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St. John's University Archives: Digital Collections

About this collection

This collection contains select items from the Records of the Church of St. John the Baptist, in Brooklyn, NY. To access the full collection, please make an appointment. 

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In 1865, the Right Reverend John Loughlin, the first bishop of Brooklyn, invited the Order of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul (the Vincentians) to found a Catholic institution of learning in Brooklyn.  Led by the Reverend Edward M. Smith, C.M., a small community of Vincentians purchased a large plot of land for the college, on which was a small house for the brothers. The name originally chosen for the college in 1868 was Mary, Queen of the Isles, but by 1869 was changed to St. John the Baptist, Bishop Loughlin's patron. The college grounds would include a parish church, also run by the Congregation of the Mission. The cornerstone of a wooden-framed church was laid in 1869. This wooden church was soon rendered inadequately small by the growth of the parish, and in 1888 the cornerstone to a new church was laid. This new church, designed by the famed architect Patrick C. Keely, was based on Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  It took six years to build the stone structure, which was finally dedicated in 1894.

When St. John’s College (later, St. John’s University) moved to Queens in the late 1950's, the direct affiliation was ended. However, it continues to serve as an active parish and as the main church of the Vincentian community that was founded in 1868.

 
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