Bishop O'Malley dedicates newly rebuilt church

.- While some 62 churches closed in the Archdiocese of Boston last year, parishioners of St. Patrick’s in Stoneham completed a $7-million expansion project that includes a new 900-seat church, a parish center and grotto. Archbishop Sean O'Malley was on hand at St. Patrick’s Saturday to consecrate the new church building, which replaced a smaller church that first opened 117 years ago, reported the Boston Globe.

''Today we are filled with gratitude and admiration for the achievements of this faith community," Archbishop O'Malley reportedly told the packed church. ''As we rededicate this place to God, may we rededicate our lives to God."

The archbishop blessed the baptismal font and a green marble box, containing various relics of saints. The small reliquary was placed at the base of the altar.

Typical of a consecration, he also blessed the church with holy water and anointed the walls of the church with chrism oil.

Unlike other Boston parishes, St. Patrick’s didn’t suffer the huge drop in church attendance. In fact, the parish is thriving with 4,800 families and eight weekend masses. Of its 15,000 individual members, about 3,300 attend mass weekly.

Parishioners first began their fund-raising efforts six years ago. The new church includes cushioned pews, air conditioning and an elevator.

Many of its decorative elements came from churches that have closed. Its 13-foot stained glass window above the altar, and another nine stained glass windows, came from St. Aidan’s in Brookline; another five are from St. Margaret's in Brockton.

The altar came from Nuestra Senora del Carmen in Lowell; the statues, a lectern, and crucifix came from St. Joseph's in Hyde Park. Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere donated a statue of St. Patrick, and Blessed Sacrament in Jamaica Plain gave a pair of white marble angels.

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