Wednesday, December 14, 2016

St. Barbara, Bushwick

The mailing address of the parish of St. Barbara is 138 Bleeker St., Brooklyn NY 11221, telephone 718-452-3660. The parish has an excellent new (2016) website, linked HERE.
Leonard Eppig, a brewer, it is said, had a daughter Barbara and son Leonard. He was born in 1839 and before he died in 1893, he was a benefactor in establishing two parishes.  About 1905-1910, his family gave generously to the construction of St. Barbara's church and nearby St. Leonard's. Far more important to me, however, is that my mother-in-law was baptized in this parish, her wedding to Bob was here in 1930, and my wife and her aunts also received Baptism here. I think Eppig and his generation called this neighborhood Bushwick, but many call it Ridgewood.

The school, long staffed by the Dominican Sisters of Amityville, closed in 1973, during an era when the people of Bushwick suffered from fires deliberately set in residences. Much has been rebuilt since, and the parish remains an active help in the community.
The above photo and text is copied from my original post in 2008. The web newspaper Brooklyn Daily Eagle of 12.14.2016 has run an article "St. Barbara's Roman Catholic Church in Bushwick Gets Landmarked," linked HERE.
The unanimous vote means that the Landmarks Preservation Committee must approve before the church is demolished or the exterior changed.  The article informs us that the architect was Frank Helmle (1869-1939). The style could be called neo-Plateresque or Spanish Mission Revival.  (That contradicts my assumption that the style was Bavarian or Austrian.)  I frequently look from the J train to see its 175-foot towers.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Choosing a Catholic High School

The Test for Admission to Catholic High Schools is accepting applicants now.  Parents are urged to look at this information site and read each of the links in the left-hand column.  You may have to print out some of the forms and directions. The list of schools is posted sideways on the PDF, so printing those pages would help you to read the information. It would appear that the nine Catholic high schools of the borough of Brooklyn offer 1,300 places for incoming freshmen. Please note, however, that the TACHS exam will forward your score to three high schools, and these can be in any of the five boroughs. Some residents of Brooklyn, for example, live near the transit bus routes to Staten Island. Other Brooklynites live adjacent to Queens, where the nine Catholic high schools offer 2,160 freshman seats. The M train serves Christ the King HS directly.  Boys may wish to travel to Manhattan for Regis High School (no tuition), La Salle Academy, or Xavier.
Please also note the dates of the Open House visitations and the Information Fairs.
The cost of the test is $63.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Religious Ed enrollment 2015

The 2016 Official Catholic Directory, recently published, gives religious education enrollments in most of the Catholic parishes in the borough of Brooklyn. Presumably most of the counts are from 2015 or earlier, and some of the figures are missing, so my totals are inexact.
In the ninety or so parishes of Kings County, there seem to be 15,146 children enrolled in CCD or religious education classes, many on Sunday mornings, others during the week. The median enrollment is about 157, or maybe 20 youngsters per grade. In Nassau County, the median enrollment is about 430. A few Brooklyn parishes did not give figures, but their bulletins refer to a program. 
The highest reported enrollments seem to be Good Shepherd (430), St. Martin of Tours (442), St. Joseph Suydam St. (572), and Blessed Sacrament (582). Eighteen parishes report fewer than eighty students in CCD.
Thirty of the thirty-four academies or elementary schools in Brooklyn reported a total enrollment of about 7,450.  The largest enrollments seem to be at St. Bernadette, Midwood Catholic, Saint Saviour, and St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Six reported enrollments under 225. Salve Regina,with 22 teachers, seems to have many students, but the enrollment was not given.
I wish that the schools' websites would report enrollment per grade level.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

NY Daily News Back to School Section

About August 22, 2016, the New York Daily News included a special advertising section for Back to School vendors.  Interspersed are laudatory descriptions of several Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens Catholic elementary and high schools.
Warning! Links to Daily News sections often go stale and become useless.
If you are quick, please try

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Videos of Catholic churches in Brooklyn

The diocesan television agency,, has produced many excellent videos of parishes in Brooklyn.  However, the links I posted over the years now seem broken. Rather than attempting a list on this blog, I suggest that you go to THIS LINK, which leads to a YouTube list of available "City of Churches" productions. More than twenty seem available.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book: Who Shall Take Care of Our Sick?

Recently, I saw a reference to a 2005 book by Bernadette McCauley, Who Shall Take Care of Our Sick? Roman Catholic Sisters and the Development of Catholic Hospitals in New York City. Amazon lists copies of this book. One does not have to pay a collector's price for this slim, very informative volume.  I have read the book and continue to praise it.  Not exactly a history of the Catholic hospitals in our city, it gives clear and insightful analysis of the reasons for and practice of the hospital apostolate from 1849 until the end of the 20th century.
Several constants show up in the book.  The religious sisters ran and staffed the hospitals, and physicians chose and performed the treatments. Fund-raising was usually the responsibility of the sisters. The types of patients and ailments changed with the quickly changing world of our city. A particular decade's problems could not be answered with out-dated treatment.
The following Catholic hospitals served the people of Brooklyn:
St. Peter's, at Henry and Congress Streets, was founded in 1859-1862, through the efforts of the pastor of St. Peter's parish. The Franciscan Sisters of the Poor (established in Germany by Frances Schervier) provided administration and staff.
St. Mary's Hospital, at St. Mark's Avenue and Prospect Place, was founded by Bishop John Loughlin. Sisters of Charity (Mother  Seton's group) administered and staffed this diocesan hospital and its branch, Holy Family Hospital, Dean Street, where Mom was born.
St. Catherine's Hospital, Bushwick, was founded by Dominican Sisters from Regensburg, Germany, the same congregation that had arrived at Most Holy Trinity parish, Williamsburg, in the 1850's. Please see the seven-minute video, History of St. Catherine Hospital and Nursing School 1869-1965.
St. Cecilia's parish established a maternity hospital, which was soon turned over to the administration of nearby St. Catherine's Hospital and renamed St. Catherine's Maternity Hospital.  Please see this informative article from Brownstoner. Several friends of mine were born there.
In 2016, Brooklyn has no Catholic hospital. The sole Catholic hospital in the five boroughs is Calvary Hospital in The Bronx.

Cathedral College, Washington & Atlantic Avenues

I have only walked by this large, impressive building on the northeast corner of Atlantic Avenue and Washington Avenue, but a new item in N. Y. Curbed (a website with real estate articles) talks about the renovation and offering of one condo in the building.  The link is HERE.
If I can reconstruct history from my fallible memory, Cathedral College was a minor seminary of the diocese of Brooklyn when "minor seminary" included four years of high school and two years of college.  Many of the students were not residents, as is true at the current Cathedral Prep in Elmhurst, Queens.  Priestly training was in the 6+6 format.  About 1980, the Archdiocese of New York and the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre switched to 4+4+4, that is, four years of high school, four years of college, and four years of theology.  In 2016, New York, Brooklyn, and Rockville Centre send most of their theology students to Dunwoodie in Yonkers. There are few high school seminaries in the United States.
Many of the priests who taught at Cathedral College at 555 Washington Avenue lived there and assisted in parishes on weekends. The people of the neighborhood suffered some bad years. A priest related how he returned to the college one evening to be met by a homicide unit and a victim in the courtyard pictured in the article.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

St. Laurence, Flatlands & Van Siclen Aves.

I have not yet visited St. Laurence parish church on the northeast corner of Flatlands Avenue and Van Sicklen Avenue in East New York, near Spring Creek Towers and the Gateway Shopping Center.  The parish website is linked HERE.  For Mass schedule, parish office phone and address, please see the parish website.
Flatlands Avenue extends five miles across southeast Brooklyn.  At Flatbush Avenue, it passes the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas.  In Canarsie, it passes Our Lady of Miracles and Holy Family. The church of St. Laurence is a mile east of Holy Family.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

dotCommonweal: the Borough of Former Churches

The editors and contributors of Commonweal magazine have a blog called dotCommonweal. On 2.3.2016, Dominic Preziosi, Catholic Brooklyn resident has presented an insightful essay, "In the Borough of Former Churches," linked HERE.  He addresses migration and the closure of churches. Readers' comments note the closure of other religious buildings and the experiences of other cities.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Brooklyn Oratory to minister at Assumption

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of January 6, 2016, carries a lengthy news article with the headlines "Brooklyn Oratory, Assumption Church enter agreement to expand ministry; Oratory takes charge of Assumption's pastoral responsibilities January 31."  The article is linked HERE.
The article makes clear that this is not a merger of parishes.
The article gives an extensive history of these two parishes and that of St. Charles Borromeo. Please use the link at the right for photos on my older posts about these three churches.