Catholic Churches In Manhattan, Where Italian Immigrants Worshipped


St. Ann (Italian), New York, N.Y.
This parish was separated from that of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on December 8, 1911. The old Church of St. Ann on East 112th Street was only a chapel. The new church, on East 110th Street, a red brick structure with white facings, is valued at $50,000. The cornerstone was laid during the pastorate of Father Cardi, P.S.M. Before the church was completed, Father Cardi was recalled to Rome, and Father Transerici took his place. Father Cardi returned, however, and took charge again. He is assisted by Rev. Eucherio Perini, P.S.M. The Pallottini Sisters conduct an orphanage, kindergarten and school.

St. Anthony Of Padua, New York, N.Y.
The first effort to provide for the Italian Catholics in New York was made in 1859, when Father Sanguinetti secured an unoccupied church in Canal Street; having no means, however, he was obliged to abandon the work. Six years later a successful effort was made by Rev. Leo Pacilio, O.F.M.

Immigration has changed the population of the parish, and now the Italians, numbering 15,000, far outnumber the English-speaking members. The sodalities established are: III Order of St. Francis (865 members), Holy Name (300), Arch- confraternity of the Cord of St. Francis (50), Holy Rosary (225), Children of Mary (858), Purgatorian Society (186), Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (50), Sacred Heart League (690), Altar Society (30), Sunday-school teachers' Society (42), Daily Mass Association (655) and St. Anthony's Cadets (150). Eight former members of St. Anthony's congregation are priests in or near the city. In 1907 Rev. Cherubinus Viola, O.F.M., razed the old school, purchased an adjoining building for $32,750 and erected  a new school at a cost of $129,000. It accommodates 1500, and is attended by 510 girls and 470 boys, and is in charge of 16 Sisters of the III Order of St. Francis. The following Franciscans have been in charge: Revs. Leo Pacilio, Joachim Guerini, James Titta, Anacletus De Angelis, Julius Arcese, Athanasius Butilli, Ubaldus Maravalle, Ubaldus Pandolfi, Ludovicus Foppiano and Cherubinus Viola, the present incumbent.

Father Viola was born at Saracena, Italy, on November 4, 1872, and began his clerical studies there. Learning of his intention to become a Franciscan, an Italian missionary persuaded him to make his application at Winsted, Conn. After a short stay at Winsted, Father Viola entered St. Bonaventure'a College, Allegany, N.Y., where he was ordained by Bishop Quigley of Buffalo. In October, 1907, he was appointed pastor of St. Anthony's Church, where he had been assistant for three years. In 1908, on account of ill-health he was sent to St. Anthony's College, Cat-skill, where he acted as definitor of the province and president of the college. On August 1, 1912, having regained his health, he was again appointed pastor of St. Anthony's. At the diocesan synod (December 19, 1912) Cardinal Farley made him a member of the school board for New York and Yonkers and a member of the Council for Italian Affairs.

The parish records show that since the opening of the church in September, 1866, there have been 50,780 baptisms. 9748 marriages and 10,631 candidates for confirmation. The communions number over 10,000 each month.

St. Clare, New York, N.Y.
Cardinal Farley assigned the Franciscans of the Italian Province of the Immaculate Conception to form a parish for the Italian Catholics of the central west side of New York City. In November, 1903, Rev. Ubaldus Maravalle, O.F.M., presided at the first meeting of the congregation, and began services in the small wooden building which now forms the chapel of the present church and the community house. The people, though scattered over a considerable territory, responded to the efforts of the Fathers, and in 1907 the present church was dedicated. It is of brick with a front of white glazed tiles which harmonizes with the Roman Renaissance architecture of the building, and cost $50,000. The interior of the church has high groined arches and is brilliantly lighted by windows over the nave.

Rev. Sigismundus Rosati succeeded Father Maravalle, and in February, 1911, Rev. Pacificus Savastano became pastor. He remodeled the parochial school, and provided a permanent residence for the Sisters of St. Francis who teach the children. He had the church handsomely decorated, and added stained-glass windows. In December, 1913, Father Pacificus was transferred to Pittsburgh and Rev. Wenceslaus Parenti succeeded him at St. Clare's. Since its foundation the parish has continued to draw increasing numbers of the Italian population of the district, and at each of the four masses on Sunday every seat is filled and many are obliged to stand. A number of societies have been established, chief among which are: the III Order of St. Francis; Children of Mary; Our Lady of the Rosary; St. Clare; Guardian Angel; and St. Aloysius. In 1913 there were 159 marriages, and out of an estimated population of 10,000 souls there were 691 baptisms.

Although property was purchased on either side of the church and for a school on the opposite side of the street, many expenses incurred besides those for repairs on the church and school property, the whole parish indebtedness is not much above $60,000.

St. Joachim, Manhattan, New York
Work of organization. A church, in Roman style and with a seating capacity of 800, was erected. It was the first church founded in the United States for the Italians. The congregation, which is entirely Italian and numbers 18,000, has given two priests and six nuns to the Church. One of the main objects of the parish is the effective assistance of Italian immigrants.

Father Morelli was succeeded by Fathers Oreste Alussi, Vicentini, Strummia, Martinelli, Poggi and Rev. Vincent Jannuzzi, D.D., C.S.C.B.

The church owns three buildings, one of which it is hoped will soon be turned into a parochial school. The total debt on the church and property is $158,000.

The wonderful success of this parish as well as the great growth of the congregation induced Father Jannuzzi to open in 1908 a mission, St. Rocco's Chapel, at No. 18 Catherine Slip. This mission is attended from St. Joachim's, as is the Madonna Day Nursery in Cherry Street. This nursery was opened in 1910, and is attended by the Sisters of Christian Doctrine. The statistics for 1913-14 show: 1000 baptisms; 250 marriages; and 400 confirmations. (For further information on this parish, see Vol. I, p. 189.) On November 4, 1913, the parish celebrated its silver jubilee.

St. Lucy, New York, N.Y.
On November 12, 1899, Rev. Edmund W. Cronin was appointed by Archbishop Corrigan to form this parish for the Italian and English-speaking Catholics of the section of the city that lies between 97th and 110th Streets and 2nd Avenue and the East River. Mass was said in a temporary chapel on January 21, 1900.

Father Cronin was born in New York City on August 9, 1863; educated at St. Francis Xavier's College, the North American College, Rome; and ordained in Rome on June 4, 1887, by Cardinal Parocchi.

Ground was broken in East 104th Street for the basement church and rectory on June 6, 1900. The rectory was ready for occupancy by Christmas of that year, and the basement church was solemnly dedicated by Archbishop Corrigan on Pentecost Sunday, May 26, 1901. The population was then between 5000 and 6000 souls, of whom more than one-half were Italians. In 1914 there were between 15,000 and 16,000, of whom only 500 are English- speaking, the remainder being Italian. Including Sundays and week days, there are about 1000 children under religious instruction. The average number of first communicants is 500.

There are separate societies in the parish for the English and Italian-speaking members. For the former are: Holy Name (senior and junior), Children of Mary (senior and junior), Rosary Society, Angels' Sodality, League of the Sacred Heart and the Eucharist League. For the latter are: Holy Name, League of the Sacred Heart, St. Lucy's, St. Ann's and St. Joseph's societies, and Society of the Souls in Purgatory.

Rev. Patrick Lennon succeeded Father Cronin in May, 1911. Father Lennon was ordained in Rome on May 27, 1893. Assisting him are Revs. Victor Le Bassi and Philip Leone, efficient and zealous Italian priests.

Holy Rosary, New York, N.Y.
This parish was formed 'in the spring of 1884, before which time there was no Catholic church in Harlem east of 3rd Avenue. The population of this district increased so greatly that Cardinal McCloskey appointed Rev. Joseph Byron, assistant at St. Gabriel's, to found a new parish. A site for a church was secured on March 18, 1884, during its erection Mass was said in the old Church of St. Cecilia, which Father Byron moved in sections from 105th Street east of 2nd Avenue to East 119th Street. Archbishop Corrigan dedicated the new church in October, 1884. Father Byron's next task was to build a rectory, and so anxious was he for its completion that in order to be always near to hasten the work he took possession of a room on the ground floor, before the house was ready for occupancy, and caught a cold which caused his death, on March 29, 1893.

His successor, Rev. Francis H. Wall, D.D. (See St. Charles Borromeo), renovated the church and rectory and established many societies. In 1894 the work of wiping out the debt on the church property and creating a fund for a new church was begun. During 1894 to 1896 three houses were bought in 119th Street, and on Trinity Sunday, 1897, the old church was declared free of debt. In the spring of 1898 the little chapel in 122nd Street was built, and the demolishing of the old church was begun. On Rosary Sunday, 1898, the cornerstone of the new church was laid by Right Rev. John M. Farley, Auxiliary Bishop of New York, and the church was dedicated on February 11,1900. At the dedication service was used for the first time a chalice made from gifts of jewelry donated by members of the parish. The church is in the Byzantine- Romanesque style, and contains much beautiful work in marble and mosaic.

The present pastor (1914), Rev. William J. Guinan, was a diocesan missionary priest attached to the Church of St. Stephen's before assuming his present charge. He is assisted by Revs. David C. O'Connor, James H. Flood and Martin F. Cavanagh. The Catholic population of the parish numbers 5200.

St. Mary, Help Of Christians, New York, N.Y.
On December 8, 1898, the Salesian Fathers of Don Bosco (Ernesto Coppo and Marcelino Scagliola) started their missionary work among the Italians of the district bounded by the East River, East 8th Street, East 14th Street and the Bowery. They opened a house at 315 East 12th Street and on Sundays and Holy Days said Mass in the basement of St. Brigid's Church. The congregation so increased that after a few years it was necessary to build a church in the center of the Italian population. Father Coppo was succeeded by Rev. John Ferrazza in August, 1906. Two houses on East 12th Street were secured; one was turned into a chapel, the other being adapted as a rectory and Sunday-school. On July 8, 1908, the mission was erected into the parish of Mary, Help of Christians, with Rev. John Ferrazza as pastor. In 1910 the basement of a new church was built on ground in East 11th Street which was leased from Calvary Cemetery. Six Masses are celebrated on Sundays in the new church and one in the old chapel. Succeeding Father Ferrazza were Revs. Frederick Barni (July 1, 1910); John Voghera (1911-12); and John Ferrazza, who again took charge on December 8, 1912. The parish has no limits, and the congregation numbers about 20,000, mostly Sicilians. The sodalities are: Holy Name (100 members); Don Bosco (80 men); St. Aloysius (100 young men); St. Ann (100 women); and Children of Mary (150).

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Website: The History
Article Name: The Catholic Churches in Manhattan where Italian Immigrants Worshipped
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Catholic Church in the United States of America; The Catholic Editing Company-New York (1914)
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