Our Lady of Sorrows Sings On: The Sounds of Catholic Worship in Holyoke

Holyoke was originally founded as a prosperous mill town. The first Polish immigrants settled there in 1887, and in 1896 the growing Polish community established Mater Dolorosa Church in order to serve the Polish residents of the region. 

Their choir today is small in comparison to its state in the mid-twentieth century, when it boasted 80 members and was renowned as a high-quality concert choir of the area. They have been featured in operas and musicals, on radio broadcasts, and have released a few CD’s over the years.

Singing and Polishing in Mater Dolorosa parish

Submitted by Phil D. Dupont on Monday, 11/16/2009, at 4:33 AM

I. Finnegan's questions in her final chapter seem to be directly pertinent to my work among the choirs of Mater Dolorosa and Holy Cross.  She asks: "But perhaps music is also in some sense 'special'?  Can we speculate that there may be something unique or additional about music-making which also gives it an additional quality beyond those it shares with other minority pursuits?"  And it seems that the Catholic Church's answer to this question is a definitive "yes".