History of Holy Family Parish

Holy Family Parish opened in 2004, and yet its history dates back over 150 years.

The first Mass celebrated in Concord was in the 1840s with a pastor from St. Mary Parish in Waltham.  Concord's vital statistics in the 1840s indicate marriages and births of people with Irish surnames.  The homes of Irish families in the so-called Yellow Block adjacent to the Fitchburg Railroad had attracted Irish laborers.

The 1860s were an important decade for Concord Catholics.  In 1863, St. Bernard Parish was established in the building previously used as the Universalist Church.  In 1864, St. Bernard Cemetery was established on Bedford Street.  And in 1868, the Rectory on Monument Square was converted from the County House.  By 1870, St. Bernard's had its first resident priest.

In the 1890s, Concord's Catholic population surged with immigrants from Italy, who worked on farms and in the mills in West Concord.  The mills attracted Catholics of Scandinavian and Canadian descent as well, so that by 1902 the Catholic community in West Concord was hearing Mass celebrated in Association Hall on Commonwealth Avenue.

To fill the need of Concord's growing Catholic population, a second parish was opened in 1907, located on Church street in West Concord.  It was named Our Lady Help of Christians.  The Parish Offices adjacent to Our Lady's were built in 2013.

In 2004, both St. Bernard and Our Lady parishes were closed as part of the Archdiocese reconfiguration.  In double suppression, the two parishes were combined into the new Holy Family Parish.  The building itself remains St. Bernard Church, in accordance with canon law.

Sources:

A History of St. Bernard's Parish (1986) by William M. Bailey, Janet M. Beyer, and Anna M. Manion.

Our Lady Help of Christians Directory (2001) by Rev. Austin H. Fleming.