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

Pastors[edit]

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

On June 26, 2007, the funeral services for deceased Firefighter Daniel Pujdak was 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.

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 in the newly constructed School building. The School was a result of those in Williamsburg's and Greenpoint's working class communities and was among the largest parochial schools in the United States during the 1930s and 1940s. From the 1970s to 2006, Sister Miriam S.J. lead the school, and has left her mark as a legend. She led with true sincerity and was loved by students and staff alike. Due to declining enrollment beginning in the 1970s, the parish school eventually fell on hard times by the early 2000s, culminating with the 2008/2009 School Year when only 222 students registered. With only 107 students registered for September 2009 and a current as well as future six digit debt, it was determined that the school could no longer be operated and the new pastor, Rev. James Krische, had no choice but to close the Parish School after it had served the Williamsburg and Greenpoint communities for 101 Years. The closing came as a surprise, causing conflict, unrest and saddness in the parish community.

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