WELCOME & MISSION
Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. - Romans 15:7
by Rev. Donald C. Baker
When you walk around the Yorkville section of Manhattan and see its gleaming apartment buildings, manicured parks and bustling cafes, restaurants and stores, it can be hard to imagine it as anything else other than a wealthy part of New York City. But less than a hundred years ago, Yorkville was a very different place. It was an ethnic melting pot, as Germans jostled for space with Irish, Hungarian, Czech and Slovak neighbors, many of whom made their way up from the Lower East Side in the 19th century to settle in Yorkville. Far from rich, it was a place where working-class families lived in walk-ups and tenements, shopped in the stores and ate in the ethnic restaurants that filled the streets. And it was a place where faith was practiced, and life was lived through its many churches.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church was formed by Slovak Catholics in 1891 and for a while worshiped at St. Brigid’s Church on Thompkins Square park in the East Village. In 1917 it bought the former Emmanuel Lutheran Church on East 83rd Street as its new home. St. Stephen of Hungary Church had its roots in a Hungarian church founded downtown on 14th Street. In the 1920s they too moved north and under the leadership of the Franciscan religious order built the school and church on E82nd Street in 1928. St. Monica Church had its beginning in 1880 using a room atop a feed store on East 78th Street. The first church building was erected in 1883 and the current neo-Gothic structure was completed in 1905.
For generations these churches served their parishioners well. However, needs change. Ethnic communities age, move and assimilate. By 2015, the Archdiocese of New York decided to merge these parishes with their distinct histories, into one, with the mandate to renew the church’s commitment to minister to the Yorkville of the 21st Century. That parish is the one people encounter when they walk through the doors of our church. Still rooted in the parishes that came together to make up St. Monica – St. Stephen of Hungary – St. Elizabeth of Hungary, we are nonetheless building something new here.
We are a Catholic parish, rooted in the traditions of the past, but committed to the meaning of the word Catholic is universal.
Thus, we are an open parish which welcomes everyone to come and worship to ask questions and wrestle with answers.
Because of that welcome, we are a growing parish, where new members work with long time parishioners in service to the parish and school, to the Church and the larger community.
Perhaps you are reading this because you have visited us and want to know more about our church. Perhaps you are new to the neighborhood and have been searching for a church to worship at. Perhaps you stumbled upon our website while looking for a place to get married, have your baby baptized or send your children to school. Perhaps you are a parishioner who has since moved away and want to keep up to date with what is going on here, or maybe you are not even Catholic and wonder just what does go on here.
Whatever. It doesn’t matter! For even though Yorkville has changed greatly since the immigrant communities that founded our parent churches flourished here, we still remain committed to ministering to the people of Yorkville. So, no matter who you are, where you come from, what language you speak or lifestyle you lead, you are always welcome here, and always welcome to make this parish, your parish home.
Our parish opens its doors to welcome and embrace all in our community. We strive through worship, hospitality and service to receive those seeking a spiritual home. In the midst of diversity of thought, life style, nationality, economic status and age, we endeavor to live as a community of faith and invite you to join our family - a family seeking to know and love Jesus Christ.