Notes on the History of the Passionists in Jamaica, New York
In 1922 Bishop Thomas E. Molloy, the third Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, (1921-1956) suggested that the Passionists open a foundation at the far end of the diocese in Wyandanch on Long Island. About ten years earlier, under Bishop Charles E. McDonnell (1892-1921), the Passionists agreed in 1911 to staff a new parish on Shelter Island in Suffolk County.
Monastery but No Parish
In his correspondence with Bishop Molloy, Fr. Justin Carey, C.P., Provincial, (1917-1923, 1929-1932) stipulated that the Passionists did not want to staff a diocesan parish. The priest council of the diocese was not in favor of Brooklyn or Queens as a location for the new monastery. In spite of their objection, Fr. Justin Carey informed the Bishop that the Passionists were arranging to buy the 12 acre Degnon Estate “in Hillside, near Jamaica”. Degnon was an officer of the Jamaica Estates Company of Manhattan and one of the developers of “Jamaica Estates”. He was an engineer who helped design the first New York City subway system, which began operations in 1904.
Bishop Molloy approves Passionist Foundation
In January 1923 the Bishop approved the establishment of a Monastery and Retreat House in Jamaica, NY. He also asked that a Polish speaking Passionist take care of the Polish community on Barren Island in Jamaica Bay (Flatbush Ave& Belt Parkway). Barren Island was a city dump for dead horses and was home to a glue factory. Polish immigrants built their homes on stilts over the marshlands. The smell from Barren Island was said to be unbearable. The bay is still known as "Dead Horse Bay”. Plans to help the Polish immigrants never materialized and Barren Island was transformed into the city’s first municipal airport, Floyd Bennett Field, which was dedicated in 1930. Today Barren Island is part of Gateway National Recreation Area.
Bishop endorses New Parish
On Aug 24, 1923 the Degnons agreed to the sale of their estate for $192,000.00. On Oct 17, 1923, Fr. Stanislaus Grennan, the newly elected Provincial, (1923-1926) and Bishop Molloy drew up a revised agreement that now allowed the Passionists to staff a new parish in Jamaica. In November of 1923 the Superior General authorized the purchase of the Degnon estate. Today there are 2,500 families who are members of the parish.
Immaculate Conception School opened its doors on September 12th, 1938 to accommodate 235 pupils in grades one to five. From the outset ICS has been staffed by the Congregation of Saint Joseph of Brentwood. In October 1949, the enlargement of the building began. This included the cafeteria and auditorium. Today there are 470 students at ICS.
Immaculate Conception Monastery Parish Today
The Parish serves over 2600 families and more than 3000 parishioners. Located in Queens County, in New York City, Parish members trace their backgrounds to over 60 nations. Weekly Masses are in English, Spanish and French.
Immaculate Conception School is a Catholic parochial co-educational school, which seeks to provide a quality education for its students. The school assists its 480 students in all aspects of their whole being, i.e. the physical, intellectual, moral, social, emotional, and spiritual.
The primary mission of Immaculate Conception School is to teach the message of Jesus and to implant in the students the values He taught. Through a variety of religious and non-religious experiences, the school develops students of good conscience who can make proper moral choices both in today’s world and in the future.
Parish history: http://www.immconjam.org/ParishHistory.htm