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200th Anniversary Mass Celebrated in Brooklyn for First Catholic Church on Long Island

Diocese Brooklyn
August 15, 2022

200th Anniversary Mass Celebrated in Brooklyn for First Catholic Church on Long Island
His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, celebrated Mass today in Brooklyn to mark the 200th Anniversary of the parish of St. James, the first Catholic Church to be built on all of Long Island. Photos courtesy: The Tablet / Jeffrey Bruno

His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, celebrated Mass yesterday in Brooklyn to mark the 200th Anniversary of the parish of St. James, the first Catholic Church to be built on all of Long Island. Bishop Robert Brennan of Brooklyn, and Bishop John Barres of Rockville Centre, concelebrated the 2 p.m. Mass. Hundreds of the faithful filled the pews at the Cathedral Basilica of St. James in Downtown Brooklyn.

“The faith of an inspired layman, Peter Turner, who approached on behalf of a rather tiny Irish village, he approached my predecessor Bishop Connolly for the first church to be built on Long Island. You know in his eloquent simple letter to Bishop Connelly, he said, we just need a place, a place for prayer and the sacraments, to teach the faith and to bury our dead,” preached Cardinal Dolan. “We praise God I would submit mostly for the faith, the faith that has been planted, nurtured, preached and practiced here, the faith extolled by Jesus in this afternoon’s holy Gospel.”

Prior to the construction of St. James, there was no established church on Long Island, which back then was comprised of Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk counties. For residents of the Village of Brooklyn to attend Mass, they had to commute by boat to Manhattan. On July 25, 1822, on the Feast of St. James, New York Bishop John Connolly traveled from St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral to bless the cornerstone of the Church designated as St. James.

“Generations have come to this community, sharing different cultures over these 200 years. The neighborhood looks quite different than its early days of 1822, much history has passed and so many changes have taken place coming and going. But you know what is constant here is the proclamation of the Gospel, the celebration of the Eucharist, and the encounter of God’s mercy. We have a lot to be thankful for today,” said Bishop Brennan.

In 1972, Bishop Francis Mugavero officially designated St. James as the Cathedral of the Diocese of Brooklyn. In 1979, Pope John Paul II visited St. James Cathedral, and in 1982, officially designated the Cathedral as a Basilica.

Video courtesy: DeSales Media

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