The Beginning of the Parish:
In 1855, the Catholic population of Revere numbered approximately 500 people. Most of them were recent immigrants fleeing the potato famine in Ireland. Some moved to Revere from Chelsea after the two towns separated in 1871. Common occupation of the people included domestics, laborers and farmers. Since there was no parish in Revere, churchgoers attended Mass at St. Rose of Lima Church in Chelsea. In 1855, Traveling any distance was difficult with unpaved roads. People had to walk, ride streetcars or use horses and buggies to attend Mass.
At this time, the Catholic population of Revere felt the need for a church of their own sent a delegation to Father McGlew of Chelsea requesting formation of a Revere parish. Father McGlew presented this request to Archbishop Williams. The request was granted and Revere became a Mission of the Immaculate Conception parish in Everett which was recently formed. As a result, Everett pastor Father Joseph E. Mohan celebrated the first Catholic Mass in Revere on June 21, 1885 in Revere Town Hall. Masses continued to be held there for the next three years. Instruction in First Communion and Confirmation were held in a private residence opposite to what is now the Central Fire Station on Broadway. Confessions were heard in the home of Mrs. Julia Murray.
The Construction of the New Church:
As Revere's Catholic population continued to increase, Father Mohan realized that Revere needed a church of its own. For that purpose, he purchased 16,000 feet of land at the corner of beach Street and Winthrop Avenue in 1887. P.W. Ford was chosen as the architect and initial plans called for a church 81 feet long by 54.5 feet wide. Work began in the spring of 1888. Appropriately enough, most of the work was done by the parishioners themselves, who donated time, labor, and equipment and worked nearly every evening after the regular workday.
On Sunday, July 1, 1888, at 4 p.m., Archbishop Williams laid the cornerstone with Father O'Donnell serving as master of ceremonies. On the cornerstone's face were the letters "M" and "I" for Mary Immaculate, since the church was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception. On the sides of the cornerstone the date 1888 was inscribed. A time capsule was inserted in the cornerstone which contained the newspaper of the day; Boston Herald, Boston Globe, Revere Journal, Revere News The Catholic Review, The Boston pilot and The Republic. Also included were United States coins dated 1888, the names of the President of the United States, the Governor of Massachusetts, the Selectmen of Revere, the architect and builder of the church, the Archbishop, the Rector and his assistants and an account of the ceremonies. Work continued on the church into the winter of 1888. On December 9, 1888, Father Mohan was able to celebrate Mass in the basement of the church for the first time.
The Parish School:
Once the debt for building the church was paid, work on building a parish school began. On September 9, 1913 the new school was dedicated. Later in September, four Sisters of St. Joseph arrived to teach at the school Sister Mary Regina, name Mother Superior, and the three other Sisters of St. Joseph lived in the former rectory, now a convent. Between the school and the convent a shrine to our blessed Mother was erected. The school opened with grades one through four with an additional graded added each year up to the eighth grade. Initial enrollment was 230 students and the first grammar school class graduated (grade four in 1913) in June,1918.
In 1921, a senior high school was organized to offer classical, commercial and scientific course. The first freshman class was the grade one of 1913. On the evening of June 14,1925, commencement exercise were held at the church and first senior class. 36 students, graduated from the Immaculate Conception High School. Class colors were blue gold, class flowers was the red rose and "Semper Fidelis" was the class motto. Class day exercises were held the next day at Revere City Hall.
New Parish Center-Father Brennan Hall:
While attentive to the needs of all his parishioners, Father Brennan was particularly concerned for the youth. He had hoped to build a recreational hall that the children of the parish could use and also to host parish could use and also to host parish could use and also to host parish meeting and functions. Construction, with the donations of parishioners and others Revere residents, began at its present site in 1948. Father Brennan did not live to see the completion of the hall. However his successor, Revered Patrick j. O' Connell saw to its completion in 1949. The hall was named "Father Brennan Hall" for its caring founder and benefactors are commemorated with their names inscribed on a plaque inside the hall.
A New Church:
During this time the old church building needed so much repair that it was decided to build a new church building. A land swap with the City of Revere was executed and the City of Revere was executed and the City exchanged the land on which we now have our church building, (the site of the old Revere High School) for the land where the Revere Historical Society and the Sonny Meyers Park now stand. Ground breaking took place in June 1988, funding was provided by a loan from the Archdiocese and from the generous donations of parishioners. The main church building and the rectory were completed in 1989. Many parts of the old church were incorporated in the new church including the, stain glass windows, the main altar, the old church bell, the organ and the statue of our Blessed Mother. Our Baptismal font was constructed from marble taken from the side altars of the old church.