St. Anselm’s celebrates 90th birthday

Parishioners of Saint Anselm’s Church raised a little hell on April 20 as they danced and dined the night away while marking their beloved congregation’s 90th birthday.

More than 300 congregants kicked up their heels at Gargiulo’s Restaurant on West 15th Street in Coney Island to commemorate the milestone, as well as the 60th anniversary of St. Anselm’s church building, which sits on 82nd Street between Third and Fourth avenues.

The dinner dance capped off a year of celebration at the church that included retreats and special events, said Monsignor John Maloney, the church’s pastor.

“It was a time to celebrate what the parish has been and where the parish is going,” Maloney said.

And the congregation’s come a long way: worshippers banded together in 1922, but only had enough money to build the school building. Congregants held services inside the school until they could save up enough money to build the church building in 1953.

Besides honoring St. Anselm’s storied history in the neighborhood, three parishioners were also celebrated for their contributions to the church: Third Avenue Merchants president Robert Howe, who received an award for community service, Saint Anselm’s science teacher Eileen Downey, who took home an education award, and Pastoral Planning Council Co-Founder Lynn Savage, who earned the parish service award.

Howe humbly accepted the honor, but said the congregation should receive all the praise.

“Saint Anselm’s deserves the credit for being a vital institution and an essential component in Bay Ridge life,” he said.