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About St. Margaret's

The Roman Catholic Parish of St. Margaret of Antioch, founded in 1945, is a suburban, archdiocesan parish located in Burlington, MA. The parish is a multi-ethnic, socially, culturally, and educationally diverse faith community.

St. Margaret of Antioch

Virgin and martyr; also called MARINA; belonged to Pisidian Antioch in Asia Minor, where her father was a pagan priest. Her mother dying soon after her birth, Margaret was nursed by a pious woman five or six leagues from Antioch. Having embraced Christianity and consecrated her virginity to God, she was disowned by her father and adopted by her nurse.

While she was one day engaged in watching the flocks of her mistress, a lustful Roman prefect named Olybrius caught sight of her, and attracted by her great beauty sought to make her his concubine or wife. When neither cajolery nor threats of punishment could succeed in moving her to yield to his desires, he had her brought before him in public trial at Antioch. Threatened with death unless she renounced the Christian faith, the holy virgin refused to adore the gods of the empire and an attempt was made to burn her, but the flames, we are told in her Acts, left her unhurt. She was then bound hand and foot and thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, but at her prayer her bonds were broken and she stood up uninjured. Finally the prefect ordered her to be beheaded.

The Greek Church honors her under the name Marine on 13 July; the Latin, as Margaret on 20 July. Her Acts place her death in the persecution of Diocletian (A.D. 303-5), but in fact even the century to which she belonged is uncertain. St. Margaret is represented in art sometimes as a shepherdess, or as leading a chained dragon, again carrying a little crossor a girdle in her hand, or standing by a large vessel which recalls the cauldron into which she was plunged. Relics said to belong to the saint are venerated in very many parts of Europe; at Rome, Brusels, Bruges, Montefiascone, Paris, Froidmont, Troyes, and various other places. Curiously enough this virginhas been widely venerated for many centuries as a special patron of women who are pregnant.

Our History

Back in the 1930’s, Catholics in Burlington were few in number and their spiritual needs were fulfilled by priests from St. Charles in Woburn. The town was designated as a Woburn mission. In October 1937, the Archbishop of Boston announced that Burlington Catholics were to become a mission of the newly established St. Mary’s parish in Pinehurst. Realizing the problems caused by townspeople having to travel a further distance to attend Mass, Fr. Charles Johnson called a meeting of Burlington Catholics in the Town Hall within a month after his appointment as pastor in Pinehurst.

On October 25, 1938, they formally incorporated as “St. Mary’s Building Committee of Burlington” and received a charter from the state. A significant milestone was reached on November 30, 1938, when final arrangements for the purpose of a site for the proposed chapel were completed.

The location was a triangular piece of land of approximately two acres at the intersection of Center and Winn Streets. The purchase price was $500.

In the meantime, shortly after the Town Hall meeting of October 17, 1937, a temporary place for Mass within the town had been acquired. It was a barn located on old Lowell Street, now called Beacon Street, and was formerly known as the Winnmere Inn. It was known as, and is still referred to merely as “The Barn.” However, “The Barn,” despite the work and love bestowed upon it, became a bitter disappointment when winter weather arrived. The draftiness of the old building welcomed in the chilly blasts of the New England winter and priests and people suffered intensely while celebrating and attending Mass. In early December of 1938, “The Barn” was finally closed. Thus ended the second chapter of local church history for the good Catholics of Burlington.

On December 11, 1938, in the Sousa barn on Peach Orchard Road, Mass was celebrated by Fr. Lawrence Herne. This barn was utilized as a place of worship or about eighteen months. On Mother’s Day, May 12, 1940, the first Mass was celebrated in the new chapel erected by Burlington Catholics on the land the intersection of Winn and Center Streets. Their long-cherished dream had been fulfilled and Burlington had a Catholic Church really its own!

On November 21, 1945, Archbishop Cushing declared that St. Margaret’s was large enough to be considered as a separate parish and Fr. Francis G. Shields was appointed the first pastor.

On May 13, 1946, Fr. Shields negotiated the purchase of the Walker Farm on Winn Street, directly opposite Peach Orchard Road. The property, including farmhouse, garage, and about nine acres of land was a beautiful site for any development. The farmhouse became known as St. Margaret’s Rectory. During this period, the parish grew rapidly. On January 2, 1947, Fr. Denis J. Fitzpatrick assumed duties as the new pastor of St. Margaret’s. It was Fr. Fitzpatrick who masterminded the building expansion soon to begin. Finally, in October of 1955, His Eminence, Richard Cardinal Cushing, gave permission for the parish to build a new, much larger, church.

The new church, in outward appearance a combination of Colonial and Romanesque, was designed by architect Edward T. P. Graham. The style was conservative and along traditional lines favored by Fr. Fitzpatrick. The blessing of St. Margaret’s new lower church as held on the morning of November 30, 1957. The altars for the upper church had not arrived, delaying completion of work. The last Mass in the old church was held on Christmas Day, 1957. The new church, now completed with marble altars and railings, was formally dedicated on February 2, 1958 by the Archbishop of Boston, Most Reverend Richard J. Cushing.

In order to address the growing problem of providing space for the growing number of children within the parish CCD program, a School of Religion building, containing 10 classrooms, was erected and formally dedicated in the fall of 1964.

 

 

 

Pastors of St. Margaret’s Church

Fr. Francis J. Shields
Nov. 21, 1945 - Jan. 2, 1947

Fr. Denis J. Fitzpatrick
Jan. 2, 1947 - Aug. 1, 1967

Fr. John B. Kinneen
Aug. 16, 1967 - Dec. 25, 1979

Fr. John R. Crispo
Jan. 25, 1980 - Oct. 20, 2006

Fr. Joseph P. Robinson
Dec. 11, 2006 - Jan 31, 2012

Fr. John M. Sullivan
Feb 1, 2012 - Mar. 1, 2012

Fr. Frank J. Silva
Sept. 24, 2012 - Present

 


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