Parish History

1869 Kingsbridge originally was in the city of Yonkers and the Catholics in this vicinity belonged to St. Mary’s Church.
The vicinity was made an outlying Mission of a new parish established at Fort Washington known as St. Elizabeth under the pastorate of Rev. Cornelius O’Callaghan.
1870 October 7 – The property on which the rectory is located was purchased at a cost of $2,800.  In this same month, Rev. Henry Brann was named Pastor.
Rev. Henry Brann immediately started work on a frame Church – the first Catholic Church in Kingsbridge.
1874 January 1 – Kingsbridge was annexed to the city of New York.
1886 Archbishop Corrigan made Kingsbridge a separate parish with Rev. Edward O’Gorman as the first resident Pastor.
1888 November – The parish of St. Margaret of Cortona was established.
1893 A section of the Lower Church was constructed at a cost of $21,000.
1903 After 18 years of heroic labor, Fr. O’Gorman was transferred to St. Martin of Tours Parish.
June 10 – Rev. Daniel O’Dwyer was appointed the new Pastor.
September 14 – Upon the invitation of Fr. O’Dwyer, the Religious of Jesus and Mary founded the Academy of Jesus and Mary at the southwest corner of 232nd Street and Kingsbridge Avenue.
1907 June 9 – The laying of the cornerstone of the Church and the blessing by Monsignor Joseph Mooney, Vicar General of the Archdiocese
1909 November 14 – Just as the Church for which he had sacrificed so much was finished, Fr. O’Dwyer died and the first service in the new Church was his funeral Mass.
December 11 – Rev. Francis Kelly was appointed the new Pastor.
1910 May 22 – The newly constructed Church of St. John is dedicated by Archbishop Farley.
1922 June 12 – A property costing $35,442 was bought for the expansion of the school.
1924 The parish of Our Lady of Angels was established.
1925 September 13 – Twenty-two years after the foundation of the Academy of Jesus and Mary, the new St. John’s School opened with an initial enrollment of 484 children.
1927 May 8 – Cardinal Hayes dedicated the school and blessed the rectory.
1928 December 8 – The parish of Visitation is established.
1934 December 20 – Fr. Kelly celebrated his Golden Jubilee in the Priesthood and Silver Jubilee as Pastor of St. John’s.
1935 July 17 – The property at 3029 Godwin Terrace was purchased at a cost of $17,014 to be used as convent for the Religious of Jesus and Mary.
August 3 – After serving for 26 years as Pastor of St. John’s, Fr. Kelly died at sea and was buried on August 19.
December 21 – Fr. Martin Scanlan was appointed the new Pastor.
1938 November 11 – The parish of St. Gabriel was established.
1940 The parish was cleared of all its debt.
1944 March 13 – Bishop McIntyre consecrated the new sanctuary, marble altar and communion rail in the lower church which was dedicated to St. Joseph.
1945 The property costing $10,000 and located at West 230th Street and Corlear Avenue was purchased as a new site for the much needed convent.
Work began on the modernization and expansion of the school by adding a third story.
1947 Construction of eight new classrooms was completed.
1949 May 7 – Ground breaking ceremony for the new convent, which would in later years become the Cursillo Center, was held.
1950 The new convent was built at a cost of 350,000.
March 27 – Bishop Flannelly consecrated the new convent altar.
June 14 – The property located at West 232nd Street and Kingsbridge Avnue was purchased at a cost of $63,000.
June 25 – His Eminence Cardinal Spellman dedicated the new convent.
July 5 – Remodeling of the former convent at Godwin Terrace to serve as a new home for the Brothers of Christian Schools began.  they moved in on September 7 and started their educational ministry at St. John’s.
1953 Work began on the construction of a new school building at West 232nd Street and Kingsbridge Avenue at a cost of $550,000.
1954 September 13 – The new school with 12 classrooms and a cafeteria opened with 588 students.
1955 September 8 – The property adjoining the new school was purchased at a cost of $7,500.
1963 July 23 – After 29 fruitful years as Pastor of St. John’s, Fr. Martin Scanlan, now a Monsignor, passed away after a lingering illness.
August – Francis Cardinal Spellman appointed Monsignor Louis Styker as the new pastor of St. John’s.
1966 October 29 – A Solemn Mass of rededication was presided over by Francis Cardinal Spellman after a massive renovation was made in order to suit the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council.
1971 March – Terence Cardinal Cooke appointed Monsignor John T. Doherty as the new Pastor after the retirement of Monsignor Stryker who had turned 75 years of age.
A sufficient number of Spanish-speaking residents signaled the beginning of a Spanish Mass at St. John’s.
The Parish Leisure Club was established.
1974 The Catholic Clergy of the Northwest Bronx founded the NWBCCC – Northwest Bronx Clergy and Community Coalition – of which Monsignor Doherty was a member of the founding board.
1977 Easter – A time capsule was buried on the lawn of the church consisting of pictures, letters and other church artifacts and addressed “from the parish of St. John’s Easter 1977 to the parish of St. John’s Easter 2002.”
1979 February – The first school for adult education was offered at the Kingsbridge Avenue school.
1980 May – After the restoration of the Order of Permanent Deaconate by the Second Vatican Council, St. John’s was proud to ordain its first Permanent Deacon, Andrew Rivera.
October – Monsignor Doherty was named Episcopal Vicar of the Northwest Bronx.
1982 February – Monsignor Doherty was named Pastor of St. Gabriel’s and Fr. John Lacey, a former associate, replaced him as the new pastor of St. John’s and was formally installed in June.
May – A second Permanent Deacon, Brian McIvor, was ordained.
1983 May – A third Permanent Deacon, Donald Quigley, was ordained, who would later become the chairperson of the Parish Centennial Committee.
1984 Archbishop John O’Connor continued as the Archbishiop of New York after the untimely death of Terence Cardinal Cooke.
April – Archbishop John O’Connor celebrated the Year of Jubillee at St. John’s, considered to be the Mother Church of the Northwest Bronx.
December – Fr. William Foley was named Pastor of St. John’s.
1986 The Parish of St. John’s celebrated its 100th year anniversary.
1994 July – The Archdiocese of New York hands over the administration of the parish to the Order of Augustinian Recollects with Fr. Edward Fagan, OAR as the first Augustinian Recollect Pastor.
1996 The Secular Augustinian Recollect Confraternity is established in the parish with an initial membership of twelve parishioners.
1998 Mass schedule in Spanish was incorporated into all Sunday Masses.
1999 March – Air conditioning units were installed in the lower church.  Later in the month, a new organ was installed in the upper church.
2000 September 11 – Fr. Gerry Cosgayon, OAR was appointed Pastor of St. John’s.
2002 Easter – The time capsule which had been buried in Easter of 1977 was opened after the 12:15 pm Mass.
2003 November 16 – Fr. Edward Fagan, OAR was once again installed as Pastor of St. John’s.
2006 June – A handicap ramp for the lower church was installed.  The same month, a permanent memorial for the unborn was installed.
August – Fr. John Oldfield, OAR was appointed Prior of the OAR community of St. John’s.
2008 The Pastor, Fr. Edward Fagan, OAR, and the Prior, Fr. John Oldfield, OAR, each celebrated their 45th anniversary of priestly ordination.
2009 February – A children’s choir was organized for the 1:00pm Spanish Mass.
September – Fr. Antonio (Joy) Zabala, OAR, the new appointed Pastor, arrived at St. John’s.
December 1 – The Pastor, Fr. John, OAR and the Prior, Fr. John Oldfield, OAR joined the NWBx vicariate in welcoming the new Archbishop Timothy Dolan in a reception held at St. Gabriel’s Parish.
December 6 – The new Pastor, Fr. Joy, OAR was formally installed by the NWBx Vicar, Monsignor John Jenik.
2010 March – Fr. Joy organized the parish in preparation of the 125th anniversary celebration.
December – The former Pastor of St. John’s, Fr. Edward Fagan, OAR passed away.
2011 March – The Augustinian Recollect community of St. John’s is reorgnized:  Fr. Frank Cregan, OAR is appointed Prior of the House, Fr. Joy Zabala, OAR continues as Pastor, and Fr. Eliseo Gonzalez, OAR is the new parochial vicar.
October 2 – The Parish of St. John’s commemorates its 125th anniversary with a Mass of Thanksgiving celebrated by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York.