Catholicity in Boston

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER XXVIII (7) start of chapter

But turn to Boston,—Boston, the stronghold of the Puritan—Boston, the nursing-mother of all the 'isms' which in the past proclaimed hostility to the stranger and the Catholic—Boston, which has not to this day obliterated the blackened traces of the fire that, amidst the yells of an infuriated mob, shot up its fierce blaze to the heavens from the burning timbers of the dwelling in which holy women divided their lives between the education of the young and the worship of the Deity,—Boston, whose leading citizens informed Archbishop Carroll that had they, some time before his visit, met a Catholic in the street, they would have crossed to the other side, such was their horror of, or such their aversion to, one of that detested creed. In this same Boston, on Sunday, the 15th of September 1867, Bishop Williams, attended by several other Prelates, and in the presence of an immense multitude, laid the foundation stone of a Cathedral which will be one of the most imposing structures in the country. The vastness of its dimensions fitly typifies the progress of Catholicity in Massachusetts. These are they, at least the principal, given in the words of the architect: 'The extreme length, from the front of the large tower to the rear of the large chapel in East Union Park Street, is 364 feet, while the distance from the front entrance to the rear of the chancel is 295 feet. The breadth of the nave and aisles at the buttresses is 98 feet, the transept is 140 feet. . . . The ridge of the nave roof will be 118 feet above the street, while the nave ceiling will be 87 feet high.' And at an altitude of 300 feet the great tower will rise, crowned with a golden cross. Such are the main dimensions of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, in whose adornment the best efforts of Christian art and Catholic piety will be enlisted and employed.

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

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