Feast Day of St. William of York ~ Patron of Tewksbury Parish

St. William’s Church, Tewksbury, Massachusetts (1935) staffed by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate

William Cardinal O’Connell, Archbishop of Boston

Today is the Feast Day of St. William of York – William Fitzherbert – who was a 12th century nobleman, monk, and Archbishop of York in England. He died suddenly in 1154. He was buried in his cathedral at York. Miracles were reported at his tomb; and he was regarded both as a victim of injustice and as a saint. William of York was canonized in 1227 by Pope Honorius III through the memory of his patient sufferings, the miracles reported at his tomb, and the desire of the Canons of York to become a center of pilgrimage.

The founding of the Parish of St. William from the parish website:

During the first three decades of the 1900s, the need was becoming great for Catholics of Tewksbury to have a place to worship, and in December of 1934 permission was given from Rome to establish a Parish in Tewksbury. The Archbishop of Boston, William Cardinal O’Connell, gave approval and signed “The Decree for the Establishment of Tewksbury Parish” on August 7, 1935. It went into effect on Sunday, August 11, 1935. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate were given permission and they accepted the challenge to conduct the parish. A contract between the Archbishop of Boston and the Superior General of the Oblates, which took effect on September 24, 1935, was signed. It “grants in perpetuity to the aforesaid Congregation of Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Parish of Tewksbury, Massachusetts…

The Church was named after St. William of York, the Patron Saint of William Cardinal O’Connell who was born in Lowell, Massachusetts – then Archbishop of Boston, in honor of the spiritual and financial support he extended during the construction of the new parish. Cardinal O’Connell was well-known for his wise use of the funds given him to administer. Cardinal O’Connell was also responsible for the creation of both Keith Academy and Keith Hall in 1926 in Lowell.