History of
HOLY NAME OF MARY PARISH
Valley Stream, N.Y.

Click any blue underlined item, to view that portion of the history.
PRE-1900
1900
1910
1920
1930
1940
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—  CHAPTER ONE  —
PRE-1900 - THE BACKGROUND

The year was 1902 when the idea of a parish for Valley Stream first emerged. Valley Stream was a small village primarily noted for its farming. It was 59 years since the communities known as Near Rockaway, Foster's Meadow, Hungry Harbor and Rum Junction had been united under the name Valley Stream. At that time in 1843, Robert Pagan, who later changed his last name to Payan, the owner of the first store in the village, chose the name Valley Stream. The name Valley Stream, which is unique in the United States, was devised by combining the word Valley, from the valleys in the hilly sections in the north side of town with Stream, from the streams that flowed through the south. A Valley Stream Post Office was opened. Prior to its opening, village residents traveled to Hempstead for their mail.

 

Every other day on Merrick Road, a stagecoach from Babylon ran through Valley Stream to New York City. It arrived in Valley Stream at eight o'clock in the morning. Merrick Road was a plank toll road, built in 1853, which extended from Jamaica to Merrick. The toll to travel the full length of the road was 27 cents. The railroad came through Valley Stream in 1867; a station was added in the early 1870s. Rockaway Avenue was a dirt road. Merrick Road and Central Avenue had become the center of town.

The charter of the city of Greater New York took effect on January 1, 1898. Nassau County was formed on January 1, 1899. Valley Stream, which had been part of Queens County, became a part of Nassau County. Village residents numbered about eight hundred. The Valley Stream volunteer fire department was organized in 1898. The first piece of fire-fighting equipment was a wagon that was used to carry buckets and ladders to a fire. Volunteers pulled this wagon to the fire by rope.

Valley Stream was part of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The Diocese of Brooklyn had been a part of the Archdiocese of New York until July 29, 1853. Right Reverend Bishop John Loughlin, D.D. (Doctor of Divinity) was appointed the first Bishop of Brooklyn on June 19, 1853. He was ordained Bishop on October 30, 1853. Bishop Loughlin served until his death on December 29, 1891. The second Bishop of Brooklyn was the Right Reverend Bishop Charles Edward McDonnell, D.D.  He was ordained bishop April 25, 1892.

 

An important event in our parish history occurred in September 1869. In the parish of St. Monica in Jamaica, N.Y., a baby boy was born to Philip and Rose Bell McGovern. He was baptized “Peter” on September 28, 1869. The baptism record shows his date of birth to be September 25, 1869.* He attended St. Monica's elementary school, followed by high school at La Salle Academy in lower Manhattan. The trip to La Salle required a daily commute from his home on Willows Street in Jamaica, by train to Brooklyn and ferry to Manhattan. In 1888 Peter McGovern graduated from La Salle and entered Manhattan College as a resident student. Manhattan was then located at 131st Street. In 1890 he received his Bachelor of Arts degree. That class of 1890 had one-half of the graduates enter the priesthood.

Peter McGovern first studied for the priesthood at Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Niagara. In the fall of 1891, he transferred to the newly opened St. John's Seminary in Brooklyn.

Father McGovern was ordained on June 1, 1894, by Bishop Charles E. McDonnell. The first assignment of his priesthood was the Church of St. Francis Xavier in Brooklyn. This assignment was for most of his first year. The next six years were spent at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Brooklyn. Early in 1901, upon the death of the Pastor, he was appointed parish Administrator.

*Other records list September 20, 1868, 69 and 70.


 

—  CHAPTER TWO  —
1900 - THE FOUNDING YEARS

In early 1902 Father McGovern received a letter from Bishop McDonnell, which summoned him to a meeting with the Bishop.


Reverend Peter P. McGovern

A group of Catholics in the village of Valley Stream had petitioned for a parish. The Bishop had chosen Father McGovern to be the Pastor of a new parish. Just months before the eighth anniversary of his ordination, at the age of 32, Father McGovern was assigned to found a parish in Valley Stream. There was no land, no church, no school, and no rectory. Waiting in Valley Stream was the committee who had requested the parish. To attend Sunday Mass, they had been traveling long distances, to St. Boniface in Elmont, St. Agnes in Rockville Centre (which a few years earlier began in a blacksmith shop), St. Joachim in Cedarhurst and St. Monica in Jamaica. Travel was on dirt roads by foot, horse or horse and carriage.

 

Among the family names and names of the early parishioners were:

  • H. Abel
  • F. Augustine
  • Mrs. M. Bruns
  • Mrs. Herman Christmann
  • J. Coyle
  • J. Fowley
  • Groenewold
  • Klubenspiese
  • M. Markey
  • J. Miller
  • J. McPeak
  • James P. Niemann
  • Michael O'Loughlin  
  • A. Raisig
  • F. Reisert
  • J. Richter
  • Russ
  • W. Ryan
  • Mrs. C. Schreiber
  • J. Schreiber
  • W. Thomas
  • Miss H. VanHatten

James P. Niemann was the first District Attorney of Nassau County and the first president of the Holy Name Society.

James P. Niemann and Michael O'Loughlin were the first trustees of the church.

Miss H. VanHatten was the sacristan.

Father McGovern was acting Pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Richmond Hill as he made plans for his new parish. The “St. Mary's Church V.S. Building Fund” was established. The first donation to the fund was $313. It was collected by A. Russ and recorded on March 17, 1902. Father McGovern was allowed to raise funds from the pulpit of churches in Brooklyn and Queens. This fund raising accounted for $1282.98 from eight churches between November 1902 and June 1903.

 

By the summer of 1902, Father McGovern had rented the Horton house as a temporary rectory. Rent was $16 a month. The house was thought to have been located at the southwest corner of West Lincoln and South Corona Avenues, a few blocks north of the Corona Avenue Firehouse.

Father McGovern celebrated the first Mass for the new parish of Holy Name of Mary on the second floor of the firehouse on Corona Avenue on Sunday, May 18, 1902.* There were approximately three hundred Catholics in the new parish at that time. The rent for the use of the firehouse was six dollars a month.


Corona Avenue Firehouse

There were several blocks of dirt road that separated the rectory from the firehouse. There were no streetlights or sidewalks. Kerosene lamps provided the lighting at night.

*In Father McGovern's ledger that was started in March 1902, the first entry for a Mass for Holy Name of Mary was on May 18, 1902.
The “Silver Jubilee Souvenir Programme 1927,” begins with: “The Church of the Holy Name of Mary was founded in May, 1902 by the Reverend Peter P. McGovern.”
Later it is written, the first mass was “Sunday, March 18th, 1902.”
Note that in 1902 Sunday was March 16 and May 18.
Other records list March 16 or 18 in 1902 as first Mass/founding.

 

The first baptism on record in the new parish was that of Barbara Gerhardy and took place on Sunday, May 25, 1902.

The fund raising drive for a new church continued. A total of $2,036.85 was collected between March 1902 and August 1904. Father McGovern's first decision was where to locate the new church. He chose a location on the east side of South Grove Street, between New York Avenue (now Valley Stream Boulevard) and East Jamaica Avenue. Mrs. Barbara Bruns owned the 16 lots at that location. She sold 12 lots to Father for $600 and donated the remaining 4 lots. The Bruns Valley Stream Hotel was located at the railroad station and Rockaway Avenue.

Father McGovern pushed ahead with his plans to build the church and although he had less than three thousand dollars, he requested J. Berlenbach, the architect, to submit his plans. The church would be located at the southeast corner of Valley Stream Boulevard and South Grove Street. The front entrance of the church would face South Grove Street. The church was to be a wooden structure, approximately one hundred feet long and forty-five feet wide, with a seating capacity of about four hundred and sixty. The material and construction price would be close to thirteen thousand six hundred dollars. Proposing such a large church, the largest in the area, drew criticism. For Father McGovern, however, this was the first part of his plan for the future.

 

On Sunday, August 2, 1903,* less than 15 months after that first Mass in the firehouse, the laying of the cornerstone took place. The Right Reverend Patrick J. McNamara, Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn, officiated. The church's construction progressed rapidly, and the church was ready in time for Christmas Mass in 1903.

Right Reverend Bishop Charles E. McDonnell solemnly dedicated the new church on Sunday, April 24, 1904. This helped make Bishop McDonnell's wish come true “that there be a Catholic Church wherever there was a railroad station on Long Island.”

In 1904 construction began on a pipe organ to replace the original small and unreliable pump organ. A gift from Andrew Carnegie paid half the $1,200 cost of the new pipe organ (thought to be a Reuben Midmer).

In late 1904 Mrs. Emma McPeak volunteered to be the church organist. Father McGovern asked her to “remain until I am able to obtain a permanent organist.” That status lasted for 41 years.




*Other records list Sunday, August 22, 1903.
Note that August 22 in 1903 was a Saturday; also to quote from a capsule history handwritten on August 2, 1903, by Father McGovern, “The cornerstone was laid by Right Reverend Monsignor P. J. McNamara, V.G. on Sunday, August 2 at 4 P.M.”

 

In 1904 construction of the rectory was completed on the land on the south side of the church. This is now the location of the Blessed Mother Shrine and lawn area. The total cost of the rectory was $6,500.


Church and Rectory 1905

The Rosary Society, the first society,* was established on October 6, 1907. Johanna VanHatten was their first president.

 

Transportation was via horse and buggy, roads were dirt and the Sunday collection was approximately twenty dollars. When there was a sick call, a hack (carriage for hire) was required to go to the home of the parishioner, which could be as far as two miles away. Fatscher's livery stable was used and sometimes, Fred Miller, of the Miller Homestead, provided the hack. The Miller Homestead later became Gallagher's Funeral Home, and is now Lieber's. The parish couldn't afford a phone. More immediate problems in these early days of the parish included run away horses and carriage wheels that would sink in the mud of the dirt roads when Father was on a sick call.

*Other records indicate that the Holy Name Society was founded on October 3, 1907, or in 1913.


 

—  CHAPTER THREE  —
1910 - THE EARLY YEARS

The Holy Name Society was founded in 1913.

In 1916 there were approximately seven hundred parishioners.

In 1917 Merrick Road was improved, increasing access to the suburbs.

On April 6, 1917, our country's involvement in World War I began. Sixty-eight men went to war from our parish. Five of them made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They were:

  • George P. Butler
  • George Dahlbender
  • Andrew Fatscher
  • Otto Fatscher
  • Frederick Schmitt

The Andrew Fatscher American Legion Post on Roosevelt Avenue in Valley Stream was named in honor of one of the five.

On November 11, 1918, at eleven o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the war ended as an armistice was signed.

 

On March 11, 1919, Right Reverend Bishop Charles E. McDonnell D.D. and Pastor Reverend Peter McGovern signed the “Certification of Incorporation” of Holy Name of Mary into the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Father McGovern celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 1919. A reception was held at Hoffman's, which was located at the northwest corner of Merrick Road and Central Avenue.



 

—  CHAPTER FOUR  —
1920 - GROWTH BEGINS

The war had ended. It was 26 years since his ordination, and Father McGovern hadn't completed his task. The idea of a school and convent still persisted. In 1920 step one was completed. Eight of the ten lots across the street from the church were purchased for $7,000.

In those days one of the main sources for debt reduction was the annual lawn party and fair/bazaar held in late August, early September. The land next to the Corona Avenue Firehouse was the site of the early fairs. The first fair was held from August 28 through September 1, 1902 and had net receipts of $866.62. Parishioners looked forward to this yearly event in addition to an annual card party.

There were a series of card parties, bazaars, receptions, dances, minstrel shows, dramatic presentations and bingo. Bazaars continued through 1952 with the exception of the Depression years of 1932 - 1934. There were several different locations for the bazaars, beginning with the land next to the Corona Avenue Firehouse and the lot across the street from the church where the school is now located. A large tent was placed on the site. The scene later shifted to other sites: the school basement, school auditorium, Church Hall and the Gibson Oval among others. The bazaar grew to a point where it featured the annual raffle of a new car.

 

By 1920 the annual card party was moved from Bates' “Opera House” on Atlantic Avenue in Lynbrook to the larger Pavillon Royal. The Pavillon Royal was located a few blocks west of Central Avenue on the south side of Merrick Road, between Montague Street and South Terrace Place. It was a well-known restaurant that featured famous entertainers like Paul Whiteman, Rudy Vallee and Guy Lombardo.

In 1921 Father McGovern, after helping to organize a council, became the first chaplain of St. Mary's Council 2228, Knights of Columbus. In later years that post was filled by Father Schoenenberger.

On August 8, 1921, Bishop McDonnell died.

On November 21, 1921, the Most Reverend Bishop Thomas Edmund Molloy, S.T.D. (Doctor of Sacred Theology), Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy), was appointed as his successor and was later installed as Bishop on February 15, 1922.

The next major change for the parish occurred in 1922 when the Gibson Corporation came to Valley Stream. They bought approximately seven hundred acres of land south of the railroad for over a million dollars and spent close to twenty million dollars to develop that land. When Gibson arrived there were about twenty-five hundred residents in Valley Stream. The population of Gibson alone by the early 1940s had grown to approximately triple that number.

 

In the early days of the parish, the rear of the church had no pews. It was used to hold meetings for the different church organizations. The parish was growing so rapidly now, however, that a meeting place was required. In 1924 Father McGovern purchased the small Lutheran Church situated on two lots on the south side of East Jamaica Avenue. This remained the Church Hall for many years, and was used for meetings of different societies, like Catholic Daughters, Boy Scouts, Knights of Columbus and altar boys. It was also used for parish socials and dances. In 1950 it was even used as a one-room schoolhouse for the fifth grade when the school was overcrowded. The Church Hall's construction was unique in that it was half under ground. Its location was what is now the northwest corner of the convent's parking lot.



Church Hall

Included in the purchase of the Lutheran Church were the two remaining lots on South Grove Street, which completed the site for the future school. The cost of the church and the two lots was $5,750.

 

On January 30, 1925, the people of Valley Stream passed a referendum to incorporate as a village. The first mayor was Henry Waldinger, a close friend of Father McGovern.

In 1925 there were approximately thirteen hundred parishioners.

In May 1925 Father McGovern journeyed to Rome to celebrate a Jubilee year. When asked why he didn't travel from Valley Stream, Father McGovern would reply, “If you take one away from one you have nothing left.” He was truly, as expressed in the modern vernacular, a 24/7 Pastor. However, in this Jubilee year, a priest was found to substitute for him to allow the journey to Rome. The day he left was a festive day for Valley Stream. Fellow residents led by the mayor and village officials escorted him through the village prior to his departure by ship.

In 1927 there were approximately sixteen hundred parishioners.

On Sunday, May 22, 1927, a week of celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of Holy Name of Mary Parish began. The celebration started with Mass on Sunday, and concluded with entertainment at the Calderone Theater. The Calderone Theater was located one block south of Merrick Road on the east side of Rockaway Avenue.

 

The following is a quotation from the twenty-fifth anniversary journal and is as apropos today as it was 75 years ago. “The early history of the Holy Name of Mary Parish rings of the struggles and difficulties of an untiring priest, who, with the loyal support of the Catholic population at the time, bravely bore the financial cares and worries that are so closely linked with the work of the founding of a parish. The whole beginning of the parish tells of real organization, personal sacrifices, faith and unlimited endeavor on the part of Pastor and laity. But what a consolation must be theirs in knowing that through their efforts there has been added to this earthly sphere of ours one more temple dedicated to the service of their God. ... The history of Holy Name of Mary Parish and the biography of Rev. Peter P. McGovern for the past twenty-five years are so closely interwoven that it has seemed impossible to dwell on them separately. The work, daily life and activities of the one has been the organization, growth and success of the other. In the Church, we have the results of the leadership of the priest, and may she continue to prosper. For the priest, we have affection and devotion; may God guide him in the future as He has in the past, and in His goodness spare him to us for many years to come.”

 

As growth continued, many landmarks fell to progress; one of which was the unpredictable “Toonerville” trolley. It ran from Jamaica to Freeport, passing through Valley Stream along Jamaica Avenue. The “Church Stop” was “Stop 158” along its path. The trolley was started by the Long Island Traction Company in 1903 and ended in 1926.

In 1928 Sunrise Highway was built through Valley Stream and provided greater access to the city. Rogers Airport was opened on the southwest border of Valley Stream. About a year later, Curtiss-Wright purchased the Rogers Airport and the Reisert Farm adjoining it. Several millions of dollars were invested before the Curtiss Airport became operational. Hundreds of planes used the facility daily, along with famous aviators like Charles Lindbergh and Wiley Post.

The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of licensed women pilots, was established on November 2, 1929, when 26 licensed women pilots met at Curtiss Airport in Valley Stream. In 1931 Amelia Earhart was elected as their first president. The group was named for the 99 charter members.

Curtiss Airport was the largest commercial airport on Long Island from 1930 until 1933. Then the great depression arrived and Curtiss Airport closed. It is now the site of Green Acres Shopping Center.

Hope was delayed for growth of the parish and any chance of building a school.


 

—  CHAPTER FIVE  —
1930 - THE DEPRESSION YEARS

All thoughts of a school were put on the back burner; the immediate problem was to feed the people. The church was the only support of many parishioners. In one of the depression years, the church gave $6,000 to charity.

At the first meeting of the Valley Stream Community Welfare Committee, under Mayor Arthur Hendrickson, Father McGovern urged a $50,000 bond issue be adopted to help the unemployed of the village. It was approved.

Assistance for the Sunday Masses was from the Montfort Fathers of Bayshore. Fathers LePage, Tomai, Goulet, Monaghan, Mulligan, Neway and D'Avanzo became familiar names.

 

In June 1935, three months before Father McGovern's sixty-sixth birthday, Bishop Thomas E. Molloy assigned him his first assistant, Reverend James A. McNamara. In June 1936 Reverend Peter J. Schoenenberger was appointed as the assistant to replace Father McNamara. The second assistant, Reverend Thomas F. J. Kelly was appointed on June 7, 1941. For each of the three priests, it was their first assignment after ordination.


Reverend James A.
McNamara

Reverend Peter J.
Schoenenberger

Reverend Thomas F. J.
Kelly

The next major milestone in the growth of the parish occurred in 1936, when the Chanin organization bought the Curtiss Airport and started the development of approximately five hundred homes to be known as Green Acres. The resulting influx of parishioners made it apparent that the church building was no longer large enough for the parish. In addition the children of the parish required a school building in which they could obtain a Catholic education. Father McGovern's decision was to build a school, with an auditorium that could serve as a church.

 

Bishop Thomas E. Molloy gave his permission and on Sunday, October 31, 1937, the announcement was made. At the age of 68, Father McGovern was taking on another challenge.

The architect for the new school was a parishioner, Joseph Gunther, and groundbreaking occurred on May 16, 1938. The site for the school was across the street from the rectory and church, on the lots Father McGovern had wisely purchased almost two decades prior.

The school with its auditorium, that seated 850 persons, was completed on April 14, 1939, at a total cost of $219,000. On Sunday, May 7, 1939, Bishop Thomas Molloy administered Confirmation to several hundred children from the parish and also dedicated the school. The Andrew Fatscher Post of the American Legion dedicated the steel flagstaff and a squad from the Legion raised the first American flag to fly from the mast.

“An important date in our parish was May 7, 1939. After the parishioners worked so hard for many years, our school was completed and dedicated on this day. Bishop Thomas Molloy came to Holy Name of Mary to administer Confirmation and dedicate our school. I know. I received my Confirmation that day.
                                                                     ...Mary Conlon”

 

Again as part of Father McGovern's ability of always looking towards the future, the school had an interesting design feature. A new south wing could be added and the building would remain symmetrical. Twenty-four years later in 1963, the south wing was added to the school.




School and Auditorium in the early 1940s


Auditorium interior with the altar on the stage for Mass


On June 19, 1939, a reception in the school auditorium was held to celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of Father McGovern's ordination

 

The final addition that was required to complete the parish complex was the building of a convent. The original convent was located on the site of the former Braunstein residence, which was purchased in 1938. It was located at the southwest corner of South Grove Street and East Jamaica Avenue. This convent was a wooden structure, which could house 16 sisters. Joseph Gunther was the architect for the building. The total cost was $46,890.



Convent 1944

The original convent was located on the site of the parking lot of the present convent. The adjourning lot on the northwest corner of South Grove Street and East Hawthorne Avenue was purchased in 1950 and is the site of the present convent. The convent was used to house the Sisters of Saint Joseph who were to teach in the new school.

 

The school opened in September of 1939. Three hundred and fifty-six students registered for the first year. They were taught by eight Sisters of Saint Joseph and one lay-teacher. Four years later the enrollment had increased to 749 students.


 

—  CHAPTER SIX  —
1940 - WAR AND PEACE

Reverend Thomas F. J. Kelly was appointed on June 7, 1941, as an assistant Pastor.

On December 7, 1941, during a presentation of the Young People's Dramatic Club in the school auditorium, word of the Pearl Harbor attack permeated the audience.

“I remember attending a performance of the play, ‘Petticoat Fever.’ It was presented by the Holy Name of Mary Dramatic Club in the school auditorium. The date was Sunday afternoon, December 7, 1941.         ...Mary Conlon”

Our country was at war. Everything else became secondary. Six hundred thirty-six parishioners went to defend our country in World War II. The names of 24 men who made the supreme sacrifice are listed here and on the War Memorial that is located in front of the school.

  • Robert Bishop
  • Thomas Barnwell
  • Joseph Cahill
  • Frederick Carroll
  • Marvin Douberly
  • Dominick DiStasio
  • James Fitzpatrick
  • Francis Flynn
  • William Gregory
  • Thomas Hogan
  • John Kerwin
  • Francis McDermott
  • John McLaughlin
  • William McQueeney
  • John Motley
  • William Nally
  • Edward Pearsall
  • Robert Pupke
  • George Reardon
  • Jacob Reisert
  • Maynard Rogg
  • William Thompson
  • Walter Wittendorf
  • Joseph Wujcik

 

The war ended with V-E Day on May 8, 1945 and V-J Day on August 14, 1945. Parish life began to return to normal as families were reunited.

Father Kelly was extremely well liked by the parishioners, especially by the young people. He was largely responsible for the development of a successful youth program. The baseball, basketball and football teams of St. Mary's (as parish teams were then named) were highly successful.

The Confraternity Cabaret drew more than three hundred fifty teenagers, and had fourteen adult CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) teachers who also volunteered their time for supervised recreation and dances. This weekly meeting of high school students, Catholic and non-Catholic, was held in the school basement. There was ice skating in the winter, on the frozen lake in Valley Stream State Park. The State Park is now the village pool.

Every summer Father Kelly arranged a day of recreation at Jones Beach for the altar boys. It was a time when altar boys served at every Mass, weekday and Sunday, and memorized the responses in Latin for use during the Mass.

Two future major league pitchers developed while Father Kelly was coaching. Father Kelly tells the story about when he conducted tryouts for St. Mary's baseball team. A young boy of about eight or nine showed up for the tryout. He wanted to play the outfield. After seeing him throw a baseball, Father Kelly convinced him to try pitching.

 

Father taught him the motions and fine points required to become a pitcher. After pitching for St. Mary's for several years and then Central High School for a year, his family moved to Florida. This young man was Herb Score, who began his major league baseball career by being Rookie of the Year in 1955, and breaking the rookie strikeout record with 245 strikeouts, followed in 1956 by 263 strikeouts. He was a member of the All Star Team both years. The following spring, on May 7, 1957, he was hit in the eye by a line drive, which in effect ended his career as an all star major league pitcher. He later became an announcer for Cleveland, from which he retired after 34 years. In 1997, at his retirement day celebration, before a crowd of about forty-six thousand fans, the Governor and Mayor, he singled out his specially invited guest and longtime friend, Father Thomas Kelly as the person who taught him to pitch.

Tom Gorman was also a pitcher who started with St. Mary's. He later became a major league pitcher for the New York Yankees.

Father Kelly was an avid and accomplished skier, who retired from skiing after participating in this sport for about sixty years. He first took up skiing during his seminary years in Huntington, after purchasing a pair of skies from a department/mail-order store.

 

It was Father McGovern's Golden Anniversary. On a Monday night, May 29, 1944, the day before a World War II Memorial Day, approximately five hundred parishioners and friends joined with Father McGovern at the Hotel New Yorker to celebrate his Golden Jubilee of fifty years as a priest.





Reverend Peter P. McGovern, Pastor


 



Church and Rectory 1944




Church Interior 1944




Rectory 1944


 

1944 PARISH OVERVIEW

Reverend Peter P. McGovern, Pastor
Reverend Peter J. Schoenenberger, Assistant
Reverend Thomas F. J. Kelly, Assistant Parishioners - 5,417
(531 serving their country)
Baptisms to date - 2,814
Confirmations to date - 2,570
Marriages to date - 761
Seven Sunday Masses
Blessed Sacrament Parish didn't exist
School Enrollment:
Grades 1 through 8 (no tuition) - 749
Sisters of St. Joseph - 14
Lay Teachers - 2
Special Teachers - 3
Societies and Memberships
High School Confraternity:
Students - 351
Teachers - 11
Catholic Daughters of America - 135
Rosary Society - 115
Holy Name Society - 156
Red Cross Circle - 86
Mothers' Service Club - 47
Ushers' Society - 57
Junior Catholic Daughters - 52
Boy Scouts of America - 46
Altar Boys - 42
Boys' Choir - 34
Adult Choir - 7
C. Y. O. - 62

 



MEMORIES OF THE 1940s
  • “Please contribute 10 cents in the first collection, 25 cents or more in the second.”
  • The 10 cents was for pew rent.
  • Ushers will give you change.
  • The Brooklyn Dodger baseball team
  • Father McGovern, avid Brooklyn Dodger fan
  • The New York Giants baseball team
  • Father Kelly, fan of the Giants baseball team
  • Rationing of sugar, meat, butter and gasoline
  • The Curtiss 5 telephone exchange and party lines, J at the end of the telephone number
  • The Long Island Railroad hand-cranked crossing gates at Central Avenue
  • Two “supermarkets” Bohack and Sunrise
  • The Pitney Hotel, northwest corner of Sunrise Highway and Rockaway Avenue
  • A dime from Father McGovern, once in a while to an altar boy after he served Mass
  • Lang's Department Store on Rockaway Avenue
  • Women always wore a hat in church
  • A priest wore a hat (biretta) at the start and end of Mass
  • Ember Days before each season of the year

 

The fifty-fifth anniversary of Father McGovern's ordination was celebrated at the Central High School Auditorium on Thursday, June 2, 1949. Christopher Lynch, a famous Irish tenor, Valley Stream resident and parishioner gave a concert in his honor. In tribute to Father McGovern's years of service to the community, donations from the event were used to purchase an electronic carillon and chimes for the church steeple.

Music Ministry has a long history in our parish. Mrs. Emma McPeak was the first organist. She served from 1904 through 1945. There were several other church organists. Among them were:

  • Sister Mary Germana Lyons
  • Sister Marie Pierre Meyer
  • Madeline Stabile
  • Agnes M. George
  • Marion Raeder
  • Ann Kistner
  • Larry Abels
  • Eleanor Sabitini
  • Daniel Sheridan
  • Elizabeth “Macri” Erbe and husband Timothy

Daniel Sheridan, a parishioner who was later ordained a priest, directed the Music Ministry during the 1970s. Timothy Erbe was in charge of the Music Ministry during the 1980s. Mr. Kevin J. Faughey became the Director of Music Ministry on January 1, 1989.