Monday, March 20, 2006


Hat tip to The New Liturgical Movement.

What happens when a bunch of churches (many of them beautiful) close in the Archdiocese of Boston? Its remnants get picked up by Holy Name of Jesus Church in Providence. Holy Name, of course, was one of my former parishes where I served as music director (1999-2003).

This beautiful pulpit was picked up by Holy Name from the now closed Nuestra Senora del Carmen Church in Lowell, Massachusetts. A Communion rail of the same age (100 years old) and from the same church was also obtained by Holy Name.

The fire that hit Holy Name was not just a few years ago, however, as The Pilot points out. It took place about 40 years ago, in fact. Thankfully, the Roman basilica-style church was rebuildable. The organ was one of the first items to be rebuilt. Originally the entire organ - console and case - was located upstairs in the gallery. It was originally a tracker-action organ, built by Hook and Hastings in 1911.

This picture is the gallery case, less the console. In 1967, William D. Laws, Jr. electrified the gallery case, and also added a chancel case. He also built a new two-manual console up front that could play both cases. His father, William Laws, Sr., had an agreement at the time with the Austin Organ Company, allowing William Jr. to build Austin-style consoles using Austin parts. Unfortunately, the new chancel case consisted of pipes older than the old gallery pipes, as the chancel pipes were mainly used odds and ends from various organs. Some from the field, namely the late organbuilder Paul DeLisle of Fall River, MA, used to refer to William Laws, Jr., as "Butcher Bill" because of that practice of using odds and ends to build a pipe organ. The gallery case still sounds good enough to stand alone, I think.

A beautiful hanging sanctuary lamp from before the fire was restored and is now hanging once again.

Holy Name Church was designed after Saint Paul Outside the Walls Basilica in Rome. Could be a minor basilica itself someday, but only a Pope can decide that. The parish was established in 1882. Construction on the current church (below) started in 1896 and was completed in 1900.

Holy Name of Jesus Church

The music continues to be very good. Jacob Stott, my successor, has maintained and built upon the music program I left behind, and has done it very well. The parish has a gospel choir for the 9:00 Mass, and the Schola Cantorum sings the 11:00 Tridentine Mass. The parishioners are wonderful also. I've never met Father Santos personally, though via e-mail, he was gracious enough to print my concert promo in their bulletin last Christmas. Father Kevin Fisette was my pastor while I was there, and a wonderful one at that. He was reassigned in July 2004 to St. Leo the Great in nearby Pawtucket, RI. After my first year of service to Holy Name, Fr. Fisette rewarded the parish with some real liturgical bragging rights - dumping disposable hymnals and getting Worship III from GIA, putting a far better repertoire of hymns and Mass settings (ordinary and Psalms) in the hands of its worshippers.

Keep up the good work, Holy Name!


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