Blessed Sacrament Corner Stone Laid

Cardinal O’Connell at noon yesterday laid the cornerstone of the new Church of the Blessed Sacrament in process of construction on Center near Creighton St., Jamaica Plain. Nearly 5000 present and past parishioners, many of whom had assembled early in the forenoon, attended the interesting ceremony which followed the last mass of the day in the present church.

His Eminence brought up the rear of an impressive procession of monsignori, clergy, and laymen from the rectory to the church, including about 500 of the parish Holy Name Society, Captain Joseph Dugan, and about 300 of the Knights of the Blessed Sacrament. They were followed by Rev. Frederick J. Allchin of St Paul’s Church, Dorchester, as crossbearer, leading the following monsignori and parish priests: Mgr. M. J. Splaine of the Cathedral, Mgr. Edward J. Moriarty, PR, of St Thomas’ Church, Jamaica Plain; Mgr. P. J. Supple of St John’s Church, Roxbury; Rt. Rev. Denis J. O’Farrell of St. Francis de Sales’ Church, Roxbury; President Thomas I. Gasson, SJ, of Boston College; Rev. Dr. Edmund T. Shanahan of the Catholic University, Washington; Rev. M. T. McManus of Brookline, Rev. James B. Troy of St Vincent’s Church, South Boston; Rev. James J. O’Brien of Somerville, Rev. James Lee of Revere, Rev. D.J. Wholey of St. Joseph’s Church, Roxbury; Rev. Charles Regan of All Saints’ Church, Roxbury; Rev. James J. Hayes, CSSR, of the Mission Church; Rev. George Lyons of the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Jamaica Plain; Rev. Fabian O’Connell of East Boston, Rev. Frederick J. Allchin of St. Paul’s, Rev. Joseph Brandley of Neponset, Rev. Irving Gifford of Cambridge, Rev. Arthur T. Connolly, Rev. Joseph P. Maher, Rev. Edmund Daly and Rev. John F. Madden, all of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament.

A large chorus of children sang, under direction of Fr. Daly, as the Cardinal was escorted to his throne, Mgrs. Moriarty and O’Farrell were chaplains to His Eminence. The sermon was preached by Rev. Dr Edmund T. Shanahan, a Jamaica Plain boy, now a professor of dogmatic theology at the Catholic University, Washington. Fr. Shanahan’s sermon was on the Christian doctrine of life in contrast to the economic theories of the day, which the speaker characterized as partial, one-sided and exclusive. “The Catholic doctrine of education, progress and life,” he said, “is that of total, complete self-development, mental, moral, physical, social and religious.

“In this magnificent sweep of view the Catholic doctrine of life is superior to all others, as the whole is to its parts. It includes all the good of modern movement for the physical betterment of man, resisting only the anti-Christian theories of life with which, unfortunately and unnecessarily, science and social work are too often associated nowadays. “Some single-barreled thinkers of the day have wrongly got it into their heads that the service of God is somehow opposed to the service of humanity. This is a gross misunderstanding of elementary Christian doctrine.

“The service of man is one of the appointed ways and means of serving God. The latter service includes the former, as a wheel within a wheel. It is not a question of two things, but one thing in two relations. The future Altruria of the Socialist, where others alone shall reap what we are now sowing, is not an ideal capable of setting the souls of men afire with the spark of self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice is not an end in itself, but a means to an end, and modern social preachers have made a fatal blunder in asking men of flesh and blood, ambition and self-interest to sacrifice themselves for such impersonal abstractions as the race, the community, the greatest good of the greatest number.

“Man needs reality, the personal God of justice and mercy, to live for and to worship. No merely human gospel of neighborliness will ever prove our efficient substitute for the unmutilated gospel of Christ. A religion of humanity can never take the place of the religion of God.” During the sermon Dr. Shanahan paid a warm tribute to Fr Connolly, not only for the success of his work as administrator, but also for the exceptionally fine, practical, commercial education which he has provided for the children of the parish.

Cardinal O’Connell made a brief address, observing: “Surely Boston ought to be a city of peace and order. From every hill for miles around gleams the sacred sign of our redemption, the cross which teaches man that here there is no lasting happiness except the contentment of virtue and religion. May this new citadel be to the whole city, as well as to those who live in its shadow, a tower of holy strength and a pledge of God’s benediction upon this good and beautiful city.”

The procession marched to the corner stone, which was laid by His Eminence with a silver trowel which will be presented to the most liberal contributor to the new church. The Cardinal was assisted by many priests, prominent among whom was Rev. Arthur T. Connolly, the pastor, who placed within the stone a copper box with documents, newspapers, coins, photographs and a list of the contributors to the special corner stone collection a year ago.

This article originally appeared in the September 29, 1913 edition of the Boston Daily Globe. Production assistance provided by Kate Markopoulos.