Saturday, April 25, 2009

St. Finbar, Bay 20th Street, Bath Beach

In 2016, the rectory mailing address is 138 Bay 20th Street, Brooklyn NY 11214, telephone 718-236-3312.  The parish website is linked here.  

Above, St. Finbar's church on quiet Benson Avenue at Bay 20th Street. Each photo may be enlarged by clicking on it.

Above, the ornate interior of St. Finbar's church. I took the above photo and the one below in 2009. On 4.15.2016, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle ran a news story headlined "Parishioners restore St. Finbar church to former glory."


Most churches have Christmas manger scenes, but this is the first I have seen with a Resurrection scene. The photo was taken ten days after Easter. Note the colorful Stations of the Cross.

On Bay 20th Street, this portrait of St. Finbar is to the left of the office door, through which one enters the church outside of Mass times.


In June, 2008, the parish closed its elementary school, pictured above on Bath Avenue, probably because of low enrollment. A green banner in the center of the photo reminds passersby of forty years of excellence in education, but I suspect that the parish offered elementary education even before 1968.  Addendum: In December. 2010, commented that there was only Sunday School or CCD before that date. Thanks for the comment, one of several that can be found by clicking the word "Comments" at the top of this post.
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St. Finbar's parish was established in 1880, and, judging from my visit and the parish bulletin, it stands out as a friendly and active parish serving a catholic, that is, universal, population. Finbar lived in the south of Ireland, became bishop of Cork, and died about 633.  I would deduce, therefore, that this parish was founded by Irish Catholics. Twenty or thirty years later, many Italians arrived in this residential neighborhood. The more recent numerous arrivals have been from East Asia and Latin America.
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The rectory mailing address is 138 Bay 20th Street, Brooklyn NY 11214, telephone 718-236-3312.
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When St. Finbar's parish was established in 1880, it was not in the city of Brooklyn but rather in the Town of New Utrecht. In 1894, Brooklyn annexed New Utrecht. To get from downtown Brooklyn, passengers rode horse cars down to 36th Street and Fifth Avenue, then rode a steam train of the Brooklyn, Bath, and Coney Island Railroad along New Utrecht Avenue. Later, Fifth Avenue elevated trains from Park Row used trolley poles as they operated on in the street, passengers using steps on the cars to board. In 1916, the present elevated station at 18th Avenue was opened, and West End subway service ran to Canal Street, Manhattan, and north on Broadway. The present D train service operates under Sixth Avenue, Manhattan. 
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4 comments:

  1. St Finbar did have Irish priests, however the parish used to be Italian. Sometimes there were conflicts between them due to their different cultures. Now the population has changed and mass is given in Spanish too.
    Bath Beach refers to the Bay streets area as a beach during the 30's from the shore up to about Cropsey Avenue.

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  2. My Irish born grandfather was buried from this church on Dec 6th, 1827. His family attended the St Finbar's parish church (aka South Parish) in Cork before they emmigrated in 1888. He lived on 80th Street.

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  3. There was no elementary education prior to the school being built. Only religious instructions(Sunday school/CCD)

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  4. I went to St. Finbar and attended Catechism (as CCD was known back then) there in the late 50's/early 60's. I seem to remember that the building where classes were held was the elementary school.

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