History of Corpus Christi Parish

Corpus Christi Parish is the first Catholic Church on Cape Cod.  In 1830, our first church building was erected on Jarves Street in a location known as Depot Square and was dedicated to St. Peter on September 19, by Rt. Rev. Bishop Fenwick.  At this time, it served 70 parishioners.  In 1848, the population grew in Sandwich due to the extension of the railroad and the thriving glass factory.  A full-time resident priest, Father William Moran, was assigned as Pastor, servicing Middleboro, Plymouth, Cape Cod and the Islands.  Shortly after his arrival, he began to make plans for a much-needed, larger church.

In 1852, construction of the new church was started.  It was located on James Street, later named Church Street.  In 1854, the first Mass was celebrated, but the church was not dedicated until June 19, 1865.  In 1857, a fierce storm demolished the 160 ft. steeple and it was replaced by a small bell tower.  The original wooden church was sold and moved from Depot Square to a site on Jarves Street.  A plaque on the original section of the building attests to its origin.  Also, during 1865, St. Peter's Cemetery, the first Catholic cemetery on Cape Cod was dedicated by Rt. Rev. F.P. McFarland, Bishop of Hartford. 

In 1898, the second St. Peter's church structure was seriously weakened in a violent Nor'easter called the "Portland Gale."  The building was declared unsafe and abandoned in 1899.  Carleton Hall was used as a temporary place of worship.  Our next pastor was, Father Patrick McKenna who, seeing the need for a new church building, initiated plans for a new church on Jarves Street.  Father McKenna had a tremendous devotion to the Blessed Sacrament; so when the new church was dedicated on July 7, 1901, the name was changed to Corpus Christi Church.  The Diocese of Fall River was formed in 1904 and Corpus Christi Church became part of that diocese.

In 1925, land was purchased on the main road in Sagamore and construction began for a chapel.  It was completed in 1926 and was dedicated St. Theresa of the Child Jesus by the Rt. Rev. Daniel F. Feehan, D.D., Bishop of Fall River, on June 6.

Fr. George W. Coleman was appointed pastor in 1985.  During this year, plans were initiated to build a Parish Center and a future church.  A parcel of land on Quaker Meeting House Road in East Sandwich was acquired for the site and development of the parish Center and the future Church.  Additional property and a house were purchased on the Service Road for the future Rectory.  On December 2, 1990, Bishop Cronin celebrated a special Mass opening and blessing the Parish Center.  In 1991, the land and building bordering the church property on Quaker Meeting House Road was purchased.  This property is now Mary's Closet Thrift Shop.

The last Mass at Corpus Christi Church on Jarves Street was celebrated by Father Gregory Mathias on Saturday, September 3 1994.  Shortly after, the property was put up for sale.  The former Rectory on Jarves Street was also sold, remodeled and converted into a Bed and Breakfast.  On October 12, 1994, Father Marcel Bouchard was appointed pastor.  In 1997, Fr. Bouchard announced that the parish had received permission to proceed with the building of a new church. Thus making Fr. George Coleman's vision into a reality.

On June 24, 2000, we celebrated the Blessing of the Site and Groundbreaking for the new church.  The Mass for the Dedication of the New Church was held on August 31, 2003, celebrated by Bishop George W. Coleman.  The last Mass celebrated at St. Theresa Chapel in Sagamore was on November 23, 2008.  Corpus Christi Parish currently has 1971 families registered at our parish.


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