Sacred Heart students watch as the huge steel pyramid structure is hoisted to the top of the new steeple. Pilot photo/Gregory L. Tracy
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WEYMOUTH -- Parishioners and school children of Sacred Heart Parish joined South Region Bishop John A. Dooher and their pastor, Father Daniel Riley, at a Jan. 18 installation ceremony of the church’s new pyramid steeple structure. The event was the most recent milestone in the reconstruction of the 134-year-old landmark church that was ravaged by a seven-alarm fire in June 2005. The new steeple doubles the height of the church, which is being built on the site of the original on Commercial Street in Weymouth.
“While the church fire initially shocked our dedicated parishioners, we found that this rebuilding process has made us stronger and more united as a parish,” said Father Riley. “Our weekly church attendance is at 98 percent of what we had before the fire, school enrollment has increased by 25 percent and we recently raised $1.3 million in a capital campaign to support programs such as youth ministry. This is an important day of celebration for the entire Sacred Heart community.”
Surrounded by students from Sacred Heart School, Bishop Dooher invited onlookers to join him in blessing the steeple top before it was hoisted atop the steel frame of the building.
The new Sacred Heart Church will retain its traditional, Gothic-style with a red-brick exterior and bears a strong resemblance to the previous church, with a slightly larger footprint. The interior will have some modern features, such as air-conditioning, and will accommodate the same number of worshipers, 575, as the previous church did. Also the church will use fully-restored, stained-glass windows -- each more than 100 years old -- from four churches that were closed due to the reorganization of the archdiocese. The rebuilding expenses are covered entirely by insurance. The church is expected to be completed by November.