Parish Centennial


This year, 2002 was a very special one, the Centennial Year. With the support and cooperation of the whole parish, the architect Antonio De Castro, and a big donation in memory of Antonio Couto, the building Committee did the important liturgical renewal of the church. A new and fine organ installed, in memory of the above Antonio Couto. A beautiful statue of Saint Anthony was erected outside the church, in remembrance of all immigrant people and the celebrations of the Centennial went on all year round.

These commemorations started in March with some very important conferences presented by Reverend Jose Lima, President of the Regional Center of the Portuguese Catholic University in Braga about the history and liturgical changes in the Catholic Church as well as the evolution of culture and mentality in Europe and Western world.

The Homecoming Evening promoted and organized by Americo Francisco, Joseph Borges and Manuel Rogers took place and brought together in our parish hall a good number of old parishioners in a very pleasant evening, full of good friends and good memories.

The feasts of the parish had a very special meaning because of the Centennial. Senhor Santo Cristo festivities were presided by His Excellency Dom Antonio Marto, Auxiliary Bishop of Braga who preached a great sermon and left a wonderful impression among us. Saint Anthony’s feast was also very special and Father Carlos Viana, a young Jesuit priest, gave also a very good sermon in honor of our patron Saint.

May 30th, the official date of our parish foundation was celebrated Sunday, June 2nd with “Corpus Christ” procession, followed by a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving with the participation of quite a few priests, among them the previous pastor, Reverend Joel Oliveira who presided the liturgy and Father Jose Silva Ferreira, our pastor who gave the homily and expressed his gratitude and recognition for so happy and meaningful occasion.

During the summer months and as part of our Centennial celebrations, the Youth group participated in the World Youth Day, in Toronto, Canada, presided by His Holiness Pope John Paul II.

At the same time, a Pilgrimage was organized to the country and places where most of our first parishioners came from, Azores (Sao Miguel), Mainland of Portugal and Madeira. Among others, they visited they Sanctuary of Senhor Santo Cristo in Ponta Delgada, Saint Anthony in Lisbon, Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of the Mount In Madeira.


Saturday, September 7th, was the Cultural Evening with the wonderful participation of the Cape Verdean and Brasilian communities. It was a delightful evening with the “Fados” from Portugal, “Morna” songs from Cape Verde and “Capoeira” from Brasil and some delicious food.

October 5th was another high moment with the presence of His Eminence, Bernard Law who presided the solemn Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by a great number of Portuguese and American priests.

Four Seminarians served at the altar James Achadinha, Jonathan Gaspar, Kevin Bourque and Russell Gosselin. The Banquet took place in the hall completely full with old parishioners and young ones.

November 16th was the Concert by the Harmony Choir and Saint Anthony’s Band. This Choir has over fifty members, Portuguese, American, Brasilian, and Cape Verdean, from Cambridge, Peabody and other places and conducted by the great musician Luis Travassos and Saint Anthony’s Philharmonic Band conducted by the young and talented Maestro John Feitor, Junior.

The closing of the Centennial was on New Year’s Eve in the Parish Hall, ending in this way an entire year of commemorations, church renewal, appreciation, gratitude and deep and serious nostalgia (saudade) from the good olden times remembered again and again and relived in the same faith and same spirit of the parish family that kept us united and strong along these One Hundred Years.

As pastor, of this Christian community I feel happy and deeply grateful to God and to the good people of Saint Anthony on this joyous occasion and for the third time in my thirty years in America. And I am also grateful for celebrating together the history, the life and the journey of faith of our parish community.


The church, in the present time also has a very important word to say and a great mission to accomplish. In the spiritual and religious field, culture, social justice, working conditions, family, education, in all fields of human activity, defense of life and search for peace.

The encyclicals of the Holy Father addressed to all Christianity throughout the years are great witness of the Church’s constant concern for the social and moral well being of all humankind. The encyclical “Rerurn Novarum” of Pope Leo XIII (18910), “ Quadragesimo Anno” (1931), of Pius XI and Pacem in Terris (1963) of John XXIII, and “Populorum Progressio”(1967), of Paul VI are wonderful documents of wisdom, and knowledge and perfect fulfillment of the prophetic mission of the Church nowadays.

The second Vatican Council (1959-1965) was the great move and a breath of “fresh air” into the history of the Church. The liturgical renewal, the documents about the church (Lumen Gentium) and many others are of vital importance in our time and for the future of the Church and humankind.

Since the foundation of our parish, one hundred years ago, so many things have changed in the Catholic Church. But it was since the Second Vatican council that those changes took shape and became more real and meaningful in the life of the lay people and the church community.

For instance the Liturgy, if someone had attended mass in 1902 and could come to church now would feel strange, not recognizing, neither the place nor the rituals of the Mass. it would be obvious the priest facing the congregation, language, Portuguese, English and not Latin anymore, the participation of the people in the readings, in the songs, the ministers of the Eucharist giving communion, all this creates a new atmosphere of openness, dialogue, sharing and full participation in the Eucharist and liturgical celebrations.

The church is no more a monolithic and unchanging institution. On the contrary, the church is changing and it will continue to be more and more open to dialogue and adjusting to the current times and to the winds of history. We are not supposed to be afraid of changing, especially when those are inspired by God and by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. In fact, we are encouraged to welcome those changes with humility and real trust as a gift, given by God to the priests and lay people alike, who, altogether, are the Church.


I also like to express me deep and sincere gratitude to you all. In first place to the dedicated and loyal “staff” of the parish; Father John Walsh and Father Victor Okumu, Noelle Akin, Mariazinha Sousa, Maria do Carmo Sousa, Jose Carreiro, and auxiliaries: Maria Sousa, Cinira Vicente, Mario and Fernanda Rosa, Grace Oliveira, Jacinto Figueiredo and the former sacristan Jose Pereira, and Manuel Carvalho who use to take care of the Church grounds, Caetano Vital, Antonio Alves, and to all the other parish volunteers.

To the Centennial Celebration Committee for their excellent work of organization, leadership and commitment. Especially to the coordinator of all groups, Jose Chaves and all his close collaborators, Ana Travassos, Jose Carlos Bessa, Manuel Rogers, David Melo, Goretti Macedo, and Dalmir Silva in charge of the historical and cultural part of the Centennial.

To the Pastoral Council: Sameira Veloso, Abilio Antunes, Belmira Cordeiro, Jose Luis Mota, Gabriela Pacheco, Paulo Pereira, Sandra Rodrigues, Jose da Rosa, Jose Santos and Jessica Cunha.

To the Finance Committee; Philip Chaves, Joao Feitor, Antonio Oliveira, Joaquim Costa e Alberto Melo.

To Eduardo and Lucilia Sousa; their Children Christopher and Kimberly, responsible of organizing the Banquet and all Social Activities. With the support of Virginia Simas, Maria Marques, Jorge and Ines Achadinha, Jose and Hildeberta Almas, Alberto and Liliana Melo, Antonio and Linda Alberto, Henrique and Ermelinda Rego, Antonio and Assuncao Tabicas, Fernanda Rizzo, Gil Carreiro and so many others. To the Parish Choir, Luis Travassos, organist, directors of Choir, Dorothy Chaves, Philip Chaves and all its members.

To the English Choir, Kimberly Sousa and all its members and Isaura Carreiro for the 8 o’clock Mass on Sundays. Legion of Mary, Maria do Carmo Sousa, and all active and auxiliary members. Prayer Group, Maria A. Marques and all other participants. Holy Rosary: Fernanda Rizzo and all other sisters. Holy Name, Joao Melo and all their brothers. Saint Vincent de Paul, Amelia Silva and her husband, and participants.

Cursilho Movement, David Melo, Coordenator, Paul and Belmira Cordeiro, Maurino and Natalia Costa and to all brothers and sisters.

To Abilio Antunes, president of the Portuguese School, teachers and students. To the Popular Portuguese Tuna and all its participants. To the Religious Education Program, coordenator, teachers and students. To Paula Pereira, Oscar Cardoso, Paulo Pereira, Carla and Jessica Cunha and all the members of the Youth Group. To the Holy Spirit brotherhood, St. John’s Brotherhood, Children’s Brotherhood, and the Mariense Brotherhood, as well as Cape Verdean and Brasilian communities and all community, cultural and business organizations that became involved and generously supported the Centennial Celebrations.


Reverend Jose Silva Ferreira
Cambridge, November 13, 2002