St John the Evangelist

St. John the Evangelist parish, like the child Jesus, grew from a humble beginning.  Its parishioners walked to their first mass in the cold basement of the Vittori-Rocci Italian American Veterans Post over wooden planks laid across mud puddles.  It was July 24, 1955, and Masses continued there until late the next year.

The parish was actually founded and incorporated three weeks ealier, on July 4, 1955, by Archbishop Richard J. Cushing of the Archdioses of Boston.  It was establised in the heart of North Beverly to serve the spiritual needs of the expanding community.  A small house served as the rectory, and daily Mass was celebrated in an adjacent garage.

Under the untiring guidance of the first pastor, Father Patrick J. Curint, St. John's quickly grew as a community of faith.  the Holy name Socieety and Ladies Sodality were established, altar servers, ushers, and members of a Tabernacle Society were recruited, and Sunday School classes began for children.  The first census revealed that 540 families became members of the church, and they joined fund-raising programs for the bulding of the new church/school/convent complex.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held on Sunday, November 11, 1955, and ten months later on September 20, 1956, two grades opened at St. John's school, staffed by Sisters of Notre Dame deNamur, with Sister Alberta as principal. The cornerstone was blessed two months later, on December 2, and mass was celebrated for the first time on December 22 when Archbishop Cushing celebrated a Pontifical High Mass.

After 13 years as parish shepherd, Father Curtin was transferred to St. James Church in Salem, and his successor, Father George F. Everard, became pastor on May 1, 1968.  Under his gentle pastoring, the parish continued to grow in numbers and activities, and two major renovation projects were undertaken--the first completed in 1983 when the pews were realigned and the sanctuary redesigned and extended, and the second in 1988 when work was completed on the sanctuary and the altar area.

Father Everard passed away on June 5, 1988, after a lengthly illness, and Father George Butera took over as the third pastor on August 9, 1988.  Under his enthusiastic leadership, the parish has continued to progress and the school has regained its vitality and growth after a dip in enrollment in the late 1980's.  More than 200 student now attend classes in kindergarten through Grade 8.

St. John's has been blessed since its humble geginning, from the hardworking families who scorned mud and cold to build a parish, to the hundreds of active and energetic parishioners who today gro together as a family community.

WE look forward in 1992 with great hope for a future of continuing growth and joy, surrounded by love and strengthened by the grace of God.




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