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Church of the Blessed Sacrament

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1913, Charles R. Greco. 365 Centre St.
  • Church of the Blessed Sacrament

Originally built for a growing German and Irish Catholic parish, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament is a particularly fine example of Italian Renaissance–influenced church architecture with important liturgical art inside. The Reverend Arthur J. Connelly probably commissioned Charles R. Greco to design this building on the basis of his similar projects for Blessed Sacrament Church (1907–1916), Cambridgeport, and St. Matthews Church (1910), Dorchester. For the Latin cross plan, Greco used Flemish bond red brickwork and glazed white terra-cotta ornament on the exterior. The entrance elevation, fronted by monumental Ionic limestone columns, is flanked by an octagonal baptistery to the left; a two-stage octagonal tower with copper cupola crowns the crossing. Within, the gray brick and castplaster barrel-vaulted nave, transepts, and chancel are lit by clere-story and aisle windows. Thomas J. Murphy designed the clerestory, transept, and baptistery windows that well match the character of Greco's building; Charles J. Connick added the aisle windows in the early 1950s in his characteristic medieval revival manner. The mural decoration of the interior includes the work of Henry Hammond Ahl in portraits of two popes in the narthex and three scenes from the Crucifixion in the upper apse. Johannes Kirchmayer, one of the city's finest decorative sculptors, carved the Stations of the Cross, the figures atop the lattice screen around the chancel, much of the reredos, and the tympanum over the main entrance. By the 1980s, the smaller parish had become predominantly Latino and the building in need of restoration—broken windows and water penetration of the plasterwork. With the mandated liturgical changes of Vatican II, a circular platform was erected in the crossing for a new altar. Among the buildings that form the church campus, the handsome Ruskinian Gothic Cheverus School (1898, 30 Sunnyside Street), built of tan and red sandstone, stands directly behind the church.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Keith N. Morgan
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Citation

Keith N. Morgan, "Church of the Blessed Sacrament", [Boston, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MA-01-JP13.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 271-271.

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