The annual Lowell Folk Festival is the 2nd largest such Festival in the United States – it draws an estimated 100,000 visitors to our city during the last weekend in July – this year: July 28, 29, 30.
The Oblate Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker participates in the festivities – our location in an area somewhat removed from heavy foot traffic provides a gathering place where folks can cool down, relax and comfortably consume the delicacies they purchase at the many nearby ethnic food booths. Our family-styled picnic tables outfitted with shade umbrellas arrayed along the area fronting the Shrine are much appreciated. Such oases are few and far between during the Festival! Shrine volunteers welcome folks and attend to keeping the tables ready for all comers.
We also open the air-conditioned Shrine itself for those who might want the opportunity to view its beauty or say a prayer or light a candle; soothing chant music enriches this uplifting experience and volunteers welcome and guide our visitors. Since city streets are closed to vehicular traffic during the Festival, our location in the heart of the city and our convenient schedule of weekend Masses further provide an opportunity for workers and Festival-goers alike to participate in Sunday worship.
Please be on the look-out in the Shrine’s weekly Bulletins starting next week for opportunities to sign-up for a couple of hours of assistance during the Festival.
In 1868 Father André Garin OMI, came to Lowell to preach a mission for the hundreds of working persons who had now come here from Canada. During that first mission, enough money was raised by the donations of the working people to meet the down payment for an abandoned church structure at 37 Lee Street. This was the first parish established in Lowell to serve the spiritual needs of the French-speaking immigrants. Saint Joseph was selected as the patron. In 1956, the downtown church, with its rich tradition, was dedicated as a shrine in honor of Saint Joseph the Worker.