St Benedict’s Church of Throggs Neck

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This past Tuesday, we attended my 94 year old great aunt’s funeral mass at St Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church in Throggs Neck. For decades, I walked by this house of worship but never stepped foot inside but was impressed at its beauty when I did for my aunt’s farewell.

But of course for me, it’s not just the building itself but the history that I’m interested in (documented on the church’s website) and I immediately noticed the cornerstone declaring it was laid in 1957 just 60 years ago. Although the exterior of the church looks pretty traditional, the interior is a different, mid-century feeling if you will.

The history of the parish began much earlier, however, going back to St Benedict’s Parish first Sunday mass celebrated on Sunday, April 8, 1923 with an estimated crowd of 500 faithful parishioners.

First St Benedict’s Church/Via St Benedict’s website

Before that, the growing community of Throggs Neck had to travel to St Raymond’s miles away.

St Benedict’s Church actually has a South Bronx connection too as it was the “articles required for church services were transported from St Anselm’s” and it was that church’s pastor, Father Bernard Kevenhoerster who was appointed by the Archdiocese to, “…take charge of the entire section of land in Throggs Neck, Edgewater, Silver Beach, and any other settlements embraced in this general territory.” and it was St Anselm’s first assistant, Rev Louis Traufler who became St Benedict’s first pastor.

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A month after the first mass, the archdiocese granted the parish permission to procure new land for a permanent church as well as $35,000 to do so.

As luck would have it, the property on Eastern Boulevard (now Bruckner Boulevard) across the street from the chapel where that first mass took place was available and vacant and would eventually become the current home of the church.

Throggs Neck grew and so did the parish. By 1930, the new school had opened to the tune of $450,000 and by 1955, the archdiocese granted permission to construct a larger church to better accommodate the faithful which leads up to the current structure we know today at 2969 Otis Avenue which costed a whopping $1,410,900!

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Today, the church still serves the Irish and Italian community of the area along with a continuously grown number of Latino parishioners.




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