Monday, October 19, 2015

John J. O'Malley, architect

In my visits to Brooklyn parishes, I have seldom encountered a sign or plaque giving the name of the architect who designed the church.  Fortunately, the Tablet has now run an article about the prolific architect John J. O'Malley, 1915-1970.  Please see the article HERE.  The occasion was his 100th birthday, with Mr. O'Malley's descendants visiting Cathedral College in Douglaston, which he designed.
Much of Mr. O'Malley's work is evident in circular churches and chapels in Queens.  A Wikipedia article lists his extensive accomplishments, including apparently some renovations or extensions. It appears that his brand-new churches (contrasted with renovations) date from 1950 until his death in 1970.  Archbishop Molloy died in 1956, Bishop McEntegart retired in 1968, and Bishop Mugavero replaced him.  
Many thanks to The Tablet and the O'Malley family for publicizing his life and work!
According to the Wikipedia article, he designed the following churches in the borough of Brooklyn:
St. Sylvester, Grant Avenue, City Line, obviously built in the O'Malley era.
St. Athanasius, Bay Parkway, 1963.  Note the unobstructed view of the altar and the bright, colorful interior and windows.
St. Gabriel,  Linwood St. and New Lots Ave., obviously built in the O'Malley era.  The parish cluster is now called Mary, Mother of the Church.  This interior photo shows his style, with unobstructed view.  The parish has a Saturday vigil Mass and three Masses on Sunday.
St. Mary Mother of Jesus, 1968, replacing a church destroyed by fire. A Tablet article dated 6.13.14 describes the fire and the beautiful new church, circular and wheelchair-accessible.
St. Finbar, Bath Beach, but the church was built before 1912.  Mr. O'Malley may have designed the former school across the street.
--- Sts. Simon and Jude, listed as Bayside (Queens), but I think Gravesend (Brooklyn). There is a resemblance to the Douglaston seminary frontage.
And other parish buildings:
St. Nicholas High School, Catherine St., Williamsburg, now renovated and in use by Queen of the Rosary Catholic Academy.
St. Vincent Ferrer elementary school, Flatbush, now used for other purposes.
St. Bernard parish school, near Bergen Beach.  This page names John O'Malley's firm as architect of the school, which opened in 1963 and continues in 2015 as a Catholic academy. Across the street is a circular church, but the parish history does not give a date.  It may have been built after Mr. O'Malley's sudden death in 1970.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

St. Thomas Aquinas, Park Slope

The photos and text below are from when I visited this parish in 2010.  Much has changed since then. The church is red brick, not painted off-white as in my photo.  The interior is more colorful. Please see The Tablet article of June 18, 2015, for a complete description of the extensive renovations.  The article includes an excellent slide show.

St. Thomas Aquinas church is located on the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue (to the left) and Ninth Street (with bus B61 at the right). Its mailing address is 249 Ninth Street, Brooklyn NY 11215, telephone 718-768-9471. In 2008, Holy Family parish on 14th Street was merged with St. Thomas Aquinas.

The parish was established in 1884. If I read the history on the website correctly, this church was dedicated in 1886.

These clips for men's caps and hats appeared in many churches in the last century.

A helpful folder available inside the church offers suggestions for prayer. "The doors of our church are open all day as a symbol that all are welcomed to enter and pray!" St. Thomas Aquinas is depicted with a scroll on which is written "Joy is the noblest human act."
Regarding that axiom, an interesting link is here.

This building at Fourth Avenue and Eighth Street was the parish school from 1919 to 2005. It is now rented to the New York City Board of Education. There are at least several public school buildings with crosses in our city. The Brentwood Josephites taught in this parish since 1884.
In Brooklyn there are two parishes named St. Thomas Aquinas. The other one is in Flatlands, established almost at the same time, but before Flatlands was part of the city of Brooklyn.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

San Damiano Mission, Greenpoint

Franciscan Friars have returned to Holy Family church, Greenpoint, under the name San Damiano Mission.  Conventual Franciscans from Holy Trinity, Williamsburg, staff the mission, but do not reside there. 
Please see all the pages of the website San Damiano Mission for more information.
This is not a "cult" in the accusatory sense of the word. It is a Roman Catholic mission.
Please see my 2013 post about Holy Family parish for photographs. A few years ago, the parish was merged with that of St. Anthony of Padua and staffed by Oblates of Mary Immaculate from India, but it is now San Damiano Mission.
For a 2016 commentary about the inviting doors of this church, please see the blog Brooklyn Relics. While Holy Family church may be a relic of the Slovak community of workers in Greenpoint, this mission is no dead relic.
In August, 2016, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of St. Louis ran an article with a photo:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A website of 17 brownstone Brooklyn parishes

I am pleased to discover a website for seventeen Catholic parishes of "Greater Downtown Brooklyn," encompassing neighborhoods from the Brooklyn Bridge south to Red Hook and Kensington.  The URL somewhat resembles mine, but is different:
Those who organized that website deserve praise, as it is welcoming and helpful.  I point out particularly the consolidated chronological schedule of Sunday Masses, something I first encountered long ago posted on the doors of the churches of Avila, Spain.  I hope that what is on the web will also be published in newspapers and posted outside the churches, in case the doors are locked.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Facebook, parishes, and schools

Some parishes and Catholic organizations have active Facebook pages that can be viewed by people, as I, who have not joined Facebook.  In addition to the links on this blog, it might be good to search for the parish, school, or organization on Facebook. When I happen upon such active pages, I will link them to the parish listing on this blog. It appears that the Facebook corporation itself might establish a parish page without any local initiative. Those pages tend to be inactive, with merely a header.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book: New York Catholics

With enthusiasm, I recommend a new book by Patrick McNamara, "New York Catholics: Faith, attitude & the works!"  It is a paperback of more than 200 pages, published by Orbis Books and also available on Amazon.  Historian and archivist McNamara has presented short biographies of seventy-six Catholics who have lived in the five boroughs.  Each presentation is sharp, clear and right on target in describing these outstanding people.
Among Brooklynites he describes:
Peter Turner, petitioner for a Brooklyn church in 1822 and a principal founder of St. James, Jay Street.
Fr. Johann Stephan Raffeiner, who in 1841 used his own money to buy the Meserole farm for the new parish of the Most Holy Trinity.  In 1853, he invited the Dominican Sisters from Regensburg, to live and work in his parish.
Fr. Sylvester Malone, in the 1850's a Republican and Unionist when the Democrats were generally pro-slavery.  For fifty years he was pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, Williamsburg. He got along admirably with the non-Catholic neighbors, and he promoted harmony.
Bishop John Loughlin, first bishop of the diocese of Brooklyn 1853-1891.
Thomas Francis Meehan, newspaperman, historian, and assistant editor of the 1914 Catholic Encyclopedia.  He and his family resided on Greene Avenue.
Patrick Scanlan, editor of the Brooklyn Tablet from 1917 to 1968.
Msgr. Bernard Quinn, in 1922 the founding pastor of the parish of St. Peter Claver.
Bishop Francis Xavier Ford, 1892-1952, martyr.
Msgr. Bryan Karvelis, priest and activist at Transfiguration parish 1956-2005.
Bishop Guy Sansaricq, who has ministered to Haitian immigrants for more than five decades.
Ed Wilkinson, editor of the Brooklyn Tablet since 1985.
Paul Moses, newspaperman and scholar.
Sr. Ann Marie Young, of Visitation Monastery, Bay Ridge.
Rudy Vargas IV, helper of Hispanic Catholcs.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

St. Augustine, Sixth Avenue

Clicking on any photo will enlarge it.

The above 2015 view looks north on Sixth Avenue, Park Slope, with roof repairs just begun. The towers were renovated in 2009. The rectory address is 116 Sixth Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11217, between Sterling Place and Park Place. The telephone is 718-783-3132, and the website is linked here.  
The church was built in 1888, under the design of the Profitt brothers.

The above view shows the Sterling Place (south) end of the former parish school buildings, which run through to Park Place.  Sisters of St. Joseph taught elementary grades at this end of the building.  
Tragically, on December 16, 1960, teachers and students saw an airliner descend along Stirling Place (left to right in this photo) before it crashed near Seventh Avenue. 

From the 1930's until the 1970's, De La Salle Christian Brothers lived in the building where the bay window indicates their chapel.  They taught at St. Augustine's Diocesan High School, now housing a public middle school.  Both the Brothers and the high school used the address 64 Park Place.  A link to that school's alumni organization is here.  One alumnus of the school was Governor Hugh Carey.
Before the Brothers moved here from St. James Cathedral School in the 1930's, the house was the Sisters' convent.  They moved across the street to the corner of Park Place and Sixth Avenue.

In August of 2016, an alumnus of both the elementary school and high school gave me two links that explain further development of the property.  It seems that part of the property will see 62 condos built within the existing buildings.
The links are HERE and Brooklyn Eagle 4.12.2016.