Saturday, July 22, 2017

Regina Pacis minus St. Rosalia, May, 2017

On May 2, 2017, the bishop of Brooklyn decreed that the church of Saint Rosalia at 6301 Fourteenth Avenue is relegated for profine, not sordid, use, ultimately putting it up for sale with that restriction.
The decree is linked HERE, but sometimes these links to official documents become stale.
The mailing address for the parish the Basilica of Regina Pacis is 1230 65th Street, Brooklyn NY 11219, telephone 718-236-0909. The neighborhood is the northern part of Bensonhurst.
The people of the parish of St. Rosalia (founded in 1902 as an Italian national parish, not a territorial parish) made a vow in 1942 to build a votive shrine, the magnificent Regina Pacis church, if their servicemen came home safe from the war and peace was established. In broad summary, that seems to be why this parish had two or three names. The history of the votive shrine from 1942 onward is given on the parish website. I have been unable to learn the parish history for the first forty years, especially whether there was more than one building for Sunday worship. This is not a merged parish. It is a parish that took on a supplementary name, Regina Pacis. Now, in 2017, the name Saint Rosalia has been dropped.

Clicking on any photo will enlarge it. I took the eight photos on this page in 2010.

Above is the now-closed church on 14th Avenue. In 2010, three weekend Masses were offered here: Saturday 5 p.m. in English, Saturday 7:30 p.m. in Chinese, Sunday 9 a.m. in Italian. In 2016, I can find little reference in the parish bulletin to services at Saint Rosalia. In 2017, the church was canonically closed.

Above is the Regina Pacis Votive Shrine on 65th Street near 12th Avenue, Bensonhurst. I note that the Sunday Mass schedule includes five Masses in English, plus one each in Chinese, Italian, and Spanish.

The parish website once had descriptions and photos of the artwork surrounding the congregation, but I have been unable to find these helpful descriptions on the new website.

The above view looks west on 65th Street towards 12th Avenue.
Some Catholic parishes with beautiful churches do not host weddings of couples who are not active attendees of the parish itself. The Regina Pacis website implies a ready willingness to assist the celebration of Catholic marriage.

The above view looks along 65th Street towards 12th Avenue. This building is signed Regina Pacis Youth Center and Catholic Migration Office. However, it seems the upper floors may have had classrooms. To the right is the rectory and then the Regina Pacis Votive Shrine. A former parish school building extends the short block on 12th Avenue from 65th Street to 66th Street.
A helpful reader pointed out that the parish also included St. Theresa's Chapel on 12th Avenue at 66th Street.  A link to the news article with that information is HERE. Father Angelo Rafael Cioffi became pastor in 1923 and purchased the land for the school, chapel, and new rectory two blocks west of St. Rosalia's church.  In the mid-twentieth century, Sunday Mass attendance was much higher than today, and pastors often had to add more worship spaces, churches, and chapels.  I am guessing that in 1950, Mass was celebrated in three or four locations, the old church on 14th Avenue, the new shrine church upstairs, the same church downstairs, and maybe at St. Theresa's chapel. It would be interesting to see a Sunday bulletin or Mass schedule for that era. 
The same helpful reader showed me this link to a website about church organs.  The address given for St. Theresa's chapel appears to be in error.