Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book: Who Shall Take Care of Our Sick?

Recently, I saw a reference to a 2005 book by Bernadette McCauley, Who Shall Take Care of Our Sick? Roman Catholic Sisters and the Development of Catholic Hospitals in New York City. Amazon lists copies of this book. One does not have to pay a collector's price for this slim, very informative volume.  I have read the book and continue to praise it.  Not exactly a history of the Catholic hospitals in our city, it gives clear and insightful analysis of the reasons for and practice of the hospital apostolate from 1849 until the end of the 20th century.
Several constants show up in the book.  The religious sisters ran and staffed the hospitals, and physicians chose and performed the treatments. Fund-raising was usually the responsibility of the sisters. The types of patients and ailments changed with the quickly changing world of our city. A particular decade's problems could not be answered with out-dated treatment.
The following Catholic hospitals served the people of Brooklyn:
St. Peter's, at Henry and Congress Streets, was founded in 1859-1862, through the efforts of the pastor of St. Peter's parish. The Franciscan Sisters of the Poor (established in Germany by Frances Schervier) provided administration and staff.
St. Mary's Hospital, at St. Mark's Avenue and Prospect Place, was founded by Bishop John Loughlin. Sisters of Charity (Mother  Seton's group) administered and staffed this diocesan hospital and its branch, Holy Family Hospital, Dean Street, where Mom was born.
St. Catherine's Hospital, Bushwick, was founded by Dominican Sisters from Regensburg, Germany, the same congregation that had arrived at Most Holy Trinity parish, Williamsburg, in the 1850's. Please see the seven-minute video, History of St. Catherine Hospital and Nursing School 1869-1965.
St. Cecilia's parish established a maternity hospital, which was soon turned over to the administration of nearby St. Catherine's Hospital and renamed St. Catherine's Maternity Hospital.  Please see this informative article from Brownstoner. Several friends of mine were born there.
In 2016, Brooklyn has no Catholic hospital. The sole Catholic hospital in the five boroughs is Calvary Hospital in The Bronx.

Cathedral College, Washington & Atlantic Avenues

I have only walked by this large, impressive building on the northeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and Washington Avenue, but a new item in N. Y. Curbed (a website with real estate articles) talks about the renovation and offering of one condo in the building.  The link is HERE.
If I can reconstruct history from my fallible memory, Cathedral College was a minor seminary of the diocese of Brooklyn when "minor seminary" included four years of high school and two years of college.  Many of the students were not residents, as is true at the current Cathedral Prep in Elmhurst, Queens.  Priestly training was in the 6+6 format.  About 1980, the Archdiocese of New York and the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre switched to 4+4+4, that is, four years of high school, four years of college, and four years of theology.  In 2016, New York, Brooklyn, and Rockville Centre send most of their theology students to Dunwoodie in Yonkers. There are few high school seminaries in the United States.
Many of the priests who taught at Cathedral College at 555 Washington Avenue lived there and assisted in parishes on weekends. The people of the neighborhood suffered some bad years. A priest related how he returned to the college one evening to be met by a homicide unit and a victim in the courtyard pictured in the article.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

St. Laurence, Flatlands & Van Siclen Aves.

I have not yet visited St. Laurence parish church on the northeast corner of Flatlands Avenue and Van Sicklen Avenue in East New York, near Spring Creek Towers and the Gateway Shopping Center.  The parish website is linked HERE.  For Mass schedule, parish office phone and address, please see the parish website.
Flatlands Avenue extends five miles across southeast Brooklyn.  At Flatbush Avenue, it passes the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas.  In Canarsie, it passes Our Lady of Miracles and Holy Family. The church of St. Laurence is a mile east of Holy Family.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

dotCommonweal: the Borough of Former Churches

The editors and contributors of Commonweal magazine have a blog called dotCommonweal. On 2.3.2016, Dominic Preziosi, Catholic Brooklyn resident has presented an insightful essay, "In the Borough of Former Churches," linked HERE.  He addresses migration and the closure of churches. Readers' comments note the closure of other religious buildings and the experiences of other cities.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Brooklyn Oratory to minister at Assumption

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of January 6, 2016, carries a lengthy news article with the headlines "Brooklyn Oratory, Assumption Church enter agreement to expand ministry; Oratory takes charge of Assumption's pastoral responsibilities January 31."  The article is linked HERE.
The article makes clear that this is not a merger of parishes.
The article gives an extensive history of these two parishes and that of St. Charles Borromeo. Please use the link at the right for photos on my older posts about these three churches.

Monday, October 19, 2015

John J. O'Malley, architect

In my visits to Brooklyn parishes, I have seldom encountered a sign or plaque giving the name of the architect who designed the church.  Fortunately, the Tablet has now run an article about the prolific architect John J. O'Malley, 1915-1970.  Please see the article HERE.  The occasion was his 100th birthday, with Mr. O'Malley's descendants visiting Cathedral College in Douglaston, which he designed.
Much of Mr. O'Malley's work is evident in circular churches and chapels in Queens.  A Wikipedia article lists his extensive accomplishments, including apparently some renovations or extensions. It appears that his brand-new churches (contrasted with renovations) date from 1950 until his death in 1970.  Archbishop Molloy died in 1956, Bishop McEntegart retired in 1968, and Bishop Mugavero replaced him.  
Many thanks to The Tablet and the O'Malley family for publicizing his life and work!
According to the Wikipedia article, he designed the following churches in the borough of Brooklyn:
St. Sylvester, Grant Avenue, City Line, obviously built in the O'Malley era.
St. Athanasius, Bay Parkway, 1963.  Note the unobstructed view of the altar and the bright, colorful interior and windows.
St. Gabriel,  Linwood St. and New Lots Ave., obviously built in the O'Malley era.  The parish cluster is now called Mary, Mother of the Church.  This interior photo shows his style, with unobstructed view.  The parish has a Saturday vigil Mass and three Masses on Sunday.
St. Mary Mother of Jesus, 1968, replacing a church destroyed by fire. A Tablet article dated 6.13.14 describes the fire and the beautiful new church, circular and wheelchair-accessible.
St. Finbar, Bath Beach, but the church was built before 1912.  Mr. O'Malley may have designed the former school across the street.
--- Sts. Simon and Jude, listed as Bayside (Queens), but I think Gravesend (Brooklyn). There is a resemblance to the Douglaston seminary frontage.
And other parish buildings:
St. Nicholas High School, Catherine St., Williamsburg, now renovated and in use by Queen of the Rosary Catholic Academy.
St. Vincent Ferrer elementary school, Flatbush, now used for other purposes.
St. Bernard parish school, near Bergen Beach.  This page names John O'Malley's firm as architect of the school, which opened in 1963 and continues in 2015 as a Catholic academy. Across the street is a circular church, but the parish history does not give a date.  It may have been built after Mr. O'Malley's sudden death in 1970.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

St. Thomas Aquinas, Park Slope

The photos and text below are from when I visited this parish in 2010.  Much has changed since then. The church is red brick, not painted off-white as in my photo.  The interior is more colorful. Please see The Tablet article of June 18, 2015, for a complete description of the extensive renovations.  The article includes an excellent slide show.

St. Thomas Aquinas church is located on the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue (to the left) and Ninth Street (with bus B61 at the right). Its mailing address is 249 Ninth Street, Brooklyn NY 11215, telephone 718-768-9471. The parish website is linked here. In 2008, Holy Family parish on 14th Street was merged with St. Thomas Aquinas.

The parish was established in 1884. If I read the history on the website correctly, this church was dedicated in 1886.

These clips for men's caps and hats appeared in many churches in the last century.

A helpful folder available inside the church offers suggestions for prayer. "The doors of our church are open all day as a symbol that all are welcomed to enter and pray!" St. Thomas Aquinas is depicted with a scroll on which is written "Joy is the noblest human act."
Regarding that axiom, an interesting link is here.

This building at Fourth Avenue and Eighth Street was the parish school from 1919 to 2005. It is now rented to the New York City Board of Education. There are at least several public school buildings with crosses in our city. The Brentwood Josephites taught in this parish since 1884.
In Brooklyn there are two parishes named St. Thomas Aquinas. The other one is in Flatlands, established almost at the same time, but before Flatlands was part of the city of Brooklyn.