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Louis-Onésime TRIGANNE - 1916 - Fine Edifice in Southbridge - Will Very Soon Be Dedicated by Bishop Beaven - Fr. Triganne, Pastor - Said to Be One of Finest Churches in New England
Final plans are nearly arranged for the dedication of the new Notre Dame church at Main and Marcy streets in Southbridge next month, which has been completed after five years at a cost of about $300,000, with a seating capacity of 1600 people.
Rev. Louis O. Triganne, pastor of Notre Dame church, ahs arranged with Bishop Thomas D. Beaven of the Springfield diocese to be present at the exercises which will mark the culmination of nearly 40 years' work in obatining a site for the magnificent structure, the funds and the work of building.
Thirty other priests are expected to be present, as well as Bishop Bruneau of Nicolet, Que., who is in charge of the Nicolet diocese in Canada and whom Rev. Fr. Triganne visited a month ago.
Before the decication exercises there will be consecration of the altar services, and if arrangements can be made a concert will be given on ghe $14,000 electrically operated organ, one of the finest in New England.
Hundreds of former residents of Southbridge who were members of Notre Dame church when living there, are expected to be present at the services, the final program yet to be announced by Rev. Fr. Triganne.
This beautful church is built on high ground at Main and March streest where from the spire Sturbridge, Charlton, Spencer, Woodstock, Conn.; Union, Conn.; Dudley, Webster and other Massachusetts and Connecticut towns and cities may be seen on a clear day.
The tall spire, which is 186 feet above the street, is the most prominent structure in Southbridge. It is a landmark to touring autoists who have never visited "the eye of the commonwealth," as Southbridge has recently been termed because of its optical enterprises.
The church, which has nearly all of the designs of a European cathedral, was built of marble, with granit foundations, terra cotta roofs, with the interior frescoing and hand painting done by skilled workmen, who came to Southbridge from Italy, and worked here many months.
The building was modeled after the famous cathedral at Montreal and designed by the same architecht, Joseph Venne, and represents the struggles of the members of Notre Dame paris and their former pastor, the late Rev. Elezear Brochu, after whom a parochial school in town is named, connected with it.
Coming to Southbridge when but a few years out of a seminary, Ref. Fr. Brochu took chardg of Notre Dame parish, at that time the one French-speaking parish in Southbridge.
Early in his career, Rev. Fr. Brochu planned for a new church to be the finest among the French-speaking parishes, and with his parish keenly intereste in their priest's project, started at work earnestly to save funds to realize the hopes of Fr. Brochu.
Southbridge began to grow because of the various industries and in 25 years' time it had the largest percentage of French-speaking people of any town in Massachusetts, consequently Notre Dame parish became one of the largest in the Springfield diocese.
Inspired by Rev. Fr. Brochu and helped by his many personal contributions, the parishoners realized a sufficient sum to warrant the construction oaf a $1,000,000 church edifice to be one of the finest in the United States for its size.
The location site the confronted Rev. Fr. Brochu, and after a few weeks it was believed that the present site of the new chruch was th emost central, being situated between Southbridge Center and Globe Village, a distance of one mile, and the lofty elevation of the land at this point was a desirable feature.
The large lot desired contained several acres of land, and, was held by William Marcy, a hermit and descendant of the former governor, William J. Marcy of New York. To Mr. Marcy, Rev. Fr. Brochu attepted to negotiate for the land with a view of purchasing it for the site of the church.
Here Rev. Fr. Brochu received a set-back as Mr Marcy was well-to-do, his property amounting to far more than enough to keep him for the remainder of his life, and he was strongly anti-Catholic, and admitted it frankly.
Attempts were made by Rev. Fr. Brochu to purchase the rights of William Marcy, but they were fruitless, as Mr. Marcy held a life tenure on the property, the old Marcy homestead, one of the oldest landmarks in Southbridge.
Big offers were made to Mr Marcy for his rights which he rejected, and as the years rolled away still better offers were made, Rev. Fr. Brochu desiring ot see his main abition accomplished, but Mr Marcy reiterated his statement that he would live the remaining years of his life in the house where he had passed his boyhood days.
Meanwhile Fr. Brochu traveld to Arizona where John Marcy, a brother of William, lived, and who became owner of the property upon William Marcy's death - the life tenure running out then.
Fr. Brochu, in Arizona, closed a deal with John Marcy at a reasonable sum for the property at Main and Marcy streets, whcih would become the property of the church at once, subject to the life tenure of William Marcy.
With this step accomplished Rev. Fr. Brochu passed much time in traveling, visiting churches and obtaining ideas for his new church. A set of plans was made, calling for one of the finest churches in the United States. The funds had increased rapidly in the 20 years that had elapsed.
Rev. Fr. Brochu tried again and again to buy out the life tenure of William Marcy, but without result. Both men were groinw aged and the townspeople watched with interest whcih would finally win out. Rev. Fr. Brochu passed away first without attaining his life's ambition - the construction of a new church.
Rev. Louis O. Triganne was appointed to Notre Dame parish and a few years later Mr. Marcy died and the land became the parish property without restriction.
In 1906, with everything in readiness for the erection of the church, another delay was experienced when Notre Dame parish was divided into two sections, known as Notre Dame and Sacred Heart parishes, which called for a division of the funds whcih had been accumulated for nearly 30 years.
The Sacred Heart parish with the money received built a schook, church, rectory and sisters' home on Charlton street, while with the share received by Notre Dame paris work was started in 1911 on the present building, which will be dedicated next Sunday.
Just after the contract waw awarded for the erection of the church building it was decided that better stones for the walls should be used than had been planned for in the specifications. A question arose as to the increased cost. This, however, was overcome by the members of the parish readily consenting to raise the difference between the price of brick and that of marble by contributing to the cause generously.
The cost of the marble blocks was about $1 each. Not only did the Catholics subscribe to this cause, but the Protestants of Southbridge as well assisted in the project. A feature in this idea was that each person contributing to a marble block was entitled to write his name or a few words upon it.
The new church is 220 feet long and 184 feet wide at its maximum point with the ceiling 59 feet above the main auditorium floor.
The interior decorations, including panels, stucco work and holy images are unequalled in this vicinity, having been done by skilled moulders from Italy. Paintings adorn the ceilings and altar.
A large chandelier hanging over the main auditorium with several hundred electric lights have been installed.
A $14,000 electrically operated mahogany organ was installed late last month by Cassavant Brothers of St. Hyacinth, P.Q., with 44 stops.
Three front doors will furnish means of entrance to the massive structure with two doors to the transcept.
Three electrically operated chimes, which were blessed on May 30 last year as Jesus, Mary and Joseph, are stationed in the lofty spire, which may be heard from any section of the town.
The above is taken from a Boston paper and relates to the chruch of which Father triganne, formerly of Notre Dame church in Adams, is pastro, and is therefore of local interest. With the article was a picture of the handsome new church.
The North Adams Transcript
North Adams, Massachusetts
Sat., May 20, 1916
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