The Building of a New Church
The incentive to build a new house of the church dates from 1965 when our parish purchased its current property. Our school was built in 1967; the Church at 100 North Main Street was sold in 1970. Sunday Mass was celebrated in the school auditorium for the next 25 years because debt from the school prohibited further construction. In 1985, Father Eisler, with the advice of the Pastoral Council, proposed to the Archdioceses of New York that a new church could be built if we would sell 15 acres of church property. The Archdioceses accepted on the condition that the parish raises the rest of the money. Parishioners readily agreed.
Fundraising was vital. Of the $1.3 million from the property sale, we immediately used $535,000 to pay off what remained of our 1967 debt to the Archdioceses. A Building Fund Committee was formed in 1993 and chose Ruotolo Associates as advisers. Under the energetic leadership of Flo Opulencia and a team of dedicated workers, the campaign goal of $700,000 was exceeded by $195,000. A truly magnificent effort was carried out by campaign workers, and an equally generous and sacrificial response came from over 700 donors.
A bridge loan was arranged with the Archdioceses to cover the amounts pledged, and, as of March 1996, $137,689 remains to be repaid. When all pledges are paid in full, the parish will have no capital debt. A "Tree of Life" or memorial plaque will soon be placed in the church.
There was a constant year-long prayer to our patron, Saint Josephs, for guidance and assistance in our endeavor. His statue on the school roof still stands to watch over the church.
The first parish Mass was celebrated on Saturday, September 30, 1995, at 5:00 p.m. A procession began in the school auditorium after a thanksgiving prayer to God for HIS blessings and for giving us that space for worship for so many years. The congregation proceeded outside and entered the new church through the front door. More than 600 people filled the church and part of the auditorium, joining the parish priests for a heartwarming Eucharist, followed by a reception.
On October 28, 1995, the children and teens of Saint Josephs School and P.R.E.P. Program dedicated the church with a special Mass. The celebration began with the placing of class rocks in the vestibule symbolizing that people are the building stones of the Church. Students were active participants in the preparations, dedication rituals, processions, readings, music, and the Eucharist Celebration.
Cardinal O'Connor, the Archbishop of New York, dedicated the altar and Church on Saturday, November 4, 1995. He was joined by the parish priests, the episcopal vicar, priests from Rockland Count, priests who have previously served int he parish, an overflow crowd of 600 parishioners.
In an impressive ritual, the Cardinal was first given the keys and building plans of the church. He then anointed the four walls of the build. The Roman Pontifical says "A Church should be dignified, evincing a noble beauty, not just costly display, and it should stand as a sign and symbol of heavenly things. The general plan of the build should be such that is reflected in some way the whole assembly.
The Cardinal anointed the altar with holy oil and incensed it, explaining the significance. Christian people everywhere celebrate the memorial of Christ, taking their place at the Lord's table. However, it is in keeping with the Eucharistic Mystery that, whenever possible, the faithful erect a permanent altar. The Christian altar is by its nature both a table of sacrifice and a table at the Paschal banquet.
With various choirs and a multi-lingual liturgy, the Eucharist was celebrated and offered with great joy and intensity. A dream was fulfilled!
Pastors and Administrators Who Served Saint Joseph Parish
|Rev. John J. Hughes
|Rev. John. G. McCromack
|Rev. John B. Salter
|Rev. John F. Meehan
|Rev. James P. Hearon
|Msgr. Stanislaus. H. McGovern
|Msgr. James O'Donnell
|Rev. John O'Connot
|Rev. Rudolph Eisler (Administrator)
|Rev. Rudolph Eisler
|Rev. Rudy Gonzalez
|Rev. Levelt Germain