Letter: Thanks for supporting Task Force church bid

I would like to thank all of the supporters who showed up last Friday, May 3, to help us bring the Blessed Sacrament Church “to life.” It was truly a wonderful artistic event to celebrate the history and meaning of the church in our community and to envision what it can become in the future.

Currently there are two competing visions for the church building. One vision is 34 luxury condos. The other vision is a cultural/performing arts center that energizes our rich and diverse community.

The Blessed Sacrament Church was built nearly 100 years ago by highly skilled artisans to provide a beautiful space where people could connect, support each other and be inspired. Currently we don’t have a space where families, friends and community members can come together and where we can hold arts and cultural events.

Many residents, business owners and community groups have worked hard to develop and market the Hyde/Jackson Square neighborhood as Boston’s Latin Quarter. Just as Boston has Chinatown, the North End and other rich cultural enclaves, we envision our neighborhood as taking on an identity that celebrates the rich and vibrant Latino culture in Boston and creates a unique destination place that would spur our local economy.

For the past 50 years, Hyde/Jackson Square has been the home of waves of Latin American immigrants, including those from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Central and South America, and the Dominican Republic. Latinos provided 80 percent of Boston’s population growth between 2000 and 2010, and 42 percent of the Boston Public Schools student population is Latino. It is critically important that we have strong and vibrant Latino institutions and facilities in this city. We believe the church can become the centerpiece, the cultural jewel of the Latin Quarter.

Hyde Square Task Force is committed to taking on a leadership role to ensure that the church space is open to the public and to a celebration of our rich cultural heritage. We have made offers to purchase the church which have not been accepted, and plan to make another offer within the next week.

We look forward to sharing and further developing our vision with residents of Hyde/Jackson Square, Jamaica Plain and the City of Boston. And with your help, advice and support, we can return the church once again to the community.

Claudio Martinez

Executive Director, Hyde Square Task Force

Jamaica Plain

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