Letters to the Editor

Pieces of Diocesan History

Dear Editor: Ed Wilkinson’s column about the transferring of the remains of three Bishops to the crypt at the Immaculate Conception Pastoral Center in Douglaston was a great history lesson. I especially noted the fact that Bishop Charles E. McDonnell was responsible for the establishment of 30 parishes in Queens. May I tell you about one in particular?

In 1912, a group of laymen in “Upper Flushing” (now called Broadway-Flushing) petitioned Bishop McDonnell to establish a parish in their neighborhood. They were frustrated at having to walk all the way to St. Michael’s in downtown Flushing to attend Mass. (Automobiles were very few and the trolley cars were not reliable.)

The bishop had to turn them down because he did not have enough priests. Sadly, he had lost a number due to strokes and heart attacks.

However, the men persisted and finally in May of 1914 their request was granted and Father Edward F. McGoldrick was named the first pastor. In making the agreement, Bishop McDonnell said that the patron saint would be St. Andrew Avellino, who is the patron saint of victims of strokes and high blood pressure.

Andrew was not named for the town of Avellino. It was his family name. The parish is the only one in the country with St. Andrew Avellino as its patron.

The first parish Mass was held in an old theater on June 7, 1914.

Footnote: The nearby McGoldrick public library was named after Father McGoldrick because of his great interest in education.



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Dear Editor: Thank you for those interesting columns on our first bishops; it’s always good to learn about those who laid the foundations for what we have today.

The roots of our diocese – and of American Catholicism in general – go back to Baltimore. On April 8, 1808, the Archdiocese of Baltimore was created, with Suffragan (subordinate) dioceses which included the Diocese of New York.

At that time the new Diocese of New York included all of New York State. On July 19, 1850, New York was elevated to an Archdiocese, and on July 29, 1853 our Diocese of Brooklyn was created from within the Archdiocese at a time when Brooklyn was still its own city and not a part of what would be called later “Greater New York.”