St. Francis de Sales, New York, N.Y. – In 1894, Archbishop Corrigan established a new parish on the East Side in 100th Street. Rev Joseph L. Hoey, pastor of Milton, Ulster County, N.Y., was selected to organize the congregation. The ground floor of a house was rented and first Mass in the new parish was offered on November 18, 1894. The pastor took up collections in various churches, and soon the temporary chapel became too small. On December 8, 1895, the cornerstone of the basement church was laid by Auxiliary Bishop Farley, the first episcopal function performed by him, and on October 4, 1896, the lower church was dedicated by Archbishop Corrigan. The rectory next to the church was ready for occupancy in May, 1899.
The church is situated in 96th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues, and is a noble Italian Renaissance marble structure. It was finished in 1903 and solemnly dedicated by Archbishop Farley on November 29, of this year. Bishop Colton of Buffalo, a classmate and lifelong friend of Father Hoey, celebrated the Pontifical Mass.
The various societies and sodalities connected with the church are: Holy Name (250 members); Junior Holy Name (100); Children of Mary (150); St. Aloysius' and Angels' sodalities (with a total membership of 500). In addition to these there are: the Sacred Heart League, Rosary Society, the Society of the Propagation of the Faith, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Conference of St. Vincent de Paul and the Debt Paying Association. There are 800 children in the Sunday-school, which is in charge of 4 Sisters of Mercy and nearly 100 lay teachers. The parishioners showed their zeal and faith by their financial support of the church. In the brief period between November 1894, and November, 1903, a beautiful church and rectory were built at a cost of $250,000. The mortgage of $125,000 which was incurred in the erection of the church was reduced at the rate of $9,000 or $10,000 a year.
Father Hoey died in April, 1913, and was succeeded by Very Rev. Monsignor James V. Lewis, formerly secretary to Cardinal Farley. Assisting Mgr. Lewis are: Revs. Patrick J. O'Donnell, John J. Moylan and Philip S Conran.
On July 1st, 2011 Fr. Phillip Kelly was appointed pastor. As he began his tenure the Archdiocese was moving into "Making All Things New" a process to determine the viability of all parishes. Along with a team of parishioners Fr. Kelly has worked with the archdiocesan committee to see our parish into its next stage of growth and development. These last three years have seen a steady growth in the life of this congregation. We have seen more young people, more of a variety of persons, find their way to our doors. This is evidenced in all the different groups that have begun to serve the parish.
In addition to a new vibrancy in the church community we have been blessed to partner with Marymount in their educational endeavors. The building that originally housed the parish grammar school is now the proud new home to Marymount Middle School Campus.
With our hearts and doors opened to welcome our neighbors in our East 96th St community, St Francis de Sales Church is excited to see where God will lead us in the future.