By Patrick E. O’Connor
St. Stephen Church, circa 1960
The 150th anniversary of the establishment of St. Stephen Church on Hanover Street in the North End was remembered with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, September 23 with Auxiliary Bishop Robert F. Hennessey presiding.
St. Stephen Church was originally the New North Congregational Church. Boston born Charles Bulfinch, the nation’s premier architect of the time, received the commission to design a church to replace a previous church at Hanover and Clark Streets in 1802. The church was completed in 1804 and by 1814, renamed the Second Unitarian Church.
During the Civil War era, the Unitarian congregation declined as the immigrant population of the North End swelled. A previously established St. John the Baptist Church on Moon Street had outgrown its use. Father John J. Williams, administrator at the time and later Archbishop of Boston, purchased the church on September 26, 1862 for $35,000. He dedicated the church to St. Stephen, the first Christian Martyr on December 2, 1862. Read more