Stained Glass Windows and Other Art in Our Parish
Mount Carmel is one of the few New York City parishes that has its own parish cemetery. Located adjacent to the site of the original parish church at 26th avenue and 21st Street, it is now maintained by the Catholic Cemeteries office of the Diocese of Brooklyn. It reflects the heritage of the early Irish Catholic settlers of Astoria, many of who arrived here to escape "The Great Hunger", as the famine resulting from the potato blight of the late 1840's in Ireland has come to be called. The parish has started to conduct a public rosary there on or near All Souls Day to recall these fellow members of the Communion of Saints who have gone before us. The following websites provide fascinating pictures and details about the cemetery and its significance:
History of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish
(adapted from the Parish Anniversary Journals of 1966 and 1991 and other sources)
LOCATION AND EARLIEST SETTLERS
Munsell's 1882 History of Queens County gives some indication of the original inhabitants of northwest Queens County:
The area was called "Sunswick" by the native Indians, but its recorded history goes back 350 years to when the area was first settled by the Dutch as farm land.
Between 1633 and 1638 a grant of 160 acres covering the peninsula of Sunswick was obtained by Jacques Benfyn, the director of Governor Wouter van Twiller's council and a member of the Dutch West India Company. Benfyn set up tenants on this tract who erected buildings and cleared a part of the land to plant grain. The first buildings were probably built north of Astoria Boulevard near the intersection with Vernon Boulevard. Dutch authorities in Amsterdam, disturbed by the Indian wars and other events in New Amsterdam (New York City), recalled van Twiller in 1647 and replaced him with the redoubtable Peter Stuyvesant. Hallets's Cove (Astoria) received its original name from William Hallet, an Englishman who emigrated from Dorsetshire in 1652 and became, by a grant from Governor Stuyvesant and by purchases from the Indians, owner of all the lands in the section now known as Astoria. Another Indian war broke out in 1655, during which Hallet's farm was destroyed and abandoned. On January 5, 1656, Stuyvesant ordered all settlers to leave these plantations and live closer together in the villages. Hallet moved to Flushing, where he became sheriff. Returning to Astoria in August 1664, he purchased a huge tract of land from Chief Mattano of the Staten Island and Noyack Indians. This tract of 2200 acres included all of Astoria and Steinway. When the British conquered New Amsterdam they announced that they would not recognize Dutch-issued land grants unless a fee was paid to have them re-registered. Hallet did not get this until April 8, 1668, because the British questioned the sale by Chief Mattano. Hallet also had to pay a yearly rent of two shillings.
Astoria is located near that remarkable whirlpool called by the Dutch "Helle Gat" ("beautiful pass"), now called Hell Gate, dreaded by early navigators as a veritable maelstrom. On November 25, 1780, during the Revolutionary War, the British frigate "Hussar" was wrecked off Randall's Island. It was headed for Newport, Rhode Island, with a crew of 150, including a number of American prisoners of war and carrying five million dollars in gold. Numerous salvage attempts have found parts of the ship, but no gold. Its terrors of long ago vanished after the explosion of tons of dynamite that shattered the hidden rocks which were blown up in 1885 and 1925 to deepen the channel.
In 1835, Stephen A. Halsey had moved from Flushing and settled in Hallet's Cove, where, as a trustee of the village, he became a leader in public improvements. Halsey had the area re-named Astoria in honor of John Jacob Astor, an old friend of Mr. Halsey and a business associate in the fur trade. Hallet's Cove, or Astoria, became an incorporated village in 1839. A writer named Thompson, writing in 1839, described the vicinity of Hallet's Cove as a center of activity and enterprise in various commercial and manufacturing fields, including factories for carpets, chairs, woolens, bellows and chemical preparations. The nurseries of Grant Thorburn, America's pioneer seedsman, were also located here at the present 31st Avenue and Vernon Boulevard.
By this time, Astoria was connected with East 92nd Street in Manhattan by ferry to the foot of Astoria Boulevard. In Astoria was the first fire company of the City, located at Halsey Street and Fulton Avenue (at 3rd Street and Astoria Boulevard). Long Island City became incorporated as a city in 1870 by legislation signed by the Governor of the State of New York. Astoria was the Fourth Ward of Long Island City. In 1872 Long Island City became the seat of Queens County.
THE FIRST MASS
Father Michael Curran was born in Ireland, probably about the year 1800. He sailed to the United States and studied for the priesthood in Emmitsburg, Maryland. He was ordained February 1826. His first assignment was in the southern United States. This lasted seven years until he was sent to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Father Curran arrived in New York City and was assigned to St. Paul's in Harlem. From there he made semi-monthly trips on the ferry from Manhattan across the East River to missions in Astoria, Flushing, Jamaica and the Rockaways.
In 1835 he celebrated the first Mass in Astoria on Cambridge Street in the home of Mr. Tobin. By 1840, there were already two Protestant churches in Astoria, an Episcopal and a Reform, and there were enough Catholics in Astoria to warrant the building of a Catholic Church, so on August 20, Father Michael Curran organized the church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. (An interesting statistical rundown of the growth of all the religions in Astoria is available at the fine website of the Greater Astoria Historical Society: http://www.astorialic.org/topics/worship_p.php. On July 3, 1841, the trustees secured property at Trowbridge Street (26thAve) and Van Alst Ave (21st Street) to build the church.The two plots of land on which the church was built came from John Shea, a New York teacher, and his wife, Mary Ann. This lot was secured for $1.00. The first mass in this first parish church was said in September 1841. Subsequent land donations came from Mr. Andersen, a prominent Episcopalian, who donated a half lot. Another half lot which was used for the cemetery was secured from the Riker family. This small cemetery is still in existence. Stephen Halsey donated the stone for the foundation of the church building. Visit this link to see a map of Astoria in 1840: http://www.pefagan.com/gen/queens/qmp_hal1840.htm
FIRST PARISH OR "MOTHER CHURCH"?
Our Lady of Mount Carmel was the first Catholic community in Queens County to have a resident priest, and the first to conduct Mass in its own church building. Furthermore, it was the base of operations for the heroic Father Curran who fanned out from Astoria regularly to be the first priest to celebrate Mass at numerous localities that eventually became parishes throughout Queens (which included today's Nassau County until 1898) and even throughout Suffolk. Thus while not technically by some definitions the oldest parish in Queens, it certainly merits the title "Mother Church of Queens County". (For greater detail on the oldest Catholic communities in Queens, see John K. Sharp's definitive The History of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Vol. 1, pp.119 ff.)
At the formation of the parish, there were 118 members, 16 of whom were not Catholic. Father Curran resigned from St. Paul's in 1843 and made a trip to Ireland. Upon his return, he was made the first pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Fr. Curran also had charge of St. Michael's Mission in Flushing until July 1848, when Rev. Dennis Wheeler was appointed the first resident pastor there, and of St. Monica's Mission in Jamaica, when Rev. John Maginnis was appointed pastor there. In 1853 the Diocese of Brooklyn was formed with Most Rev. John Loughlin as its first bishop. Father Curran remained as pastor until his death on November 27, 1856. Rev. John Brady became acting pastor until the appointment of the Rev. James Phelan in 1858. Visit this link to see an 1852 map of Astoria: http://www.pefagan.com/gen/queens/images/newtownl.gif
PARISH GROWTH AND EXPANSION
According to Munsell's History, Fr Phelan faced a growing Catholic population with help of his lay leaders:
Our Lady of Mount Carmel grew steadily and by 1869, the church building was inadequate. The congregation began a campaign to raise money for a new church and site. The site was secured on the corner of Newtown Avenue and Crescent Street and the cornerstone was laid September 9, 1871, with the church dedicated August 7, 1873. Visit this link to see a map of Astoria in 1873: http://www.pefagan.com/gen/astmaps/ast_sqmap.html. Here's another 1873 map with even more detail: http://www.bklyn-genealogy-info.com/Map/1873.Astoria.html. For a sense of how the area looked, see this link to the great collection of vintage photographs of the Greater Astoria Historical Society about "old Astoria Village", the heart of the original parish: http://astoriahistory.smugmug.com/gallery/6328041_Xh3LA. To see photos of some of these historical houses as they appear today, check out this unique website: http://www.forgotten-ny.com/NEIGHBORHOODS/astoria.tour/astoria.tour.html
After the death of Father Phelan in March 1880 Father Patrick F. Sheridan became acting pastor on April 25, 1880. On May 1, 1881, an acre adjoining the church was purchased to build a rectory. Father Sheridan died on July 24, 1881. Father William McGinnis served as acting pastor until his death in December 1882, at which time he was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald.
Rev. Thomas Fitzgerald served as acting pastor until his transfer to New Lots in Brooklyn, at which time the Very Rev. Patrick A Walsh (born in Waterford, Ireland) became pastor on February 2, 1883. During his pastorate several of the traditional organizations of the parish began to emerge: the Holy Name Society was founded in 1886, and the Young Men's Social and Athletic Club (or "Lyceum") in 1894. Father Walsh built the school and convent on Astoria Boulevard at Crescent Street, the basement of the church, the rectory on Newtown Avenue and the "Institute", or Parish Center, across the street from the rectory, a two-story and basement structure with a seating capacity of 600 on a site consisting of four lots.The cornerstone of the Institute was laid on Sunday, October 24, 1909 by the Vicar General of the diocese, Rt. Rev. P. J. Mc Namara. The local newspaper at the time, the Daily Star, reported that over 3000 people attended the ceremonies, which included a parade through the neighborhood and speeeches by clergy and civic officials. The architect was F. J. Berlenbach of Brooklyn and the builder Joseph Turner of Astoria.
The parish school at Astoria Boulevard and Crescent Street was opened for the first time on September 14, 1891, with 300 children and a staff of six Sisters of St Joseph of Brentwood, L.I. Because the convent was not ready, these Sisters traveled daily to school from old St John's Hospital in Long Island City by means of horsecars. In 1928 additional classrooms were added to the school and nine more Sisters were added to the staff. Visit these three links to see several maps of Astoria in 1890:
Again, the Greater Astoria Historical Society has a wonderful collection of antique photographs, many of Mount Carmel in those days, at this link to their website: http://astoriahistory.smugmug.com/Community%20Landmarks For a sense of the appearance of Long Island City in our general at the turn of the century, see this link to a rare piece of film made in 1903 by Thomas A. Edison, the noted inventor, showing Blackwell's Island (now Roosevelt Island) in the foreground, and parts of Long Island City in the background, from about Hunter's Point to Ravenswood: http://www.queensboard.com/video/atthemovies.php
GEN. THOMAS W. SWEENY
Among the more notable but little-known parishioners of Mount Carmel, was one Brigadier General Thomas William Sweeny (1820-1872), a veteran of the U.S. Army who fought in the Mexican War (where he lost an arm in battle) and Civil War. Born in Cork, Ireland, he also was deeply involved in the “Fenian” movement for Irish independence, and was involved in an abortive attempt to invade Canada after the Civil War with an army of Irish and Irish Americans. In his later years he resided at 126 Franklin Street (approximately at 8th Street and 27th Avenue), where he died on April 10, 1892, very close to the current site of St Margaret Mary Chapel. His funeral Mass was conducted at Mount Carmel a few days later, and he was buried in Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn. His daughter-in-law continued to live in the parish until her death in the 1960s, and the SMM’s longtime sacristan, Ben Pietrobono, made sure a bust of the general was placed on his grave in more recent years.
He appears to be the only parishioner who has a song written and recorded about him by the noted Irish folk singing group, the Wolfe-Tones. The link, if you’d like to hear it, is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdwCka4k0sI
A NEW CENTURY
Father Walsh died on February 26, 1910. He was succeeded by the Rev. Charles F. Gibney in 1911. In 1915 he enlarged and embellished the 1871 church. The architect for this extensive re-design was the noted Thomas Henry Poole of New York, who designed many other Catholic churches and buildings, including in Manhattan: Holy Name (1891), Our Lady of Good Counsel (1892), and St Thomas the Apostle (1907); and St Cecilia in Brooklyn (1893), St Lawrence in Sayville, L.I. (1896; burned 1967), Transfiguration in Tarrytown, N.Y. (1898), St Cecilia in Englewood, N.J. (1910), Mount St. Ursula Academy in Bedford Park, Bronx (1892), and Cardinal Gibbons Hall at Catholic University in Washington D.C. (1911)
According to the April 16, 1916 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the renovation of Mount Carmel church included a magnificent limestone facade "in the English Gothic style of the fifteenth century", a deeper sanctuary and the installation of twelve stained glass windows depicting St Paul and eleven other apostles. Rededication took place on May 14, 1916, with Bishop Charles Mc Donnell and dozens of diocesan priests in attendance. The church, rectory, school and Institute were decked out in American and papal flags with thousands of people in attendance, as the Daily Star reported the next day. In 1928 additional classrooms were added to the school; in 1935 the Institute was reconditioned and reactivated. Visit this link to see a 1919 map showing Astoria near Mount Carmel's cemetery: http://www.pefagan.com/gen/queens/images/stjdetl.gif
Monsignor Gibney died on December 9, 1940. He was succeeded by County Tyrone, Ireland-born Monsignor Patrick J. Rogers. Monsignor Rogers purchased property adjacent to the rectory for a future buildings program. Monsignor Rogers died on April 22, 1949. He was succeeded by Monsignor Peter A. Kelaher, who became pastor on September 29, 1949.
On January 30, 1951 Monsignor Kelaher presided over the groundbreaking to renovate and enlarge the rectory. He built the new school on property adjacent to the rectory on Newtown Avenue at the corner of 23rd Street. Ground was broken on March 16, 1953, and the cornerstone laid March 2, 1954. It opened in September 1954 and the Sisters moved into the new convent on December 8, 1954. Msgr Kelaher died on March 2, 1965.
POST-VATICAN II ERA
Monsignor John J. Heneghan, who was the seventh Chancellor of the Brooklyn Diocese, became the new pastor on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, 1965. Monsignor Heneghan's only previous parish assignment had been in Our Lady of Mount Carmel from September 1934 to February 1941 as assistant pastor and administrator. Almost immediately, he embarked upon a major campaign to prepare for the 125th Anniversary of the parish by a special pre-Christmas novena, a forty-eight-hour parish census in January 1966, and a campaign to renovate and modernize the parish buildings, including the air-conditioning of the Church.
Throughout the late 1960's and early 1970's many of the changes brought about by Vatican II could be seen in the parish. On February 27, 1966, the Sunday 5:00 P. M. Mass was added to the schedule; permission to eat meat on Friday (except during Lent) began on December 2, 1966; the liturgy of the Mass changed from Latin to English and then to the rite of the Mass we use today. On January 26, 1969, a Prayer Service for Christian Unity was held in the Upper Church along with neighborhood Protestant churches. The first 5:30 P.M. Saturday evening Mass was said on April 4, 1970. On September 12, 1971, a 10:00 A.M. Mass in the Czech and Slovak languages began in them lower church by the Rev. Louis Vyoral. The Spanish Mass at 11:00 A.M. began in 1977.
On March 1, 1980, Fr. James T. Smith became pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. He succeeded Monsignor John J. Heneghan, who upon reaching retirement age, became Pastor Emeritus. Monsignor Heneghan died November 17, 1989, after a lengthy illness.
INNOVATIONS IN THE 1980's
The 1980's saw many changes in Mount Carmel that reflected the changes in the Church, the community, and society in general.
- We welcomed Fr. Vincent Daly as Director of Religious Education. He established religion classes for children who attend Special Schools and for physically challenged children; religion classes for junior high school students; an adult religious education program; a teen club; a children's summer program; R.C.I.A. program for adults preparing for Sacraments; trained and certified our religion teachers and brought our religious education programs to a professional level.
- A Coordinator of Pastoral Care of the Sick, Sister Frances Casteran, C. S. J., also joined our parish staff. Under the direct supervision of the pastor and in cooperation with the parish staff, she was responsible for providing for the spiritual needs of the institutionalized sick and the frail and/or elderly homebound. The coordinator recruits, selects, trains, and supervises a team of parish lay ministers who meet regularly to discuss and share their ministry. Pastoral Care is also extended to divorced, separated and single parents, as well as the bereaved.
- In 1980 the first Folk Mass was celebrated on March 16, at the 12:30 P.M. Mass. Shortly after a Folk Group was formed, 10:00 A.M. became the Folk Mass.
- On April 6, 1980, Father Richard Marchese, the Director of the Italian Apostolate for the Diocese of Brooklyn, began Mass in Italian in the Lower Church on Sundays at 9:00 A.M.
- On May 4, at the 12:30 P.M. Sunday mass, eight lectors who had completed the Diocesan Lector Workshop, were installed.
- On June 14 at the 5:30 P.M. Mass, our first eleven ministers of the Eucharist were installed for service to our parish, Astoria General Hospital and the Lyden Nursing Home.
- On February 6, 1981, Bishop Mugavero came to bless the offices of "Flowers with Care", which were housed in the old convent. Flowers with Care is a job-training program for unskilled youth, whose graduates are highly regarded and in demand as skilled workers. The founder was the late Father James Harvey, whose work had been recognized by top government officials. In 1984 Flowers with Care expanded into the old school which afforded more space for offices, training rooms, a chapel, and other needed facilities. Subsequently, the building also became the Catholic Charities Center for Queens North which to this day provides many valuable social services to the community.
- In September of 1983, the old parish cemetery at 26th Avenue and 21st Street, which had been neglected, was reconditioned and fenced in. The earliest monument dates back to 1844, with the most burials between the 1850's and 1880's. The last burial took place in 1926. In 1935 there were 105 readable headstones, mostly Irish names and the names of nine Civil War veterans. The cemetery has its own section and links elsewhere in our parish website.
- The lower church was renovated during these years.
In 1991, the parish celebrated 150 years of existence with a series of celebrations. An "Alumni Homecoming" on Sunday, October 20, 1990, drew over 500 alums from as far away as Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio and Washington state. On October 26, the opening religious service, entitled "A Celebration with Mary, Our Mother", in which Mary "spoke" and the congregation responded., including a mass, dinner-dance and alumni events. A Jubilee Mass was celebrated on Sunday, June 2, 1991, by Most Rev. Thomas V. Daily, the bishop of Brooklyn. Each ethnic group held a special Jubilee event as well.
ENTERING A NEW MILLENNIUM
Father Frank Lynch was named to succeed his high school classmate at Regis High School, Fr. Smith, as pastor in June 1993, and saw to the restoration of the Stations of the Cross and our classic baptismal font, and the improvement of the landscaping. During this time the parish provided residence in the new school convent to members of the Congregation of St. John the Baptist, who have been engaged for over a quarter of a century in the apostolate to the Chinese-speaking Catholics of the diocese. Two service organizations, "Bridge to Life" and "Hour Children", began using parish space for their activities.
Monsignor Paul R. Sanchez became pastor in 2001 when Fr. Lynch retired. On October 20, 2003, to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Brooklyn Diocese, our historic church hosted the presentation of the Diocesan Sesquicentennial Awards by Bishop Di Marzio to two honorees from every parish in our vicariate. Our current trustees, Jane Ann Mc Gettrick and the Hon. Anthony Gazzara, were the recipients from Mount Carmel. Sadly, despite heroic efforts at recruitment, fund-raising and alumni development by Msgr. Sanchez and the principal, Angela Fazio, the parish school closed in June 2005 along with more than twenty others in the diocese. However, the parish is still committed to promoting Catholic school education for our parish youngsters in the neighboring parish schools of our cluster, with whom we closely collaborate. On June 30, 2008, Monsignor Sanchez became Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio's Episcopal Vicar for Queens North, swapping positions with Monsignor Sean G. Ogle, who became the new pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
In 2012 our parish had the unique honor of having two of its sons named auxiliary bishops of the Brooklyn Diocese: native son Most Rev. Raymond Chappetto, and our former pastor, Most Rev. Paul Sanchez. Joyful "homecoming" Masses were celerbbretd with each of them during September 2012. Meanwhile the parish also mourned the death of two other former pastors: Fr James Smith in 2011, and Fr Frank Lynch in 2013.
"DAUGHTER" PARISHES AND ST. MARGARET MARY
As the Catholic population of northwest Queens grew, the territory covered originally by Mount Carmel gave rise to the creation of a number of additional parishes, including: Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians (Winfield or Woodside); St Raphael, St Patrick, St Mary, St Joseph, St Rita, Most Precious Blood, Immaculate Conception, St Francis of Assisi and St Margaret Mary, all in Long Island City.
Of special note is St. Margaret Mary at Ninth Street and 27th Avenue, just five blocks from Mount Carmel. After World War II, the great number of returning veterans created a great demand for public housing in New York City. Part of the response was a large program of municipal housing, including the Astoria Houses, located at the western edge of the parish along the East River between Hallet's Cove and Pot Cove. With Mass being celebrated at Mount Carmel not only in the Upper and Lower churches, but also in the Institute and even in a rented movie theatre on Broadway, the creation of an additional parish seemed necessary.
In 1961, Archbishop Bryan J. Mc Entegart created the parish of St Margaret Mary and appointed the Rev. Louis Rausch as its first pastor. As he was erecting a building intended to be a parish school, it became apparent that the parish had not the resources to complete this plan, so the new building opened not as a school but as a multi-purpose building with chapel, auditorium and religious education classrooms. Fr. Joseph Pitsch succeeded Fr. Rausch as pastor in 1971, followed in turn by Fr. James Mueller (1977), Fr. Michael Brennan (1986), Fr. Charles Keeney (1989), and Fr. Edmund Brady (1993).
In 2005, as part of an overall parish reconfiguration plan of the Brooklyn Diocese responding to declining resources, the parish was merged into Mount Carmel, restoring the original pre-1961 situation of a single parish for the historic area of west central Astoria. Sunday Mass, several prayer and twelve-step groups are conducted at St Margaret Mary, and a wide range of our parish social services are based there. The Catholic Charities "Headstart" program also leases the upper floor at St Margaret Mary.
"PUTTING OUT INTO THE DEEP"
Since becoming the diocesan ordinary in 2003, Bishop Di Marzio has often challenged us with these words of Christ. For our parish, the "deep" has many challenges: assisting immigrants, promoting Catholic education, formation of youth, outreach to the young professionals coming here from all over the country, responsible stewardship of our personal and parochial goods, and providing needed catechetical and social services. Msgr. Sanchez re-instituted a Pastoral Planning Council in 2007 according to diocesan norms to generate greater involvement and assistance to the pastor in all these areas. Our Lady of Mount Carmel has a rich tradition in Astoria of welcoming all members of the community throughout its history and this practice will continue.
Mount Carmel Pastors:
- Rev. Michael Curran (1841-1856)
- Rev. James Phelan (1858-1880)
- Very Rev. Patrick A. Walsh (1883-1910)
- Rt. Rev. Msgr Charles F. Gibney (1911-1940)
- Rt. Rev. Msgr Patrick J. Rogers (1941-1949)
- Rt. Rev. Msgr Peter E. Kelaher (1949-1965)
- Rt. Rev. Msgr John J. Heneghan (1965-1980)
- Rev. James T. Smith (1980-1993)
- Rev. Frank Lynch (1993-2001)
- Msgr. Paul R. Sanchez (2001-2008; since 2012 Bishop Sanchez)
- Msgr. Sean G. Ogle (2008-)
St. Margaret Mary Pastors:
- Rev. Louis Rausch (1961-1971)
- Rev. Joseph Pitsch (1971-1977)
- Rev. James J. Mueller (1977-1986)
- Rev. Michael Brennan (1986-1989)
- Rev. Charles P. Keeney (1989-1993)
- Rev. Edmund P. Brady (1993-2005)
Mount Carmel Associates:
Dennis Wheeler (1851-1854)
- John Brady (1857-1858)
Patrick Sheridan (1880-1881)
William Mc Ginnis (1881-1882)
Thomas Fitzgerald (1882-1883)
- Cornelius J. Curtin (1887-1891)
Michael Nevin (1891-1893)
Maurice Hickey (1893-1894/1895-1897)
M. Galvin (1894)
- William Costello (1895)
John Tinney (1897-1900)
- Alfonse Arcese (1899-1904)
James J. Kennedy (1904-1912)
- Thomas J. Kelly (1907-1908)
Raphael Cioffi (1912-1919)
- John B. Delea (1909-1923)
Anthony F. Manno (1919-1922)
- John F. Bruno (1922-1923)
Raymond J. Smith (1923-1928)
- John J. O'Brien (1924-1928)
Thomas J. Walsh (1928-1934)
- Daniel J. Halloran (1928-1934)
Patrick J. Geary (1925-1934)
- Thomas J. Sadler (1934-1953)
Joseph A. Shreiner (1934-1935)
- John J. Heneghan (1934-1941)
- Joseph A. Fanan (1936)
- Michael J. Quinn (1936-1938)
- John F. Cleater (1938-1940)
- Kenneth Morgan (1940-1944)
- John H. Kern (1941-1945)
- John T. Uris (1944-1949)
- Michael F. Keehan (1944)
- John J. Dobbyn (1950-1962)
- Francis V. Murdoch (1945-1960)
- Leo Maresca (1962-1963)
- Anthony J. Masaitis (1953-1954)
- John J. Gerrity (1960-1963)
- Vincent J. Murphy (1962-1965)
- Francis X. Mc Hugh (1941-1966)
- Thomas M. Mc Fadden (1960-1961/1963-1966)
- Ivan Ilijic (1949-1967)
- Anthony Holzheimer (1954-1967)
- Jospeh J. Esposito (1959-1975)
- Kenneth Vetter (1965-1967)
- Michael De Vito (1966-1967)
- James D. Farraher (1966-1968)
- Edward J. Reilly (1967-1970)
- James W. Ryan (1967-1982)
- Paul F. Wood (1967-1969)
- Raymond Hecker (1968-1975)
- John J. Hannon (1969-1975)
- George Tennant (1975-1987)
- Vincent M. Daly (1980-1990)
- John Waldron (1980-1981)
- Gaetano Sbordone (1983-1990)
- Richard J. Hoare
- Anthony F. Raso
- Josephtan Pham (1983-present)
- Raymond Schmidt
- Josephjude Gannon (2004-2008)
- Peter Hoa Nguyen (2008-present)
- Alexander Abugel (2012)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
No figure in Christendom is venerated under as many titles as the Blessed Virgin Mary, and her designation as “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” is traced to St. Simon Stock and a plea he made to the Blessed Mother in 1251.
St. Simon was a member of the Carmelite Order in Cambridge, England – the same religious order that included such notable spiritual icons as St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila.
Tradition holds that on July 16, 1251, The Blessed Mother appeared to St. Simon Stock in answer to a fervent appeal he had made to her to aid his beloved Carmelite Order. She presented him with a brown scapular that served as a twofold pledge: first, it offered her protection to all the members of the Carmelite Order, and second, it assured mercy and forgiveness at the hour of death to those who honored Mary as Carmelites or as affiliates with the Carmelites.
In a closely related circumstance in 1322, Pope John XXII issued a Papal Bull that declared that he himself had also received a visitation from the Blessed Mother who commended the Carmelites to him and offered early liberation to them time spent in purgatory. This special indulgence became known as the “Sabbatine privilege”.
The Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on July 16th, the date of her appearance to St. Simon Stock. Statues and portraits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel invariably depict her holding the brown scapular she gave to St. Simon Stock as a token of her protection.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Born in 1647 in the small French village of Janots, Margaret Alacoque lived during a time period of great spiritual upheaval. Already bruised and weakened by the chaos of the Protestant Reformation, the seventeenth century Church in France was additionally stung by the presence of such heresies as Jansenism as well. It was into this environment that Margaret was born to Claude and Philiberte Alacoque, the fifth of seven children. The Alacoques were financially stable, owners of a country manor and ample farmland, and Margaret’s godmother was a countess. The death of Margaret’s father to pneumonia when she was eight years old was not only a devastating personal loss, but also led to years of virtual servitude to relatives who took over the administration of the farm and largely disregarded the wishes of its original owners.
Margaret, who was sent to a convent school, impressed the nuns with her deep devotion, and was uncharacteristically permitted to make her First Communion at the age of nine. While she loved the peace and stability of convent life, a rheumatic condition left her ill and virtually paralyzed for four years, most of which time she spent in recovery at home.
Madame Alacoque hoped that Margaret would marry, but Margaret chose instead to enter the Order of the Visitation, which had recently been founded by St. Francis de Sales. She was twenty years old upon entrance, and the name Mary was added to her name upon her profession of vows. In 1673, Sister Margaret Mary experienced the first of a series of divine communications, wherein she was entrusted by Jesus with the task of initiating a special devotion to His Sacred Heart. Both her Mother Superior and later a panel of esteemed theologians rejected these religious experiences as delusional, causing Margaret Mary a great deal of pain and embarrassment. It was a Jesuit priest named Claude de la Columbiere who accepted her experiences as authentic and inaugurated the devotions she espoused in England.
Eventually, after years of ridicule, contempt and despair, Margaret Mary was vindicated, and her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus began to spread throughout Europe and to America. She popularized the Holy Hour devotion. In 1824, Pope Leo XII declared her to be “Venerable”, and in 1864, Pope Pius IX beatified her. She was canonized St. Margaret Mary by Pope Benedict XV in 1920. Her feast day is celebrated on October 16th.
|Msgr. Sean G. Ogle||Pastor|
|Father Joseph Pham||Parochial Vicar|
|Father Peter Nguyen||Parochial Vicar|
|Father Ed Brady||Pastor emeritus (St Margaret Mary)|
|Lucille Mascia||Director of Music|
|Nelly Gutierrez||Coordinator of Religious Education|
|Sister Barbara Buckbee CSJ||Catholic School Promoter|
|Celeste Stewart||Parish Secretary/Secretary for Finances|
|Denise Dollard||Parish Outreach Coordinator|
|Mr. Steve Leoutsakos||Parish Athletic Director|
|Fr. Jean Laguerre||
Cluster Hospital Chaplain