Saturday, May 5, 2012

Looking in the Attic- The St. Patrick Parish Calendar

St. Patrick Parish Calendar, April 1900
I’ve written before about our Parish Archives.  One man’s trash is another man’s historic artifact.  Even recently the Archives added some items from a former student of the Boys’ School.  Another donation was made of a book “found” from the 1920s library of Notre Dame Academy.  Each little piece adds to the puzzle.  Often some of the most interesting facts come from these little pieces of ephemera that have been left behind.  Let’s take a look at the Saint Patrick Parish Calendar.

In 1899 the Parish took on the task of printing a monthly calendar.  It contained religious articles on the Catholic faith, the agendas of the many societies and organizations of the schools and parish, and many advertisements from local businesses.  A careful reading of the few remaining issues gives us a little more insight to life in the Acre over a century ago. 

Each of the four issues the Archives possess was given by a different individual.  The first issue marks the anniversary of Fr. Michael O’Brien.  The last issue is a memorial to the now deceased pastor.  The Calendar seems to cease publication after that.

Religious articles tell us a little about Catholicism at the turn of the century.  Articles remind parishioners to bring those rosary beads to church.  The writer reminds them that they should be praying the rosary while the Mass was being said.  Another article reminds readers that Saint Patrick’s was privileged to have a relic of the true cross embedded into the altar stone in the main altar (now located in the lower church).  Another asks readers if they have enough signs of their faith such as crosses and statues in their homes, and that they should be displayed to remind members of the family of prayerful devotions.  Still another reminds men that they should not be standing in the back of the church during Mass waiting to be the first to leave.  The closing of one article asks Mass goers to refrain from discussing the sermon, at least until they are not within hearing distance of the priest.

At this time there were over twenty different societies and organizations that met and carried out their missions at Saint Patrick Church.  There were reading circles for men and women, separate of course.  (Men were reminded to put their cigars away when ladies were present.)  The First Saturday group met monthly as well as the First Friday.  The Sisters of Notre Dame met with married women right after Mass and met with single girls later in the afternoon.  Young girls met with the Sisters later in the week.  The Temperance Society met once a month as well as the young men’s temperance society.   Sunday Masses were at 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10:30 (High Mass with sermon).  Benediction was each Sunday at 2:30.  Priests were on duty 24 hours a day, but parishioners were asked not to send children to summon a priest for a sick call.  When the priest arrived you should meet him with a lighted candle.
Advert Page, St Patrick Parish Calendar, April 1900
Advertisers let us see what was in style and what the neighborhood was into.  There were a number of advertisements having to do with coal and wood.  There appears to be much competition as to who could provide best prices and delivery.   Lowell Gas Light Co. and E. A. Wilson were among them.  You could get your candles, religious treatises and prayer books at McOsker’s on Central Street.  You could go to an afternoon or evening vaudeville performance at the People’s Theater on Dutton Street, always a new show.  Mrs. McCurdy could fit you with a new corset for as little as a dollar.  Mr. Brennan, owner of the Broadway Cash Grocery, had a nice supply of canned goods.  Ever yone knew you should go to Des Jardin’s near the French Church to have your photo taken.  And of course James F. O’Donnell had a full page ad advertising his services as undertaker and selling “funeral supplies.”  Carlton and Hovey, the pharmacists, proudly took out ads selling Father John’s Medicine, proved to cure coughs.  After all, “it cured him.”  And as usual there was Mr. Dempsey selling liquor on Market Street.  And for ice where else would you go but Daniel Gage.

What’s in your attic?

1 comment:

  1. One never knows what will be found in the 'attic'.

    I recently came across some photos of parish structures in the 1930's -- taken by my father. I'll send them along with a short write-up....and donate them to the church archives.