Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church (Brooklyn)

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Coordinates: 40°43′13.25″N 73°56′30.48″W / 40.7203472°N 73.9418000°W / 40.7203472; -73.9418000

Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church in Brooklyn
Saint Cecilia's Catholic Church interior

Saint Cecilia's is a Roman Catholic church at North Henry and Herbert streets, East Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. It is named for Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music. It is a contributing building in the Greenpoint Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.[1]

The Church[edit]

The former church was built in 1871. Later the former structure was placed beside the new church and converted to a lyceum/gymnasium. The current church was constructed in 1891 based on plans supplied by architect Thomas Henry Poole and was solemnly consecrated 1901. The outer stone used for the construction is limestone, said to be originally utilized by St. Patrick's Cathedral of Manhattan. It is most notable for its illuminated bell tower with copper roof, which can be seen from the northbound side of the nearby Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.[2]

The church seats over 800 people.

The church property consists of a school, the church, a chapel, the rectory, a convent, a brothers' house, a gymnasium and priest housing. The school celebrated its centennial in 2006. Saint Cecilia's chapel was formerly a baptismal area, but due to the Vatican's reformed rules to bring baptisms closer to the church community, the baptismal font was moved to within the church.

An image of the church from a 1914 publication

Notable Services[edit]

On June 26, 2007, the funeral service for deceased Firefighter Daniel Pujdak were conducted at the church. Thousands of people, mostly firemen, attended. Notables included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. The funeral service was covered extensively by the press.

Pastors[edit]

Notable pastors were Monsignors Edward J.McGoldrick, Joseph J. Reagan, Parks, and O'Toole.[citation needed]

Restoration[edit]

Saint Cecilia's underwent a restoration project during the 1970s. The church was restored to its former paint scheme. The project was directed by Msgr. Joseph Parks. The artists who worked on the church came from Italy. Saint Cecilia's has a painting of Saint Cecilia. Some of the paintings on the walls are "three-dimensional" using slight crevices and "bumps" to mark out the painting of Saint Cecilia. All around the church is "three-dimensional" Marble translations of the Crucifixion of Jesus. The stained-glass windows within the church have scenes of Saint Cecilia playing the piano to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ and many more religious scenes.

Saint Cecilia's School[edit]

Saint Cecilia's School opened in 1906 under the guidance of Monsignor McGoldrick. The school was among the largest parochial schools in the United States during the 1930s and 40s.

From the 1970s until 2006, the school was lead by Sister Miriam, S.J who left her mark as a legendary educator and administrator.

By the early 2000s, the school fell on hard times like many other Roman Catholic elementary schools in the NYC area. With only 107 students registered for the September 2009 session, combined with a six figure debt, Rev. James Krische had no choice but to close the school. St. Cecilia's school served the community for 101 years, so its closing caused conflict and sadness in the parish community.

In 2013, a developer signed a 49 year lease to convert the old school building to residential apartments.[3]

References[edit]

External links[edit]