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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, St. Paul's Cathedral
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n August of 1866, Father Power started the process of building a church on Main Street. Due to heated controversy that errupted, the location was changed to the top of the hill on High Street. The ground-breaking ceremony took place in the Spring of 1868. On July 4, 1869, the basement and roof were completed, the cornerstone was laid and the first mass was delivered by Bishop Williams and Father Fitton. In 1874 construction was finally completed except for the tower which was done in 1889. The building measures 168 feet long, 91 feet wide and 96 feet at the apex.
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Saint Paul's Cathedral was built, and still remains at the corner of chatam and High street in downtown Worcester.
In August of 1866, Father Power started the process of building a church on Main Street. Due to heated controversy that errupted, the location was changed to the top of the hill on High Street. The ground-breaking ceremony took place in the Spring of 1868. On July 4, 1869, the basement and roof were completed, the cornerstone was laid and the first mass was delivered by Bishop Williams and Father Fitton. In 1874 construction was finally completed except for the tower which was done in 1889. The building measures 168 feet long, 91 feet wide and 96 feet at the apex.
On March 7, 1950, citizens of Worcester could hear the new bell in the tower ring for the first time. It was installed the day before.
Forgot to mention, it was designed by the Worcester architect Elbridge Boyden.
Patricia{Christanko} Jodoin - Report this comment
This has always been Church of which I have judged others, and have compaired. I was confirmed there in the early 1960's.
Lee Ann Watson - Report this comment
St. Paul's Cathedral in Worcester hosts a yearly music festival in the second week of June when it becomes a thriving center for culture in Worcester. Internationally acclaimed artists and local talented musicians are featured. Most of the concerts are free, and are followed by a reception in the newly decorated Cenacle. For more information call the St. Paul's Music Office at 508-754-9822. Also, the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir is now one of the finest choirs in New England.
Chet- February 03, 2008 - Report this comment
This was my family's church. I rember walking up the High St hill on Sundays. Anyone remember Father Markey? I received my First Communion here - one kid passed out from hunger, another one gagged on the host. When my father died in 1964 his funeral mass was held here. I also belonged to a boy scout troop which held meetings in some of the rooms of the lower level, which also held a smaller sanctuary where daily morning masses were held. This was also where the confessionals were. Across the street was what I believe was called St. Paul's school, where I went to Catechism classes on Saturdays. The nuns were very strict. Also on High St. across from the church was a shrine to St. Anthony where my mother always stopped to light a candle. A couple of years ago while visiting Worcester I visited the shrine which appeared to be different from what I remembered...perhaps it was rebuilt.
bob doyle- March 31, 2008 - Report this comment
I was a young gangster that the nuns tried to educate at St Paul's Cathderal School in the forties and fifties. Never ceased trying to find the nuns hand held brass bell, with the idea that if we could get it from them nothing could commense at the school-recess forever! Never did - darn heck! Got more than my share ( deserved) of knuckle busting and hand stinging whacks, but was well served. Went on to be career Marine and never had a superior who was better leader than my nuns at Saint Paul's- God Bless them all. Semper Fidelis, RA Doyle, Capt USMC ret.
Joseph Kevin- March 03, 2009 - Report this comment
My husband was baptized in this church on Jan 11, 1966 and we are trying to find info regarding his baptism. If anyone has any info how to go about doing so or has info about this baptism please contact us at
Clay Gleason- April 28, 2009 - Report this comment
I went to St Pauls school across from the church in 56/57.the teachers were from the Sisters of Mercy.The Rectory was next to the school.Thats where i use to eat.I was brought to school from Nazerath home for boys in Leicester where i lived for a short time.father harrington was in charge at Nazerath and later became Bishop of the diocese.I will always remember what a wonder man that he was.I also got my share of knuckle Busters( Well Deserved) But have to admit you could never find a more dedicated group of Nuns. Thanx for the Memories
Bill Eager- March 23, 2010 - Report this comment
Anyone attend St. Paul' in the 1960s? I was there from 66-70, I think, or until one year before it closed. I would love to see a more detailed history of the place and the order of nuns. They made quite an impression, none moreso thas Sr. Mary Bernadette.
richard- March 30, 2010 - Report this comment
I believe it was called st. pauls school when rev. mother aloysius and sister margret mary were there and wrote the poem trust him. kelly catherine mary aloysius died jan 22 1948
Tom Johnson- May 08, 2010 - Report this comment
Hi! Anybody remember the boy scout troop at Saint Paul's in the 50's? If so I'd like to hear from you!
Ken monero- July 05, 2010 - Report this comment
What's up with the drought of information concerning the detail of the most beautifully constructed building in Worcester?
Paul Andersen- December 17, 2010 - Report this comment
Anyone remember how beautiful the sanctuary was before Bp. Flanagan gutted it in the 1960s? Went from white marble to butcher block sterile. Recent attempts to bring back a historic altar are nice, but wish folk had just left it alone.
ra doyle- March 09, 2011 - Report this comment
In 1980,after having retired from the Marines,I went to Mass at St Paul's and after Mass asked old friend Father Paul Togus what had become of the beautiful old altar. " In the dump," he answered. "Oh my god, such a shame," I said. He put his hand on my shoulder and in s low voice said," Bob what could we have done, sold it to the Prebyterians?
Deb (LaCombe) Fitzgerald- August 06, 2011 - Report this comment
I am trying to locate two siblings who went to St. Paul's around 57 or 58... Stephen Fortier and his sister Penny.. they were foster children who lived with my Dad's aunt and uncle.. the Molis 's on Lincoln Street... any information would be helpful... thanks
Former RC- November 01, 2011 - Report this comment
Anyone notice that they never "close" a tradititional Irish church, but are quick to close a church tied to any other group. St. John's in the middle of nowhere is open: Notre Dame closed, Holy Name closed, and the list goes on and on. What Bp Wright built-up, Flannigan and his like have destroyed.
Julianne (Sherman) Dumas- January 06, 2013 - Report this comment
I went to St. Paul's School from 1950 to 1954. We lived across the street from the school on Chatham Place. I received my First Communion at the Cathedral and kept up a friendship with Sister Mary Martina who was my 5th grade teacher and eventually became the last principle of St. Paul's when it closed in the 70's. I helped catalogue the library books for distribution to schools throughout the area and it was indeed a sad time but at least the school is still there on High Street and is used as a Parish Center instead of being torn down or converted to condos.
Patrick McKeon- April 23, 2013 - Report this comment
I had a great aunt, Loretta Johnson, who died of tuberculosis at 46 High St. on September 2, 1903, age 10. She was basically an orphan, her mother died two years earlier and her father was seriously ill. This institution was associated with St. Paul's. Does anyone know of this institution's name and if any records still exist.
Teresa- September 30, 2013 - Report this comment
My story is similar to the entry above posted by Patrick McKeon. My mother and her siblings were also placed in this institution that was associated with St. Paul's. My Mom's mother died in September of 1943 and upon her death my Mom and her siblings were placed in this institution. It was run by the Sisters of Mercy and was located at 46 High Street. Please does anyone know the name of this institution and if any records still exist of the children who lived here? Thank you. My email address is:
Teresa- October 07, 2013 - Report this comment
Addendum to my previous entry of 30 September 2013: The orphanage's name was St. Gabriel's Orphanage at St. Gabriel's Convent of Our Lady of Mercy on 46 High Street; Worcester, Massachusetts and was associated with St. Paul's Catholic Church, now a Cathedral
LINWOOD LEWIS- December 14, 2013 - Report this comment
Iwent to school at st. Pauls from 1942 to 1947 and went on to Calif.I an 80yrs old and still have intrest in the old school .served mass in the church for two or three years, it would be nice if I could see some of my old grads not that I was a good student.
Carolyn Franklin- June 21, 2014 - Report this comment
I attended St. Paul's school from 1937 - 1939 when we moved to California and I went to Sacred Heart. I especially remember Sister Mary Mercedes who often smacked me with the ruler because I talked so much. I spent much of my time in the cloak room, also, where I put on skits with the kids' coats.In spite of my bad behavior, in those two years I got a great education which has been the basis of all my achievements. I am now a college professor in Los Altos, CA
Mike wilson- August 18, 2014 - Report this comment
I remember singing in the boys choir,being one of the first member when bishop wright came to the cathedral.
eileen waitkus- July 26, 2015 - Report this comment
I remember back in early sixties sister Margaret mary.sister mary bernadette.she was my kinder garden teacher. Sister mary loretta, and most of all sister mary Perpetua. Thee principal .she was harsh and strict
patty- July 30, 2015 - Report this comment
I lived with the Sister's at St Gabriels' from 1953-56 and continued in school at St Paul's till graduation in 1961. Those years with the Sister's are some of my fond memories. I remember Sister Mary Perpetua, she was strict but also had a lovely sense of humor.
Corlene H- August 11, 2015 - Report this comment
I lived at St. Gabriel's Home for Children from 1946 to 1951 together with my sisters Donna and Kathleen. There were between 25 and 35 girls from ages 4 through 13 who lived in the home. The Sisters of Mercy were our caretakers. We attended St, Paul's Grammar School which was next door. To my knowledge, the children were placed there because there parent(s) could not take care of them for various reasons, ie. sickness, divorce or one living parent. I do not know of any "orphans" that resided there. We lived in a very structured environment. All the children had specific duties like dishes, cleaning, ironing, and sometimes making the host for Mass etc. We said prayers every morning and evening (rosary) and at every meal. We studied together every weekday evening. We were one of the first places in Worcester to have a television which we watched on Sunday evenings. During the summer we lived in Leicester on St. James Hill above the Nazareth Home for Boys (my brother Bernie lived there until he graduated from 8th grade in 1951). In all, we lived in a very safe and clean environment. The nuns did the best they could. My favorite nun was Sister Mary Gerard, a very sweet and gentle woman. At a time that our parents could not take care of us, my siblings and I were blessed to have lived there where we were safe and cared for. Eventually, when our parents could care for us, we went home taking with us memories of the times we shared with our friends at the "convent".
Bob Langway- September 07, 2015 - Report this comment
I remember stations of the cross on the lower level of St. Paul's, then first communion and confessions thereafter. I only attended St. Paul's grammar school 1 year (2nd grade) from 1941-1942, before moving to Millbury. I remember, while seated at my desk, hearing the ruler on the back of some unfortunate classmate's hand in the coat room situated in front of the class. Also, recess outside and separate boy's and girl's entrances.I regretfully do not remember names.
Jimmy Riley- February 17, 2016 - Report this comment
I attended St Paul's from 1964 to 1971. Our class was the last one to graduate before closing. The school was run by the Sisters of Mercy who did a terrific job. I still get to see my old stomping grounds quite often as my wife and I often go to the daily noon Mass in the Cathedral lower level. Not much has changed except the schoolyard now has grass. Back than it was pavement. Lots of wonderful memories and very thankful for my beautiful Catholic upbringing.
Everett Cox- November 13, 2017 - Report this comment
I wrote a comment but do not see it listed, wonder why?
phyllis lozier- September 24, 2018 - Report this comment
my sister hildegarde 2 brothers philip and jeffeery and my self phyllis were there 1943 untill 1948 my father put us there because mother left him when we were in lester in summer my dad did not come because he was sick my grandparents saw us in paper the nun in worcester sister bonaventure bang my head on black board because i could not add something in second grade i was 6 my sister hildegarde 5 my brother philip 4 jeffery 2
phyllis lozier- September 25, 2018 - Report this comment
we my sister hildegarde and me 2 brothers philip and jeffery were place at st gabrille orphange because my mother left my dad my mother was not allowed to see us for five years 1943 untill 1948 my brothers were in lester we only saw my brothers when my dad visited while we were in lester in summer the girls go there my dad did not come he was sick my mother got us back by my aunt picking us up my dad paid for us to be there i never told my dad my brother jeffery was 2 he wet the bed the nun put him in closet to scare him there were somr good nuns when he was older he had to go to lester with my brother philip i went to school right by orphanage we had to shine floors in orphanage dust and clean at 12 oclock at night someone would all of us to see if were sleeping in the dorm about 30 girls
bill daley- March 12, 2019 - Report this comment
i attended from 58-63. 3rd grade thru 8th grade. Sisters Mary Joan, Christopher, Bonaventure, and Sister Mary of the Immaculate Heart. 6 grades and only 4 Sisters? Sister Mary of the Immaculate Heart for 6th 7th and 8th Grade. She is smart, funny and fierce. Perfect Nun ! I'm so greatful for my Catholic education. God Bless all the nuns.
Anthony Morano- November 19, 2019 - Report this comment
I went there from K-8 and graduated in 1967. Sang in the choir in the upper grades. I wish I could take a tour of the school now. Remember it like it was yesterday.
Anthony Morano- November 19, 2019 - Report this comment
I also took piano lessons at Saint Gabriel's down the street. My mother was the secretary for years there. I also played on the basketball team for the school and played at the Father Power Center.
Eileen- December 17, 2019 - Report this comment
I am looking for information St. Gabriel's Convent of Our Lady of Mercy. When did it close and what happened to the building? My mother and aunt (twins) were novices at this convent in 1945 or 1946.
Joseph girard- July 22, 2021 - Report this comment
I went to St. Paul’s ‘58 to ‘64. I remember the mesmerizing stabat mater in Latin for stations of the cross, old sister Mary Francis breaking up fights with her keys to the head, I visit the nuns cemetery in Leicester from time to time to say few aves. My grandparents were married in the cathedral 1925 fresh from Connaught the old sod. Hey did that stupid renovation after vat 2 take out the stain glass windows too?
Joe Massie- September 20, 2021 - Report this comment
Here is how the Sisters of Mercy Orphans’ Home came to be... The beginning of 1875 brought the second largely supported orphans’ home to Worcester with the efforts of Rev. Bishop O’Reilly and support of St. Paul’s Church. The ‘Sisters of Mercy’ were put in charge and opened The Catholic Orphan Asylum at 34 High Street with adjoining buildings between High St. and Houchin Ave. It took on many names during the late 1800s. St. Paul’s Orphanage, Sisters of Mercy Orphans’ Home, St. Paul’s Orphan Asylum, Sisters of Mercy Orphanage, Diocesan Catholic Orphan Asylum, the Catholic Orphanage, and St. Gabriel’s Orphanage were some of the names I found in news articles between 1875 and 1904.

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