Fire damages St. Patrick’s Church in Wareham


By Kenneth J. Souza
Anchor Staff
kensouza@anchornews.org

WAREHAM, Mass. — An early morning blaze on Saturday, September 22 broke out at St. Patrick’s Church in Wareham, threatening the historic house of worship located at 88 High Street, just steps from Tobey Hospital.

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Thankfully, the Wareham Fire Department arrived just after 1 a.m. and managed to put out the conflagration with mutual aid from departments in nearby Onset, Carver, Marion, Rochester and Bourne. The cause of the three-alarm fire, which was confined to the choir loft area just beneath the church’s towering steeple, is still under investigation, but initial reports suggest it was likely the result of faulty electrical wiring in the 78-year-old building.

Much of the charred and burned-out choir loft will have to be gutted and replaced, along with the church organ, but the nave and Sanctuary areas of the church also sustained heavy smoke and water damage that will likely cost an estimated $500,000 to repair and repaint.

In this past weekend’s bulletin, Father Antonio da Silva, S.D.V., pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish, advised that the main church will remained closed in the interim and weekend Masses will temporarily be relocated to the nearby parish center, while daily Masses will be celebrated at the parish’s mission site, St. Anthony’s Chapel, located at 35 Gault Road in Wareham.

“We would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who offered support both emotionally and Spiritually to us, the Vocationist Fathers in Wareham, and to the parish family of St. Patrick’s in the days following the fire last weekend, which started in the choir loft,” Father da Silva wrote. “The outpouring of compassion from clergy, friends, parishioners, and the community is heartwarming. To our Wareham Fire Department and the other fire departments including Onset, Carver, Marion, Rochester, and Bourne who provided mutual aid, we offer our deepest gratitude.

“To the numerous members of our parish community of St. Patrick’s, many clergy from the Diocese of Fall River, and religious communities, our neighboring parishes and other Christian faiths who took a moment to pray and make themselves available for us, we thank you! Words cannot fully express how grateful we are for your kind thoughts, prayers, and actions. They will always be remembered.”

Father John Sullivan, pastor at Holy Redeemer Parish in Chatham, also offered thoughts and prayers to his former parishioners.

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“I want to assure all St. Patrick’s parishioners of my concern and prayers for your community in the aftermath of last weekend’s fire,” Father Sullivan wrote. “Such a tragedy is always devastating to a parish community. I trust that with your support and the encouragement of Father da Silva and Father Offiong, they will lead St. Patrick’s to a bright, new future.”

Events that normally take place in the parish hall during the week — such as Wednesday meals, Boy Scout and AA meetings — will continue, however the monthly breakfasts will be suspended to accommodate weekend Masses. Upcoming funerals and weddings will either be rescheduled to other local churches or at the chapel, depending on the space requirements.

Father da Silva estimated that these temporary arrangements will likely be in effect for at least the next three months.

“We need to remember to thank God that this fire didn’t completely destroy our beautiful church and to continue to pray for a quick repair for our parish to be back to normal,” he wrote. “This type of thing is what makes parishes stronger. With God’s grace and our prayers, St. Patrick’s shall be renewed in the Lord!”

Until further notice weekend Masses — Saturday at 4 p.m., Sunday at 8 a.m., 10 a.m., and 12 noon — will be held in St. Patrick’s Parish Hall, 82 High Street in Wareham. All daily Masses, Monday through Saturday at 8 a.m., will be held at St. Anthony’s Chapel, located at 35 Gault Road in Wareham.

For updated information, visit www.stpatrickswareham.org or call the rectory office at 508-295-2411.


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