Parish of Our Lady of the Scapular

Fr. James McMahon, a New York priest, offered to endow for the Carmelites of Ireland a church and monastery in Manhattan’s upper west side (Seventy-seventh Street and Columbus Avenue).  Fr. McMahon had been left a small legacy which he had increased to a substantial sum through financial activity, mainly in real estate foreclosures.  Within a few weeks of their arrival, the Carmelites were able to secure a temporary site for services at Twenty-ninth Street and First Avenue. The first Masses were on Palm Sunday, April 14, 1889.  Fr. Michael Daly the first pastor, held that post until 1894 when he resigned from the position and Fr. Edward Southwell was appointed pastor.

Archbishop Corrigan came to dedicate the church on December 22, 1889. In 1891, a hall was constructed, which was used for Sunday school, meetings, annual fairs, a gymnasium and later as a youth center.

In 1904 Father Southwell purchased land on Twenty-ninth Street for $45,000 just a few doors west of the priory for the site of the parish school. The cornerstone was blessed in November 1904 and the school was dedicated in September, 1905.  Father Southwell returned to Ireland in 1906 and Fr. Louis McCabe succeeded him as pastor. 

During the pastorate of Fr. Vincent Smyth, a priory was constructed in 1928 on Twenty-eighth Street adjoining the church.

The parish boundaries included Bellevue Hospital, the largest hospital in the city, where the Carmelites took over the duty of chaplains from the priests at St. Stephen’s Church. The Carmelites maintained their hospital apostolate at Bellevue for the next 118 years, winning widespread praise for their ministry to sick and indigent New Yorkers.

The pastorate of Fr. Sean Reid (1943 – 1964) was the longest in the history of the parish.

The church’s centennial was a year long celebration that began on April 1, 1989 with Mass at Our Lady of the Scapular.
John Cardinal O’Connor was the main concelebrant and homilist.

Between the opening Mass of the centennial and the closing Mass, the parish of Our Lady of the Scapular was joined to that of St. Stephen’s. 

The following priests have served as pastors of Our Lady of the Scapular Parish:

Rev. Michael Daly 
Rev. Edward Southwell 
Rev. Louis McCabe, Prior 
Rev. Paul O’Dwyer, Prior
Rev. Denis O’Connor, Prior   

Rev. Gerard O’Farrell 
Rev. Dionysis L. Flanagan
Rev. Philip McGouran
Rev. Vincent Smyth
Rev. Elias Holland
Rev. Stephen McGleenan
Rev. Kevin Flanagan
Rev. Sean Reid
Rev. Thomas McGinnis
Rev. Christopher Byrnes
Rev. Edmund McCaffrey
Rev. Paul Feeley

Rev. Vincent McDonald
Rev. Romaeus Cooney
Rev. Gerald McGovern
Rev. Robert D. Tracy

1889 – 1894
1894 – 1906
1906 – 1909
1909 – 1913
1916 – 1919
1919 – 1924
1924 – 1926
1926 – 1928
1928 – 1934
1934 – 1937
1937 – 1940
1940 – 1943
1943 – 1964
1964 – 1967
1967 – 1970
1970 – 1973
1973 – 1979
1979 – 1982
1982 – 1986
1986 – 1988
1988 – 1990