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La Semaine Franco-Americaine Lowell




First Recipient of the Franco-American of the Year
Honoring Armand W. LeMay

On June 28 of 2014, Dracut’s Paul Marion posted these words (among others) on the RichardHowe.com blog about a public dedication held that morning for the Armand W. LeMay Garden at the corner of University and Gershom avenues in Pawtucketville:


“About 100 people gathered to share in the recognition of one of the most natural politicians that Lowell has ever seen. For 20 years, he served on the City Council, including a term as mayor. For eight years, he was a commissioner of a federal agency called the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission. He held high administrative posts in state government. For many years, he successfully operated the LeMay Company, a construction firm. Armand was one of the originators of the FrancoAmerican Day Committee, which has grown into an annual weeklong celebration. He played a critical role in the development of both Lowell Heritage State Park and Lowell National Historical Park. Next time you walk on Vandenberg Esplanade on the north bank of the Merrimack or bring visiting relatives on a historic trolley ride downtown, say thanks to Armand LeMay for the thousands of hours he invested in the development of these resources for Lowell and for his leadership in preserving our cultural heritage.” No better words could be added to Paul’s, except perhaps, that Armand has always been and remains “un homme vraiment bon.” The Franco-American Day Committee would like to thank Mr. Armand LeMay for over 50 years of service to Lowell’s Franco-American community.




 History of Franco-American Week




Lowell, Massachusetts, is known as the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. However, many are unaware of the contributions made by the French-speaking Canadian immigrants, mostly from Quebec and the Maritime Provinces, that nurtured the growth and development of this "mill town". One of the Catholic feast days that these immigrants continued to celebrate was June 24th, The Feast of Saint John the Baptist, the Patron Saint of Quebec. In 1971, a group of Franco-Americans decided to reconsecrate itself to the expression of the same heritage. Lowell City Councilor Armand LeMay was the founder and first president of the Franco-American Day Committee, and June 24th was officially designated as Franco-American Day.


 

Sunday, June 23, 2024, 12:00 pm

Mass in French honoring St. Jean Baptiste (French/English worship aid provided.) At Immaculate Conception Church, 144 E. Merrimack St., Lowell, MA. Light refreshments and naming of the Greater-Lowell FrancoAmerican of the Year will follow in the downstairs church hall. (Stair-free access on Fayette St. for upper-church handicap drop-off. The downstairs lift is accessible from the church parking lot, using the door closest to E. Merrimack St.)


Monday, June 24, 2024, 10:00 am

Flag Raising at Lowell City Hall, followed by coffee and donuts. (Outdoors if weather is favorable; in City Hall if rainy.) Monday, June 24, 2024, 6:30 pm Vesper Service honoring St. Jean Baptiste at the Lourdes Grotto, 357 Pawtucket St., Lowell, behind the Franco Residences. (Bring your own chair!) A wine and Cheese Social will follow in the Community Room of the Franco Residences afterward.


Wednesday, June 26, 2024 6:30-8:00 pm

Charles Gargiulo reading from his popular memoir Legends of Little Canada; Paul Marion reading from his own and Ann Fox Chandonnet’s poetry in the Dracut Public Library Community Room, 28 Arlington St, Dracut, MA. Q & A to follow.


Thursday, June 27, 2024 6:30-8:30 pm

Family Bingo in French and English, at St. Rita’s Church Hall, 158 Mammoth Rd, Lowell, MA. Bingo cards $2 each or three for $5. Cash prizes for each game! Free snacks and beverages! Saturday, June 29. 2024 6:00-10:00 pm French Quadrilles and Contra Dances at the East End Social Club, 15 W 4th St, Lowell, MA. Free admission! Live music from Don and Cindy Roy of Maine, with Bill Olson calling! No partner or experience is needed! Free snacks and water! Cash bar!


Sunday, June 30. 2024 2:00-4:00 pm Lowell Poutine Picnic at St. Rita’s Parking Lot and Lawn, 158 Mammoth Rd, Lowell, MA. Games and music! Food — including poutine — is available from Wicked Tasty Food Truck of Nashua! Chairs and tables are provided from the church hall, but bring your own if you prefer. The church hall will be open in case of rain.


For more information: cmprovencher@gmail.com

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