The following was submitted to the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation’s contest to name two new buildings at the Blessed Sacrament site.
My family was part of the Blessed Sacrament parish for almost 100 years. My mom and dad were married there, just as my wife and I were married there some 40 years later. Both of my boys, who still live in Jamaica Plain, were baptized there. So my suggestions for the names of these two former Blessed Sacrament buildings comes from that family involvement with Blessed Sacrament.
In this age when the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is being so justifiably attacked for its violation of the Ten Commandants and aiding the rape of children by priests, it is important for folks of all ages to realize that many outstanding men and women have creditably given their lives to a church currently in extreme disgrace.
When Rev. Joseph Gaudet became pastor of Blessed Sacrament, it was a totally Anglo parish with a 50 percent Hispanic membership. All English Masses and all ceremonies only in English were the norm. Gaudet not only began Spanish Masses and ceremonies, he actively blended people of both backgrounds into a stronger parish. Gaudet’s advocacy for the homeless was boundless and frequently got him in hot water with Cardinal Bernard Law (Remember that bozo?) who remains a cardinal to this day.
Rev. Frank Cloherty, born in Boston and raised on Montebello Road in Jamaica Plain, took the foundation laid by Gaudet to new levels and built a stronger parish even when he had to move the Mass to the basement of the Cheverus School because the church roof was expected to fall in. Cloherty added to the anger of Cardinal Law when he founded the organization called the “Catholic Community Concerned about the Corridor” (CCCC) which tried to get affordable housing to replace the housing lost to the Southwest Corridor highway project. Cloherty got eight Catholic pastors to vigorously lobby the Archdiocese and government to get affordable housing for poor citizens. (Rev. Jack Roussin of St. Mary of the Angels Church said, “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission,” at a CCCC meeting.) Cloherty was instrumental in getting the condo-permit bill passed, which slowed condo conversion in Boston.
These two Blessed Sacrament priests should be recognized for the super-marvelous work they did to bring harmony and economic justice to Jamaica Plain. They did God’s work as God would have expected them to do it.
Francis X. Stone