The original Hopedale High School, this building became
Sacred Heart Church in 1935. The picture above is on a
stone marker, made from a piece of the original foundation,
and placed at the site of the former school and church.
Sacred Heart Church
saw something about how the Catholics of Hopedale decided about building a Catholic Church in
town in 1935. The date is okay, but I'm not sure that's just how it happened.
I think it was pretty much Father Jeremiah Riordan's idea, then pastor of St. Mary's in Milford, whose
parish also included Hopedale and Mendon. When Sacred Heart first opened in 1935 it consisted of
both Hopedale and Mendon. At that time Father Riordan had two curates, Father John Donohue and
Father Frances McCollough, who became the first and second pastors of Sacred Heart. Of course this
was all accomplished with the consent and support of the Bishop of Springfield, Bishop O'Leary. There
was no Worcester Diocese in 1935.
But to really get back to all of this history, you have to get back to a Mr. Roper, who lived on Freedom
Street in that house about mid-way down the hill, with the fieldstone bottom story and also with a barn.
He owned Roper's shop on Northrop Street, a four story brick building adjoining Hopedale Town Park.
Mr. Roper died in 1916; I think his wife had already passed away. St. Mary's owned that Roper
residence as long as I can remember.
Father David McGrath was pastor in Milford from about 1900 to 1920. (His funeral took place the day
before Christmas, 1920.) After he died, Father Grace was Pastor of St. Mary's for three or four years
until he died about 1923. Father Riordan came along about 1924. Father. Grace dedicated that brick
St. Mary's Academy while he was pastor, I think. So just which pastor bought that Roper property is a
little unclear but it could have been Father McGrath. I suppose the Bishop of Springfield was the real
Sometimes the Roper house was unoccupied and sometimes it was rented, but it was supposed to
have been acquired as a possible site for a Catholic church or chapel for Hopedale. The new General
Draper High School, on Adin Street, opened in 1928, and that left the old wooden Hopedale High
School unused, until 1935, when some kind of a trade was made; the Roper house for the old high
school, and that served as Sacred Heart Church until they built the present church around 1964. The
old church served as the parish center, CCD classes, etc., until it was declared to need too extensive
repairs and they built the new center. The old building was torn down. Somehow the Roper property
on Freedom Street came under Draper Corporation ownership, until they sold their rental properties in
1955. I realize this is all rather irrelevant today, but it's as I remember it. Don McGrath, (born March
17, 1918), March 12, 2006. Don's memories of his early years on Freedom Street.
Hopedale High School Becomes Church, by Gordon Hopper
Acquistion of high school building Thrift Shop
Stained Glass Windows
Fr. Reilley Center, Building and Dedication
Now and Then - first High School/Sacred Heart Church
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