NY Archdiocese Plans Anniversary Celebration

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

NEW YORK — The Archdiocese of New York is kicking off its bicentennial celebration with an inaugural Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in April, according to an announcement by Cardinal Edward Egan earlier this month.

Festivities will include the opening of exhibits at New York museums, ‘prayer and hymn session’ youth-congress meetings in Garrison, N.Y., and an Academic Convocation in St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University.

The emphasis of the commemoration is on looking back at the accomplishments of the archdiocese which contains 2.5 million Catholics and 410 parishes, according to a Jan. 8New York Post article.

The Franciscans have been serving the people of New York City for nearly 150 years.  The needs of German Catholic immigrants first drew the friars to New York in 1864, according to Peace and Good in America, a History of Holy Name Province by Joseph M. White.  They came to St. Francis Church on West 31St Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, invited by Archbishop John McCloskey.

The Archdiocese of New York entrusted the care of St Francis parish to the friars of Immaculate Conception Custody in 1864. German friars of the Province of St. Elizabeth, based in Paterson, N.J., were also invited to minister in the archdiocese in the 1890’s to the small parishes in Sullivan County, N.Y., a rural area along the Delaware River 80 miles from New York City. These parishes were St. Mary Church in Obernburg and  Holy Cross Church in Callicoon.

In 1901, the friars working at St Francis and in Sullivan County were incorporated into the new Holy Name Province.  In the years since its founding, HNP has assumed the care of Holy Cross in the Bronx, St.  Stephen of Hungary Church on the upper East Side,  Holy Name of Jesus Church on the Upper West Side, and most recently, All Saints Church in Harlem.

Other upcoming milestones whose commemorations are being planned include the 150th anniversary of the founding of St. Bonaventure University in 2008 and the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Order of Friars Minor in 2009.