About the Archdiocese


Archdiocese of Boston


66 Brooks Drive, Braintree, MA 02184-3839
Telephone: 617-254-0100
Snow Phone Line – (617) 746-5991

Pastoral Center Information: 

Bethany Chapel
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
Pastoral Center Gift Shop  

It is the goal of the Pastoral Center to remain open during inclement weather unless travel conditions make it hazardous to get to work. In the event the offices are closed or there is a delay in opening, an announcement will be sent out via the IRIS system. In addition, notice will be recorded on the Snow Phone Line –  (617) 746‐5991 – no later than 5:45 a.m.


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Freedom of Religion Comes to Boston

Freedom of religion

By Robert Johnson Lally
Archdiocesan Archivist and Records Manager

During the early days of our country, it was dangerous to be a Catholic in Boston. Massachusetts had been settled by religious dissenters who were displeased that the Church of England had not completed the Protestant Reformation. Members of that movement had spurned, beginning with Martin Luther, the idea of selling indulgences. They also objected to the Latin Mass, Transubstantiation and the authority of the Pope.

Colonial law made it unlawful for Catholics to openly practice the faith. In fact, it was a criminal offense for a Catholic priest to even enter Massachusetts. By 1700, a priest found residing in the colony could be penalized with life imprisonment.

The turning point toward tolerance came, not as a result of a change of heart, but because of politics. In order to defeat the British in the American Revolution, colonial leaders realized they needed the support of the French Canadians and the Catholic Native Americans. The first friendly overtures toward Catholics were dictated by political reality.

But in 1780, the freedom to worship as a Catholic became official. It was codified in the Massachusetts Constitution.