History

Woonsocket's first Roman Catholic Church, St. Charles Borromeo, was founded in 1846. The orginal church building burned in 1862. The building you see today, designed by Patrick Keely, was built from 1868-1870. Keely designed hundred of Roman Catholic churches, including the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence, as well as St. Mary's in Newport. The church building was dedicated on October 15, 1870, and Consecrated on August 10, 1890.

Significant changes to the interior of the building were made by Pator Rev. Mahoney from 1894 - 1907. The stained glass windows were installed in 1906/1907. Our windows were made in Munich, Germany by FX Zettler Studio. Our current Stations of the Cross were installed during the same period. In the 1990s a local artist was commished to paint our Stations. All the windows and Stations of the Cross are detailed in The Church of Saint Charles Borromeo book below.

In 1914, during the Pastorate of Fr. Cassidy, the new marble main altar and the two side altars (Mary and St. Joseph) were installed.

In 1928, during the Pastorate of Fr. Holland (see his book, St. Charles Old and New below), the side galleries were removed. The new organ was installed by the Kilgen Company of St. Louis, a gift of Mr. James Mullen. A new marble pulpit was installed with an oak canopy. The upper-sanctuary murals (again, see The Church of Saint Charles Borromeo book below) were painted by Munich artist Rudoplh Schmalzl. The center mural depicts Mary with Jesus with Saint Charles Borromeo and Saint Francis of Assissi kneeling below. The left mural shows Saint Patrick and Saint Bridget. The right mural is Saint Monica and Saint Augustine.

The Saint Charles school, which once stood on the corner of Earle and Daniel's street, was dedicated on July 4, 1898. In the following century, it became the first parocial school in the city to be leased to the public school department. The school was run by the Sisters of Mercy for 100 years.

In 2016, after Fr. Finnegan's retirement, St. Charles Borromeo "clustered" with All-Saints Parish. St. Charles Borromeo Church remains open, with Fr. Dennis Reardon served as pastor for both parishes.

In 2018, the rectory on North Main Street was sold, and the church building was re-assigned the new physical address of 8 Daniels Street by the City of Woonsocket. We currently share the office with All-Saints on Rathbun Street.

In November 2018, Fr. Reardon retired and Deacon Robert Gallo was assigned as the new administrator of both St. Charles and All Saints.

Effective July 1, 2019, St. Charles and All Saints welcomed Rev. Joseph Upton as our new administrator and full-time priest. Deacon Gallo, who has been with us since November, will be retired from active ministry after his 43 years of service.

During the summer of 2019, a move to suppress the parish was put in motion. Our final Mass was celebrated on January 12, 2020. The building remains closed indefinitely, but will be available for funerals, weddings and other services as pastoral needs demand.

In February 2020, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has appointed a special Task Force, including former members of St. Charles parish, to study and offer recommendations as to the future use of the St. Charles Borromeo Church building.

In April, 2020, it was announced that Bishop Tobin rescinded his decree of suppression and executed a new decree of extinctive union with neighboring All Saints Parish. Saint Charles Borromeo church building will be a secondary worship site of All Saints Parish. The parish boundaries of All Saints have been redrawn to include the former Saint Charles parish territory. Please see below Bishop Tobin’s new decree and an accompanying letter from Fr. Upton which were both mailed to all households of All Saints Parish and the former Saint Charles Parish.

In July 2020, Fr. Upton was reassigned to a parish in Warren, and All Saints was yolked with St. Joseph's Parish in Woonsocket. St. Joseph's Pastor, Fr. Ryan Simas, is now the administrator of St. Charles Borromeo.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact .


St. Charles Old and New
(1928 - courtesy of Woonsocket Harris Public Library)

Historical Sketches of Saint Charles Borromeo Parish
(1986 - courtesy of Woonsocket Harris Public Library)

The Church of Saint Charles Borromeo
(published by parishioners in 2000)