Our History – Page 8
From its inception in 1908 until its closing in 2005, the parish had been served exclusively by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. On the closing of the parish many of its parishioners joined St. Margaret Parish and have contributed significantly to their new parish. At the same time Notre Dame closed, Sacred Heart Parish on Moore Street closed, and many of its parishioners joined St. Margaret’s where they have been most welcomed.
When Father Tom Domurat was transferred to Lawrence in October 2004, Father Nicholas Ciccone, Jr. became our eighth pastor in November 2004. Fr. Nick encouraged the growth of the choir and its concerts; he purchased the hard bound missals and hymnals used in the church today, and built an air conditioning system to cool both the upper church and the downstairs church. Fr. Raymond Benoit arrived in February 2005 as a parochial vicar, and when Fr. Nick left in July 2005, Cardinal O’Malley appointed Fr. Ray as Administrator.
Fr. Ray was ordained in 1989 and had served as parochial vicar at St. Mary Church in Chelmsford for several years. He then studied for certification as a hospital chaplain and served in that capacity for twelve years before arriving at St. Margaret’s. Father Ray continued to build on the work of his predecessors. He encouraged the continuation of Eucharistic Adoration on Thursdays from September through April and fostered the growth of the adult and children’s choirs and their adult concerts. He inaugurated the Family Mass at 9 AM on Sundays. He introduced a completely new heating system and updated the air conditioning system. The downstairs church had been in need of renovation for years. Contractors found that the wooden floor rested on dirt, so all the pews were pulled out and cement flooring was poured. Further examination showed mold growing behind the walls as a result of the many leaks over the years. The walls were therefore taken down and completely rebuilt. Wainscoting was installed in the bottom half of the walls, and the walls were painted a light beige tone. A new ceiling and new indirect lighting brightened the area as did the new light tiled flooring. New red carpeting enhanced the altar area, and the altar area was repainted to brighten it up. The downstairs area was divided in half: the front half is the chapel, now known as our Lady of Lourdes Chapel; the back is a hall known as Sacred Heart Hall. In the chapel the statues of the Sacred Heart and the Blessed Virgin Mary were professionally refurbished, and new Stations of the Cross were installed as gifts from various parishioners in memory of their loved ones. Beautiful icons of various saints adorn the walls of the Sacred Heart Hall , again gifts of parishioners in memory of their loved ones. The hall has been outfitted for social meetings and parish get-togethers. There is a pantry area with refrigeration and sinks; several round tables seating eight fill the very pleasant hall. With the help of many parish members the parish parking space next to the rectory was reconfigured allowing for more parking spaces.