Monday, June 20, 2011

St. John the Evangelist, Park Slope, & St. Rocco

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio issued a decree 5.20.2011 suppressing the parishes of St. Rocco and St. John the Evangelist and creating a new parish, named St. John the Evangelist - St. Rocco. Both churches, about a half-mile apart, will remain open as worship sites. The rectory for the combined parish will be at St. John the Evangelist, 250 21st Street, Brooklyn NY 11215, shown in the above photograph. In 2016,the new website of the parish is linked HERE.  There are three weekend Masses at St. John the Evangelist, and one at St. Rocco.

The church of St. John the Evangelist is on the south side of 21st Street as the street ascends from Fifth Avenue to Sixth Avenue, Park Slope. As you can see in the above photo looking east, the nave is parallel to 21st Street. As the parish was established in 1849, maybe the parish grounds were purchased before the surrounding plots were modified. I don't know how many successive church buildings the parish had.
A 1944 view of the church, together with a current satellite view, is linked here.
The diocesan television office produced an excellent video of the interior of the church of St. John the Evangelist.  In the video, host Anthony Mangano, who grew up in this parish, interviews the pastor in 2013, Rev. Kenneth Grande, who explains the history and artwork of the church.  Mangano adds many interesting descriptions of the neighborhood.  Please note that the presentation is divided into segments, so the pieces would fit shorter television slots.

Opposite the church is the former parish school, with a cornerstone dated 1904, which closed in 1989. It appears to be in excellent condition as an apartment house.

Above are the church and rectory of St. Rocco on 27th Street. between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. The banner over the door celebrates the centennial of St. Rocco's parish, established in 1902.  The 478 acres of Green-Wood Cemetery begin at Fifth Avenue.

This youth center at the corner of Fourth Avenue and 27th Street was dedicated in 1956. By clicking on the photo you may notice that 27th Street also commemorates Sister Mary Franciscus. This link explains OBT and the work of this Sister of Mercy.
A helpful article in the Home Reporter of 7.11.2011 is linked here.  It describes the merger of the two parishes.  The diocese has removed the decree from the diocesan website.
A comment follows:
There once was a time when St. Rocco's Youth Center of the Home of St. Rocco's Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps... Founded in 1957 By the late great Andy DiOrio...
All though the Cadets disbanded in 1969... The members of St. Rocco's Cadets to this day keep the spirit of those days close to their hearts... They came from all walks of life... Rich kids, poor kids, black or white... It didn't matter who you were...
All you had to do is walk in those doors and willing to dedicate yourself to Andy's vision... 

Andy DiOrio was the father some never had... We called him Uncle Andy, or Big Andy... And in a time of civil unrest,he showed the whole Drum Corps community how kids of all races could come together and produce one of the greatest Drums Corps that ever took the field of competition...

It seems to me the world was a better place for me way back then... The youth Center became our home... a safe house where you could learn with the help of your fellow Cadets to be your very best....

Andy DiOrio pasted away in the summer of 2009...
And we came from all over the country to honor our father, and it felt good to be amongst each other...

God has blessed us all through this single man... Who had made better men, and women with him amazing heart.....

Harold Smiley Davis (zippy)

St. Rocco's Cadets Website: