By Badamkhand Batbold
BU News Service
Our Lady of Good Voyage, a small catholic chapel located on 65 Northern Avenue on the South Boston Waterfront, is relocating.
The chapel, built in 1952, is considered a landmark to the area. For many years it was the only building that stood in the neighborhood.
The current chapel on Northern Avenue will be demolished, but a new chapel will be built on the parallel street, 51 Seaport Blvd. The ceremonial ground-breaking of the new chapel was in November 2014. The actual work on the construction site started in August 2015. Legal issues allegedly halted construction but have since been resolved.
The new location for Our Lady of Good Voyage chapel is set to open by Christmas 2016.
Gerald Souza, who has been the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Good Voyage for the past three months, said some church-goers will be upset with the change, and rightfully so, as the church itself is a holy place and holds both sentiment and historic value.
Souza said he sees the relocation of the chapel as an upgrade to better fit the changing dynamics of the area.
“The initial chapel was founded to meet the needs of longshoremen [whereas] the present chapel is really remaining in existence to meet the needs of the people who will be living and working here and also visiting for conventions and things like that,” Souza said.
Souza said the new location on Seaport Boulevard, the main street linking the South Boston Waterfront and Downtown Boston, is a major improvement to the smaller Northern Avenue address.
After Sunday Mass, Javier Soegaard, 26, a pastoral associate and Lisa Soper, 23, a second grade teacher at a catholic school in South Boston, said they support the relocation of the chapel. A new and bigger church would accommodate a higher volume of people and the door will be facing the financial district, they said.
Soegaard believes this will “create a spiritual safety when [people who live in the neighborhood] are walking home from work to know that they have a home in the church, that there is an open door waiting for them.”