Thursday, December 10, 2015

St. John - Visitation

On August 1, 2015, the Archbishop of New York merged two Kingsbridge parishes, St. John and Visitation.  The church of St. John remains open.  Both elementary schools remain open. However, Visitation church, that is ,the newer one, no longer has regular religious services, even on Sundays. The bulletin pictured below is available at the parish website, linked HERE.

Any photo may be enlarged by clicking on it.
The 2015 Official Catholic Directory gives the enrollment at St. John's School as 224, Visitation 216.
The mailing address remains 3021 Kingsbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY 10463, telephone 718-548-1221.  The parish pastoral center is around the corner at 275 West 230th Street, and its seven-day office hours are listed on the website and in the parish bulletin.  I presume that the above phone number reaches both the priests' rectory and the office, depending on hours. The office used to be in the rectory.  Some parish events are held in the Godwin Terrace School, while St. John's School is at 3143 Kingbridge Avenue, a newer building.
See pages 268 and 298 of the Bicentennial History for the creation of St. John parish on Kingsbridge Avenue, north of West 230 Street, in 1886. Previously, it had been a mission of St. Mary's, Yonkers, and after 1869 a mission of St. Elizabeth parish, Washington Heights, whose pastor, Father Henry Brann, built a chapel in Kingsbridge. This church's patron is John the Apostle and Evangelist. The parish is often called St. John's, Kingsbridge, to distinguish it from other parishes named St John. The present church dates from 1910, but was rededicated in 1966. For more than a century, the Religious of Jesus and Mary have staffed the school. For about twenty years (1950-1970?) the De La Salle Christian Brothers staffed the boys' department.

The rectory address is 3021 Kingsbridge Ave., Bronx NY 10463, telephone 718-548-1221.  In the above photo, the rectory is at the left, the church is at the right.  Ordained Augustinian Recollects staffed the parish for perhaps twenty years. The pastor of the combined parish (St. John - Visitation) in 2015 is Father Michael Kerrigan, an archdiocesan priest.
The New York Times of March 15, 1966, ran an article under the headline, "Bronx Church is Crowned with a Spire in 3 Hours," narrating how the spire arrived from Greensburgh, Pennsylvania, by truck, in several pieces.  It was assembled on the rectory lawn.  Hoisting it into place took less than from noon until 3 p.m. on March 14.  It is made of steel and aluminum with baked enamel finish. The height of the spire is 52 feet.

Over many decades, the lower church has seen much use.  In the 1940's, pews ran all the way to the back. Because of shortage of classroom space before the Godwin Terrace building was expanded, a 7th grade class was held in the rear.  In March, 2014, when these two photos were taken, parishioners were gathering for the 12:15 daily Mass.  Maybe the upper church is used on Sundays; the bulletin does not explain.

The following helpful site gives some history: link here.
The school is located two blocks north of the church, at 3143 Kingsbridge Avenue. It appears to have about 230 students, with one section per grade. 

The original convent of the Religious of Jesus and Mary stands on Godwin Terrace.  The building above on West 230th Street was built for the Sisters in 1950, but the parish reclaimed it about fifty years later, moving the Sisters to the Godwin Terrace convent.  In 2015, the above building includes the parish pastoral center.

Above is a banner over the church's main door in April, 2011.
A Facebook page has this photo of Kingsbridge Avenue, dated 1916. Looking north, it clearly shows St. John's Church, without the steeple.  The cross-street in the foreground is West 230th Street.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

St. Frances of Rome and 3 other churches in Wakefield = one parish in 2015

Above, before the 1960's only the lower church existed, on the ground floor. Then a magnificent, bright upper church was added,designed by the architect Paul Waldon Reilly, who also designed the new church of St. Frances de Chantal, Throgs Neck. More recently, an elevator helps those who have difficulty with the foyer staircases.

Clicking on any photo will enlarge it.

The new church, as seen from the west.
From Catholic New York: 10.15.2015:  Father Georginus Ugwu, M.S.P., who was named pastor of the newly merged parish of St. Frances of Rome-St. Anthony-St. Francis of Assisi-Our Lady of Grace, the Bronx, on Aug. 1, had previously served as temporary administrator of the Wakefield Catholic Churches of St. Frances of Rome, St. Anthony and St. Francis of Assisi since July 2014. He was pastor of the Catholic chapel and chaplain of Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Fla., 2007-2014. He was associate director and bursar of his religious congregation’s office in Houston, 2005-2007. A native of Nigeria, he earlier served there and in the Central African Republic. He was ordained for the Missionary Society of St. Paul in 2000.
See pages 299 and 301 for the 1897 creation of the parish of St Frances of Rome, near East 236 Street and Barnes Avenue, Wakefield, east of White Plains Road. The present church dates from 1967. For many years, the Sisters of the Presentation taught in the parish school. The rectory address is 4307 Barnes Ave., Bronx NY 10466, telephone 718-324-5340. The pastor of this parish is also responsible for St. Anthony's on Richardson Avenue and St. Francis of Assisi on Baychester Avenue. 
For St. Francis of Assisi elementary school, please use this link.
For Our Lady of Grace elementary school, please use this link.

Friday, September 25, 2015

St. Joseph, Bathgate Avenue

Once again, David Gonzalez has written for the New York Times a magnificent article about Bronx Catholics.  Please see the link HERE.
He writes about St. Joseph's parish, Bathgate Avenue, which was merged with the parish of St. Simon Stock on August 1, 2015.  He writes of the parishioners, the Carmelite pastor, and the Mexican religious Sisters who help maintain contact with the Catholic Christians of the neighborhood.  Angel Franco has provided sharp, telling photographs.
Mr. Gonzalez does not mention the parish school across the street, apparently doing well.
In addition to reading the above article, please also look at my 2009 post:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Elementary school statistics

With the recent publication of the 2015 Official Catholic Directory, it is possible to look at some statistics of the Catholic elementary schools in The Bronx. Please realize that the data was probably collected more than a year ago, and some of the numbers may include pre-kindergarten enrollment.  Also, fourteen of the forty-four schools are listed with the same exact enrollment three years running, unlikely, and therefore suspect. The forty-four schools open in September, 2015, are listed in the directory as having 15,590 students.  The 2012 directory listed 17,380.
The following analysis ignores schools with suspect numbers.  The five elementary schools with the highest enrollments are St. Raymond (given as 925), Immaculate Melrose (515), Santa Maria (500), St. Lucy (498), and Sacred Heart (456).  At the median are Holy Family (340), St. Francis Xavier (320), and St. Athanasius (315). Lowest numbers were St. Simon Stock (210), St. Nicholas of Tolentine (200), and St. Thomas Aquinas (180).  
Also, please see the official websites:
According to the above links, the total number of elementary school students in The Bronx is 14,145, probably a more accurate figure than the OCD totals. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Examination for admission to Catholic High Schools in 2016

Registration for the Test for Admission to Catholic High Schools in 2016 will begin on August 25, 2015. Please see information in the 2015 Student Handbook.  Also, please see the 2015 Catholic High School Guide published by Catholic New York.  This guides gives much more information about the Catholic high schools in the seven counties of the archdiocese.
The TACHS exams will be administered on Friday, November 6th, 2015, for admission into Catholic high schools in September of 2016.  There is a $52 fee for the test.
These are the 13 Catholic high schools in The Bronx:

Academy of Mount St. Ursula, enrollment about 375 girls.
All Hallows High School, enrollment about 638 boys.
Aquinas High School, enrollment about 455 girls.
Cardinal Hayes High School, enrollment about 950 boys.
Cardinal Spellman High School, enrollment about 1,410 students.
Fordham Prep, enrollment about 935 boys.
Msgr. Scanlan High School, enrollment about 400 students.
Mount St. Michael Academy, enrollment about 790 boys.
Preston High School, enrollment about 532 girls.
St. Barnabas High School, enrollment about 220 girls.
St. Catharine Academy, enrollment about 677 girls.
St. Raymond Academy for Girls, enrollment about 360 girls.
St. Raymond High School for Boys, enrollment about 680 boys.

The above enrollment figures are taken from the 2015 Official Catholic Directory.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pastor and Administrator assignments effective 8.1.2015

With the closure and merging of many parishes in the Archdiocese of New York, Catholic New York (the archdiocesan newspaper) has published a long list of assignments.
I have linked them HERE.
What follows is an attempt to comprehend some of the changes.  However, my interpretation must yield to the list itself in the above link, as I could make errors.
St. John's parish, Kingsbridge, has absorbed nearby Visitation parish.  Mass will not be celebrated regularly at Visitation. The present administrator of St. John's, Fr. Michael Kerrigan, has been named pastor of the combined parish. Both schools remain open.
St. Margaret of Cortona, Riverdale, will also serve St. Gabriel, Spuyten Duyvil.  Masses will be offered in both churches.  Father Brian McCarthy remains as pastor, but now pastor of a combined parish. Both schools remain open
St. Frances of Rome, Barnes Avenue, will serve that church, combined with the parish of St. Francis of Assisi, Baychester Avenue.  The schools at St. Francis of Assisi and Our Lady of Grace remain open. Apparently, Mass will no longer be offered regularly at St. Anthony, Wakefield, and at Our Lady of Grace.  I cannot find an up-to-date website for either of the remaining two churches, which are one parish.  The pastor remains.  The OLG pastor, Fr. Rudolph Gonzalez, had been named pastor of St. Margaret Mary, East Tremont Avenue near the Grand Concourse. To summarize, it seems that the pastor of St. Frances of Rome will care for two open churches, two elementary schools, and two closed churches.
St. Brendan, Norwood, has absorbed St. Ann, Bainbridge Avenue.  The archbishop gave both pastors new assignments, and he appointed Fr. Raul Miquez as pastor or administrator of St. Brendan.  Both schools remain open.  The website of the combined parish is linked HERE.
St. Anselm parish, Tinton Avenue, will absorb St. Roch parish, Wales Avenue.  The assignment list does not list the pastor, old or new.  What is unusual about this merger is that the parish of St. Roch does not have parish boundaries, as it was founded as an Italian national parish.
Likewise, the assignment list does not list the pastor of the newly combined parish of St. Rita of Cascia and St. Pius V.  I would guess that the current pastor of St. Rita of Cascia parish remains there.
Likewise, the assignment list does not indicate the pastor of the combined parish of Holy Family (Watson Avenue, Unionport), St. John Vianney (closed), and Blessed Sacrament (open). I would guess that the current pastor of Holy Family remains there.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Archdiocesan Archives, photos on Facebook

This morning, I chanced upon the marvelous collection of photographs shared on Facebook by the Archives of the Archdiocese of New York.
The link is HERE.
Many thanks to the staff of the Archives for posting these very interesting photos.
Joe McMahon

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Making All Things New

"Making All Things New" is the banner under which the Archbishop of New York is merging some parishes.  For the first official document, dated 11.2.2014, please see this link, which itself contains two more links to lists of mergers.  If the link becomes out-of-date, please try
As of mid-February, 2015, the actual canonical degrees may be printed from this link.  On February 13, 2014, the New York Times ran a lengthy article on the delay in public access to the decrees.
On May 8, 2015, the archdiocese released another document concerning the project "Making All Things New."  I have linked the May 8th document here.
The changes are scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2015, but according to the May 8th document some things are still in flux.  I have tried to edit the list as more news comes out.

List 2 tells that certain churches will be used only on special occasions.  The sacraments will not be offered there on a regular basis.  August, 2015, is the goal date.
Nativity of Our Blessed Lady, East 233rd Street and Dyre Avenue.  The parishioners are directed to Holy Rosary, two miles south, but one or two Mount Vernon Catholic parishes appear equidistant.  Nativity school remains open.
Visitation, on Van Cortlandt Park South.  This parish is merged with St. John's, Kingsbridge. Both Visitation school and St. John's school remain open.
St. Ann, Bainbridge Avenue, near Montefiore Hospital.  This parish is merged with St. Brendan on East 206 Street. Both schools, St. Ann and St. Brendan, remain open.
St. Roch, on Wales Avenue, Morrisania.  This parish is merged with St. Anselm, Tinton Avenue. Both are architectural masterpieces.  The stained glass windows of St. Roch provide color and light; St. Anselm's structure is heavy, dark.  It turns out that St. Roch is a personal parish (formerly termed a national parish).  Hence, it seems that St. Anselm gains no new territory.
St. Pius V on East 145 Street, Mott Haven, is merged with St. Rita of Cascia to the west.
St. John Vianney, 0.6 mile from the foot of Castle Hill Avenue, is merged with Holy Family at Watson Avenue another 0.6 mile north on Castle Hill Avenue. The Bx22 bus on the avenue has five trips scheduled each hour on Sunday mornings. Some parishioners probably live a distance east or west of the bus stops. 
On December 14, 2014, The New York Times printed a list of further closings, a list that resembles this undated document on the archdiocesan website.
St. Joseph on Bathgate Avenue would be merged into St. Simon Stock, 0.7 mile to the north.  I note that the 2014 Official Catholic Directory states that St. Joseph parish had 22 students in religious education, while St. Joseph's elementary school across the street had 465 students, a remarkable number, probably as of 2013. The school remains open.
Our Lady of Grace on Bronxwood Avenue would be merged into the parish of St. Frances of Rome (per the May 8th document).  Our Lady of Grace elementary school remains open.
St. Francis of Assisi (Baychester Avenue) and St. Anthony (Wakefield) would be merged into St. Frances of Rome.  However, an almost similar arrangement has been the situation for a few years recently, with one pastor tending to three parishes. With the addition of Our Lady of Grace, he now will tend four parishes, two open on Sundays, two mainly unavailable.  The school at St. Francis of Assisi would remain open.  The small church is attached to the school.
Those are the nine mergers in which one parish is effectively closed for regular worship.
List 1 explains four pairs of mergers in which both churches remain open.  The one with the asterisk is designated the parish church.  I am uncertain about sacramental records, but I suspect that by August, 2015, the priests and the records will be moved to the church with the asterisk.
*St. Margaret of Cortona and St. Gabriel, both on the highland called Riverdale.
*St. Jerome and St. Luke, both on East 138th Street, Mott Haven. However, the May 8th document suggests this may not occur, as a Ghanian Catholic community may share St. Luke's. Also, St. Luke received a new pastor according to the Catholic New York 8.5.2015.
*Holy Family, Watson Avenue, and Blessed Sacrament, Beach Avenue.
*Our Lady of the Assumption, Pelham Bay, and St. Mary Star of the Sea, City Island.
The canonical decrees that were finally released in early February, 2015, have two pages of standard language (a common narrative of events, ignoring particular situations), plus a single page of what-will-happen and where-the-records-will-go.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Facebook, parishes, and schools

Some parishes and Catholic organizations have active Facebook pages that can be viewed by people, as I, who have not joined Facebook.  In addition to the links on this blog, it might be good to search for the parish, school, or organization on Facebook. When I happen upon such active pages, I will link them to the parish listing on this blog. It appears that the Facebook corporation itself might establish a parish page without any local initiative. Those pages tend to be inactive, with merely a header.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

"New York Catholics," by Patrick McNamara

Last year saw the publication of a fascinating book by historian Patrick McNamara, "New York Catholics: Faith, attitude & the works!"  This 212-page paperback presents seventy-six Catholics who lived in the five boroughs, the capsule biographies being precise and focused on what made each person special.
This book is available from its publisher, Orbis Books (Maryknoll), and other booksellers.
The following people who lived in The Bronx or had some connection to Bronx Catholic history are included:
Archbishop John Hughes, who in the 1840's purchased the Rose Hill campus between the Harlem railroad and the Bronx River, named it St. John's College, and then sold it to the Jesuits.
Levi Silliman Ives, an ordained Episcopalian bishop, who became Roman Catholic in 1852.  He taught at the seminary at Rose Hill.  Before his death in 1867, he helped found the New York Catholic Protectory and purchased the 114 acres that hosted the Protectory on East Tremont Avenue. About 1938, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company bought the property and developed Parkchester.  The boys' department continues in northern Westchester as Lincoln Hall Boys' Haven.
Father Francis Duffy, pastor of Our Saviour parish on Washington Avenue in the 1910's, and chaplain to the Fighting 69th.
Cardinal Francis Spellman, who spent his undergraduate years 1907-1911 at Fordham University.
Cardinal Terence Cooke, whose family moved to St. Benedict's parish, Throgs Neck. During his years of high school study at Cathedral Prep in Manhattan, he worked at a furniture store on East 146th Street, The Bronx.
Helen Travis, one tough lady, who founded and ran the John Thomas Travis Center at Willis Avenue and East 142nd Street, a demanding shelter for alcoholic men.
Msgr. Gerald Ryan, priest and pastor of St. Luke's parish, East 138th Street, for forty-six years.
Peter Quinn, renowned writer, who grew up in St. Raymond's parish, attended Manhattan Prep, Manhattan College, and Fordham University.
Rudy Vargas IV, who has worked in the Hispanic Catholic apostolate with many programs and helped organize las Madrinas, to foster enrollment of young students in Catholic schools.
Brother Michael Francis Grogan (C.F.R.?), who works within Sacred Heart parish, Highbridge.
Sister Mary Lanning, who went from thirteen years in a Hunts Point cloister, to oraganizer of Yes! Solutions, an organization of volunteers.
Regis Philbin, entertainer, graduate of Our Lady of Solace elementary school (Presentation Sisters) and generous alumnus and fund-raiser of Cardinal Hayes High School.
Mary Higgins Clark, an Irish storyteller from The Bronx, graduate of Villa Maria Academy (Congregation of Notre Dame).
I highly recommend this book, as it gives even more life to our city.