Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

St. Lucy’s Parish Is Setting for New Book

If you grew up in Brooklyn, especially in an Italian neighborhood, you have got to read a new book titled, “The Third Attic and Other Brooklyn Stories.”

Written by Vincent Manago, the book centers around life in St. Lucy’s parish, Kent Avenue, and the search for a hidden room in the church that contained relics and other religious items of great value.

But along the way, Manago gives a detailed account of what it was like to grow up in a no-nonsense Brooklyn nabe in the 1950s and ’60s. He talks about his comrades and how they all received their different nicknames. He recalls the influences of the parish priests like Father Angelo Moschello and the Pallotine Sisters.

There are the rules for playing ring-a-levio (aka ring-a-lario) and descriptions of what it was like to learn Latin in order to become an altar boy, sing the Tantum Ergo and belong to a national parish that had no boundary lines.

Along the way, you get to know the sights of the local landscape, like the Convent of Mercy on Willoughby Avenue, the War Memorial in Fort Greene Park, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Cumberland Hospital and Stimpson’s factory.

You also learn about the history of the area. Manago has researched the impact of the Revolutionary War on Brooklyn, the story of how a Jewish couple helped build St. Lucy’s Church and the Brooklyn stop on the Underground Railroad.

He also reminds us that St. Lucy’s was where Francis J. Mugavero was baptized and how later as Brooklyn’s Bishop he agonized over the decision to close the parish.

Manago also gets personal, relating the effects of his father’s bout with epilepsy, his teenage love interests, his days at Bishop Loughlin M.H.S., Fort Greene, and the “accidental” way in which he met his wife at a dance at the Catholic Youth Organization Country Club in Whitestone.

Running through the entire book is the eternal quest to find the Third Attic in St. Lucy’s Church. Generation after generation, the search for that hidden vault captured the imagination and fascination of the teenage boys of the neighborhood.

These were days when neighborhoods were defined by their parishes, and so it’s not unusual to hear the author describe in detail the layout of the parish church, even behind the scenes, like what’s above the ceiling and the crawl space that leads to the bell tower.

Manago grew up to become a successful CPA with a nationally recognized firm, and he fully credits the influence of his family and church on the man he is today. Now retired and living in Manhasset, L.I., he continues to take his faith seriously and volunteers as an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at two local hospitals.

His own life’s journey has come to two conclusions: Nothing happens by accident, and the only way to be fulfilled in life is by giving back to others.

“I owe a profound indebtedness to my parents and grandparents who endured much and sacrificed a great deal, so that I could have the opportunities that were made available to me,” writes Manago. “I also feel a deep sense of gratitude for my sisters and my aunts, uncle and cousins and friends with whom I shared those wonderful early years of my life in Brooklyn.

“Although life in Brooklyn was comparatively simple, it was a glorious time, and I remember it well.”

Manago’s book is available at Amazon.com.

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6 thoughts on “St. Lucy’s Parish Is Setting for New Book

  1. I, too, belonged to St. Lucy’s Parish. My parents received their sacraments there and were married there. I was also baptized and married in St. Lucy’s. My husband was an Altar Boy there as well.
    I remember Vincent Manago; I lived around the corner from him and his family growing up. We both attended Catholic schools. I also remember helping out in the nursery school run by the Pallotine sisters, especially Sister Tomasina.

    When we visit Brooklyn, we always remember to drive by St. Lucy’s and the old neighborhood. I look forward to reading the book!
    Maria Castiglione Trapasso, California

  2. I just heard about this book and received it today. The first picture I recognized was Sister Thomasina. My family lived at 97 Franklin Ave and I was baptized, made communion and confirmation and got married at St Lucy’s church. The neighborhood is so different now and the house I grew up in burned to the ground years ago but I look forward to taking a walk down memory lane with this book

    1. I lived at 118 Skillman Street above the Pool Room my grandparents owned. Went to school at 157 Kent Ave, dang in choire at St Lucy’s. My uncles Friel and Genaro Scordamaglia owned the Tavern and across street from Minnie Pie Store. All good memories. Now live on Long Island for many years.

  3. Though I lived on Stockton Street between Marcy and Tompkin Avenues, I always loved St. Lucy Church. I was baptized in St. Louis Church but it was torn down to make room for the Marcy Projects. St. Lucy was our mother church so I received my sacraments there and always did the walk to St. Lucy each Sunday morning when the choir sang. I considered St. Lucy’s my church and until we moved away from Brooklyn in 1954 it was where I went. There are so many fond memories of living in the neighborhood as a child and the streets were our playground. My Mom and her family, the Ruggiero’s, lived on Skillman Street and when Mom and Dad married they moved to Stockton Street. All of my family lived in the same area and wherever we went family was around. Those were the good old days. I would like to get a copy of Mr. Manago’s book.

  4. I grew up on Franklin ave. I went to St Lucy’s often with my mother, she played bingo there. I use to go there and me and other ‘s carried the statue of St Lucy’s up and down the pews. It was a special time which I’ll never forget.

  5. I prayerfully request the intercession of St. Lucy for all the intentions of all members, living and faithfully departed in Jesus Christ, of St. Lucy’s Roman Catholic Church (Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, New York), Who lives and reigns in the unity of God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.