History of Our Parish and of Our School

Father James Baxter, pastor of St. Mary’s Church saw the need for a new parish in Waltham. On January 4, 1928, he bought a lot on the corner of Trapelo Rd. and Bow St.

This new church was situated near three hospitals, Middlesex County Sanitorium, Metropolitan State Hospital and the Fernald School. These institutions were the reason the name was given to the new church. Cardinal William O’Connell, Archbishop of Boston, said that an appropriate name for the church would be Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted. The parish was officially established on April 22, 1930.

In October, 1929, Father Baxter wrote “The new pastor will start free of debt, as I propose to carry the burden myself and pay it off gradually. Our Lady has often been to me a Comforter in affliction, and I am happy to do this, both as an offering at her shrine and as a donation to the diocese.”

In 1956, Father Edward Harrington became pastor of OLCA and served until 1973. In 1957, Eliza Reed and Mr. and Ms. Matteo Grillo made a donation of land across Trapelo Road from the old church and rectory. Father Harrington had a vision of a new and larger church and a school to be built on the land.

On June 7, 1962, the parish obtained a permit to build a new church! The church was completed in 1963. Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston, consecrated the new altar to the Holy Family on September 13, 1963. He enclosed in the altar the relics of the holy martyrs, Agatha and Victoriana.

The construction of the new school building and the church hall began on October 1, 1963. The Sisters of Notre Dame would staff the school. They also made their convent over the school.

In 1986, at the 50th anniversary of the Parish, Pope John Paul II imparted his apostolic blessing on the Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church and wrote that we were united with him because we shared his special love “for the poor, the sick and the suffering.”

The Tree of Knowledge logo was created by Betty Collins, the principal in the mid 1980’s. It has well represented the true spirit of “being rooted in Christ” here at Our Lady’s school for nearly 25 years!

In 1999, we broke ground on the new addition. In September, 2000, the new addition was opened boasting new classrooms, a science lab, music room, chapel, and parish offices.

Cardinal Cushing blessing the cornerstone
of the new church, 1963.

In 2006, Chandra Minor became the new principal. The school has received donations for a new computer lab and SMART Boards. All the text books were updated to the latest copyrights. New programs such as Spanish in every grade, and Pre-K, have opened up our school to more families in the parish and from the community.
In 2008, Father James DiPerri became our pastor. Since then an emphasis on prayer and working together through the intercession of Jesus Christ has brought a new understanding of our Catholic responsibilities to the parish and to our community.
In 2009, Our Lady's School changed its name to Our Lady's Academy to reflect the academic excellence and improvements to the curriculum.

In 2013, Our Lady's Academy completed its re-accreditation process. The accreditation of an institute by New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) indicates that the school meets or exceeds NEASC rigorous standards and criteria in every facet of the school’s programs.  This process was intense and took many hours of work by our dedicated faculty and administration working together gathering data through self-studies over the past 18 months in the following areas:

Mission~ Governance ~ Enrollment ~ Curriculum~ Resources ~
Faculty ~ Evaluation ~ Assessment ~ Health and Safety ~ Infrastructure ~ Finance

The academy was evaluated by a team of seven individuals from all areas of the educational field ranging from assistant superintendents to teachers and by members from the business community. 
Also in 2013, due to increased enrollment, the need for improved safety and security, and the need for more space for parish and school meetings, an extension to the school building was proposed.
Thank You from Fr. Hawker after His 50th Anniversary Celebration
"Sincerest thanks to Fr. Jim DiPerri, the Pastor, Sharon Micco, who coordinated the event, the members of the planning committee, the Knights of Columbus and all who were so generous with their time and talents during the celebration of my 50th anniversary of ordination on Sunday, April 14. A warm word of gratitude, as well, to all of the parishioners who participated in the gathering.  Fifty years after my having celebrated by first Mass here in 1963, it was such a privilege and pleasure to be with you once again. Let us continue to pray for one another."  ~Fr. Hawker

Thank You from Fr. DiPerri after His 25th Anniversary Celebration
I am most grateful for the outpouring of support and kindness on the occasion of my 25th anniversary Mass of priestly ordination. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to all who were able to join me at the anniversary Mass and reception, as well as the support and prayers of many others.
Click here for the full text of Fr. DiPerri's letter.