New York City
Rev. Peter M. Colapietro
Rev. Joe A. Francis
Rev. Joby Mathew
In Sunday Service:
Rev. Richard Arold
The Age of Planting, 1879-1904
The Parish of Saint Monica was founded in June 1879
when Father John Treanor, the Pastor of St. Lawrence O’Toole (now the
1879 Appointment of Pastor James J. Dougherty as the First Pastor of St. Monica.
Father Dougherty took over a feed store at
Father Dougherty bought the property at
1883 Sisters of Charity established a school with 350 students.
1886 The Pastor and his three curators moved into the rectory upon completion at a cost of $14,000.
Opening of the New School Hall and school
All these building programs and development were
Age of Watering and Harvest, 1904-1929
St. Monica’s Church expanded in tandem with the country’s expansion during the next 25 years from 1904 – 1929. Under the leadership of its third and fourth pastors, Rev. James D. Lennon and Rt. Rev. Arthur J. Kenny, the parish enjoyed and increase in the number of parishioners, better financial situations, and had highly organized religious and intellectual-life programs, such as St. Monica’s Lyceum (dissolved in 1935), St. Vincent de Paul, various sodalities, and the Holy Name Society, which assumed a major role in parish affairs. Highlights worth noting:
1905 The Church cornerstone was laid by Archbishop Farley.
1906 On Thanksgiving Day, the new St. Monica’s Church was inaugurated at a cost of $160,000.
1913-43 Monsignor Arthur Kenny became the fourth Pastor and served for 30 years.
This period was known as the Church’s “Golden Years” against the country’s historical backdrops of World War I, Prohibition and Roaring Twenties.
Age of Dormancy and Decline, 1929-1954
Historian Monsignor George A. Kelly wrote about the
serious problems facing St. Monica’s Church. During this period, the
number of parishioners attending Sunday mass declined from 5,500 on
average in the 1920s to 3,900 in 1942; the Church had not been painted
for 25 years, the convent was dilapidated, and the Church was again in
debt. However, the Church’s parish activities were thriving and vital to
Sisters of Charity were replaced by Sisters of St. Francis in the
The most dramatic event in the Church history was the accidental
fire in the Church on
1954 The Church reopened in May with a renovation cost of $350,000 and, like churches elsewhere, St. Monica’s provided a place of comfort and strength.
The Age of Replanting, 1954-1979
With the reopening of the Church in 1954, the various societies were revitalized with confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Cana Conferences, Alcoholics Anonymous, and social events such as the Irish Nights and bingo games became popular. Other highlights during this period were:
1972 Introduction of the first Parish Bazaar.
1973 Parish project raised funds of $40,000 to paint the Church and refurbish the rectory.
1974 Closing down of the school.
The tsunami of change occurred in the historical Second Vatican Council, led by Pope John XXIII in 1962, to its closing in December 1965 by Pope Paul VI. The council had a far-reaching impact, like seeds blown in the wind, with a reform of orders and seminaries, upgrading of the laity, and changes in liturgical rites, theological reflections, and declarations. The sixties was the period of the Vietnam War, civil rights, the feminist movement, and the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The depressed economy and inflationary times first took their toll in the decade of the 1970s. As St. Monica’s celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 1979, the parish members had declined, St. Monica’s School had closed, the resident clergy had dwindled, and the organ fell into disrepair, yet the quality of the parishioners was as strong and faithful as ever.
The Age of Harvesting, 1979-2003
The period of the 1980s through 2000 witnessed the city’s and the country’s up cycle in its economic and political landscape, rising income, population changes with diverse nationalities and more supermarkets, and new high-rise apartments. Some “modernization” touches, such as installation of new lighting, paintings and refurbished
pews were completed. The average attendance at the weekly and Sunday masses had stabilized. Some highlights of this period:
1992 Rev. Monsignor Thomas A. Modugno was installed as Pastor of St. Monica’s and Co-Vicar of East Manhattan.
1995 The organ was restored through a successful fund-raising drive after a major part of the organ had been silent since 1967.
Today and the Next 25 years: A Renaissance of Faith
St. Monica’s celebrated its 125th
Other renovations included reliquary for sacred
oils, a new and refurbished altar, and soon restoring and suspending the
brass over the baptismal font. With this support, there is hope and
faith for a new sense of community. The community which gathers here is
as diverse as
Our thoughts about the future go forward creating it; our minds and our hearts are like filaments that connect today to tomorrow. One philosopher once said, “Wisdom proclaims that with every blade of grass, an angel whispers, “Grow! Grow!” There is a lot to do in the orchard of St. Monica’s Church. So come in, grow some peace with us, grow some joy, and grow with love.