St. Lucy parish was established in 1904 to serve the growing Italian population then attending St. Patrick church at Kent and Willoughby Avenue. Father Castellano was appointed as the first rector of the church1. In October 1904 Reverend Alfonso Arcese had been appointed rector of the church. The plot of land for St. Lucy was purcahsed by Bishop McDonnell, probably prior to 1904, for the purposes of serving the 3,000 or so Italian families then residing in St. Patrick parish. Through Bishop McDonnell, Pope Pius X donated a cameo of himself to the cause of raising funds for the construction of the church.2
Arcese was responsible for the organization of the parish and the construction of the church in two phases. The first phase of construction took place in 1905, when a "basement church" was erected on the site. Prior to the dedication of this building, the congregation worshipped at a former Methodist church on Park Avenue. The basement church, first occupied in late August, 1905, was furnished with altars, and organ, pews and other furniture from Church of St. Michael the Archangel at Fourth Avenue and East 42nd Street in Manhattan.3 The church itself was dedicated by Bishop McDonnell on October 22, 1905. At the time, the Eagle hailed the 15' tall church as "practically a 'model church basement'". The church had a seating capacity of 600.4
In 1917, Francis Berlenbach developed plans for "the completion of the superstructure of the 1-sty brick and terra cotta church". The cost of construction was estimated at $25,000, and Rev. Arcese was listed along with the church as the owner. 5 The new church was dedicated by Bishop Molloy on December 11, 1921. By this time, Rt. Rev. Mons. Arcese had moved on to be rector of the Church of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and the Rev. Leopold Arcese (relationship not known) was the rector of St. Lucy.6
- 1. "Catholic Church News", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 3, 1904, 4.
- 2. "Pope's Personal Gift to Local Catholic Priest", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 1, 1905, 7.
- 3. Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 9, 1905, 6.
- 4. "Bishop to Dedicate New Italian Church", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 21, 1905, 7.
- 5. "Contemplated Construction", Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, June 16, 1917, 853.
- 6. "Catholic News", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 10, 1921, 10.
802 Kent Avenue