Massachusetts

[seal of the state of Massachusetts] The sixth state to be admitted to the United States, 6 February 1788. Puritan prejudice prevented the early settlement of Catholics in New England, although a poor old Irishwoman, Ann Glover, was one of the first victtms of witchcraft superstition in 1688. The presence of a few Irish families in Boston was noted in 1732, and numbers of exiled Acadians were transported to Massachusetts in 1755, but it was not until the Revolution had forced the need of consideration for the religion of America's French allies that tolerance was achieved. Undoubtedly Mass was offered on board a vessel of the Baron D'Estaing's fieet during its stay in Boston harbor from August to November, 1788. The same fall a congregation of about 100 was gathered together in Boston and the building of a brick church, under the patronage of the Holy Cross, was undertaken on the site of a former Huguenot church on School Street, by Reverend Claude de la Poterie, who had come from France. Unfortunately both he and his successor, Reverend Louis Rousselet, proved unworthy of their charge, and after a division in the church between Father Rousselet's adherents and those of the ardent convert, Reverend John Thayer, the latter was left in authority, 1791. Bishop Carroll visited Boston at the time and was invited to be a guest of honor at the dinner of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. Moreover Governor John Hancock attended Mass in honor of the Bishop. His reception was most gratifying in the city where, as he said:
"Many here, even of the principal people, have acknowledged to me that they would have crossed to the opposite side of the street rather than meet a Roman Catholic some time ago."
The coming of a new pastor, Reverend Francois Matignon, a former professor in the College of Navarre, 1792, marked the real foundation of the Church in Massachusetts. After 1796 he was ably assisted by Reverend Jean Louis de Cheverus, the future first Bishop of Boston. In 1803 the new church of the Holy Cross on Franklin Street, to which a group of Protestants headed by John Adams had contributed generously, was dedicated and attended by about 300 Catholics.

Ecclesiastically, the state is governed by the archdiocese, and the dioceses, See also,
New Catholic Dictionary

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