‘Our legacy’: Community comes together for St. Ephrem’s 100th anniversary mass

From left to right: Deacon Anthony Stucchio, Rev. Anthony Chanan, Bishop Robert Brennan, Rev. Robert Adamo, Monsignor. Theophilus Joseph and Deacon Kevin McLaughlin celebrate St. Ephrem parish’s 100th anniversary at a special Sunday, Oct. 23 service.
Barbara Vellucci

Members of the Dyker Heights community and beyond came together over the weekend to formally mark the 100th anniversary of St. Ephrem Roman Catholic Church — and pay tribute to its lasting impact on the neighborhood.

Parisioners, alumni, faculty and more gathered first in the church for a special Sunday mass, followed by a dinner dance at the El Caribe.

“It is with great joy that we gather as a parish family to mark this milestone, of our 100th anniversary. We are grateful to God on this happy occasion, and we celebrate our centennial [and] our presence in the community for the past 100 years,” said Father Robert Adamo, pastor of St. Ephrem. “As we reflect on our church, our prayer, and our legacy, our hearts are filled with gratitude.”

In a statement to Brooklyn Paper, the mass’ main celebrant, Brooklyn Bishop Robert Brennan, said he was “grateful” to join in on the Oct. 23 celebration, which coincided with World Mission Sunday.

“I was grateful to join with the faithful of St. Ephrem’s in celebrating the closing Mass of their 100th Anniversary,” the bishop said. “God has and continues to send the people of this church, much like its parish patron Saint Ephrem, to bring the joy of the Gospel into the communities of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and wherever they go.”

Faith leaders from St. Ephrem and the Brooklyn Diocese mark the parish’s centennial anniversary.Barbara Vellucci

“On what was World Mission Sunday, we offered praise to God for the vocations that have come from this parish,” he went on. “St. Ephrem’s Church and School have truly played a central role in building the Catholic Church for generations.”

Josephine Beckmann, district manager of local Community Board 10, called Sunday’s celebration a “wonderful” nod to St. Ephrem’s lasting legacy.

“It was a wonderful day to see parishioners and neighbors from the past and present,” she said. “All around a great day.”

St. Ephrem Parish was founded in 1921, and has since educated tens of thousands of students, hosted numerous social and community events and participated in food donations, clothing drives and other charitable causes. Its Catholic Academy currently serves students from pre-K through eighth grade.

Earlier this year, the intersection of Bay Ridge Parkway and Fort Hamilton Parkway was co-named St. Ephrem’s Way on Sunday, May 22, to commemorate the church and Catholic academy’s centennial anniversary.

people with st ephram's street sign after conaming
Local leaders and elected officials gathered outside of St. Ephrem Parish on May 22 for the unveiling of “St. Ephrem’s Way” — a street co-naming meant to mark the church and school’s 100th anniversary.Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Sunday’s mass was held in the very same church used for daily worship back when services first started on Feb. 1, 1953.

“Each time we gaze at our beautiful church, may we recall the words of St. Ephrem: ‘Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raise us to Heaven,'” Father Adamo said.