These gorgeous churches in Massachusetts will inspire you with their grandeur and beauty. Take a look at this stunning selection of world-class architectural wonders that are perfect for worship or quiet contemplation.
1. St. Leonard's Church, North End
Saint Leonard Church, founded in 1873, is the first Roman Catholic Church in New England built by Italian immigrants. Saint Leonard’s draws many visitors not only for its striking architectural beauty, but due to a shrine to Saint Anthony located in the lower level of the church.
2. The First Church of Christ Scientist, Boston
This church is the Mother Church and administrative headquarters of the Christian Science church. Christian Science was founded in Lynn, Massachusetts, by Mary Baker Eddy in 1875. Construction on the church began in 1893. It has a capacity of 900 and the main dome soars to a height of 224 feet. The structure also feature a reflecting pool and fountain.
3. Cathedral of the Holy Cross, South End
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston and is the largest Roman Catholic church in New England. The cathedral was designed by Patrick Keely, a noted ecclesiastical architect, in the Gothic Revival style. Construction began in 1866 and was completed in 1875.
4. MIT Chapel, Cambridge
The MIT Chapel was dedicated in 1955, so it may be the youngest church on this list. It is a non-denominational chapel and was designed by famed architect Eero Saarinen. Located on the grounds of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this beautiful chapel is thought to be a prime example of the mid-century modern architectural style.
5. Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (The Mission Church), Roxbury
In 1870, the Redemptorists constructed a humble wooden church on the spot where the modern basilica stands. This original structure was meant to act as a "mission house," or place for traveling priests to rest their heads. The church was eventually dedicated to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The very first mass at the original church was held on January 29, 1871.
6. Old South Church, Boston
The religious congregation that would come to call Old South Church was first assembled in 1669. The stunning building that we see today was designed in the Gothic Revival style by Charles Amos Cummings and Willard T. Sears. Construction finished in 1873, and the building was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. The Old South Church congregation is actually one of the oldest religious communities in the country.
7. Trinity Church, Boston Back Bay
Trinity Church is a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. The congregation, currently standing at approximately 3,000 households, was founded in 1733. Four services are offered each Sunday, and weekday services are offered three times a week from September through June. It is the birthplace and archetype of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, characterized by a clay roof, polychromy, rough stone, heavy arches, and a massive tower. This style was soon adopted for a number of public buildings across the United States.
8. East Boston Madonna Shrine
Perched atop Orient Heights, the Madonna Shrine is the national headquarters for the Don Orione order. Constructed in 1956, the statue is an exact replica of another statue at the Don Orione Center in the Montemario district of Rome, Italy. It was conceived of by Jewish-Italian sculptor Arrigo Minerbi. He meant for the statue to demonstrate his thankfulness to the Catholic Church for having protected him and his family from the Nazis during World War II.
9. First Religious Society Church, Newburyport
This United Unitarian Church in Newburyport is a great example of the iconic white steepled churches that can be found across Massachusetts. Founded in 1694, this church has undergone many periods of reorganization and construction over the years. The church steeple actually has quite the reputation: noted architect Ralph Adams Cram called the steeple "the most beautiful wooden spire in New England." Unfortunately, the steeple deteriorated from dry rot in the 1940s. It was totally restored in 1949.
10. St. Stanislaus Kostka Church, Adams
Founded in December of 1902, St. Stanislaus is one of the Polish-American Roman Catholic parishes in New England in the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts. On January 1, 2009, the church was closed by decision of the Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell of the Diocese of Springfield in Massachusetts. After 1,150 days of parishioners sitting in vigil, it was announced on February 18, 2012 that St. Stan's would reopen on Palm Sunday (April 1) 2012.
Where do you go to worship in Massachusetts? Do you have a favorite beautiful local church? Share and let us know in the comments.