Friday, August 30, 2019

Bronx parish closures & mergers, 2015 in 2019

It is four years since Cardinal Timothy Dolan closed or merged many parishes in the seven counties of the Archdiocese of New York. This post will attempt to review the status of the changes in The Bronx. Remarkably, some parishes clearly mark their merger. In others, the merger is ignored, and little information is available on the closed parish. None that I know of have been sold. 
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I begin with recent appointments at some parishes. 
Fr. Stephen Malanga, A. J., was appointed pastor of Holy Family - St. John Vianney - Blessed Sacrament near the Unionport neighborhood along Bruckner Boulevard. He joins two other priests from Africa residing in the Holy Family rectory on Watson Avenue. There are five weekend Masses at Blessed Sacrament, four at Holy Family, none at St. John Vianney. The large building of St. John Vianney parish school now carries the name of a charter school.  For the Apostles of Jesus, please see this link.
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Father Michael Kissane is back at St. Simon Stock as pastor, appointed July, 2019.  St. Simon Stock lists four weekend Masses, and St. Joseph on Bathgate Avenue one bilingual (presumably Spanish and English) and one for the Catholic Ghana Community. However, the Ghana Catholics may have moved to St. Luke, East 138th Street.
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St.  Pius V parish was merged with St. Rita of Cascia, but the St. Rita website does not mention the closed church.
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Visitation church and school are closed. In 2018, the yard seemed to have been rented to a fleet of medical vans. Visitation appears on St. John's website.
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The merger of two Riverdale parishes means one pastor, two or three assistants, but two churches with worship, two schools of maybe 300 students (counting Universal Pre-Kindergarten), and two schools of religion.  The parish website is https://stmargaretofcortona-stgabriel.com/
St. Gabriel's church, inside its school, is two miles south of St. Margaret of Cortona. It appears that the priests reside at St. Margaret.
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On 9.7.2019 I drove by St. Ann's closed church-inside-school on Bainbridge Avenue. It appears that the nearby Montefiore hospital uses the corner playground as a parking lot. The church/school and the rectory continue north from the lot, but no change is obvious. A paper sign is on the front door. Clicking on the photo will enlarge it.




On 9.21.2019, I found the sign below on the church of the Nativity of Our Blessed Lady on East 233rd Street. Not only are there Sunday Masses in the church, but the elementary school is also open.













Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Dr. McNiff closes two more schools

The archdiocese of New York announced on 2.4.2019 that two more Catholic elementary schools in The Bronx will close in June.  They are St. Nicholas of Tolentine as 2336 Andrews Avenue, one block west of the church, and St. Joseph's elementary school on Bathgate Avenue, opposite St. Joseph's church.
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For the official announcement from Dr. Timothy McNiff, please see THIS LINK. Seven schools in five counties are being closed.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Choosing a Catholic High School

Today's Catholic New York has a special section, beginning on page 15, describing the Catholic High Schools of the Archdiocese of New York, including thirteen high schools in The Bronx.  Please use this link and flip to page 15.
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For a full explanation of the Test for Admission to Catholic High School, please go to tachsinfo.com
Registration must be done by October 15, 2018. The date of the examination is Friday, November 2, 2018. The registration fee is $63, as last year.
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The Test for Admission to Catholic High Schools is accepting applicants now.  Parents are urged to look at this information site (link here)  and read each of the links in the left-hand column.  You may have to print out some of the forms and directions. It would appear that the thirteen Catholic high schools of The Bronx offer 2,295 places for incoming freshmen.
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Please also note the dates of the Open House visitations and the Information Fairs.
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For students and parents intent on Catholic high school admission, the important point is to GET MOVING, as instructed above.
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The following note is of less importance. Because of my interest in Catholic education in the metropolitan area,  I list the number of seats available to freshmen in twelve counties:
The Bronx leads with 2,295 openings.
Queens, with 2,190 openings.
Manhattan, with 1,275 openings.
Staten Island, with 1,170.
Brooklyn, with 1,200 openings.
Westchester, with 1,193 openings.
Dutchess, with 200 openings.
Orange, with 110 openings.
Rockland, with 140 openings,
Ulster, with 60 openings.
Putnam and Sullivan, with no Catholic high schools.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Merger of St. Clare of Assisi and St. Francis Xavier parishes

Effective today, September 1, 2018, is the merger of two parishes less than a half-mile apart on Hone and Haight Avenues in the Morris Park section of The Bronx. The records held at St. Francis Xavier parish will be moved to the rectory of St. Clare of Assisi. The merger is somewhat unusual because the territorial parish is St. Francis Xavier, which will set the boundaries, while St. Clare of Assisi is a personal parish (read: national or Italian). Judging from the bulletins, attendance and revenue at St. Clare may be a bit stronger than at St. Francis Xavier, but both parishes have schools. Until today, the pastor of St. Francis was also the administrator of St. Clare, so this merger has been in the works. Neither church will be closed.
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The merger decree is linked HERE.
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My photos from St. Clare are HERE.
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My photos from St. Francis Xavier are HERE.

Religated to profane use, 2017 and 2018

Churches closed and readied for sale.
Saint Anthony, Wakefield, Bronx, May 2018. It was said that the pastor donated much to this Italian national parish.
Our Lady of Grace, Bronxwood Avenue and East 226 St., Bronx, May, 2018.
St. John Vianney, Castle Hill Avenue, May, 2018. Francis Cardinal Spellman several times overestimated the number of Catholics entering Housing Authority projects. Boston-style segregation was not replicated in our city's public housing. In several instances, Cardinal Spellman purchased property for new parishes before the projects were constructed. With regard to the Marble Hill houses, he dropped plans for a new parish of St. Philomena at the corner of West 225th Street and Kingsbridge Road, and sold the plot to the Board of Education.
Our Lady of Pity, East 151 St., Bronx, demolished 2018.
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St Veronica, Christopher St., Greenwich Village, Manhattan, 2018. My parents wed there in 1935.
St. Joseph, Lower East Side, Manhattan, May, 2018.
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St. Sylvia, Tivoli, Dutchess County, May, 2018. This was the northernmost church of the archdiocese east of the Hudson River.
St. John the Baptist, Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, May 2018.
Chapel of Christ the King, Staten Island, May 2018.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mount Vernon, Westchester County, May, 2018.
Most Holy Trinity, Mamaroneck, Westchester County, May, 2018.
St. Mary of the Assumption, Port Richmond, Staten Island, November, 2017.

Mergers 2018 with two or three churches open

St. Clare of Assisi and St. Francis Xavier in Morris Park, Bronx, effective 9.1.2018.
St. John the Evangelist, Pawling, and St. Charles Borromeo, Dover Plains, both in Dutchess County, effective 9.1.2018.
Sacred Heart and St. Francis of Assisi, Newburgh, effective July 1, 2018.
St. Mary, St. Joseph, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Poughkeepsie, with 3 churches open, effective July 1, 2018.


Saturday, September 1, 2018

St. Roch on Wales Avenue is reduced to profane use, up for sale


In the summer of 2018, I am catching up with neglected posts.  On November 30, 2017, the archdiocese posted this notice that the church of St. Roch has been reduced to profane, but not sordid, use.  That is, after the sacred objects are removed, confessionals, for example, the building is for sale.
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The Archbishop merged this parish with that of St. Anselm on Tinton Avenue, effective August 1, 2015. No Masses or sacraments are regularly celebrated at St.  Roch's.  The telephone number of the combined parish is 718-292-3834.



On the afternoon of September 4, 2010, I entered St. Roch's church and chanced upon the celebration of a Mass on what appeared to be a Quinceanera. A mariachi group played and sang the liturgical music, such as the Sanctus and offertory and communion hymns. Clicking on any photo will enlarge it.

See page 231 for the foundation of St Roch parish in 1899 by Father John Milo. The church is on the west side of Wales Avenue north of East 147th Street.
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The above 2010 sign is invalid as of August 1, 2015.  Mass will not be celebrated here on a regular basis.






This view looks north on Wales Avenue towards busy East 149th Street and the Bx19 bus.

The church was dedicated in 1932. According to the A.I.A. Guide, it was designed by the firm DePace & Juster, Anthony DePace also designer of two churches at the parish of St. Theresa, Pelham Bay.




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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Ursuline Academy, Grand Concourse

In the approximate years 1902-1959, a girls' school, Ursuline Academy, stood on high ground on the southeast corner of East 165th Street and the Grand Concourse. The same congregation of religious sisters that ran the Academy of Mount Saint Ursula in Bedford Park also taught in this school.
A photograph from the New York Public Library is linked HERE.

An excellent photo of the corner site is HERE. What a staircase! I used to think of it built atop a pile of rocks.

Pope Leo XIII urged religious congregations that shared a common founder to reunite as Rome-centered groups. The Sisters of various Ursuline houses were asked whether they wished to join such a Roman Union, and the Bronxites agreed. Apparently, they needed a location for a provincialate, bought the Grand Concourse rock and created thereupon a convent and school. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

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 (link here)  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 thirteen Catholic high schools of The Bronx offer 2,295 places for incoming freshmen.
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Please also note the dates of the Open House visitations and the Information Fairs.
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The cost of the test is $63.
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For students and parents intent on Catholic high school admission, the important point is to GET MOVING, as instructed above.
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The following note is of less importance. Because of my interest in Catholic education in the metropolitan area,  I list the number of seats available to freshmen in twelve counties:
The Bronx leads with 2,295 openings.
Queens, with 2,140 openings.
Manhattan, with 1.249 openings.
Staten Island, with 1,325.
Brooklyn, with 1,210 openings.
Westchester, with 1,150 openings.
Dutchess, with 190 openings.
Orange, with 110 openings.
Rockland, with 160 openings,
Ulster, with 60 openings.
Putnam and Sullivan, with no Catholic high schools.
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Catholic New York has published an excellent guide to the 46 high schools of the archdiocese, viewable as a PDF at this link:
http://catholicny.static.creativecirclemedia.com/uploads/files/16b27917e4.pdf

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Decrees of Relegation. June 30, 2017

The archbishop has signed decrees relegating certain churches of the archdiocese for profane, not sordid, use. This canonically clears the way for their sale or lease. The list is linked HERE and may disappear soon from the archdiocesan website. Note that this list of properties "up for sale" is limited to churches. Properties other than churches do not require this type of decree.

In The Bronx, the list includes
St. Ann, Bainbridge Avenue, pastor Rev. Raul Miguez. This church is inside a school that was closed in June, 2017. Nearby Montefiore Hospital keeps buying up the neighborhood, so I would not be surprised if St. Ann's will go to Montefiore.
Visitation (a relatively new church on Van Cortlandt Park South), pastor Father Michael Kerrigan.
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Warning: I may have misread some of the decrees in this list, as both halves of each merger are named in the text but only one building is deconsecrated. Please inform me of any error!
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In Manhattan: Nativity Church on Second Avenue between Second and Third Streets. I consider the "modern" design of this church a box used as a gathering place of worship.
The church of Most Holy Crucifix on Broome Street.
The church of St. John the Martyr, a former Presbyterian church on East 72nd Street, purchased for Bohemian Catholics in 1904.
The church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary on East 83rd Street.
The church of St. Lucy on East 104th Street.
The church of St. Paul on East 117th Street, not St. Paul the Apostle at West 60th Street.
The church of St. Gregory the Great on West 90th Street. One building contains the church, the school above the church, and the rectory above the school!
The church of St. Benedict the Moor on West 53rd Street.
The church of All Saints at the corner of East 129th Street and Madison Avenue, This landmarked Gothic Revival church may be the most imposing building on this list.
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In Westchester: the church of St. Ursula, Mount Vernon.
The church of Sacred Heart, Mount Vernon.
The church of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Port Chester.
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In Dutchess County, Immaculate Conception, Bangall.
The chapel of St. Joseph in Clinton Corners.
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In Sullivan County, the church of St. Thomas Aquinas in Forestburgh.








Saturday, April 1, 2017

Fordham University

See pages 359, 360 and 386 for the foundation of St John's College in 1841 and the transfer of its administration to Jesuits in 1846. Somewhere I have read that the name "Fordham" referred rather to an estate along the Harlem River and that Rose Hill, the 106-acre purchase made by Bishop Hughes in 1839, was at the east end of the estate. See pages 111 and 132 for references to the first diocesan synod, held at St John's College, Fordham, in 1842. In 1905, the Jesuits renamed the college Fordham. Thomas Shelley's book, the Bronx references of which I am here indexing, is rich with footnotes. See footnote #14 on page 360 for a helpful history of Fordham University. Page 421 has a photo of Keating Hall. Page 522 refers to the San Juan Fiesta at Rose Hill in 1956. Page 598 reminds the reader that The Bronx was honored with its own cardinal in 2001, Cardinal Avery Dulles, .S.J., residing at Fordham University.
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In 2008, I wrote the above paragraph. In January, 2017, I had the good fortune to find in the Nassau Library System a copy of "Fordham: A History of the Jesuit University of New York: 1841-2003" by Msgr. Thomas J. Shelley, Emeritus Professor of Church History at Fordham University, the same historian who wrote the Bicentennial History (with the page numbers I have been referring to throughout this blog on Bronx parishes).
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Msgr. Shelley's 500-page history of the university is fascinating, insightful, and full of details and intriguing anecdotes. The author excels in placing university events in the context of New York, political, and church history. The quotes are good: Alban Butler, Church history is largely the story of quarrels between two good men. And Martin Spalding, on religious orders: too much esprit de corps and too little Catholic spirit.
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One must remember that the university chapel was originally (in some form before renovations) the parish church of Our Lady of Mercy.