THE PASTORS OF SAINT PAUL PARISH

CONGERS, NEW YORK

Established 1895

 Years Served  PASTOR  RIP
 1  1896 – 1898      Rev. Michael J. Mulhearn                            7-14-1919
 2  1898 – 1899      Rev. Patrick J. Martin                                   5-3-1920
 3  1899 – 1908      Rev. Msgr. John A. Nageleisen                  5-6-1952
 4  1908 – 1910     Rev. Michael J. Neufeld                            
 5  1910 – 1921      Rev. John B. Reck                                      10-14-1937
 6  1921 – 1923     Rev. Msgr. James McIntyre                        7-18-1930
 7  1923 –  1926    Rev. George J. Waeth                                
 8  1926 –  1930     Rev. John Grogan                                        6-14-1934
 9  1930–  1932     Rev. Msgr. Daniel J. Fant                             5-15-1968 
 10  1932 – 1933   Rev. John A. Farrelly    3-29-1945
 11  1933 – 1937     Rev. Bernard A. Healy                                  8-28-1963
 12  1937 – 1938     Rev. Msgr. Lafayette Yarwood                    3-4-1961
 13  1938 – 1949  Rev. John V. McClain                                   5-12-1957
 14  1949 – 1953      Rev. Msgr. Eugene Murtha                                     5-18-1984
 15  1953 – 1956  Rev. William Kennedy                                  8-6-1966
 16  1956 – 1959  Rev. Joseph Moody                                                 3-2-1994 
 17  1959 – 1977  Rev. Msgr. Harold Engel                             1-1-1988
 18  1977 – 1990  Rev. Msgr. Raymond Powers                     11-7-1998
 19  1990 – 2001  Rev. Msgr. Thomas E. Gilleece
 20  2001 – 2013  Rev. Arthur Mastrolia 
 21  2013 – 2015  Rev. Msgr. Emmet R. Nevin
 22  2015 –  Rev. Vladimir Chripko
 23

 

In 1891, it was determined that an out-mission of St. Peter’s Church in Haverstraw should be formed in the area around Rockland Lake to serve the needs of the Irish, Bohemian and Italian Catholic immigrants who worked in the ice and quarry industries. This out-mission would become St. Paul’s Church – which in turn became the mother of joined mission churches. Property was donated by Mr. John McGuiness on Lake Road between Friend And Allen Streets, and the ground for the church was broken on October 19, 1891. Brickmakers in Haverstraw promised to donate brick for the church. November of 1891 saw the foundation of the first Altar Society, and the first choir was formed in December. Until the church was built, the Doherty Building in Congers was rented for all church liturgies and functions. Actual contruction did not begin until November, 1892 and the first Mass was celebrated in the new  church on Easter Sunday, 1894. The first pastor of St. Paul’s appointed in 1896 was the Reverend Michael J. Mulhern. He opened the first out-mission in Bardonia in 1897. Upon his resignation due to illness in 1898, Fr. Mulhern was succeded by Rev. P.J. Martin and then by the Rev. John Nageleisen. In 1899, Fr. Nageleisen purchased the Old Post Office Building from the County for $485, which he began to refurbush as the parish rectory.

Fr. Nageleisen then turned his attention to the Bardonia and New City missions. He oversaw the opening of the Church of St. Anthony in June of 1899. St. Augustine’s in New City became an out-mission of St. Anthony’s in 1904. Prior to the establishment of St. Paul’s parish, St. Michael’s Church in Rockland Lake had been an out-mission of Spring Valley and later of St. Peter’s, Haverstraw. Fr. Nageleisen was instructed by the Archbishop of New York – Michael A. Corrigan – to oversee the building of the first Church and School of St. Michael in Rockland Lake in 1901. St. Michael’s School opened in 1907 with 114 children taught by the Sisters of St. Agnes from Wisconsin. The siters lived in a convent at Rockland Lake known as “The Star of the Sea Convent.” Rockland Lake is also the site of Gethsemane cemetery, the land having been purchased by Fr. Nageleisen in 1905.

Fr. Nageleisen was succeeded by Fr. Michael J. Neufeld in March, 1908. Rockland Lake then became a separate parish and its first pastor was the Rev. K. Zakrasser. St. Michael’s Church was destroyed by fire in 1914, and a new St. Michael’s Church arose under the pastorate of Rev. Michael J. Donnelly in 1915. By the 1920s, however, the quarry and ice industries in Rockland Lake were closing down, and this proved to be the death-knell to both Church and Town – St. Michael’s again became a mission of St. Paul’s where Fr. John Grogan had been Pastor after the Reverends John B. Reck & James McIntyre. Fr. Grogan also oversaw the establishment of yet another out-mission in Valley Cottage named for St. Therese in 1927. (Ultimately, however, the Churches of St. Michael & St. Therese were to close in 1965. Fr. Grogan was succeeded at St. Paul’s in 1930 by the Rev. Daniel J. Fant and then by the Rev. John J. Farrelly. Subsequent Pastors were Fathers William Burke (‘33-’36), Lafayette Yarwood (‘36-’37), John McClain (‘37-’49), Eugene Murtha (‘49-’53), William Kennedy (‘53-’56), Joseph Moody(‘56-’59), Harold Engel(‘59-’77), Raymond Powers (‘77-’90), Thomas E. Gilleece (‘90-2001), Arthur Mastrolia (’01-’13), Emmet Nevin (’13-’15) and starting a new chapter as St. Paul’s transforms into the Parish of St. Paul-St. Ann, our newest Pastor – Father Vladimir Chripko – whose appointment took(s) effect August 1, 2015.

Over the many years of its existence, St. Paul’s Parish has grown into a community of over 2,800 registered families. A fire devastated the old country church in 1967, and a modern structure was erected in 1969 to serve the needs of the growing parish family. St. Paul’s School – located in Valley Cottage – was opened in 1961 and has been served ever since by the Dominican Sisters of Sparkill. Sr. Stephen Gerard, O.P. has been the principal for over 31 years! In 2005, a Building & Expansion Campaign was begun to replace the “Old Post Office Rectory.” The new complex includes a parish center adjacent to the Church in Congers, a Parish Office building, and a new Priests’ residence.