouth's first Catholic church building, the original St. Francis Xavier, which was dedicated on Sunday, December 4,1859; it is currently the site of Papa Gino's restaurant at the corner of Middle Street and Washington Street.) Reports indicate that a few months after these first Masses in private homes, Masses began to be celebrated in Tirrell's Hall at Weymouth Landing.
In 1854, Fr. Roddan moved his residence to St. Mary's in Randolph, and Weymouth then became a mission of Randolph. By the year 1854, Fr. Roddan had reported that there were 700 Catholics living in Weymouth. Rev. Aaron L. Roche replaced Fr. Roddan in Randolph in November of 1856; Fr. Roche built the original St. Francis Xavier in 1859. In 1863, Fr. Roche was transferred to St. Bridget's in Abington, and Weymouth became a mission of that parish. On July 16, 1868, Weymouth was detached from St. Bridget's and established as a separate parish. Rev. John Hannigan was Weymouth's first pastor, serving from 1866 to 1869.
Rev. Hugh P. Smyth became pastor at Weymouth in 1869. According to the parishioner Elizabeth Fogarty Reid, Fr. Hannigan was transferred to a parish in Lynn, and Rev. Peter J. Leddy, who later became the first pastor of St. Paul's in Hingham, came to Weymouth as Fr. Smyth's curate.
Fr. Smyth eventually built eight churches on the South Shore: the historians Lord, Sexton, and Harrington, authors of History of the Archdiocese of Boston In the Various Stages of Its Development 1604 to 1943, describe him as a "heroic church-builder." The historian Sullivan records the following praises of Fr. Smyth:
Inspired by the ardor and ambition incident to the younger years, he took hold of the work of building up the Catholic church in the towns lying along the south shore in a way that has accomplished great results. Ever animated by a spirit of enterprise and progress, and ennobled by a just sense of his high calling, his great influence was felt far beyond his sphere of operations, the extent of which can hardly be estimated….Endowed with good judgment and admirable executive ability, he has fortunately been able to make a life record that has been alike honorable to himself and valuable to the great cause in which he has been engaged…..A life work so replete with good deeds is a source of pride to us all, and Fr. Smyth's record may be safely pointed to as one eminently worthy to be patterned after...
Fr. Smyth was forced to become a church-builder soon after he arrived in Weymouth. As the historians Lord, Sexton, and Harrington record:
His regime began with a disaster: three months after his arrival, St. Francis Xavier's burned down (November 27, 1869). Far from being discouraged, the young pastor at once announced his determination not only to replace the edifice destroyed, but to provide churches for each of the three chief Weymouth villages, and also one for Hingham. He was as good as his word - even better. A drive to collect funds was happily launched with a fair, which proved "an unprecedented success" (for the South Shore) and which netted six thousand dollars. And almost immediately a great campaign of lot-buying and church-building began.
By the early 1870s, Masses were being celebrated at Randall's Hall in East Weymouth, which was part of the Canterbury Shoe Shop. This was near the site of the original Immaculate Conception church. The historian Sullivan notes that in the 1870's, new businesses and settlements in East Weymouth led to an increase in the Catholic population, and that the existing church facilities in Weymouth were no longer able to seat the growing number of parishioners; naturally this was a factor in Fr. Smyth's decision to erect a church in each section of Weymouth rather than to rebuild St. Francis Xavier on a larger scale. According to Immaculate Conception Church, A Heritage of Faith and Devotion, a brief history compiled in 1979, the land where the original Immaculate Conception church was to be located was purchased in 1872 and work on the foundation was then begun; this land was on the site of Randall's Hall and the Canterbury Shoe Shop, owned by Asa French and Nathan Canterbury. A Heritage of Faith and Devotion also notes that much of the work on the foundation and basement of the church was done by the men of the parish, who donated their services after working long days at the Weymouth Iron Company or at their own businesses. In her reminiscences, Elizabeth Fogarty Reid recalls meeting her future husband, a carpenter named James H. Reid, when he was working on the construction of the church in 1873.
According to the Weymouth Gazette, a document commemorating the building of the original Immaculate Conception was placed in the cornerstone of the church. A Heritage of Faith and Devotion indicates that once the cornerstone had been laid, Mass was celebrated in the church basement. Archbishop Williams dedicated the completed church on the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday Nov.23, 1879. The completed building cost $25,000 and could seat 700 people.
Below is a detailed description of the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the early 1890's, taken from Sullivan's One Hundred Years of Progress:
It is a frame structure with a granite basement. On the north side of its rear is a small addition, which serves for vestries and as a place for the heating apparatus. In the front of the edifice is a small tower. The style of the building follows the conventional design of the general run of country churches, being neither Gothic nor Romanesque, but a pleasing blend of both. The basement is seldom used now for religious services, as it has been converted, after a fashion, into a hall, where the youthful members of the parish may lend their assistance to aid the parish fund in the way of dramas, concerts, etc. The old altar in the recess, in the rear of the chapel, has lost all of its movable embellishments, save two statues, one of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the other of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The pews have all been turned toward the front of the building, where a low stage has been erected.
The vestibule of the church proper is rather small and gives access into a beautiful interior. Here the Gothic style predominates. The choir loft extends the whole width of the church and well into the auditorium. It is furnished with a large and beautiful organ. The frescoing of this edifice is particularly beautiful, drab, brown and gilt colors being artistically blended. Throughout the ceiling of the nave religious symbols are depicted in a manner worthy of commendation. The columns, which mark the termination of the nave and side aisles, are painted white, and, without thorough inspection, one would be led to believe that they were the richest of marble. The caps by which these pilasters support the arches and trusses of the roof are very ornate with an abundance of gilt decoration. Some of the members of the parish donated the stained glass windows, over each of which is a figure of some religious symbol. On the wall near the sanctuary, and at the terminal of each of the side aisles, is a beautiful painting: the one on the epistle side representing Mary Magdalene at the feet of our Savior; the one on the gospel side depicting our Lord in the garden. The sanctuary is very large and richly decorated. On the large arch is a predominance of the passion flower artistically depicted. The recess is lighted by one window, which contains an admirable figure of the Immaculate Virgin. On the rear wall, above the altar, is a representation of the Ascension of Jesus Christ; on the wall on the gospel side of the sanctuary is a picture of the Holy Child, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph; and on the epistle side is a door that leads into the vestry. The altar is very large and beautiful. The base is constructed of marble, and the superstructure, from the table up, containing several alcoves, is made of wood. In the alcove, at either end, is a statue, one of St. Joseph with the Infant, and the other of the Blessed Virgin. On a pedestal on each side is an adoring angel bowing in humble adoration and genuflecting towards the beautiful tabernacle where resides the body of our Lord. In the sanctuary, also, are beautiful statues of St. Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, Sacred Heart of Jesus, and of the Madonna.
The vestry is on the epistle side of the church and independent of the main edifice. It is spacious and well kept. Besides the crucifix on the large vestment case, it has, hanging on the wall, a beautiful picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and near the staircase that leads to the basement is a very high black cross, such as those used by missionaries when giving missions. Also in the vestry is a library, which contains religious books, good stories, and volumes written in defense of the faith, all of which may be used by the parishioners. The church is heated by steam and lighted by electricity. There are societies in the parish for young and old, male and female, and the League of the Sacred Heart, to which all maybe affiliated.
Passing through a long field, at the rear of the church, we come to the parochial residence, which is a large frame building, two and a half stories high. Like the church, it seems to have received proper attention from the pastor, for it is well finished, neatly furnished, and kept in excellent condition.
It should be noted that this rectory, and the land which it occupied, was not purchased until 1882. The land and the old-style cottage, which became the rectory, had been owned by John P. Lovell.
1882 was also the year in which the town of Weymouth was divided into two parishes. Rev. Jeremiah E. Millerick became Immaculate's first resident pastor, with North Weymouth as a mission, while Fr. Smyth remained pastor of Sacred Heart, with St. Francis as its mission in South Weymouth. On July 17, 1883 Fr. Smyth was transferred to Boston, where according to the historian Sullivan he had another successful pastorate; Rev. John J. Murphy was appointed as his replacement at Sacred Heart.
The historian Sullivan records the following biographical information about Immaculate Conception's first resident pastor:
Father Jeremiah E. Millerick was born in Newtown, County Cork, Ireland, June 12, 1846. He came to America with his parents when he was but four years old. His parents settled in the North End, Boston, and he attended the Eliot School until 1861. He was an eyewitness of the famous punishment of the Wall boy which led to the establishment of St. Mary's School by Father Wiget, S.J. Father Millerick entered Holy Cross College in September, 1861 and graduated in June, 1867. He then went to study for the priesthood in the American College at Rome, and was ordained a priest May 24, 1872, by Cardinal Patrizi, in the church of St. John Lateran. Returning to America he was first stationed at the Cathedral. Thence he went to St. Stephen's, in the North End, where he remained until October, 1882. He was then appointed to East Weymouth as pastor. He remained there for five years, when he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph's, Wakefield.
Rev. Daniel S. Healy replaced Fr. Millerick in 1887, and remained pastor of Immaculate Conception until his death on July 5, 1892.
Rev. Michael E. Begley was then appointed, and he too remained as pastor until his death in April of 1901. Sullivan records the following biographical data on Fr. Begley:
Father Begley was born in Newton Upper Falls on September 11, 1854. His elementary education was obtained in the Newton Grammar and High Schools. In September, 1873, he entered St. Charles' College, Ellicott City, Md., from which he graduated in June, 1876. In September of that year he went to St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, where he was ordained on December 18, 1880, by His Eminence, Cardinal Gibbons. He was then sent as assistant pastor of St. Mary's Church, Newton Upper Falls, where he remained until January, 1886, when he went to St. John's Seminary, Brighton, and remained there until his appointment to East Weymouth, in July 1892.
Sullivan also notes that "although [Fr. Begley] has effected some needed changes about the property, he has given the greater portion of his attention to the spiritual necessities of his congregation. As a consequence he has a thoroughly organized parish…" Still, one cannot deny that Fr. Begley made significant contributions to the physical plant of the parish: A Heritage of Faith and Devotion records that during his pastorate the current rectory was built, a pipe organ (rare for those days) was installed in the choir loft, and a large parcel of church land was sold to the East Weymouth Savings Bank.
A Heritage of Faith and Devotion also records the following information about the ensuing pastorates:
Father James Allison, then treasurer of the Archdiocese of Boston, was appointed pastor in 1901 and served the rapidly growing parish until 1915. He was ably and conscientiously assisted by the first regular curate assigned to Immaculate, the Reverend Maurice Lynch, and, subsequently, by the Reverend James Sliney. For short periods, Father Smyth had received assistance from Father Leddy, and Father Millerick was assisted for a time by Father Stephen Keegan. During Father Allison's administration, the construction of a new church in North Weymouth was started to replace the old Mission Building. Unfortunately, Father Allison did not live to see it completed.
In 1915, the late William Cardinal O'Connell, Archbishop of Boston, appointed the Reverend Cornelius I. Riordan as pastor to succeed Father Allison. The new St. Jerome's Church was completed and dedicated in this year also.
Fr. Allison died on Wednesday, December 9, 1914, and Fr. Riordan became pastor in January of 1915.
At this time, the second decade of the 20th century, the number of immigrants from Italy in the parish grew significantly. Fr. Riordan took care to see that those who could not yet speak English were not neglected in his parish's ministry. In a letter to Cardinal O'Connell, dated May 31, 1917, he described the situation of the parish:
According to the Census of this Parish last year, there are 844 Italians in East Weymouth. Many of these cannot understand or talk the English Language. Some of them would come to Confession frequently if a Priest were here to hear their Confessions in their native language. It is a pitiable sight, at times, when one is dying and making his Confession, and the Priest not understanding what he says and he not understanding what the Priest says to him. Many of these people are at Mass on Sunday and some of them at Mass frequently during the week.
There is work enough in this parish for three Priests, and I humbly and respectfully petition that you appoint another Priest along with the two already appointed to help in the parish work, one who understands the Italian, as also the English Language.
In response to this request, the Cardinal appointed the Rev. Carl F. Dunbury, a priest recently ordained in Rome, as an Assistant in East Weymouth, effective Wednesday, July 25,1917.
Another concern of Fr. Riordan's was that the children of his parish be given appropriate models of Catholic behavior, and with the support of the parishioners he decided to build a school. In a letter to the Archdiocese dated July 25,1921, Fr. Riordan noted that many of his parishioners were requesting that he build a Parochial school; some of them were either moving from East Weymouth or sending their children to relatives in towns with parochial schools; 16 children of his parish were traveling to Weymouth Landing to attend the school at Sacred Heart Parish. In response to this letter, the Vice Chancellor of the Archdiocese informed Riordan that Cardinal O'Connell had granted "permission to obtain plans, specifications, and estimates, as to building a parochial school in your Parish," and that these plans were to be submitted for approval to the chancery.
On April 24, 1923, after submitting his plans to the chancery, Fr. Riordan received final permission to begin work on the school: "His Eminence says that these plans meet with his approval and that you may proceed to build the school at an approximate cost of $65,000." The school was built on the corner of Madison and Commercial Streets, despite the protests of one parishioner that the school should be on Broad Street. Fr. Riordan was against building the school on the busy and dangerous Broad Street, where two boys from the parish had been killed during his pastorate. Fr. Riordan himself donated the $8000 needed to build a retaining wall before the school could be built.
The building process was a gradual one. By April of 1924, the building was ready for the installation of heating and ventilating systems, and Fr. Riordan successfully petitioned the Cardinal for permission to mortgage the school for $20,000. The school building was still not ready to receive children by the summer of 1925, and therefore Fr. Riordan converted the carriage room of the rectory stable into a schoolroom, at an approximate cost of $500. The school opened with just first and second grade classes; the teachers were the Sisters of St. Joseph, for whom a convent had been set up in a cottage on Madison Street. As noted in A Heritage of Faith and Devotion, "Fr. Riordan did not live to see the first five grades enter the new [school] building in September, 1928. He died in January of that year." 1928 was also the year in which St. Jerome's was established as a separate parish.
On March 14, 1928, Father Michael J. Derby became Immaculate's pastor. During Fr. Derby's pastorate, the final three grades of the school were added, one per year, and repairs were made to the church property. An especially notable event was the repainting of the church in honor of the building's 50th anniversary: the parishioners pledged $2,000 for this cause.
It is recorded in A Heritage of Faith and Devotion that "in 1931, Father Derby was transferred to St. Joseph's Parish in the West End of Boston to be succeeded by the Reverend Edward P. Murphy . . ." Letters in the Archives of the Archdiocese of Boston indicate that Fr. Murphy became Immaculate Conception's pastor on September 21, 1931. The present convent was erected during Fr. Murphy's pastorate. In a letter dated April 1, 1932, Fr. Murphy asked Cardinal O'Connell's permission to build the new convent, stating as his reason the fact that "the small house in which the sisters live is in a deplorable condition and very unsafe."
Fr. Murphy was able to provide for the regular upkeep of the parish. In 1939 he was fortunate enough also to receive a donation of $7,000 to change the formerly unused church basement into a chapel; this money was donated by a parishioner named Daniel P. Cummings of 430 Broad Street. Fr. Murphy attended to the spiritual as well as the physical needs of his parishioners, establishing a devotion to the Mater Dolorosa, which he believed would be "a great influence for the spiritual good in this section of the archdiocese."
Rev. John W. Mahoney became pastor in 1941 when Fr. Murphy was transferred to St. Margaret's in Dorchester. Fr. Mahoney helped to develop the parish grounds during his pastorate. A Heritage of Faith and Devotion records that during his pastorate, "with Father Mahoney's own personal physical labor and that of a few faithful parishioners, three shrines were built . . ." Immaculate's current pastor, Fr. Peter T. Martocchio, who was a young parishioner at the time, worked on building the grotto, which was completed in the fall of 1944. This shrine was soon incorporated into the liturgical life of the parish. In a letter dated March 28, 1945, Fr. Mahoney requested permission from Archbishop Cushing to have liturgies there:
If it please Your Excellency, I respectfully request permission to plan to conduct our weekly parish novena, Including Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament, at Our Lady's Shrine, when weather permits, during the summer months.
Moreover, it would be desirable to have Your Excellency's permission to celebrate Mass at the shrine of our Patroness for the Parish heroic dead, on such days as Memorial Day, First Communion Day and the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady.
Archbishop Cushing granted permission provided that "every canonical condition is met for complete reverence to the Blessed Sacrament."
The parish priests were kept busy at Immaculate during the 1940s with Novenas, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, CYO, and weddings. In a letter dated Dec.29, 1946, Fr. Mahoney described the parish ministry as vigorous work:
Because of the work, the peculiar complexion of the parishioners and the recent history of the parish . . . It is Imperative that a real healthy and truly active young priest be assigned to the parish as soon as possible.
In a homily delivered on December 2, 1995, at a Mass to commemorate Immaculate's 125th Anniversary, Msgr. John P. Carroll, who served as an Assistant at Immaculate from 1942 - 1948, described the climate:
World War II years tested Immaculate's reputation as the example of three great loves - love of God, family and country. The times- a war had ended years of depression. Fore River was booming. One-parent families were a rarity. Working mothers was the invention of the war effort. Drugs was a problem in China.
…. I warmly remember the packed novenas with a parish begging Our Lady's protection for boys in the service. I remember "D-Day" - a call from Mary Mulready, then a telephone operator, at 5:00 a.m. - D-Day was on: please remember the boys at Mass. I did. The pastor was away. We had no plans - the phone began to ring - a solution - the rosary in church with the school children at noon. A goodly number showed up. The phone continued to ring. Pass the word - a holy hour at 7:30 p.m. - a packed church. A challenge - daily Mass until our troops were secure in Normandy. For about two weeks the 7:00a.m. Mass - the dawn patrol - was packed.
There was nary a complaint when the lads were called to arms. There were only quiet tears - when gold stars appeared in 14 windows in the parish.
... I remember men and women in khaki, green and blue, coming back from the war. No traumas - no whining - no problems. They could not get the uniforms off fast enough. They married - raised families - were loyal to their church.
I still have letters I received during my Weymouth War Years. I even have one from Father Peter [Martoccchio]. I'd like to quote from one on how important the novena was to the boys in the service: "September 24, 1944 - Somewhere. Father, I'm thinking of those Monday nights that I used to go to the novena. Every Monday night, I think of you and make believe I am in church listening to you. I always believed that those novenas have helped every boy in the service, more than anyone realized. I am sure the Blessed Virgin is listening to our prayers. If everyone at home keeps the faith and prays hard, I am sure we will all be home soon. Signed, Pip from Lake Street."
During this period, Fr. Carroll began the parish CYO program. He also described this in his homily:
We did introduce CYO, but the budget was tight. The locale for the dances was the basement of the school - we dubbed it, "The Louis XIV Ballroom" - the music: a jukebox. We crowned kings and queens. In the good weather it was a tag rush at Legion Field on Sunday afternoons. In the winter on Sunday afternoons, it was basketball and boxing at Weymouth High. Baseball and softball kept our summers busy. There were outings at Green Harbor. A highlight was our annual Communion Breakfast which cost 50 cents. The anchor - you may be surprised - 7:00p.m. every Tuesday: a spiritual meeting in church and monthly Holy Half-hours. The shut-ins were not forgotten: on their birthday, a visit from a couple of CYOers, a spiritual bouquet and a present. The adult sparkplugs of the CYO were Mary Toomey, Mary Lonergan and Russ Mazzola. For the young adults we had the Parish shows - "The First Legion" at Weymouth High - variety shows in Louis XIV Ballroom - all sorts of talent - topped by Mary Mulligan.
Fr. Carroll was so successful with the CYO program that in May of 1948 he was transferred from Immaculate Conception to become Second Assistant Director of CYO for the Archdiocese. Fr. Mahoney noted that Fr. Carroll had "done excellent priestly work," and requested a veteran priest for his replacement, "because it would be deplorable for Catholicity in this area if the high standard of priestly influence were minimized, especially among our youth."
Fr. Mahoney increased the parish property during his pastorate by purchasing some land that was situated between the rectory and the school in 1944. In 1945 he purchased an undervalued vacant lot between the church and the East Weymouth Savings Rank, which is described below in a letter to the chancery:
The price asked for this entire desirable lot . . . is $4000, which is less than its assessed value. A Director of the Bank, also an exemplary parishioner, is willing to be quoted - "If I owned the land, and were to sell to an ordinary purchaser, the price would be $6500."It is the humble opinion of the pastor that the ownership of the land would undoubtedly be a great protection to the church property in years to come.
Again in 1949 Fr. Mahoney enlarged the parish property by purchasing some land between the convent and the parish school. Fr. Mahoney's goal in doing this was "for protective purposes and for the future possible enlargement of our parish school..."
In addition to increasing the church property, Fr. Mahoney saw to the regular upkeep of the physical plant. Most notable was the renovation of the upper church in 1947 to mark the 75th anniversary of the laying of the original cornerstone. Also of note during Fr. Mahoney's pastorate were the beginning of the weekly four page Parish Bulletin in 1949 and the decrease of the parish boundaries in 1950 when, according to A Heritage of Faith and Devotion, "the Parish of St. Albert the Great was established and many outstanding families from Pleasant Street and the Birches Section were lost to Immaculate."
Rev. John J. Donegan became pastor in September of 1951, when Fr. Mahoney was transferred to St. Catherine's Parish in Somerville. During Fr. Donegan's pastorate, the parish properties were further increased. As noted in A Heritage of Faith and Devotion, "Father Donegan availed the parish of the opportunity to purchase a large parcel of land, now a part of the church parking lot, from the East Weymouth Savings Bank. This property was of inestimable aid in developing the present parish property."
Rev. John F. Welsh was appointed pastor in 1956 after the death of Fr. Donegan. Fr. Welsh increased the parish grounds by purchasing the land that is now the parking lot behind the school and in front of the Msgr. Hackett Center.
Fr. Welsh died on Feb. 29, 1964 and Msgr. Edmund F. Hackett, formerly rector of Holy Cross Cathedral, became Immaculate's next pastor on March 17, 1964. The following excerpt from A Heritage of Faith and Devotion provides a summary of Msgr. Hackett's years:
Plans began almost immediately after Monsignor Hackett's arrival for the erection of a new church and parish center, and the firm of Holmes and Edwards of Boston was selected as architects. At about this time, many liturgical changes were being implemented following the Second Vatican Council -- such as the positioning of the altar -- and these changes had to be considered in the building of the new church.
Many parcels of land were purchased including the tenement block on Broad Street, the Ventre property between the rectory and the school, three parcels of land on Madison Street and one on Broad Street, and the barn and land at the rear of property on Cottage Street. There was also the gift of land next to the rectory from American Legion Post #79. The convent situated in the middle of the property was an obstacle to all building and had to be moved to its present site so that the church and center could be located properly. Eventually, Thomas H. Fallon and Sons Co., Inc. was the low bidder and was awarded the contract for the two buildings.
Originally, the liturgical changes seemed to call for a fan-shaped church. The architects opposed this shape on structural grounds and suggested that the fan be opened up completely to form a round structure. With the possibility of tension rings and laminated beams, there would be no obstructions inside the main church, and thus, the present building was decided upon.
Much research went into the preparation for the Parish Center to make it an all-purpose building for every form of parish activity. All this was two years in the making and finally in June of 1967 the two buildings were ready. The old church was demolished, the grounds were landscaped, and the new additions were functional. The Main Altar was consecrated on June 2, 1967.
Eventually, as the parish moved into the seventies, it was faced with the financial and vocation crisis that affected so much of the parochial school system As a result, in 1972, we eliminated the seventh and eighth grades due partly to declining enrollment and partly to the archdiocesan emphasis on future secondary schools rather than elementary schools. The following year, with the approval of the Diocesan School Board and Cardinal Cushing the parish school was closed. The building has since been used for CCD classes and general parish use.
Msgr. Hackett remained pastor for over 20 years, and under his capable administration Immaculate Conception parish flourished. He died on Friday, June 22, 1984.
On Tuesday, September 18, 1984, Rev. Peter T. Martocchio became pastor. Fr. Martocchio grew up in this parish as a boy. His family moved to Weymouth from Watertown, MA in 1936, and he received his First Communion at Immaculate in May of the following year. Fr. Martocchio received his confirmation in May of 1944 and graduated from Immaculate Conception Grammar School in June of that year. He then went on to attend Boston College High School and Boston College, from which he graduated in May of 1948 and May of 1952, respectively.
Fr. Martocchio was ordained to the priesthood on Feb. 2, 1957 and served his first assignment as an Assistant at St John The Evangelist Parish in North Chelmsford. His next assignment began in December of 1963 at St. Edward's parish in Brockton. While at St. Edward's, Fr. Martocchio was a member of the original Priest Senate of the Archdiocese in 1968, and he served as Episcopal Vicar of the Brockton region from 1975-1977. He remained at St. Edward's until September of 1977, when he was appointed Pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Quincy. He remained there until he came to Immaculate. After returning to East Weymouth as pastor, Fr. Martocchio also served on the Priest Personnel Board of the Archdiocese from 1984-1987.
Fr. Martocchio's pastoral thrust was to lead the parish in reaching out to the both the parish community and the local community at large. For example, one parish ministry that he inaugurated is the Cable TV Committee. This committee produces a half-hour show which appears weekly on the Weymouth Community Access Cable channel. The show highlights parish and community activities, as well as features on services and outreach programs of the Boston Archdiocese. Fr. Martocchio also began our Newsletter committee, which publishes a newsletter featuring articles about parish functions and activities.
In addition to outreach through media ministries, Fr. Martocchio inaugurated the ministry of greeter in the parish: greeters are lay persons of teen-age years and older who help to create an atmosphere of warmth and welcome at parish liturgies by greeting worshipers as they enter the church building. This welcoming atmosphere is also fostered by "Community Sunday," usually the first Sunday of each month, when the Hospitality Group, also founded during Fr. Martocchio's pastorate, provides refreshments after Mass in the parish center (which has been dedicated to the memory of Msgr. Hackett). Today, Fr. Bill Salmon still carries on this tradition and sometimes even a full breakfast is served with eggs and bacon!
Fr. Martocchio's outreach efforts also include the Evangelization Program, a group of trained laity who visit homes in the parish to share faith and the message of "The Good News of the Scriptures." He also oversaw the beginning of the Scripture Series held in the Msgr. Hackett Center, an ongoing series of courses in the Old Testament and New Testament for adults of the local area. In addition to this, Fr. Martocchio helped develop our parish R.C.I.A. program (The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults); this program reaches out to non-Catholics who are interested in becoming members of the Catholic Church, as well as to Catholics who are interested in acquiring a deeper knowledge of the Faith.
Elderly and homebound parishioners have not been forgotten by the pastors: Eucharistic Ministers bring Communion to shut-in members of the parish and also commissioned lay ministers to visit our homebound and elderly parishioners once a month and contact them weekly by phone or with a card. Fr. Martocchio also began our Faith and Light Committee, a parish outreach to people with special needs. In addition to this, he has helped to develop a Committee for Outreach to Persons with Disabilities; this committee works to make all church facilities accessible and to lessen attitudinal barriers by fostering a sense of welcome and inclusiveness.
Fr. Salmon has carried on Fr. Martocchio's legacy by continuing to reach out to the younger members of the parish. There is a Moms, Pops and Tots group, which provides weekly sociability and coffee in the Msgr. Hackett Center for young parents and their infants and young children. Usually each Sunday's Children's Liturgy of the Word is facilitated by a parent or deacon, but when Fr. Bill has a homily for the children up on the alter they sit bright-eyed and eager to participate because his lessons are always memorable! He has encouraged the teen's participation in World Youth Day and while Fr. Bill has been at the parish two groups of teens have embarked on this special faith filled pilgrimage…one to Sydney, Australia (2008) and one to Madrid, Spain (2011) and we also have an active middle school youth ministry. In addition to these ministries, Fr. Martocchio began our parish Scholarship Committee which Fr. Bill carries on today and distributes annual scholarships to high school graduates of the parish.
The funds for these scholarships are taken from the regular weekly collections of the parish. Fr. Martocchio established a Sacrificial Giving Program, encouraging each member of the parish to tithe or donate a percentage of their income or allowance to the parish. The parish in turn tithes 10% of its income from the offertory collection to local, national, and international charitable groups. Assisting the pastor in the distribution of the finances set aside for tithing is a committee made up of representatives from the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Finance Committee. This Finance Committee assists the pastor in the general administration of the financial and physical resources of the parish. Amazingly, during Fr. Martocchio's pastorate the parish has been blessed to be able to give an average of $50,000 to charity each year, while at the same time paying off the mortgage on the new parish buildings in December of 1996, 20 years ahead of time!
Of course, Fr. Martocchio has done a fine job of overseeing the physical plant of the parish. The most notable improvements he has made are as follows: in the fall of 1996 the entire church was re-carpeted; in the late 1980s, the sanctuary was modified so that the presidential chair was placed behind the altar, and stations of the cross were placed on the walls of the main church (previously they had been only in the chapel); and finally, also in the late 1980s, a lighted welcome sign was placed on the parish property adjacent to Broad Street, helping to raise awareness of our community among passers-by. Fr. Salmon recently had the roof of our parish replaced in 2010.
Fr. Martocchio has made a point of reaching out not only to his parishioners, but also to the town of Weymouth at large. One of the most notable ways in which he has done this is his making the former school building available to a local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous and to the Weymouth Food Pantry. Another non-parish organization, the Senior Citizens Recreation Club, meets in the Msgr. Hackett Center each month.
The parish has a sound liturgical program, with music provided by a Men's Choir and a Folk Choir, both founded during Msgr. Hackett's pastorate and by a Mixed (male & female) Choir, founded under Fr. Martocchio's pastorate. There is also a children's Christmas Choir. Parishioners are involved in the liturgy as Altar Servers, Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, and Ushers. Of course there are many other parish volunteers, including the Holy Name Society, Altar Guild, the parish Cub Scout pack, Religious Education teachers and administrators, youth ministers, the Respect for Life Committee, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, committees for the Spiritual Life and Social Life of the parish, and persons involved with sports activities for youths and adults in the Msgr. Hackett Center.
This then, is the state of Immaculate Conception Parish today. The parish has grown from a small mission on the South Shore into one of the most thriving parishes in the region. The parish today may be physically and demographically different from the parish 125 years ago, but its members still share a common faith as they seek Jesus through Mary: Ad Jesum, per Mariam.
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