One hundred and fifty years after the dedication of St. Stephen parish in Carroll Gardens, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio celebrated the closing Mass of its sesquicentennial year.
The celebration capped off a yearlong journey of festivities and renewal, guided by Msgr. Guy A. Massie, pastor, and the parish leadership team. Events, focused on “Building Community and Sharing Faith,” were held to welcome parishioners, both past and present, as well as new families moving into the neighborhood.
Hundreds attended the Mass, which began with a procession of banners representing parish societies, including the St. Michael Society, founded in 1907, and the St. Stephen Society, established in 2016.
Also in the procession were Sister Diane Olmstead, M.S.C., and Sister Pietrina Raccuglia, M.S.C., provincial superior of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus, the order founded by St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.
Devotion to St. Frances Cabini runs deep at St. Stephen Church because the saint ministered to Italian immigrants in the parish during the 1890s. She aided the newly arrived adjust to life in America, and established a school and convent there.
The Missionary Sisters presented the parish with a first-class relic of their foundress: a piece of her hair. Bishop DiMarzio placed the relic in a side altar beneath a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In his homily, he pointed out that St. Frances Cabini is both the patroness of immigrants and patroness of the new evangelization.
Parishioners then presented Bishop DiMarzio with a replica of a plaque at the church’s entrance depicting immigrants gazing at the Statue of Liberty with the tower of St. Stephen to guide them.
In addition to the 150th anniversary of the establishment of St. Stephen parish, 2016 also marked the 75th anniversary of the merger of St. Stephen Church with Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church creating Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen parish.
(Photos: Munroe Photography)