Around New England

Man Moves To Fall River From Pennsylvania To Help Save Venerable Shrine

July 29, 2019

A middle-aged man who hadn’t lived in Fall River since childhood recently moved back from Pennsylvania so he could volunteer with a society trying to save St. Anne’s Church and Shrine.

Brian Boyle, who was baptized at St. Anne’s and went to Mass in French there with his grandparents during summers after his family moved away, recently bought a house in Fall River not far from where his grandparents lived, according to the Fall River Herald News.

Double-spired St. Anne’s, one of the most beautiful churches in New England, closed permanently Sunday, November 25, 2018, the victim of dwindling attendance, a lack of priests, and an estimated $13.5 million worth of repairs needed to keep it going.

But a local man founded a group called St. Anne’s Preservation Society and persuaded the bishop to let him work on the church and re-open it for limited functions while raising money to fix it. The founder is hoping to use St. Anne’s unique beauty and history of faith healings as a way of bringing back young people to the Roman Catholic Church.

The church re-opened to the public on Thursday, July 4. St. Anne’s is not functioning as a parish, but rather as a place for private prayer. Two Masses are scheduled to occur there this year.

Boyle travels a lot for his job with IBM, so moving to Fall River was feasible. He told the Fall River Herald News that he comes to St. Anne’s every day, cleaning the church, selling candles, and praying novenas.

“I feel like this is where I needed to be,” Boyle said, according to the Fall River Herald News.

St. Anne’s Church and Shrine in Fall River, Massachusetts closed permanently Sunday, November 25, 2018. Photo by Kenneth C. Zirkel, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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