Sunday, August 30, 2009

St Thomas Aquinas, Flatlands

The website of the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in Flatlands is linked HERE. The above view looks north on residential Hendrickson Street. On the left is the rectory, the church, and a convent. Click on any photo to enlarge it.
The address of St. Thomas Aquinas parish is 1550 Hendrickson Street, Brooklyn NY 11234, telephone 718-253-4404. Some parish buildings stand on the southwest side of Flatbush Avenue and Flatlands Avenue, but the nearby rectory, church, and school line Hendrickson Street, on which traffic moves northbound from Avenue P to Flatlands Avenue. Hendrickson Street is parallel to Flatbush Avenue, a short block west of Flatbush Avenue. The parish website states that the parish offices will move out of the rectory to a building on Flatbush Avenue, but that the mailing address will remain.

A few years ago, Midwood Catholic Academy moved into the former St. Thomas Aquinas school at 1501 Hendrickson St., Brooklyn NY 11234.
There are two parishes in Brooklyn named St. Thomas Aquinas. This parish was established in 1885, before the City of Brooklyn included Flatlands.

Above is the old church on Flatbush Avenue.

To the right of the church is a convent for contemplative Sisters in the former convent of the Sisters of Mercy.


Monday, August 24, 2009

Francis Morrone, Architectural Guidebook

Since I have covered only about a fourth of the Brooklyn parishes so far, I must mention a guidebook that offers enthusiastic, informative understanding of some Brooklyn Catholic churches that I must still visit. The book is Francis Morrone's "An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn."
Here are the page numbers that describe Catholic parish churches:
Page 129: St. Charles Borromeo, 1868, Sidney Place, Brooklyn Heights, by Keely.
Page 136: Our Lady of Lebanon, 1846, Remsen and Henry Streets, purchased from other Christians about 1945.
Page 173: Queen of All Saints, 1915, Lafayette and Vanderbilt Aves.
Page 177: An article on Patrick Charles Keely.
Page 236: St.Anthony of Padua, 1874, Greenpoint, by Keely.
Page 241: St. Elias, 149 Kent St., apparently now sold.
Page 255: Our Lady of Victory, 1891-1895. "A strong Gothic church of Manhattan schist with highly contrasting limestone trim."
Page 297: St. Gregory the Great, 1917, St. John's Place and Brooklyn Ave., by Helmle and Corbett. Morrone writes, "It is one of the most beautiful churches in Brooklyn."
Page 302: St. Paul's, 1838, by Gamaliel King.
Page 345: St. Augustine, 1897, by Parfitt brothers. "Skillful use of color."
Page 350: St.Francis Xavier, 1904, by Thomas F. Houghton "who also did St. Agnes and Our Lady of Victory."
The book is very helpful for anyone interested in Brooklyn.


Monday, August 17, 2009

St. Rita, Shepherd Avenue, City Line

St. Rita's church, school, and rectory are located on Shepherd Avenue, just south of Atlantic Avenue, in City Line, Brooklyn. The parish address is 275 Shepherd Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11208, telephone 718-647-4910. The parish website is linked here, but it appears out-of-date. The term "City Line" derives from the border of the City of Brooklyn, prior to the creation of Greater New York in 1898.
You may click on any photo to enlarge it. To revert to the blog entry, return to the previous page.

St. Rita's church is beautiful with the light and colors of the stained glass windows. The Stations and some of the bas-reliefs appear to be ceramics.

Looking north on Shepherd Avenue, where traffic is one-way southbound.

Pedestrians are free to approach Shepherd Avenue from any direction, but automobiles must travel east on Atlantic Avenue and turn south onto Shepherd. The above photo shows the helpful and clear sign at the corner where one turns.

The above photo, snapped in front of the church, looks north on Shepherd Avenue. This building is the former parish school.  In 2011, this school was merged into the new Salve Regina Catholic Academy,  located at Jerome Street and Liberty Avenue.

The window over the choir loft shows St. Rita of Cascia, 1381-1457. She was canonized on May 24, 1900, together with John Baptist de la Salle, a two-fer ceremony. Soon afterwards, parishes under St. Rita's patronage for established in The Bronx and here in Brooklyn.
St. Rita's has a page on the East New York project linked here. The creator of that project deserves praise for his work putting together stories and photos of life in East New York and adjacent neighborhoods.


St Michael, Jerome St., East New York

The office for the parish of St. Michael and St. Malachy is at 284 Warwick Street, Brooklyn NY 11207, telephone 718-647-1818. The office is behind St. Michael's church, which is on Jerome St. The parish website is linked here.
Up the sanctuary steps and through the left door is la capilla used for morning services. On Monday, August 17, 2008, I found 8:15 a.m. benediction (closing adoration?) and 8:30 Mass. In between a litany was offered that called upon Mary with the various patronage titles that honor her in the countries of Latin America. The parish bulletin listed also a morning mass at St. Malachy's rectory.  Capuchin Franciscans (long ago, German in heritage) staffed St. Michael's, and on Warwick Street a large building has the sign "Capuchin Friary." The Capuchin Province of St. Mary has headquarters in White Plains, New York. 

The parishes of Saint Michael and Saint Malachy have been combined. This is a view of St. Michael's church, looking south on Jerome Street towards Liberty Avenue.

Above, the office for the parish of St. Michael and St. Malachy is at 284 Warwick Street, Brooklyn NY 11207, telephone 718-647-1818. This is behind St. Michael's church. 

Above is Salve Regina Catholic Academy, 237 Jerome St., Brooklyn NY 11207, telephone 718-277-6766. It is on the northeast corner of Jerome Street and Liberty Avenue. Click on any photo to enlarge it. Apparently, some school buses serve St. Michael's. On Atlantic Avenue, just north of the church, is bus route Q24, from Jamaica to Bushwick. 
As for the church of St. Malachy, a final Mass was offered there in there in January, 2009.  From the second link below, it would seem that the church was soon demolished.
Historic photos of both St. Michael's and St. Malachy's are presented on the laudable East New York project, linked here and here.


St. Sylvester, City Line

The address of the church of Saint Sylvester is 416 Grant Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11208, telephone 718-647-1995.  It seems that since 2013, the pastor of St. Fortunata parish has administered St. Sylvester's. Each parish has a new website produced by the diocese: St. Sylvester and St. Fortunata. The churches are a mile apart.

The church property, fenced and with well-maintained landscaping, extends along the north side of McKinley Avenue, City Line, from Eldert Lane to Grant Avenue. Here is the main entrance on McKinley Avenue. Ahead is Grant Avenue with the rectory across the street.
The neighborhood term, City Line, dates from the era when Brooklyn was a city, not a mere borough. If Brooklyn were a city today, it would rank as #4 in population of U. S. cities!

The former school is on the west side of the street, at 396 Grant Avenue. The school was merged into Salve Regina Catholic Academy, a mile to the west.

Above is the parish rectory at 416 Grant Avenue, facing the church.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Our Lady of Solace, Coney Island

(Please click on the green word "comments" above the photo for some memories.)
In the above photo at sundown, Mermaid Avenue runs from left to right in the foreground. Our Lady of Solace church is on the northwest corner of Mermaid Avenue and West 17th Street.

The mailing address for Our Lady of Solace parish is 2866 West 17th Street, Brooklyn NY 11224, telephone 718-266-1612. This parish, founded in 1900, is the sole Catholic parish on the peninsula called Coney Island. By good fortune, the location has become central to transportation. West 17th Street is a continuation of Cropsey Avenue, with its exits from the Belt Parkway. Two blocks east is the Stillwell Avenue terminal of four subway routes (B. D. F. N) and and a maze of bus routes. One block south of the church is Keyspan Park, a resplendent minor league stadium. A further block south is the boardwalk and beach.
The parish's excellent, well-developed website is linked here. Note especially the history page.  At present, three Vocationist Fathers, S.D.V., serve the parish.
The former parish elementary school on West 19th Street is now rented or sold to the Board of Education as a high school for transfer students, Liberation Diploma Plus. For many years before the parish school closed, the Dominican Sisters taught there.
The numbered streets of Brooklyn do not resemble those of Manhattan, where east and west designate ends of the same street. In Brooklyn, the prefix is important. All the numbered streets prefixed "West" are in Coney Island. "East" numbered streets are in East Flatbush. "Bay" numbered streets are in Bensonhurst and Bath Beach. "Beach" numbered streets are in Rockaway, Queens.