Saint Brigid

St. Brigid Parish - A Brief History


The birth date of the Catholic Church in Lexington is 1848, when Lexington was made a mission of St. Peter’s Parish in Cambridge.  Mass was celebrated about every six weeks in private homes.  The first official recording of the celebration of Mass is found in the ledger of the town treasurer under the date of March 5, 1852, with the entry: “Rent of Town Hall to the Catholics - $7.00.”  Eventually Mass was transferred to Robinson Hall, a private hall of Massachusetts Avenue.  In 1863, Lexington became a mission of St. Charles Parish, Woburn, and Mass became a weekly event.  The first resident pastor came in August of 1864, when Rev. P.J. Canney was appointed pastor of the towns of Lexington, Concord and Maynard (Assabet).  Bishop Fitzpatrick purchased the church of the First Universalist Society on Massachusetts Avenue on November 8, 1864, to be the first Catholic Church in Lexington.  In 1870, Concord became the site of the parish rectory.

In 1873, St. Malachy’s Parish in Arlington was established (later, St. Agnes) and Lexington again became a mission, this time of Arlington.  The Pastor of Arlington purchased the Davis estate on upper Massachusetts Avenue on August 2, 1873, which is the site of the present St. Brigid’s.  A tavern on the property was renovated and became the church while construction began on a new lower church, which was blessed by Archbishop John Williams on November 26, 1875.  It remained a mission of St. Malachy’s, Arlington.  Finally, in 1886, St. Brigid’s became an independent parish when Rev. Patrick J. Kavanaugh became the first resident pastor of Lexington. 

The exterior super structure of the original St. Brigid’s had been completed by this time and Fr. Kavanaugh raised enough money to complete the interior of the new upper church.  Archbishop Williams dedicated it on May 3, 1891. 

The number of Catholics in Lexington continued to grow and in 1917 land was purchased in East Lexington, which later became the site of Sacred Heart Parish.  Mass was celebrated in both East Lexington and Bedford as missions of St. Brigid’s.  Somewhere in the late twenties or early thirties, the original name of the parish Bridget came to be spelled “Brigid” (the authentic spelling).  In 1931, Sacred Heart and St. Michael’s in Bedford ceased to be missions of St. Brigid Parish and became parishes in their own right.

Over the years, the original wooden church had deteriorated and was beyond renovation.  In the early fifties, under the direction of Monsignor George Casey, a drive began for funds touild a new church.  This became a reality on June 28, 1957, when the present church of St. Brigid was blessed by the then Archbishop Richard J. Cushing.  The present religious education building was dedicate on December 6, 1964, the first building created by Catholics in the United States solely for religious education.  Monsignor George Casey retired in 1972 and was replaced by Monsignor John P. Keilty who in turn was replaced by Rev. Eugene P. Curtin in 1991.  In the year 2006, Rev. Arnold F. Colletti, who served in both St. Brigid and Sacred Heart in the 1970’s and early 1980’s, was appointed pastor of both the Lexington parishes.



St. Brigid's Church - A Guide to Its Unique Windows (pdf)


                     St. Brigid's Church - A Guide to Its Unique Windows (video)
















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