by Rick Winterson
Momentum (and excitement) for observing the 200th Anniversary of Father Francis Anthony Matignon’s death is growing. This was increasingly obvious at the most recent Anniversary Committee meeting on April 12.
To briefly review, Fr. Matignon served as the Catholic priest for Boston and all of New England from the late 1700s until his death on September 15, 1818. Boston’s first Bishop, Jean-Louis de Cheverus, erected the St. Augustine Chapel to Matignon’s memory, breaking ground in December, 1818, and completing the Chapel in 1819. Fr. Matignon’s remains are interred in the Chapel. Since then, Cardinal Cushing built the Matignon High School in North Cambridge.
Observances at the Chapel are already planned later this year, beginning on Friday evening, September 14; Cardinal Sean O’Malley will say a Memorial Mass at the Chapel Saturday evening, September 15. Further activities are being planned – all will be welcome to attend these.
This year of 2018 is an anniversary in other ways. It is the Centennial of World War I, “The War to End All Wars”. Well, history certainly didn’t work out that way. That will be worth a long moment of reflection on the 100th Armistice Day observance – Sunday, November 11, 2018. And Boston’s most noted Revolutionary patriot, Paul Revere, passed away on May 10, 1818 – 200 years ago in just three weeks. Revere and his wife-to-be, Sary Orne, used to picnic here in South Boston, rowing across the Harbor rather than taking the land route along what would later become Boston Street into Andrew Square.
The next meeting of the ad hoc Committee for the 200th Anniversary of St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery will be held in the Chapel itself at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 3.