Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/881

This page needs to be proofread.


BROOKLYN


799


BROOKLYN


Prelacy and Papacy". In April, 1657, there is record made of the fining of one "Nicholas the Frenchman" in the sum of twelve guilders, or S4.80, because, as the sherilT's report has it, on the "frivolous excuse" that he was a Catholic, ISficholas refused to pay his share of the tax le%-ied for the salary of the Dutcli Reformed minister who preached for the colony then located within the present limits of the Borough of Brooklyn. In addition to the Dutch there were a number of Walloons and Huguenots settled in this locality. Some of the unfortunate Acadian exiles were scattered through Long liLmd during 1756; and on the muster-rolls of the militia from the same section serving in the army of Sir William Johnson, in 1775, we find such names as Pieilly. Shea, Burke, Power, SVelsh, Doolly, Barry, Sullivan, Cassidy, Lynch, Ryan, Larkin, Mdoney, Fagan. Blake, Donnelly, Shields, ICinsella, and Downey. There are no records to show what be- came of them or their children. But an occasional curi- ously twisted pat- ronymic among the old non-Catholic families of the in- terior districts of the island gives a clue to the reason of this. We have no positive evidence that any consider- able body of Cath- olics became a com- ponent part of Brookljm's local life till after the dawn of the nineteenth century and espe- cially after the lo- cation there of the Na\-y Yard in 1801. This government station at once gave employment to many mechanics in the various trades connected with the ship-building indus- try, and soon a num- ber of Irish immi- grants, mostly from the Catholic .sections of the Xorth, es- pecially from Deny and Donegal, sturdy confessors of t li e Faith in' their na- tive land, .settled in

Brooklyn. Among these were the parents of the first American cardinal, John McCloskey, Arch- bishop of New York, and of his namesake, the first Rector of the American College at Rome, William George McCloskey, afterwards Bishop of Louisville, Kentucky. Until 1822 these Catliolics had to cross


ยป. ..cky.

the East River to New York to liear Ma.ss and attend to their spiritual necessities, as the scarcity of priests and their own poverty brought about this incon- venient situation. Occasionally a priest would go over from New York to say Mass and preach in pri- vate houses, or wherever suitable accommodation could be obtained. The pioneer in this was the Augustinian missionarj- Father Philip Larissy, who said the first Ma,ss in "the house of William Purcell, at the north-cast corner of York and Gold Streets, on a date now unknown. The little colony, con- stantly growing in numbers and influence, desired


a church of its ovi-n, and hence a meeting was held on the 7th of Januan,-, 1822, at the house of William Purcell, at which a committee of five was named to wait on Bishop Connolly of New York and ask his advice and consent for the organization of a congre- gation. It is notable that in the circular caUing this meeting the reasons stated are: "In the first place we want our children instructed in the principles of our holy religion; we want more convenience of hearing the word of God ourselves. In fact, we want a church, a pastor, and a place for interment." Those prominent in the pioneer work of the congrega- tion were Peter Turner, George S. Wise, then a purser in the United States na\-j-. William Purcell, John Kenney, Nicholas Stafford, Denis Cosgrove, Jeremiah Mahoney, James Rose, George McCloskey, James and Patrick Freel, Dr. Andrew B. Cook, also of the United States na-\-j', James Furey, Thomas Young, Hugh and James McLaughlin, An- drew Parmentier, James Harper, Quin- tin M. Sullivan, and Daniel Dempsey.

As a result of this meeting eight lots were purchased on Jay Street, and St. James's, the first Catholic church on Long Lsland, was buUt and dedicated to Divine worship by Bishop Connolly, 28 August, 1823. The lots about the church were used as a graveyard until 1849, when Holy Cross Cemetery, Flatbush, was open- ed. The original church building stood until 1903, when its walls wcie enclosed in a new structure built on the same site for a pro-cathedral. The Reverend Dr. John Power of St. Peter's, New York, was the early and stanch friend of the new congregation. He used to cross the river frequently to minister to them. Other priests of the pioneer days were the Reverends Patrick Bulger, James McKenna, and James Doherty; the last two died in the service of the parish, and were buried in front of tlu! church. The first regular pastor was the Reverend John Farnan, who was appointed in .-Vpril, 1825. The second church in Brooklyn, St. Paul's, dedicated 21 January, 1838, was built on land given by Cornelius Heeney. He first offered the site for a seminary, but could not agree with Bishop Dubois as to the manner in which the title should be held, the old and troublesome idea of lay trusteeship proving an obstacle. It is notable that although the organi- zation of the first congregation in Brooklyn was due mainly to lay effort there was never any of the sub- sequent difficulty over trustee authority and rights that made so much scandal elsewhere during this era. The Reverend Nicholas O'Donnell, O.S.A. (1840-47). was the second pastor of St. Paul's, and after him