About Our Parish

Humble Beginnings

The Parish of St. Mary of the Assumption had its formal beginning in June of 1852, when a congregation of Catholic people gathered at the Brookline Lyceum Hall to attend the first public Mass.

The parish was created under the direction of Bishop John B. Fitzpatrick, the 3rd bishop of Boston.  The Lyceum Hall, located on the Boston-Worcester Road (Route 9 - Boylston Street), had formerly served as an Inn under he name of the Punch Bowl Tavern.

The number of Catholics in Brookline during that time was very small, but the parish was separated from St. Joseph's Parish in Roxbury and included an area of Boston known as Brighton.

Growing Through Change

While services were being held in the Lyceum Hall for almost a year and a half, the first church building was started on Andem Place, a site once owned by heirs of Reverend John Cotton, the second minister of the First Church of Boston.

On Christmas Day 1853, the first Mass was celebrated in the new church, which was a frame structure that seated approximately 700 hundred people.

In 1873 Reverend Lawrence J. Morris became pastor and almost immediately his major work involved erecting the present church of St. Mary of the Assumption.  Two months after his arrival he purchased 57,000 fee of the Homer Estate which fronted on Harvard Street for the estate.  However, when an adjoining lot situated at the corner of Harvard Street and Linden Place was offered for sale, Fr. Morris realized that this would be a much better site for the church.  Fr. Morris decided to pay for the land purchased before beginning construction on the church in 1880.

The building was finished in 1886 and dedicated on Sunday, August 22nd by Archbishop Williams.

When St. Lawrence's Parish, in the western part of Brookline, as carved out of St. Mary's Parish, Fr. Morris erected the attractive wood-stone church on Boylston Street, and named it in honor of St. Lawrence, his own patron saint.  It was opening on May 2, 1897 and Reverend Thomas F. McManus was name past of the new parish on December 23, 1897.

In July of 1899, Fr. Morris asked the Sister of Notre Dame de Namur to come to St. Mary's Parish to start a grammar school.  The Sisters accepted the invitation and sent 5 Sisters.  There was no convent or school building on the grounds at the time so they began in the basement of a parish building.  Soon, he had the convent erected, nd some of the space in the convent was used to house the school until the present building came into use in September of 1907.


Looking to the Future

Today the Archdiocese of Boston has issued a call to Evangelization and the parish of St. Mary of the Assumption was chosen to be a part of the first phase of Disciples in Mission - a project that seeks to revitalize the lives of all followers of Jesus Christ to be fully engaged members of parish life.  As a part of this New Evangelization a Pastoral Plan was created and printed for all parishoners, a copy of that plan can be view here.



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