St. James the Greater

This profile was last updated in 2009

Activities and Schedule

English: Saturday 4:30 P.M., Sunday 7:30, 8:30, and 11:30 A.M. and 5:00 P.M., Monday through Friday 7:30 A.M. and 12:10 P.M.; Cantonese: Sunday 10:00 A.M.; Mandarin: First Saturday of the month, 6:00 P.M.


Located in the heart of Chinatown, St. James the Greater was established in 1854 to accommodate the rapidly growing Irish Catholic immigrant population in downtown Boston. Today Irish Americans still constitute part of the church membership, but with the influx of Chinese immigrants to Boston during the twentieth century St. James adapted to integrate its new Asian neighbors. In 1946, Archbishop Cushing assigned the Maryknoll Sisters (the first American Catholic foreign mission society) to St. James to facilitate missionary and community work among the Asian immigrant community. Many of those sisters had been missionaries in Guangdong province and were therefore fluent in Cantonese and familiar with Chinese customs.


Today, the Chinese Catholic Pastoral Center continues the Maryknoll Sisters’ legacy at St. James, missionizing and providing social services to community members. St. James offers numerous activities throughout the week; please call the church office for more information.

The Boston Chinese Catholic Community serves all Chinese Catholics from the Archdiocese of Boston even though its hosts/anchor church is at St. James the Greater, Boston (Chinatown), Massachusetts. The majority of BCCC members come from the Greater Boston area, but some live as far south as Mansfield, Brockton, Randolph and Rockland; as far west as Marlborough, Framingham and Sudbury; and as far north as Lowell, and Nashua, New Hampshire. BCCC has a registered membership list of over 300 families consisting of more than 1,000 people. The predominant dialect is Cantonese, followed by Mandarin, Toishanese, and Fujianese.