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History

of Our Church

Prior to the organization of national churches within Bridgeport, the majority of non-English-speaking Catholic immigrants settled in the city's East Side, joining with other Catholics at St. Mary Church, which gained the title "Mother of Seven Daughters," since seven parishes were organized from the original establishment, five of which were founded for immigrant congregations.

Blessed Sacrament was founded in the midst of this period as an English speaking parish with  parishioners from Ireland and Italy. You may have heard the story  of immigrant families all living in a multi-family house with separate apartments: well look no further as many of these dwellings still exist on the East  End. The East End was a very popular place to live because of its proximity to all of the factories and the main shopping corridors of Stratford Avenue and East Main Street. During the best days of Bridgeport, it was also nice to live near the water: well look no further as Pleasure Beach with the famous old Carousel was practically in our back yard. 

The parish flourished for many years with a reputation for excellent education, Drum Corp. and great basketball teams. During the 1950's the parish grew so large that it was decided to build an Upper Church on top of the existing basement church.  The parish continued to prosper but many of our families were starting to migrate to the suburbs and there was a change in the City as the factories were starting to downsize. Towards the end of the 70's, Blessed Sacrament saw even more of a change as many families moved to the surrounding towns and a new wave of immigrants  came to our doors.  The 80's saw this trend continue and our school was closed.  The parish suffered with the loss of it's school but managed to stay opened.  Violence in the city was evident and many families were frightened out of Bridgeport and old timers did not feel safe to return to their roots.  The 90's saw new challenges as the attendance in all churches continued to decline. 

Today, things are slowly turning around and the parish recently survived the closure/mergers in the City.  The parish was originally established for the working class of the East End, today Blessed Sacrament has three cultural bases: Eureopean-Americans, Latino-Americans, and African-Americans including many from Cape Verde origins.  There are two English and one Spanish mass on Sundays. With about 400 families, it's one of the smallest parishes in the Diocese, but offers a great deal to its people and the neighborhood: Gospel choirs, Spanish choir, a large food pantry and neighborhood outreach, a three season organic garden and a host of other activities. Blessed Sacrament has become the rock of the Community and many activities are held in the basement which was the former church.  The parish is very active and thrives with great spiritual gifts and minimal financial resources. Blessed Sacrament Parish reminds us daily that it is imperative that we serve our brothers and sisters in the community and even a small, dedicated group of believers can have a huge impact.

Some interesting facts to consider:

In 1950 there were over 250,000 people in Bridgeport, there were over 20 Catholic Churches in the City of Bridgeport, 80 % of the people were Catholic and there were 2 other denominations in the Blessed Sacrament Parish Boundaries.

In 2011 there are over 149,000 people in Bridgeport, there were 16 Catholic Churches in the City of Bridgeport, 40 % of the people were Catholic  and there were over 65 other denominations in the Blessed Sacrament Parish Boundaries.

1960 Altar Servers

 

 

Date of Founding: May 2, 1917

Previous History: Territory formerly belonged to St. Mary’s

 

Present Church Edifice:  (Cornerstone) Sept. 30, 1917

(Dedication) Basement blessed December 19, 1917

Superstructure Dedicated December 8, 1960

 

New Altar and organ installed in November, 1953; blessed 12/20/53

Superstructure planned to be erected on existing basement church.

To be ready for Christmas, 1960; Seating capacity approx. 650.

Superstructure of Colonial Design.

 

Previous Church Edifice:  Basement of St. Mary’s used at first for Mass and Later Lincoln Hall until basement chapel was ready in December, 1917.

 

Parish School:Cornerstone, July 16, 1922; Dedication, January 28, 1923.

Opened for classes on February 5, 1923.

Three story brick structure with 16 classrooms on 1st and 2nd floors and hall on 3rd.

 

Convent: Cornerstone, July 16, 1922; occupied January 25, 1923; Blessed Jan. 28, 1923.

 

Rectory:  Purchased with property on May 16, 1917. Moved to point 50 ft. North and 45 East of

Original position. Renovated in Fall of 1917.