We Remember. We Celebrate. We Believe.
One hundred and twenty five years ago, the Redemptorists came to Brooklyn. They came for the purpose of establishing a Redemptorist Community in the growing borough and Diocese of Brooklyn. This Redemptorist community would care for a new parish in between the already established parishes of Our Lady of Angels and Saint Michaels. It would also be a house from which Redemptorist preachers could go forth from to preach Parish Missions and Retreats.
It was seen as a new initiative for the Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province, to help the Church in the growing Diocese of Brooklyn, that comprised at that time all of Long Island.
The negotiations for this to happen took a few years. One bishop died and a new bishop came to Brooklyn. The entire city block that would be bought by the Redemptorists seemed to be much too expensive to the Redemptorist superiors in Rome, who never quite understood Catholics in the United States. Finally the land was bought a large parcel of land, a whole city block, that generations of parishioners have called “The Church Block”, 59th to 60th Streets between 5th and 6th Avenue. The small community worshipping in the Neary House dreamt big dreams. “If you build it, they will come.” (from the movie Field of Dreams) And they did.
Every new life begins small. Our new parish began with a small group of local Catholics gathering in the Neary house on 4th Avenue and 54th Street. The small Redemptorist community, Father John Daily and Brother Benedict, community lived on the top floor of the very attractive two story wooden house. The first floor rooms were the place of the first Mass on Easter Sunday April 2nd 1893. From these humble beginnings our beloved parish has grown. We have a long, wonderful history. We are 125years old and as young as the newest children baptized, or the 40 plus catechumens who will be baptized this Easter Vigil, 125 years after the first child, Harold Flues was baptized by Father Daily.
During this Jubilee Year our theme is: We Remember. We Celebrate. We Believe.
From the pen of Fr. John McKenna, C.Ss.R
Fr. John shares some memories and the history of our great parish.