UPDATED: An open letter to the Saint Kevin property managers — let us say a proper good-bye before the church is demolished

Saint Kevin School Grades 5-8 and "Center" building
Saint Kevin School Grades 5-8 and “Center” building

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Boston City Paper, 3/2014

(Written at the request of a great group of people on the FaceBook group “ST KEVIN PARISH & SCHOOL / UPHAMS CORNER – DORCHESTER MA” — Current Former residents of Uphams Corner and St Kevin’s Parish, welcoming all residents from the 40’s – 80’s)

This is an open letter and formal request to the people in charge of the former Saint Kevin property – we are asking for a chance to walk inside these buildings one last time and say a proper good-bye.

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Where can I pick up the Boston City paper?

The Boston City Paper is a terrific weekly newspaper and I am grateful to editor Paul Feeney for allowing me to be an unpaid contributor since 2006. His generosity with space in his newspaper allows my writing to not only reach a larger audience, but for stories centered on my Dorchester home of twenty-five years, an opportunity to connect with the people who live there!  many thanks Paul!

You can pick up the paper for free at any of these locations:

PAGE_1_091915Dorchester

  • Uphams Corner House of Pizza.
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Grieving the Saint Kevin’s Property

By Robert Gillis
Published in the Boston City Paper 7/2012 and the Foxboro Reporter 8/2012

ived my first 25 years in Dorchester, and while I have moved away, I am still OFD down to my DNA and wanted to share some thoughts about the Saint Kevin property.

As an overview: The church and school were created in the 1940s or so and were kept alive and flourishing by its most famous pastor, the late Father J.

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Celebrating Mom & Pop stores

Als -- the AM Market on Hancock Street circa 1981
Als — the AM Market on Hancock Street circa 1981

by Robert Gillis
Published in the Boston City Paper July 2006

As a child in Dorchester, my career goal for years was to run a small store, because that’s what Dad did. To help me run my “store,” at home, Dad sometimes brought me discarded “real” store items, such as an Open/Closed sign, a “business hours” sign, or little stickers. One time, he even brought home the big “Cotts Soda” clock because the bulb had burned out.

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In loving memory of Father John Joseph Kierce

In loving memory of Father John Joseph Kierce,
pastor of Saint Kevin Church, Uphams Corner, Dorchester for 50 years

by Robert Gillis
published in the Foxboro Reporter, 3/2006 and the Boston City Paper 6/2006

Without exception, every priest I have ever met — every single priest I have ever met in my entire life — has been an inspiration, a role model, and a good person doing a difficult, sometimes Herculean job.

I have laughed with many of them, and I cried with more than a few.

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You can go home again; my visit to Dorchester and Saint Kevin School and Church


by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 6/2003 and the Boston City paper in 2006

It’s Friday afternoon, the last day of my vacation, and I’m feeling nostalgic. I don’t know why, but I can’t get my mind away from my old stomping grounds in Dorchester. My old neighborhood has been on my mind so much that it’s practically a compulsion that I take the only sunny day in recent memory, point the car north on route 95 and head back here I grew up, trusty digital camera at my side.

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The Great Blizzard of 1978, 25 years later

Boston Globe front page from www.blizzardof78.org
Boston Globe front page from www.blizzardof78.org

by Robert Gillis
published in the Foxboro Reporter 2/2003 and the Boston City Paper 2/2013.

There are images that stay with you. Throughout your life, some remain indelible. Certain events that you know are unique even as you live through them: You know that these are the events you’ll never forget. Despite the years, the images remain; every detail still clear.

“Major blizzard. Hurricane force.” Twenty-five years after the storm of the century, twenty-five years after digging out of the worst blizzard the state had ever seen (and the one all future storms would be measured by), no superlative, no description can accurately describe what happened to Massachusetts on the afternoon of Monday, February 6, 1978, and during the amazing week afterward.

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The Old Dorchester Neighborhood


by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter 9/2000 and the Boston City Paper 1/2007

Recently I was out driving with the family, and Mom suggested a tour of the old Dorchester neighborhoods. This wasn’t the first visit to the old home town; I’ve returned there since I sold Nana’s house, and I’ve passed by the three-deckers where we lived several times in the last few years. What made this particular journey to the past so interesting was my reaction was different this time around.

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Memories of an Intensive Care Nursery at Saint Margarets Hospital in Dorchester

Saint Margarets Hospital in Dorchester
by Robert Gillis
Published in the Foxboro Reporter, 7/1997 and in the Boston City Paper 6/2006

A story ran in the Foxboro Reporter a few weeks back that I read with great interest. Allison is a 14 year old Foxboro student volunteering this summer in the maternity department at Sturdy Memorial Hospital. She is one of sixty teen-agers participating in a program that allows them to help out the medical staff, learn, and make friends. Some volunteers even work with the patients.

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Despite problems, Foxboro’s got a lot to offer (my very first op/ed as a regular contributor to the Foxboro Reporter, 4/1996)

Historians note, 2015: after I wrote my first full-length piece about the Foxboro senior center in early 1996, this piece was my very first “regular” op Ed for the Foxboro reporter. The editor at the time suggested I submit three pieces and we would see how it goes. Nearly 20 years later, I am still a regular contributor for the reporter.

For my very first op-ed, I wanted to talk about Foxboro and how much I love the town.

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