Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Snow – 1913

St Patrick Church, 1930s
The storm hit as folks made their way about the City whether it was to church or visit family and friends.  The bitter winds caused man, woman, and child, to bundle up doubly against its cold bite.  Men in their great coats and women in the capes held each other closely so as not to fall.  Worse than the snow or wind was the glaze of ice that lay beneath.  Horses had a hard time keeping their footing and more than one fell trying to pull carriages through the streets.
But that did not stop the faithful who made their way to the churches.  St Patrick’s was no exception.  Nearly every Mass was filled to capacity.  The 13 bells in the steeple rang in the feast of the Nativity.  Monsignor O’Brien was the lead celebrant at the 9:30 with 5 other priests acting as deacons and sub-deacons.  Many in the crowd kept the tradition of making their way back to the church of the fathers and grandfathers despite the inclement weather.  Within the church every incandescent light was lit and every candle on the altar glowed in its brass candelabra giving all inside a sense of warmth.  The entire altar was bedecked with laurel and holly making the white marble barely visible.  Garland was strung from the height of the ceiling to the columns in the sanctuary.  A mammoth task it must have been.  On each column hung an evergreen wreath with a scarlet ribbon.  The procession into the church comprised over 80 choir members in cassock and surplice under the direction of Bother Linus.  The school children also sang carols accompanied by the Sisters of Notre Dame.  The walls of the church vibrated with Mr. Johnson’s rendition of Adeste Fideles on the organ.  The congregation sung out loud and strong.  Later that afternoon the church was completely filled once again for solemn vespers with many standing in the aisles.  The faith of the people was evident.


  1. On the eve of Christmas Day - one year shy of 100 from that Christmas Snow day described in 1913 - St Patricks Church will be filled again for a vigil to receive Our Lord the Newborn King. This time it's with a newly installed heating system thanks to the faithful that have continued supporting this great institution and community pillar in the City of Lowell. The Church suffered from a decaying system that fell apart this past summer, and all the parishoners were close to being without heat this winter. In fact, it's December 24th and if you walk in there today you'll see exposed yet new hvac pipes in the lower level of the church because that's how NEW it is. We will praise the Lord as strongly and loudly as our forefathers did as described in the wonderful article. Thank you. I'm glad I accidentally found this blog. The newer congregation at St Patricks Day may look a bit different, perhaps of a different mix of age, culture, general make-up but we are truly one family under our Lord Jesus Christ. God Bless and Merry Christmas. May we keep supporting, growing and feeding our institutions of faith in this town so we can keep showing signs of goodness in this community of ours.

  2. My fellow parishioner, our stories are the same. St Pat's was built and remains the home to all those who seek the Lord. The names and faces may change, but the mission remains the same. Blessings of the season.