A Timeline of Saint Vincent Ferrer’s History
May 17, 1923 — Incorporation of Saint Vincent Ferrer Church. Father Joseph Murphy is appointed Pastor.
September 1, 1923 — First Mass is celebrated at the Ford’s (now Richard Mahabir’s) residence. A tent is erected for Mass.
October, 1923 — Funds from a Bazaar are used to purchase the land where the present Rectory stands.
December, 1923 — Wood frame church is erected.
December 23, 1923 — Last Sunday of Advent — First Mass is celebrated in the wooden church.
Decemer 24, 1923 — Christmas Midnight Mass — the parish’s First High Mass
January, 1926 — Twenty-five women form the Saint Vincent Ferrer Altar Society.
Ellen Brady starts Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) with Friday afternoon classes.
January, 1927 — The Altar Society was incorporated into the Rosary Society, with the added responsibility of raising funds to build a permanent church.
1928 — Location for card parties was changed to the Rectory.
1930 — Holy Name Society is formed.
June 1931 — Father Murphy’s 25th Anniversary of Ordination.
October, 1931 — Ground-breaking ceremony for the present church-school building at 3:30 p.m.
March 28, 1932 — Father Murphy dies.
June, 1932 — Father John Geary is appointed pastor. The present church-school building is completed.
October, 1932 — First Mass is celebrated in the new church and the old wooden church becomes the “Lyceum” for basketball, dances and Boy Scout meetings. School opens with eight classrooms. Sister Pascal, the first principal, and five Sisters of Saint Dominic of Kentucky (Sisters Ralph, Agnes Gertrude, Rose Rita, Helen Marie and Aquinas) make up its first staff. Sister Pascal and Sister Aquinas were siblings. In later years, the two would alternate as principal and eighth-grade teacher. The house next to the “Lyceum” is purchased to be used as a convent for the Sisters.
May, 1934 — The school year ends early so that the roof of the church-school building can be raised, and another floor of eight classrooms added.
1942 — Completion of the convent adjoining the church-school building.
May, 1943 — The Sick-Calling Committee is formed.
January, 1947 — Jeanne Mance Guild is formed to make cancer dressings for patients at Saint Rose Home, Manhattan, which is run by the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne.
March 1947 — Committee for the Blind is formed. The 24-year-old wooden church and the old convent building are razed to make room for the erection of the new Rectory and the proposed new church.
March, 1948 — Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) starts for Public High School students.
1950 — Father John Geary is elevated to the rank of Monsignor.
November 23, 1951 — Msgr. Geary dies. Father Charles Carmody is appointed administrator.
1952 — Father William J. Gately is appointed pastor.
1954 — School enrollment swells beyond its 16-room capacity. To relieve the overcrowding, students are bused to Nativity School.
1958 — Glee Club is formed.
April 5, 1962 — Father Keppler forms the Saint Vincent Ferrer Band, with Matthew F. Walsh as instructor/director. Girls allowed to join the band in 1964.
1967 — The “New School,” comprised of classrooms, gymnasium/auditorium and meeting rooms, is opened. It is later named the Msgr. Gately Auditorium.
1969 — The Parish Council is formed to serve as an advisory committee to the Pastor.
August, 12, 1970 — Msgr. Gately dies.
October 7, 1970 — Father William F. Carr is appointed fourth pastor of Saint Vincent Ferrer.
1971 — Folk music is introduced into the liturgy.
October 28, 1973 — 50th Anniversary Mass is celebrated at 3 p.m.
1974 — Children’s Mass begun in the Msgr. Gately Auditorium.
June, 1975 — Renovations completed in the church, including the installation of stained-glass windows.
January, 1976 — The former library at 3717 Glenwood Road (on the corner of East 38th Street) is renamed Msgr. Geary Hall.
November 25, 1979 — Father Carr retires. Father John J. O’Sullivan is appointed the fifth pastor of Saint Vincent Ferrer. Robert Katulak is appointed the first lay principal of Saint Vincent Ferrer School.
1983 — Saint Vincent Ferrer marks its 60th Anniversary. A second major renovation is completed in the church.
1985 — Father O’Sullivan suffers a stroke. During his convalescence, Father Dennis J. Farrell serves as administrator.
1986 — Msgr. Geary Hall is sold. Father O’Sullivan retires. Father Coman V. Brady is appointed the sixth pastor of Saint Vincent Ferrer.
September, 1986 — Junior and Senior Gospel Choirs are formed. Gospel rhythms are introduced into the liturgy. A new choir space is created among the congregation. Reintroduction of Midnight Mass for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
1990 — Church interior is repainted.
1991 — Legion of Mary is established. Dedication of the Choir Room and Rectory Dining Room to Sister Thea Bowman and the Martyrs of El Salvador, respectively. The rectory secretary’s office is dedicated to St. Martin de Porres, The Rectory parlor is dedicated to Pierre Toussaint, the church basement Is dedicated to the Venerable Matt Talbot, and a room in the new school basement is dedicated to St. Rose of Lima.
1994 — Formation of Pax Christi chapter at Saint Vincent Ferrer.
1995 — The Youth Room is dedicated to Charles Lwanga. The former convent building becomes the John and Gertrude Harrison Home for Mentally Disabled Adults, named for the volunteer directors of the parish’s long-running Saturday Center for the Retarded. Female altar servers begin assisting at Mass.
1997 — A new Cross is erected atop the church. The statue of Saint Vincent Ferrer is relocated from the school to the church vestibule.
September, 1997 — Children’s Liturgy resumes in the Msgr. Gately Auditorium. Parish 75th Anniversary year opens.
January, 1998 — Dedication of the Monument to the Unborn. Other anniversary events include a parish concert, parish picnic, pot-luck suppers, parish retreat, Chinese auction and parish sports day.
October, 1998 — Introduction of revivals at Saint Vincent Ferrer. Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, leads the first revival.
November 13, 1998 — 75th Anniversary Dinner-Dance held at Glen Terrace Caterers.
December 6, 1998 — Bishop Thomas V. Daily celebrates the 75th Anniversary Mass.
June 30th, 2009 — Saint Vincent Ferrer School closes.
July, 2009 — Father Brady dies after a short illness.
November, 2009 — Msgr. Joseph A. Nugent is appointed Administrator of Saint Vincent Ferrer.
December, 2012 — Parish debt of $404,000 is paid in full.
2014 — Msgr. Nugent is transferred to Saints Peter and Paul/Saint Agnes parish, Cobble Hill. Father Andre Bain is appointed temporary administrator. Statues of The Sacred Heart, Mary and Joseph relocated to either side of the sanctuary area.
2015 — Father Rony Mendes is appointed temporary administrator of Saint Vincent Ferrer in February. Father Antonius P. Gopaul is appointed administrator in June, and is installed as the parish’s seventh pastor in September of that year. The New School is rented to the Board of Education for its Universal Pre-K initiative.
2016 — Repairs of the parish buildings begin with work on the New School building, followed by re-painting and renovation of the Rectory interior.
2018 — Repairs to the New School Building completed, work begins on the Rectory exterior. Saint Vincent Ferrer’s re-vamped website is launched.