Sunday, August 12, 2007

Westfield's Blessed Sacrament Parish Breaks New Ground

Bread and earth will be broken at a special outdoor Mass presided over by Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell today to bless the construction of the new Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church and Chapel on Holyoke Road in Westfield. The new church will replace the parish's former structure on the corner of North Elm and Union Streets, recently razed to make way for a second bridge being built across the Westfield River. Church pastor, the Rev. Daniel S. Pacholec, and former pastor, the Rev. Hugh Crean, will join the bishop in offering the 10 a.m. Mass at the Parish Center, 127 Holyoke Road.

When this photo was taken in April of 2007, the church had been standing vacant almost two years, having been abandoned to the Great River Bridge Project in June of 2005. The parish has had a somewhat restless history, holding its first Mass above O. B. Parks store, on the second floor of 55 North Elm Street, on May 29, 1910. The recently-demolished church building was originally located at the corner of North Elm and Princeton Streets, with a ground-breaking held there on August 15, 1910. The church was moved south, to the corner of North Elm and Union Streets in 1920.

The demolition of Blessed Sacrament Church took place at the end of July 2007. The lot the church had occupied for the past 87 years was purchased from Dr. James B. Atwater, and his home - seen here in the background - was utilized as the church rectory. Westfield marble was used in the construction of three of the home's fireplaces. The razing of the church was an emotional event for parishioners, who gathered to watch, talk and take photos during the demolition of the building they had known as their spiritual home for many years.

'Til only the spirit remains... A vacant lot belies the spot where once souls were filled.

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Anonymous said...

How sad.
What will happen to the rectory now?

Mark T. Alamed said...

To tell you the truth, I'm not sure what the rectory's fate is presently.
I'll try to find out.

I do know that the OLBS Parish is trying to raise $1.5 million for the new church. Perhaps the rectory and remaining land will be sold?

Anonymous said...

Would anyone know where I could get a Piece o Heaven cookbook from Blessed Sacrament Parish?

Mark T. Alamed said...

I posted your cookbook question on Masslive's Westfield forum and found out from a helpful respondent that the cookbook is still available. The number for more information is 562-3450.

Caroline Michelle said...

Does anyone have photos of the inside of this house? It sounds so beautiful!