History of Holyoke's Churches

St. Patrick's Church

St. Patrick's Church
St. Patrick's Church
South Hadley Falls

      St. Patrick's Church at South Hadley Falls is a monument to the indefatigable labors of Father Harkins, the first mass being said on Christmas day by Father Harkins in a little frame church in that village. There were but eighteen Catholic families at the time. The church was then unfinished. The next year the church was formally dedicated to Rt. Rev. John J. Williams, bishop of Boston. It seems strange today to note that at that time there was no bridge and crossing was by means of boats or ferry. In times of high water there was no crossing at all. Subscribers to the first baptism included, besides Father Harkins, Revs. Richard Walsh, James A. O'Reilly, and L.J. Dervin, all curates or pastors at St. Jerome's Church in Holyoke.

Rev. John Conway

      In July 1878, Rev. David F. McGrath was made the first resident pastor, remaining until July 29, 1880. His successor was Rev. L.J. Dervin, who remained until December 10, 1883, being succeeded by Rev. Eugene Toher, and he in turn by Rev. John Conway, whose fiftieth anniversary as a priest was celebrated only a few days ago. The present church is enlarged and made over from the little frame church first erected under direction of Father Harkins. There are over 1,100 parishioners, and the church is in a prosperous condition.
      As the St. Patrick's Church is one of the oldest round this section a list of the curates that have served there is longer that in the case of many churches of its size in the diocese. Among them are the following:
      Rev. E.P. Dunphy, Rev. John Rogers, Rev. D.P. Sullivan, Rev. W.F. Smith, Rev. W.T. Hogan, Rev. Charles Duffy, Rev. Charles Foley, and Rev. Henry Hackett. These are given here with no reference to their chronological sequence.

© Laurel O'Donnell 1996 - 2005, all rights reserved
This document may be downloaded for personal non-commercial use only
and should not be reproduced or distributed without permission.