Ludlow, Massachusetts – Initially an agrarian community, Ludlow began to develop into a mill town around the time of the Civil War. Many Catholic immigrants relocated to work for Ludlow Manufacturing Associates. The majority of the Portuguese immigrants were resettled from Providence or surrounding communities.
The Great Depression – The Great Depression diminished Ludlow's Portuguese population, as many returned to the homeland with their young families for the sake of survival. It was not long, however, before most families found their way back to Ludlow. Some returned because they were afraid of losing their U.S. citizenship, others because their sons would have to either serve in the Portuguese army or return to their country of birth.
Friends in Christ – Recognizing the great devotion these Catholics had for their faith, Father Chabot of St. John the Baptist Church committed to making the Portuguese community feel welcome. He even learned to speak Portuguese to celebrate Mass. For thirty years these Portuguese immigrants raised funds for a church of their very own while coexisting and being supported by their friends at St. John the Baptist Church. Today, this bond between our churches remains very strong.
A Parish Without Walls– Ludlow saw a resurgence in the Portuguese immigrant population after WWII, and in 1948 Bishop O'Leary granted this community their parish. While visiting from Portugal, Fr. Manuel Rocha became administrator of this newly formed parish. The first Masses were celebrated at the Grémio Lusitano Club.
Raise the Roof – On Labor Day, September 5th 1949, the Our Lady of Fatima Parish was inaugurated with the beloved Fr. Manuel Rocha leading parishioners for the next 30+ years. Over the years, our campus has expanded to include a chapel, shrine, rectory and parish center. We are so blessed and thankful to all our parishioners and friends for their time, generosity and commitment.