I was assigned to St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish in June of 2004. I remember being impressed by the kindness of the parishioners and the stunning beauty of the Church. The Stations of the Cross in our Church are the most beautiful I have ever seen anywhere. However, not everything was beautiful… the Parish Hall and Old Chapel had fallen into dire disrepair.
Our financial situation back then and many other pressing needs forced me to put the Parish Hall/Chapel repair on the back burner. In 2012, with a new tenant leasing our school building, we finally were able to begin the process of addressing the poor condition of the two buildings. New roofs were needed on each building, asbestos and mold had to be removed, the buildings needed to be made handicapped accessible…. the list went on and on. I realized that both buildings had to be entirely gutted and built up again new. We needed help and expertise to launch a project of this magnitude so I turned to Mrs. Coleen Ceriello, and her staff at Rocklyn Asset Corporation. Their wonderful guidance, support, and tireless efforts moved the project from a wish to a reality! All of us here at St. Mary Star of the Sea are profoundly grateful to Mrs. Ceriello and her great team of dedicated professionals. We also greatly appreciate Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D., for approving the project and for his enthusiastic support!
How do we pay for this projected $ 4,500,000.00 endeavor? A tenant was needed to lease the basement and the second floor, neither of which the Parish had used (because of their deplorable condition) in more than two decades. We partnered with our neighbors, who lease our school building, The International School of Brooklyn. We also secured a loan from the Diocese of Brooklyn, which we will be able to pay back over the next 7 years.
The physical work of discarding many decades of no longer useful things (junk) and the gutting of the interior of the buildings began in April of 2014. The project was a difficult process. Putting up the new walls and installing all new electric (including air conditioning) was a bit easier. The Hall was completed in August 2015 and we had our dedication in September. Please see the photo section for pictures and videos. We now have two beautiful buildings that will be air conditioned, have elevators that are fully handicapped accessible, and have many other amenities. We are able to have new groups, hold adult programs, and have get-togethers and fantastic parish parties! Most importantly, we now have Religious Education for our children in this beautiful new space.
The photos in this section give you some idea of the work that was done. I thank Ricky Conte for photographing the work. We are very excited to have our dream now a reality! Go to our photo section to view all the great pictures of the dedication of the new Parish Center
Fr. Chris Cashman