|Dear Friends on the Internet,|
Peace and all good things! Welcome to our Family here at Divine Mercy Parish located at Saints Peter and Paul Church in Three Rivers, Massachusetts.
It is our hope that you come to visit our church. Come and experience the warmth and hospitality of our Parish Family. There is a Polish saying: "Gosc w dom, Bog w dom" which means: "A guest in the house is God in the house." Please browse through our web site and learn more about the growing Catholic community and all the good works that happen in this parish. Then come and experience for yourself the mercy and love of God at Divine Mercy Parish in Three Rivers, Massachusetts.
Records indicate that on September 28, 1608 when a group of settlers arrived in the Jamestown Colony, Polish immigrants were among them. Three hundred and seventy-two years later, there now number approximately eleven million Poles in the United States. History books have recorded the heroic exploits and great contributions that individuals from Poland such as Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski made during the early part of this country's history; yet it was not until the turn of this century that America felt the effects of mass migrations of men and women from Poland.
Political and religious persecution and severe economic hardship had resulted from the partitioning of Poland by Russia, Austria and Germany. From 1899 to 1910 almost one million people emigrated from Poland to the United States, with approximately 30,000 remaining in the Connecticut Valley.
Early records indicate that the first arrivals from Poland in the Palmer area came in the year 1886. The first Baptism of a Pole was recorded in St. Mary's Church in Thorndike in 1888. The ever-increasing number of Baptisms soon indicated the need for a Polish speaking church.
The St. Joseph Society was organized in April of 1895 to unite the Polish community in the villages of Three Rivers, Thorndike and Bondsville to assist in meeting the needs and solving mutual problems of the new settlers.
The need for a Polish speaking parish became paramount, and a church building committee was formed. Judge David Dillon served as adviser to the group and was instrumental in choosing the Four Corners site, the geographic center of the town.
The committee was granted permission by the Most Rev. Bishop Thomas D. Beaven to organize and establish the SS. Peter and Paul Parish. This task was entrusted to Rev. Waclaw (Wenceslaus) Lenz in July, 1905. At the start, this fledgling parish numbered one thousand persons in Palmer and the Villages.
SS. Peter and Paul Church‑the new parish to bear the names of the two outstanding apostles. Peter‑successor to Christ‑who was called from his fishing nets to follow Christ and become the Fisher of Men; and Paul‑who had persecuted Christians and whose conversion on the way to Damascus resulted in his becoming the most prolific writer and influential evangelist of the Church. With such historic inspiration, the New Parish embarked upon its own unique history.
A New Chapter
During November 2009, Saint Anne Church in Three Rivers, MA was permanently closed by the Diocese of Springfield, one of the many churches closed during the Pastoral Planning process. Parishioners of St. Anne Parish merged with parishioners of Saints Peter and Paul Parish. In addition to the closing of St. Anne Church, the Pastoral Planning Committee also recommended that the name of the resultant parish be changed. On the first Sunday of Advent (November 29, 2009), Saints Peter and Paul Parish merged with Saint Anne Parish and the resultant parish was named Divine Mercy Parish. The selection of the new name was influenced by the presence of the Divine Mercy Grotto, located behind the Saints Peter and Paul Church.
So, what is Divine Mercy?
Click here to learn about The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion