St. Bridget’s Church in Abington, thought to be the oldest wooden Catholic church in the south suburbs, will celebrate its 150th anniversary this fall, beginning with a concert Sept. 15 featuring famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan.
Jan Prall, a lifelong parishioner whose roots with the church date back to her great-grandfather, said the parish bulletin has boasted for decades of being the oldest wooden Catholic church, though it is difficult to confirm it. But, she said, many Catholic churches built 150 years ago were made of stone or brick.
She said the church at 455 Plymouth St., which can hold more than 600 people, will make a beautiful setting for the concert, which was nearly sold out a few weeks after they began selling tickets before and after Masses.
Prall said a parishioner’s brother is good friends with Tynan and was able to help organize the concert, which will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. that Sunday.
“It will be fantastic,” said the Rev. James M. Mahoney, who has been pastor of the church for seven years.
Prall and Mahoney said the church was dedicated on Nov. 26, 1863, the same day as the first national Thanksgiving as proclaimed by president Abraham Lincoln.
Other events being held to commemorate the sesquicentennial include a dinner and dance gala on Nov. 15 and an anniversary Mass on Nov. 17 at 11:30 a.m., followed by a reception in the parish hall.
Mahoney said that religious leaders from other faiths in town will have special seating at the Tynan concert and that all are welcome to take part in the church’s anniversary activities.
Mahoney said St. Bridget’s, the largest church in Abington, has a lively and generous community, hosting the largest St. Vincent de Paul Society food pantry in the area.
The church chose to hold a few special events to celebrate the 150th year, he said, rather than many over the entire year.
Prall joked that you can tell the concert was a big deal, since bingo is canceled for the night.