History of Holyoke's Churches

Church of the Nativity

      Soon after Rev. J.J. McCoy was assigned to Chicopee in 1894 he began the task of searching out the Catholic people of Irish or German stock in the north end of the city. Before formal services were held, he gathered his children for catechism in a small hall on Prospect street, assisted by Rev. Edward Fitzgerald, that was used as a dance hall week days. At the same time Father Delphos undertook similar work among the French-speaking people of this section and Aldenville. The two priests then decided to hire a little hall on Olivine street, and fitted it up as a small chapel, where mass was said--the first mass being said by Father McCoy on Christmas morning, 1894. On September 12, 1897, Rev. Hormidas Hamelin was made the first resident pastor. On the occasion of the taking of a religious census in 1895 by Father McCoy, there were found forty-six families of two hundred and thirty-four souls of English-speaking people, and about six hundred and fifty of French-speaking people. Soon after Father Hamelin came to Willimansett, a chapel was built in Aldenville. Rev Joseph A. Fredette is the present pastor. The brick church on Chicopee street was built in 1898 at a cost of $12,500. This church was dedicated October 30, 1898, Bishop Thomas D. Beaven preaching the dedication sermon. The present pastor is Rev. J.F. McGillicuddy, and the curates sine that time include Rev. Peter Higgins and Rev. Michael Walsh.

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