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Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church

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1923 lower church, 1955 upper church, Richard J. Shaw. 45 Ash St.

In 1956 the Boston Society of Architects awarded its Harleston Parker Prize to Richard J. Shaw for his design of Corpus Christi, which reinterprets traditional forms in a modernistic vocabulary. The architect of the Hatch Memorial Shell on the Esplanade, Shaw had won two earlier Parker prizes: the first for Immaculate Conception Convent, Malden (1930, with Timothy G. O'Connell), and the second for St. Clement, West Somerville (1946).

A deeply recessed and stepped entrance arch, reminiscent of Romanesque, dominates the schist facade and repeats in the tall gilded chancel arch within. The interior light, diffused by glass brick windows combined with blue panes, and the original paint scheme of earth tones, create a muted setting for modern liturgical furnishings by eminent artists from the Italian Tyrol: Vittorio Moroder carved the altars, choir loft, and baptistery, and Emilie Schmalzi executed the tempera paintings of the Stations of the Cross, whose frames were carved in Switzerland. The rear left tower is a design tour de force.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church", [Newton, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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, 488-489.

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