History of Our Parish and Our School
Father James Baxter, pastor of a local church, saw the need for a new parish in Waltham. On January 28, 1922 This new church became a reality. The church was situated near three hospitals, Middlesex County Sanitorium, Metropolitan State Hospital and the Fernald School. As a result, Cardinal William O’Connell, Archbishop of Boston, decided that an appropriate name for the church would be Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted (OLCA). The parish was officially established on April 22, 1930.
In October, 1929, Fr. 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, Fr. 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. Fr. 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 staffed the school, and they made their convent above the school.
In 1986, at the 50th anniversary of the Parish, Pope John Paul II imparted his apostolic blessing on 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, the parish broke ground on a new addition. In September, 2000, the new addition was opened, boasting new classrooms, a science lab, music room, chapel, and parish offices. The classrooms became our PreK and Kindergarten classrooms.
In 2006, Chandra Minor became the principal. Shortly after, the school received donations to open a new computer lab and provide SMARTboards in every classroom. All the text books were updated to the latest copyrights. New programs, such as our PreK, the offering of foreign languages in every grade, and increasing use of technology, have opened up our school to more families in the parish and from around the community.
In 2008, Fr. James DiPerri became pastor of the parish. 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 continuing improvements to the curriculum. As the years have progressed, the school has gradually become a top school of distinction, offering a full range of programs–both core and enrichment–to enhance student learning and success. Today the school boasts an increase in enrollment of more than 50% over the last several years, and has recently completed yet another building addition that will further add to the quality of life by providing a comfortable Welcome area and much-needed meeting space for both the school and the parish as a whole, along with additional classroom space on the second floor.