About Our Parish

The Roman Catholic Parish of St. Thecla, founded in 1964, is located in Pembroke, MA.  Until 1964, no Catholic Church existed in the Town of Pembroke.

Our History

Property on Washington Street was purchased by the Archdiocese of Boston from the Smith family, and on December 13, 1963, Richard Cardinal Cushing placed the cornerstone of St. Thecla Church.  Over the next six months, town residents saw an unusual piece of architecture rise from the ground.

The roof was formed on the ground.  It is a solid piece of concrete, weighing thirty five tons.  It is six inches thick at the base and three inches at the rounded top.  It was raised in a two hour process to its present height by sixteen jacks.  With no interior columns, worshippers may enjoy unobstructed views of the entire church.  Architect David Shields designed a sky dome and stained glass windows so that sunlight could pour throughout.

On July 19, 1964, Bishop Jeremiah Minihan, accompanied by an honor guard of Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus, blessed and dedicated the building and celebrated Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The population of Pembroke in 1964 was five thousand with about three hundred families registered in the parish.  The parish hall, at the rear of the building, became a popular gathering place for all residents.  Since it had the distinction of being the largest hall in town, members of the police and fire departments held their annual balls there.  Many dances, fundraisers and parties, as well as the Pembroke Bicentennial Ball, were held at the hall.


St. Thecla

According to a popular second century tale, Acts of Paul and Thecla, she was a native of Iconomium who was so impressed by the preaching of St. Paul on virginity that she broke off her engagement to marry Thamyris to live a life of virginity.  Paul was ordered to be scourged and banished from the city for his teaching, and Thecla was ordered burned to death.  When a storm providentially extinguished the flames, she escaped with Paul and went with him to Antioch. There she was condemned to wild beasts in the arena when she violently resisted the attempt of Syriarch Alexander to kidnap her, but again escaped when the beasts did no harm to her. She rejoined Paul at Myra in Lycia, dressed as a boy, and was commissioned by him to preach the Gospel. She did for a time in iconium and then became a recluse in a cave at Meriamlik near Seleucia. She lived as a hermitess there for the next seventy-two years and died there (or in Rome, where she was miraculously transported when she found that Paul had died and was later buried near his tomb). The tale had tremendous popularity in the early Church but is undoubtedly a pious fiction and was labeled apocryphal by St. Jerome. Her feast day is September 23.St. Thecla


About Our Parish

Deeply committed to Jesus Christ, we endeavor to become a unified community of faith, worship, and service. We strive to be a warm, welcoming and caring parish in which the gifts and talents of all, young and old, are recognized and graciously used to nourish others.


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