Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our Lady of Loreto, Brownsville

At the corner of Pacific and Sackman Streets, in Ocean Hill, Brownsville, or East New York, is the church of Our Lady of Loreto, by Italians a century ago. An excellent story about this parish appeared in the New York Times, December 29, 2008, titled "A Church that held the neighborhood's heart," link here.
The location is just south of Atlantic Avenue, close to the eastbound platform of the Long Island Rail Road's East New York station.
The parish school closed in 1988.
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On 4.21.2016, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle published a lengthy article about the status of the church of Our Lady of Loreto.  Here is the link: Our Lady of Loreto is an Ocean Hill Cultural Treasure.
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In February of 2017, the activities of several organizations to save the edifice continue, as this website attests: link HERE.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

St Ambrose, Tompkins Ave.

On the southwest corner of Tompkins and DeKalb Avenues is Mt. Pisgah church and school, formerly the parish and school of St. Ambrose. About 1978, the congregation of St. Ambrose parish was moved into the smaller buildings of Our Lady of Monserrate, a few blocks south on Tompkins Avenue at Vernon Avenue. It seems that in January, 2008, that combined parish was itself handed over to All Saints, at Throop and Flushing Avenues.
For a discussion of the church building that was St. Ambrose, see this article from the Brownstoner and, more importantly, the comments below the article.
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North of St. Ambrose is the Brooklyn Triangle redevelopment zone, the subject of dispute as described (how accurately?) in this Daily News article of 11.26.2008.
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Men and women of the parish faithful appear on a marvelous website here, replete with pages and pages of photos. The Sisters of St. Joseph staffed the school for decades. St. Ambrose school closed in 1973, according to the diocesan website. Sadly, even the Baptist Mt. Pisgah Christian Academy shows weak numbers, with only fourteen students in 8th grade.



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Friday, October 24, 2008

Newspaper: Brooklyn Catholic

I chose the name "Brooklyn Catholic" for this blog for directness and clarity. Now I have learned that a four-page weekly newspaper, the Brooklyn Catholic, was published from February 20, 1869, until the death of an editor in 1871. Source: John K. Sharp, "History of the Diocese of Brooklyn, 1853-1953," 2 vols., Fordham University Press, 1954. On page 240 of Vol. 1, Mr. Sharp says it was Brooklyn's first Catholic paper. Other Manhattan-based papers preceded it.
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Please click on Comments (in green above) for an important note from a reader.




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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Marketing of St. Elias, Greenpoint

Walking around Greenpoint in 2008, I was unaware that I passed close to the site of St. Elias Catholic church at 145 Kent Street. (The church was up for sale then, but it did not sell.)
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Please see this link to Curbed in February, 2012, with photos and narrative.  In October, 2012, I cannot determine the status.

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This link has many comments, some of which explain that the church, once Protestant, was purchased by Catholics of the Byzantine-Ruthenian eparchy of Passaic, probably in the mid-twentieth century.  

Monday, October 20, 2008

St. Mary Star of the Sea



On the east side of Court Street in South Brooklyn or Carroll Gardens is the church of St. Mary Star of the Sea. The mailing address is 467 Court St., Brooklyn NY 11231, telephone 718-625-2270. The parish website is here.
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For decades, the Dominican Sisters staffed the parish school, which closed in 1988. Adjacent to the church is a building which appears to have been the parish school now signed "Blue Feather School." The parish was established in 1853, apparently by Fr. David Bacon, pastor at Assumption. In "Brooklyn by Name," page 70, the authors Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss point out that Al Capone married Mae Coughlin here in 1919.
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Please note the comment (link above photos) which states that the Sisters of Charity taught the girls and the Franciscan Brothers the boys.  Thanks for the correction, June, 2013.


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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sts. Cyril and Methodius, Greenpoint




The mailing address for the parish of Sts. Cyril and Methodius is 150 Dupont Street, Brooklyn NY 11222, telephone 718-389-4424. Polish Vincentian priests staff the parish. The website is here. Both photos were taken on the Eagle Street side of the parish property, which is mid-block between Manhattan Avenue and McGuinness Blvd. The parish school closed in 1998.



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Thanks to Noirin of Co. Mayo for finding this description within the parade instructions for the 2013 Pulaski Day parade:
SS. CYRIL & METHODIUS PARISH LOCATED IN GREENPOINT, NY, WAS FOUNDED IN 1916 BY A GROUP OF POLISH GENTLEMEN, WHO APPEALED TO BISHOP CHARLES MCDONNELL FOR HELP.
HIS EXCELLENCY ASSIGNED REV. EMIL STRENSKI THE TASK OF STARTING THE NEW PARISH. THE FIRST MASS OF THE NEWLY FORMED PARISH WAS CELEBRATED ON OCTOBER 14TH, 1917. THE PARISH SCHOOL OPENED ITS DOORS THREE YEARS LATER, IN THE FALL OF 1920. THE PARISH IS STILL A VIBRANT PARISH EVEN TO THIS DAY, EVEN THOUGH IT ENCOUNTERED MANY HARD TIMES THROUGH THE YEARS, NAMELY WWI, THE GREAT DEPRESSION, AND WWII, WHICH IN THE END ONLY MADE THE PARISH THAT MUCH STRONGER.
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IN 1939, ST. COLUMBKILLE, A FELLOW GREENPOINT PARISH, FELL ON VERY HARD TIMES DUE TO LACK OF PARISHIONERS AND IT WAS REV. MROZINSKI, THE PASTOR OF S.S. CYRIL & METHODIUS AT THE TIME, WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR MERGING THE TWO PARISHES. THE CURRENT CHURCH STANDS ON THE SITE OF ST. COLUMBKILLE, LOCATED AT 161 EAGLE ST. IN GREENPOINT, BROOKLYN.
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IN 1936, THE PARISH’S SUNDAY SCHOOL WAS ESTABLISHED SO THAT GRAMMAR SCHOOL SPIRITUAL EDUCATION. THE CCD PROGRAM WHICH IS NOW HELD ON FRIDAY’S AND SATURDAY’S IN POLISH IS STILL GOING STRONG AND CONTINUES TO GROW EVERY YEAR. IN ADDITION, THE PARISH HOSTS A POLISH SATURDAY SCHOOL, WHICH ALSO CONTINUES TO GROW IN NUMBERS EACH AND EVERY YEAR. IT OFFERS THE YOUTH OF OUR PARISH AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY AND CULTURE OF POLAND. IN 1996, THE PRIESTS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE MISSIONS OF ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CAME TO OUR PARISH.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

St. Anthony of Padua - St. Alphonsus, Greenpoint



The parish of St. Anthony of Padua was established in 1858. The architect for this second church was the prolific and skilled Patrick Charles Keely. See links at right. Also see the excellent architectural evaluation of this church by Francis Morrone in "An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn."
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The mailing address for this parish is 862 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11222, telephone 718-383-3339. The parish has an informative website, linked here, and a Facebook page.  Two Carmelites of Mary Immaculate from Kerala, India, are the parish priests.
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I must thank Msgr. Sean Ogle and blogger Pat McNamara for explaining that this parish was named by a Conventual Franciscan, Fr. Joseph Brunneman, as linked here. Later, the parish of St. Alphonsus was established nearby, but it was merged with St. Anthony of Padua in 1976. The school closed in 2006. 
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For a summary of Fr. Patrick O'Hare, pastor from 1883 to 1926, please see this Historic Greenpoint link.  The piece is written by the historian Geoffrey Cobb, who yesterday (2.27.2016) made an excellent presentation of Greenpoint history for the New York Irish History Roundtable.



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St. Stanislaus Kostka, Greenpoint



Each weekend nine Masses are celebrated at St. Stanislaus Kostka church, the most of the six Catholic churches in Greenpoint. Also, this parish hosts Greenpoint's sole Catholic elementary school, St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Academy, with an enrollment of about 240.  The parish apparently teaches 235 more in religious ed. Past numbers were probably much higher. The parish was established in 1896 for Polish immigrants, who continue to arrive in Greenpoint even in the 21st century. From what I heard on the streets of Greenpoint, Polish is second to English. Polish Vincentian Fathers serve in this parish.
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The mailing address of the parish is 607 Humboldt St., Brooklyn, NY 11222, telephone 718-388-0170. The parish website is linked here. The parish Facebook page, kept up-to-date, is linked here.  The school's address is 12 Newell St., telephone 718-383-1970. 
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Another blogger, Andrew, has posted excellent photos of the church here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Holy Family, 14th Street, Park Slope



The parish of Holy Family was established in 1880 for German Catholics, the same year that another Holy Family parish was established on Flatlands Avenue, Canarsie! A third Holy Family parish was established for Slovaks in 1905 in Greenpoint. The parish school here closed in 1978. The church in the photo was built in 1928.






Please click on the word Comments above the photo for interesting memories.
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Holy Family parish, 14th Street, has been merged with that of St. Thomas Aquinas, 9th Street, under one pastor. The website for the merged parish is linked here and a parish blog is linked here. Neither location offers a parish elementary school. It seems that Mass is offered at Holy Family once a week, 9 a.m. Sundays.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

St. Brigid, Ridgewood


St. Brigid's parish, at St. Nicholas Avenue and Linden Street, Ridgewood or Bushwick, served Catholics a hundred years ago, mainly Irish and German. Frescoes depict Irish saints, but some of the stained glass windows bear German memorial names. At present, the parish celebrates many ancestries with a collection of flags from the Caribbean and Latin America.
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The mailing address of St. Brigid's church is 409 Linden St., Brooklyn NY 11237, telephone 718-821-1690. The parish website is linked HERE.
---St. Brigid Catholic Academy, seen at the right, has the mailing address 438 Grove Street, Brooklyn NY 11237, telephone 718-821-1477.  The school's website is linked here.

Purpose of this blog

On Google's Blogger, there is an efficient system of labeling posts, which leads to easy and extensive indexing. I propose to wander about Brooklyn's Catholic parishes and on this blog sort them by labels. Obviously, a community of believers is more than their historic church building, but the buildings do contain memories of worship, baptisms and weddings years ago or recently. Many friends have described for me their experiences of growing up or working in Brooklyn. Also, I rode many of the transit lines through the borough (streetcar, el, trackless trolley, and bus) and observed many of its spires. A ride on the J train or almost any bus is enough to convince a tourist that Brooklyn is the Borough of Churches. As Brooklyn hosts about 150 Catholic parishes, this blog will probably remain incomplete. For a better survey of this topic, please see this excellent 2003 book of history and photos, Diocese of Immigrants.
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One of the puzzles I hope to solve is which Roman Catholic churches were sold to other Christian communities as houses of worship.
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The following parish churches seem to have been closed or merged with other parishes: St. Ann, St. George, St. Ambrose, St. Alphonsus, St. Benedict, St. Bernard, St. Casimir, St. Columbkille, St. Edward, Fourteen Holy Martyrs, St. Leonard of Port Maurice, St. Lucy, St. Mary of the Angels, Nativity of Our Blessed Lord, Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Stanislaus Martyr, and St. Peter.
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To offer a comment or correction, please use the comment link after each post, or email me at cjmcmann (at) msn.com, using the word Brooklyn in the subject. Thank you. Joe

St. Joseph Patron of the Universal Church, Bushwick






The mailing address of St. Joseph's parish is 185 Suydam St., Brooklyn NY 11221, telephone 718-386-0175. Its website is linked HERE.
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The parish of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, is known colloquially as St. Joseph, Suydam Street, to distinguish it from other parishes named after St. Joseph. From its 1919 origins, the parish was principally Italian. Now it is administered by the Scalabrini Fathers, an Italian congregation founded to accompany emigrants to their new lands and help them there. In this instance, it is obvious that they now assist new immigrants from Latin America. Many of the Germans, Irish, and Italians of Bushwick have emigrated again, this time to suburbs.
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The school, named St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Catholic Academy, is at 181 Suydam St., Brooklyn NY 11221, telephone 748-386-9277. Adjacent to the church on Suydam Street, between Central Avenue and Wilson Avenue, this is north of the Central Avenue station of the M train. For decades, the Dominican Sisters staffed the parish school.
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Many thanks for the following comment received 6.17.2011:
I tried to leave a comment on your home page, but I was unsuccessful.
I've been searching for quite some time for a web site for St. Joe's and was happy to come across one tonight.
I am not sure if there is a historian or if anyone is interested in stories from years ago. If so, here is a brief family history.
My parents, Salvatore and Rose Marie Lardizzone, married in St. Joe's Church in April of 1950. My brother, sister, and I were baptized there. My brother and I received our Communion and Confirmation at St. Joe's. I attended school there from 1957 to Nov. '62, my brother from '59 to Nov. '62. My parents bought a house in L.I. in '62 and we moved from Evergreen Ave., Brooklyn. My sister was 4 at the time.
One of the nuns would put on an annual show for the Bishop when he visited. One year I was a clown in the chorus (4th grade) and the following year I was a ballerina (5th grade). If I remember correctly the nun's name was Sr. Maria Concetta. My brother & I were cadets and participated in the annual marching competition. There is really only one student I remember. Her name is Edith Ciro. I've tried to locate her on Facebook, but to no avail.
I became a special education teacher 11 years ago.
I am sure the school and parish has been through some changes since the 50s. If there is any information you could share about the school or the nuns, I would love to hear it. Some where in my files I still hold dear my St. Joseph Patron School report cards.
Thank you in advance,
Anna M. (Lardizzone) Kearney
mskearneysped(at)juno(dot)com




St. Barbara, Bushwick


The mailing address of the parish of St. Barbara is 138 Bleeker St., Brooklyn NY 11221, telephone 718-452-3660.  .
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Leonard Eppig, a brewer, it is said, had a daughter Barbara and son Leonard. About 1905-1910, he gave generously to the construction of St. Barbara's parish and nearby St. Leonard's. Far more important to me, however, is that my mother-in-law was baptized in this parish, her wedding to Bob was here in 1930, and my wife and her aunts also received Baptism here. I think Eppig and his generation called this neighborhood Bushwick, but many call it Ridgewood.

The school, long staffed by the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, closed in 1973, during an era when the people of Bushwick suffered from fires deliberately set in residences. Much has been rebuilt since, and the parish remains an active help in the community.
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Patrick Charles Keely

According to the AIA Guide to New York City, Patrick Charles Keely designed several Brooklyn Catholic churches:
St. Anthony of Padua, 1875, on Manhattan Avenue at Milton Street, Greenpoint. St. Charles Borromeo, 1869, at Sidney Place and Aitkin Place, Brooklyn Heights. St. John, 1870, on Lewis Avenue. St. Mary's Star of Sea, 1870, at 471 Court St., Cobble Hill. St. Patrick, 1856, at Kent Avenue and Willoughby Avenue. St. Peter, 1860, at the corner of Hicks St. and Warren St., Brooklyn Heights.
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From McNamara's Blog, an excellent summary of Patrick Charles Keely's work is linked here.


Most Holy Trinity, Williamsburg



The website of Most Holy Trinity parish seems down, but the Facebook page is HERE. The parish address is 138 Montrose Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11206, telephone 718-384-0215.
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The AIA Guide suggests that Most Holy Trinity church may have been inspired by the Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen, Normandy. The street view looks east on Montrose Avenue. The second view looks east from Lorimer Street, across the two ballfields of Frances Hamburger Sternberg Park to the church. A link to the Abbaye aux Hommes here.
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The parish website gave a history of the parish school, which closed in 2013.
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Also please see this article on McNamara's Blog.
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And this article from the New York Daily News of 12.7.2011. It includes an excellent interior photo and a capsule history.

Assumption parish, Brooklyn Heights

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary church is at 55 Cranberry Street, just west of Cadman Plaza and the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. The mailing address is 64 Middagh Street, Brooklyn NY 11201, phone 718-625-1161. The parish website is linked here.
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The parish school closed in 1962. Please see the parish website for an excellent history of the parish. When the parish was first established in 1842, the church was built at the corner of York and Jay Streets. Decades later, that site was seized by eminent domain for the construction of Manhattan Bridge.
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Please click on the word "Comment" above to read an inquiry about the building.