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.
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.
The rectory mailing address is 138 Bay 20th Street, Brooklyn NY 11214, telephone 718-236-3312.
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. 

St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, Bensonhurst

Above is the church of St. Mary Mother of Jesus on 85th Street, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The second parish church burned in 1967, and this church was built in 1971, after the sudden death of its architect, John J. O'Malley. The rectory mailing address is 2326 84th Street, Brooklyn NY 11214, telephone 718-372-4000. In 2015, I cannot find the parish website, with Mass schedule, informative history, photos, and much other information. The parish dates back to 1889.  Please also see the parish Facebook page, which appears to be more current.

Above, looking south on 23rd Avenue at 84th Street, we see St. Peter Catholic Academy
The school address is 8401 23rd Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11214, telephone 718-372-0025. The school has two buildings, seen here extending a full city block.
This is the third name the school has been called.  From about 2006 to 2013, the name was The Catholic Academy of St. Mary, Mother of Jesus - St. Francis Cabrini, serving the parishes of St. Dominic, St. Finbar, St. Frances Cabrini, Most Precious Blood, and St. Mary, Mother of Jesus.  In 2008, St. Finbar's parish, a mile to the west, closed its school, and in 2009, the diocese ordered Most Precious Blood school, a mile to the southeast, to close.
The Sisters of Saint Joseph staffed St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, parish school from its beginning in 1914.

Above, looking east at the corner of 23rd Avenue (to the left) and 85th Street (to the right). Padre Pio can be seen waiting at the traffic signal. The red sign announces a cooperative program with St. John's University.