The Monroe Central Deanery encompasses 12 parishes comprising 20 churches in the city of Rochester and inner-ring suburbs. The dean is Father William G. Coffas, pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows in Greece.
St. Kateri Tekakwitha
St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish formed in 2010 from five Irondequoit churches and was named for the first Native American saint.
‚Ä¢ Christ the King at 445 Kings Highway South celebrated its first Mass on Oct. 28, 1956, in part of a then-unfinished structure that now houses St. Kateri School, which continues to offer Catholic education for grades prekindergarten through grade 6.
‚Ä¢ St. Cecilia at 2732 Culver Road was founded in 1949, but the cornerstone for the church and school was laid on Nov. 22, 1950 — the feast of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music.
‚Ä¢ St. Margaret Mary was established June 14, 1928, and the current church building at 401 Rogers Parkway was constructed in 1949.
‚Ä¢ Created in 1922, St. Thomas the Apostle initially held its Masses at the former Chapel of St. George on the Lake, a summer chapel built by a Catholic group from Summerville. Now at 4536 St. Paul Blvd., the church began offering Masses in Latin in the extraordinary form in 2014.
‚Ä¢ St. Salome was established in 1908 as a mission chapel. Fire destroyed the community’s second church structure. A 2016 decree allowed for its third church building at 4260 Culver Road to be used for wholesome activities such as community gatherings.
Established in 1901 to serve German and Irish families in Rochester, the parish dedicated a two-story church, which housed a the parish school on the second floor, on April 13, 1902. This structure was demolished three decades later to create more parking, and the current church at 534 Oxford St. was built in 1911. Young adults comprise about a third of the current parish population, which is drawn from various areas of the diocese. In 2006, Blessed Sacrament formed a partnership with nearby St. Boniface and St. Mary churches in Rochester, and in 2015, the three churches became clustered as the Southeast Catholic Community.
Cathedral Community Church
‚Ä¢ Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester — see page 18.
Founded in 1884, Rochester’s Holy Apostles was the first mission church of the former St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Its name represented its establishment as the 12th parish founded in the Diocese of Rochester. A bigger church was built 13 years later and the current building at 530 Lyell Ave. at the corner of Austin Street was dedicated March 28, 1897. In 1998, Holy Apostles’ former convent became the Mother Theresa Missionary Center, which serves as a clothing closet and distribution site for an ecumenical food cupboard.
Holy Cross Church in Rochester was established in 1863 with 25 parishioners served by a French missionary who had been sent by Bishop John Timon of the Diocese of Buffalo. The original church building was completed in 1881, and a bell tower, baptistry and southern entrance were added over the subsequent 100 years. The current building at 4492 Lake Ave. was remodeled in 1985 and an addition built in 1998. The latter project added seating in the church and a large meeting area. The parish school, built in 1930 and added onto in 1955, serves students in kindergarten through sixth-grade.
Parish of the Holy Family
Holy Ghost, St. Helen and St. Jude the Apostle churches in Gates became one parish in July 2016 after being a cluster since 2010.
‚Ä¢ The oldest of the three worship sites is Holy Ghost Church, which was founded in 1875 by German Catholic families living in the southwestern part of Gates. The cornerstone was laid in 1906 for the current church, which was renovated in 1945 and again in 1973.
‚Ä¢ St. Helen began in 1930 as a mission chapel. It became a parish in 1940, with Father J. Beecher Sullivan as its first pastor. The current church was dedicated in 1962, and the building underwent major renovations in 1993-94.
‚Ä¢ St. Jude the Apostle was founded in 1968 on a 40-acre dairy farm with a cow barn, a tractor shed and a small farmhouse. The current church was completed in June 1993. The three stained-glass windows over the front entrance to St. Jude the Apostle Church came from the former St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Rochester.
‚Ä¢ The Parish of the Holy Family also is home to the diocesan Vietnamese community.
Immaculate Conception/St. Bridget
Following the closure of St. Bridget’s building in February 2010, its parishioners joined with Immaculate Conception to become one faith community in Rochester in the African-American tradition.
‚Ä¢ Immaculate Conception Church was established in 1847 to serve Irish immigrants. The original church was destroyed by fire in 1864. The exterior of the current church building at 445 Frederick Douglass St. was refurbished in 1990, and the structure was added to the National Register of Monroe County Historic Buildings in 1992. During a latter renovation, Masses took place for several months in the auditorium of the former school building.
‚Ä¢ Also originally founded in 1854 by Irish immigrants on St. Bridget’s Drive in Rochester, St. Bridget moved in 1997 to the Hudson Avenue area to serve a predominantly African-American congregation and later to Mark Street in the former St. Theresa Church building.
Our Lady of Lourdes/ St. Anne
A Rochester parish and one in the adjacent suburb of Brighton formed a cluster in 2008.
‚Ä¢ Our Lady of Lourdes was established on Aug. 1, 1928, in response to rapid growth in the Brighton area following World War I. The parish’s original church was dedicated by then-Msgr. John F. O’Hern, who became the third bishop of Rochester. In 1948, the parish opened a school, later renamed Seton Catholic School, which continues to serve children in prekindergarten through grade 6. A new church building at 150 Varinna Dr. was completed in 1965. In 2010, the St. George Lithuanian parish community began celebrating Sunday Masses at Our Lady of Lourdes.
‚Ä¢ The original one-story St. Anne Church in Rochester was dedicated Feb. 9, 1930. The interior of the wood-frame structure caught fire on March 27, 1944, and the church was rebuilt in six months. A bigger church was built between 1958 and 1959. The current church at 1600 Mt. Hope Ave. was renovated in 1993, when a pipe organ with 42 ranks, or sets of pipes, was installed. A Korean-language Mass begun in the late 1990s continues biweekly.
Our Lady Queen of Peace/St. Thomas More
These two Brighton parishes formed a cluster in 2008.
‚Ä¢ Bishop James E. Kearney established Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish on Sept. 14, 1960, and dedicated the church at 601 Edgewood Ave. on April 29, 1962. The building originally was intended to be a temporary location, but remains in use today. A new parish hall was dedicated in honor of Father James Slattery, the founding pastor of the parish, who died in 2005.
‚Ä¢ Founded in 1953, St. Thomas More parish got off to a rocky start with legal wrangling over the sale to the Diocese of Rochester of the property at 2617 East Ave. Until the church was completed, the parish celebrated Masses at St. John Fisher College’s chapel and auditorium. Bishop James E. Kearney dedicated the church on Nov. 1, 1958. The parish’s elementary school later became Siena Academy, the only Catholic middle school in the Rochester area. A renovation project for the church building, the rectory and carriage house was undertaken at the end of the 1990s.
Our Lady of Victory/ St. Joseph
Two downtown Rochester churches came together due to a historic fire in the 1970s, and will celebrate their 150th anniversary in October 2018.
‚Ä¢ Our Lady of Victory was established in 1848 as St. Mary’s French Church in downtown Rochester. “The Little French Church” name persisted long after the parish was renamed Our Lady of Victory Church and relocated to 210 Pleasant St. in 1868. Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid’s first public act as leader of the Diocese of Rochester, founded that year, was to lay the cornerstone for the new church. A fire damaged the church building in 1912, and the interior was rebuilt in 90 days. Rochester residents of all faiths rallied in 1968 to save the church from being demolished for a road project, and the Rochester Preservation Board designated it a city landmark in 1970.
‚Ä¢ Built in the 1840s, St. Joseph was the city’s oldest church when a fire destroyed it in 1975. The Landmark Society of Rochester subsequently purchased the site, renovated it and renamed it St. Joseph’s Park.
Our Mother of Sorrows
Irish settlers founded Our Mother of Sorrows in 1829 at the corner of Mount Read Boulevard and Latta Road in Greece. The first structure — the first rural Catholic Church in New York state — was dedicated to St. Ambrose on Feb. 5, 1832. In 1859, a second edifice was constructed, and the parish was renamed Our Mother of Sorrows Church the following year. The parish celebrated its centennial on June 8, 1930. Bishop John F. O’Hern celebrated the Mass in the church, while thousands heard the Mass from the cemetery south of the church. Governor and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt were among the guests for the celebration. A new church building was built at 5000 Mount Read Blvd. in 1960 and was dedicated on Sept. 22, 1968. The old church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, remains standing with its original stained-glass windows and various religious figures.
Peace of Christ
Peace of Christ Parish formed in 2007 from one church in Irondequoit and two in Rochester.
‚Ä¢ Rochester’s St. Ambrose Church was established in 1921. The original, wood-frame church was built in a month at the corner of Empire Boulevard and Culver Road. The current church was dedicated on Oct. 2, 1960, and renovated in 2000. The original church later housed school classrooms, but was destroyed by fire in 1962. It was rebuilt and continues to operate as St. John Neumann School for students in grades prekindergarten-5.
‚Ä¢ Ground was broken in July 1949 for St. James Church, school and parish hall. The church at 130 Brett Road, Irondequoit, was renovated in 1974. Founding parishioners and their families continue to attend the church.
‚Ä¢ The 100th anniversary of St. John the Evangelist Church in Rochester was celebrated in 2014. Its current building at 553 Humboldt St. was completed in the late 1920s. A pipe organ was installed in 1953 and remains in use.
Founded in 1860 to help meet the needs of German Catholics in southeast Rochester, St. Boniface has an eventful history. As the parish was about to start renovations for its centennial, a fire destroyed the church building on Nov. 15, 1957. A statue of St. Boniface subsequently disappeared but was returned in time for the saint’s feast day on June 5, 2016. The current church building at 330 Gregory St. was constructed in 1960 and dedicated on June 5, 1960. The parish campus served as the site for Becket Hall, the diocesan program of priestly discernment, from 1984-2006. St. Boniface formed a partnership with Rochester’s Blessed Sacrament and St. Mary churches in 2006.
St. Charles Borromeo
As more Catholics moved into the neighborhoods near Kodak Park in the 1920s, another church was needed to serve the growing Catholic community in Greece. St. Charles Borromeo was established in 1925, and the parish’s first Mass was celebrated on Nov. 6, 1925, at the home of George Pearson. The cornerstone for the first church was laid by Bishop Thomas F. Hickey on July 4, 1926. The church was remodeled in time for Christmas Masses in 1952. In 1963, planning began for a new church, which was completed at 3003 Dewey Ave. in time for Easter Masses in 1967. In the early 1990s, the former convent was renovated for use as the Borromeo Prayer Center, then one of only two Catholic prayer centers in the county; the center operated from 1992-2008. In 2006, the church underwent renovation.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini
Three Rochester churches combined as St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish in northeast Rochester in 2011. Its name reflects the immigrant heritages of surrounding neighborhoods and a long-standing outreach to those in need and to immigrants. Masses are celebrated in Spanish at St. Michael and Our Lady of the Americas.
‚Ä¢ Originally a mission church of the former Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, Church of the Annunciation celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. It evolved from mission to parish status in 1946. In 1967, a larger church was built across the street from the original building. The subsequent clustering of parishes led to a move back to its original location at 1754 Norton St.
‚Ä¢ Our Lady of the Americas Church, formerly known as Corpus Christi Church, was built in 1902. The building houses an altar that formerly stood in the sanctuaries of St. Patrick’s and Sacred Heart cathedrals and Holy Redeemer/St. Francis Xavier Church.
‚Ä¢ Known as the “Gothic cathedral,” St. Michael was founded by German immigrants in 1872 and dedicated in 1890. The building’s 225-foot tower contains the belfry and church bells. Its stained-glass windows were created in Innsbruck, Austria. A pipe organ with more than 2,000 pipes was built in 1903, rebuilt in the 1950s and refurbished in 2003. The church also has been a venue for concerts by students from the Eastman School of Music.
St. John the Evangelist
St. John the Evangelist was the second Catholic Church to be built in Greece. It was founded in 1865 as a mission of Our Mother of Sorrows Church by Father John Maurice, a missionary priest from France, along with 20 German, Dutch and Irish families. The old Rowe Tavern on Ridge Road was used for Masses until a new church was built on West Ridge Road in 1875. St. John the Evangelist was promoted to a parish in 1876. A new edifice was built in 1963 at 2400 W. Ridge Road, and the first Mass in the new church was celebrated on Nov. 7, 1964.
Having been a part of three dioceses since its founding in 1834, St. Mary is Rochester’s oldest Catholic church still in operation. A signed Tiffany rose window was installed in 1916 in the current building that was completed in 1857. According to parishioners, St. Mary is believed to have been the first parish in the nation to have air conditioning when installed in 1947. The church and rectory at 15 St. Mary’s Place were added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1992. St. Mary formed a partnership with Blessed Sacrament and St. Boniface churches in 2006 to form the Southeast Rochester Catholic Community.
St. Monica/Emmanuel Church of the Deaf
St. Monica Church was founded at the turn of the 19th century to serve the downtown Rochester area. The original two-story building facing Genesee Street was dedicated on New Year’s Day 1899. The cornerstone for the current building at 34 Monica St. was laid in the fall of 1914, and the church opened in January 1915. In 2009, a $1 million renovation added a gathering space and improved accessibility for people with disabilities. The parish’s former school building is now Monica Place, which offers affordable apartments. The church also serves as the home for the canonical parish of Emmanuel Church of the Deaf, and one of the church’s Sunday Masses is celebrated in sign language with voice interpretation.
St. Pius Tenth
Originally known as St. Feehan’s Parish, St. Pius Tenth was founded in Chili in the 1850s and was under the pastoral care of St. Mary Church in Scottsville until 1869. Its first building was completed in 1855 and is now located at the Genesee Country Village & Museum in Mumford. A second church at 3000 Chili Ave. was built in the 1950s and renamed St. Pius Tenth. A parish school opened in September 1959 and continues to offer prekindergarten through sixth grade. The church was razed following a 2015 fire, and Masses were held in the school and a parish center, which had been built in 2005. Construction of a new church began in 2017, and it will prominently feature two statues that were singed in the fire.
St. Stanislaus Kostka
The original St. Stanislaus Kostka Church was a small, wooden chapel built in 1890 at the corner of Salmon Street and Hudson Avenue to serve Polish immigrant families in northeast Rochester. The current building at 34 St. Stanislaus St. was completed in the summer of 1909 and consecrated by Bishop Thomas F. Hickey and Bishop Paul Rhode of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who was then the only Polish bishop in the United States. A shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa and St. John Paul II was dedicated by Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark in November 2008. In 1998, the parish raised more than $500,000 to restore the church, which is recognized for its architectural and historic significance. The work was completed in 2004, and the parish continues to celebrate Masses in both Polish and English.
The first Masses for St. Theodore Church in Gates were celebrated in a parishioner’s home until 1925 when the original church was built. Bishop James E. Kearney dedicated and blessed the current church building at 168 Spencerport Road on Nov. 9, 1957, the feast day of St. Theodore. The church was among the first in the diocese to organize a parish council in 1971. Two years later, the parish donated land for a senior-citizen housing facility that was named Dunn Tower Apartments after longtime pastor Father Gerald Dunn. A library was named after Father Dunn in 1994 after the parish renovated space in its former school. To mark the church’s 75th anniversary, parish officials undertook another major renovation project and rededicated it in 1999.