St. Raymond's Church (Bronx, New York)
|St. Raymond's Church|
St. Raymond's Church facing East Tremont Ave.
|Town or city||Westchester Village, The Bronx, New York City, New York|
|Construction started||1908 (for school);|
|Completed||1845 (for first church);
1898 (for present church);
1909 (for school)
|Client||Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||George H. Streeton of Brooklyn, New York|
St. Raymond's Church is a Roman Catholic parish church under the authority of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, located at Castle Hill Avenue at Tremont Avenue, The Bronx, New York City. The parish was established in 1842. According to the parish website, "It was dedicated on the feast of St. Raymond Nonnatus, on August 31, 1845, thus getting its name." There is a stained glass window, on the right side if you are looking at the sanctuary, of St. Raymond Nonnatus and the men who took him hostage.
The parish of St. Raymond's predates the creation of The Bronx, when the area was still part of southern Westchester County, New York. Bishop John Dubois of New York had a deed executed on 2 December 1835 at a cost of $160 for the 125 foot by 26 foot plot of land situated about two miles north of Fort Schuyler, New York. A church and/or school were intended to be constructed that year on the plot of land, however, nothing was erected.
In 1842, Bishop John Hughes purchased the acre that the current St. Raymond's Church is located on, and in 1847 an adjoining acre was purchased. The land purchased coincided with the 1840 founding of St. John's College in the village of Fordham, the future Fordham University. In the same year, Fr. Felix Vilanis was appointed to attend to the people of Westchester and the villages along the Sound. He built the first church and had it dedicated 31 August 1845.
Among the notable pastors were the Rev. William O'Reilly, pastor in the late 1840s, who was the brother of the second Bishop of Hartford, and later rector of Our Lady of the Isle in Newport, Rhode Island and Vicar General of the Diocese of Hartford. The Rev. I. A. Kensella (pastor from 1857 to 1875) left around $18,000 in his will for the erection of a new church. The forward-thinking Rev. Michael B. McEvoy (pastor from 1875 to 1885), bought the Underhill Farm on Throgg's Neck and had it consecrated for burial purpose as St. Raymond's Cemetery, one of the borough's notable cemeteries. The Msgr. Edward McKenna, P.R., was born in Truagh, County Monaghan, Ireland, on 18 July 1843, roughly two decades before the birth of the Most Rev. Dr. Patrick McKenna (9 August 1868 – 7 February 1942), the very influential Bishop of Clogher, who was also born in the very small and isolated Truagh parish, where he had St. Patrick's Church erected and a memorial placed to his parents and family. Bishop McKenna had many churches built or renovated during his lengthy episcopate. Both McKennas from Truagh are almost certainly related. In 1914, there were around 4,000 Catholics living within the parish and the church property valued at $200,000.
Monsignor Edward McKenna, P.R., (b. 18 July 1843 in the parish of Truagh, County Monaghan, Ireland, was appointed pastor of St. Raymond's in 1888 and had the present "beautiful church" built in 1898 at a cost of $100,000. The architect of St. Raymond Church was George H. Streeton of Brooklyn who also designed the Cathedral Basilica of St. James in Brooklyn, as well as St. Raphael's Church in Manhattan (1900–1902). The building was dedicated 23 October 1898. in 1908, Cardinal Logue laid the cornerstone of the new school, which opened September 1909.
- Rev. Felix Vilanis (1842)
- Rev. Higgins (returned to Ireland when his health failed)
- Rev, William O'Reilly, brother of the second Bishop of Hartford, and afterward rector of Our Lady of the Isle (Newport, Rhode Island) and Vicar General of the Diocese of Hartford.
- Rev. Eugene McGuire (left 1853)
- Rev. Richard Kien (1853 until his death on 9 January 1854)
- Rev. Michael O'Reilly (4 February 1854 – 1857)
- Rev. I. A. Kensella (14 July 1857 - 6 January 1875, who in his will left $1000 for every year he was pastor of this church for the erection of a new church)
- Rev. Michael B. McEvoy (appointed February 1875 to 1885, who bought the Underhill Farm on Throggs Neck, now known as St. Raymond's Cemetery and had it consecrated for burial purposes)
- Rev. Charles F. O'Keeffe (1885-1888)
- Msgr. Edward McKenna, P.R. (b. 18 July 1843 in the parish of Truagh, County Monaghan, Ireland, pastor of St. Raymond's from 1888)
- Remigius Lafort, S.T.D., Censor, The Catholic Church in the United States of America: Undertaken to Celebrate the Golden Jubilee of His Holiness, Pope Pius X. Volume 3: The Province of Baltimore and the Province of New York, Section 1: Comprising the Archdiocese of New York and the Diocese of Brooklyn, Buffalo and Ogdensburg Together with some Supplementary Articles on Religious Communities of Women. (New York City: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914), p.392.