Sunday, March 15, 2009

St Raymond parish, Westchester or Parkchester



St. Raymond's church is on East Tremont Avenue at Castle Hill Avenue.  This view looks south. 
See page 171 for an account of the founding of St. Raymond Parish in 1842 by Father Felix Vilanis, "who had been the first rector of St Joseph's Seminary in Fordham two years earlier." Page 141 has an old photo of the original St Raymond's church. Note that this was once the Town of Westchester within the County of Westchester, before Bronx County was formed. See page 174 for later history and photos of the present church, built in 1898, shown also above.
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The parish website is linked here. The rectory address is 1759 Castle Hill Ave., Bronx NY 10462, and the phone number is 718-792-4044.
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McNamara's Blog, linked here, reproduces a 1914 history of St. Raymond's parish.  This snippet adds much to other accounts, as it describes the early parish history in more detail.


The rectory and church seen from Castle Hill Avenue. The front of the church faces Tremont Avenue, to the right.
Clicking on any photo enlarges it. Above is the interior of St. Raymond's church. According to the New York City Organ Project, the church, built in 1898, was designed by George H. Streeton, who later designed St. James Cathedral in Brooklyn.  As of November, 2010, the lower church is being used for services.  A note in the parish bulletin states that the upper church will be renovated by the spring of 2011.

St. John Baptist de la Salle. A biography is here.

The above building now houses the girls' high school.

Above, looking west from the front steps of the church. It seems the church yard was much larger before this elementary school was built about 1950, as shown in this link a helpful reader has sent me. It is a 1905 view from past the school and facing the church. It shows the extent of the graveyards in 1905. It is also a good view of the church.


Above, looking west. The parish owns two other cemeteries, about two miles east.

Above, the rear of the elementary school is seen from Purdy Street.
Above, looking south from Tremont Avenue. Both the elementary school and the girls' high school are entered through this gate.

At some point after 1924, year unknown, the parish built the above building as a convent for the Sisters of Charity. It seems that in the late 1950's a new convent was built on the south side of Metropolitan Avenue, and the De La Salle Brothers moved from a frame house several blocks away to this commodious building. One can see the chapel and a parlor facing the sun. The entrance is on the far side, on Castle Hill Avenue. The new convent, with elegance resembling Motel 6, is now used for parish or archdiocesan offices.


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The parish website is linked here. The rectory address is 1759 Castle Hill Ave., Bronx NY 10462, and the phone number is 718-792-4044.
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The parish maintains an elementary school at 2380 East Tremont Avenue, adjacent to the church, a girls' high school, St. Raymond Academy at 1725 Castle Hill Avenue, and St. Raymond High School for Boys, at 2151 St. Raymond Avenue, Bronx NY 10462, main entrance on Purdy St. The De La Salle Christian Brothers have been members of the teaching staff since 1909. The 2008 edition of the Official Catholic Directory gave these enrollment figures: 654 students in the elementary school, 351 students in the girls' academy, and 714 students in the boys' high school.
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Above is St. Raymond High School for Boys at the corner of St. Raymond Avenue and Purdy Street.


In the fall of 2011, a new entrance and addition was constructed along Purdy Street.
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An 1924 aerial view of St. Raymond's parish may be viewed here, courtesy of the New York Public Library.

St Barnabas, Woodlawn

To the left of the steps, one can detect the door to a new elevator connecting street level with both the upper and lower churches. In this photo, Martha Avenue, going north, is at the left, and the next building is in the city of Yonkers. To the right is East 241 Street, Bronx, with the rectory and elementary school in sight.

A click on any photo enlarges it.
Looking west at McLean Avenue and Hyatt Avenue, Yonkers. This is St. Barnabas Chapel, on the street level of the high school.




See pages 478 and 479 for the creation of St. Barnabas Parish, Woodlawn, in 1910. The present church, built in 1911 at the corner of East 241 Street and Martha Avenue, has long been insufficient for all the Sunday Masses. Some Masses are said at a nearby school building on McLean Avenue, Yonkers. The border separating two cities (New York and Yonkers) apparently goes through the parish property. The rectory address is 409 East 241 St., Bronx NY 10470, telephone 718-324-1478.  The parish website, with exceptionally clear layout, is linked here.
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The Sisters of Charity and religious sisters of other congregations have staffed the parish schools (K-12) for many decades. The address of the parish elementary school is 413 East 241 St., Bronx NY 10470. The website of the elementary school is here. An enrollment of 400 was reported to the Official Catholic Directory, but this count seems to include Pre-K.  The website of the girls' high school at 425 East 240th Street is here.

Our Lady of Solace, Morris Park Avenue, Van Nest


The church faces busy Morris Park Avenue. To the right is the intersection with Holland Avenue.

The parish schools of Our Lady of Solace parish and St. Dominic have closed. The religious education program of both parishes is apparently conducted in this building at the corner of Morris Park Avenue and Holland Avenue.
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See page 481 for the establishment of Our Lady of Solace in 1903. The rectory address is 731 Morris Park Ave., Bronx NY 10462, telephone 718-863-3282. Morris Park was the name of nearby race track, and Van Nest a nearby railroad station that gave its name to a housing subdivision west of Morris Park. The present church was dedicated in 1929. For years, the Sisters of the Presentation staffed the parish school.
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From the banner in front of the church, it would seem that the parish of Our Lady of Solace is staffed in part by Misioneros Idente, also known as Institute Id of Christ.

St Dominic, Unionport Road, Van Nest

Above the entrance, "Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuae." Lord, I have loved the beauty of your house (Psalm 26). A allusion to the name Dominic may be intended. You may click on any photo to enlarge it.
The above photo looks north on Unionport Road to Morris Park Avenue.
See pages 482 and 483 for St Dominic's parish, established in 1924. The church on Unionport Road south of Morris Park Avenue dates from 1927. The rectory address is 1739 Unionport Road, Bronx NY 10462, telephone 718-828-2424.
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St. Dominic's parish school is a few blocks south at 1684 White Plains Road.  On January 11, 2011, the archdiocese announced that the school would close in June.  An article in the Bronx Times is linked here.   The staff of the school may include six Sisters of the Congregation of St. John the Baptist, CSJB, also known as the Baptistines.
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From the website of the Misioneros Idente, it would seem that this congregation provides some of the staff for St. Dominic parish.

Our Lady of Grace, Bronxwood Ave, Wakefield


In mid-2015, the archbishop announced that Mass would no longer be offered in Our Lady of Grace church on a regular basis.  The parish is merged with that of St. Frances of Rome.  The school remains open.




This sculpture of Mary and Jesus, created by Sister Angelica Ballan, was originally outside Misericordia Hospital on East 233rd Street.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

The photo above shows the school, rectory, and church.


See pages 478 and 479 for the parish of Our Lady of Grace, founded as an Italian parish in 1924. The present church, at Bronxwood Avenue and East 226 St., dates from 1968.  This is two blocks east of White Plains Road. The school, rectory, and church occupy the west side of Bronxwood Avenue from 225th St to 226th St. 
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The parish school is at 3981 Bronxwood Avenue. A March, 2009, message from the principal would seem to indicate one room per grade.  Please see the school website HERE, current as of November, 2015.

St Clare, Rhinelander Ave., Morris Park


Clicking on any photo enlarges it.
In the above photo, the church and school are seen on Rhinelander Avenue. The one-way-southbound street to the left is Paulding Avenue. To the right of the school is Hone Avenue, one-way-northbound.
An outdoor statue of St. Clare faces Paulding Avenue. For a biography, click here.
Note that the craftsmen who built this church did not present us with a flat brick wall, but they knew how to ornament it with designs.


See page 484 for the 1929 creation of the Italian parish of St Clare of Assisi at Paulding and Rhinelander Avenue, Morris Park or Williamsbridge. The present church dates from 1931. The parish website is linked here. The rectory address is 1918 Paulding Ave., Bronx NY 10462, and the phone number is 718-863-8974.
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The parish school is located at 1911 Hone Avenue, Bronx NY 10461. The school and rectory are back-to-back on parallel avenues (Hone and Paulding), but they seem to be in different zip codes or post office branches. With more than 500 students, the school appears to have two sections per grade.
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An extensive history of the parish (49 pages in PDF file) is linked here. Many thanks to the persons who wrote it and posted it.

St Francis Xavier, Van Nest Ave., Morris Park




See 484 and 486 for St Francis Xavier, founded in Morris Park in 1928. The parish patron, Francis Xavier, was born in Spain in 1506. He became one of the first Jesuits and a missionary to India and Japan, dying on route to China in 1552. Brief biographies of St. Francis Xavier are linked here and here.
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The present church at Lurting and Van Nest Avenues dates from 1951. The parish has several substantial buildings, including what appear to be two schools. A convent was refurbished for the Franciscan sisters sponsored by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. The rectory address is 1703 Lurting Ave., Bronx NY 10461, telephone 718-892-3330. The parish website is linked here. Thanks to Tom, who provided the link.
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The parish school is at 1711 Haight Avenue, telephone 718-863-0531. With about 370 students, it appears that some grades have two sections, other grades one.
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Lurting Avenue and some parallel avenues to the west carry the names of former mayors of New York City. According to "History in Asphalt" by John McNamara, Robert Lurting was mayor from 1726 to 1735. Stephan Haight was a local landowner.