The Irish Pastoral Centre has always been guided by the mission that solidarity and partnership utilized in the face of hardship, and the bonds of community are rooted in the very best of what it means to be Irish. The Irish, Irish-American, and wider migrant community in Boston continues to be a strong and supportive one, where this mission of solidarity and partnership is embraced. It has been through the power of this community that much positive change has been affected in the last 30 years of the work of the Irish Pastoral Centre.
In the 1990’s, the many Irish and other immigrants who received assistance from the Irish Pastoral Centre led various outreach initiatives through which they could give back to communities in greater Boston. Sr. Veronica described the waves of Irish immigrants at the time as being ‘in great spirit’, stating that there was a palpable energy, and a desire to use this energy to do positive things for their community.
The annual Lemuel Shattuck Shelter cook-out was one of these important community led outreach initiatives. Each July, members of the Irish community would come together to spend a day with the homeless community, sharing a meal together, and enjoying a sing-song and a dance. Sr. Veronica recalls that all it would take would be for one volunteer to ‘round up the others’, and there would be a full-house of eager volunteers ready to assist at the cook-out.
Regular volunteers at the Shattuck Shelter for the Homeless included Cait O’Donoghue, Cait Cotter, Veronica Quinn, James Dolan, Pat Coneely, Maureen Griffin, Barbara and Courtney Murray, Mary Corrigan, and Martin and Mary Carr. The food for the 250 guests was always generously donated by various shops and restaurants such as Lambert’s, the Brighton Stockmarket, Lynch’s Convenience, Flanagan’s Supermarket and Gerard’s in Adam’s Village.
Another community led outreach project was the IPC’s involvement with a home for vulnerable Mothers and their Babies, ‘Bridge over Troubled Waters’. This project enlisted a group of young Irish immigrants to assist at the home, taking care of the children so that the Mothers regularly had time to themselves for some much needed respite.
The Irish community has not only been generous with their time, indicated by various successful fundraising drives that have been coordinated throughout the years. One of the first coordinated fundraising drives took place in 1993, when over $3000 was raised to help relieve Somali families experiencing starvation. Paddy Dalton was one of the key members of the outreach project that helped raise this money through canvassing in bars and restaurants around the city of Boston, encouraging patrons to donate the price of a pint to the cause. Throughout the years since there has been regular canvassing for Irish aid charities, such as GOAL and Trocaire.
These initiatives are the tip of the iceberg in terms of the involvement of immigrants of all walks in supporting communities close to home and much further afield. In 2017, 30 years since the IPC opened its doors, the need for supportive partnerships in the community is greater than ever. The IPC-Boston aims to remain a fixture in the community, to help encourage this collective action and partnership which we hope will continue to challenge inequality and injustice in our society.
Irish Pastoral Centre
15 Rita Road
Dorchester, MA 02124
Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
General Email: Info@ipcboston.org