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.
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