2008-01-25 / Community

Saint Camillus Turns 100 Years Old

By Erin McKinley

For the past century, Saint Camillus church on Rockaway Beach Boulevard has shown an immense dedication to the people of the Rockaways in an attempt to bring the parishioners together in a spiritually binding way.

Located on Beach 100 street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, countless people have had their lives touched by Saint Camillus.

The parish first started in 1904 as an annex of Saint Rose of Lima Church. It was established as an independent parish in 1908.

The current church structure was officially opened on May 10, 1908.

In September of that year, the church was dedicated to Saint Camillus, and has remained a prominent part of this community ever since.

The rectory officially became a part of the church in 1914, and by 1930, Saint Camillus officially had a parish auditorium. In 1951, staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph, the parish school opened for the education of the local children.

Each year, attendance at the parish started out small during the winter, and grew proportionately during the summer months.

It was not long before the small parish on the beach began doing big things for its members.

Aside from attending mass, the people who made up the St Camillus parish came together for many occasions. The continued involvement of the church members is what makes Saint Camillus special. The comfortable atmosphere that is present in the church itself and at all of its functions provides good times for parishioners, they say.

For younger church members, the marching band has is a priceless St. Camillus mainstay. Previously led by Rev. William F. Burke, the famous marching band has been spreading the church name up and down the east coast for years. Older members of the parish often participate in the Golden Age Club, a group that does various tasks for the church, school, and parishioners. Saint Camillus is a beloved aspect of Rockaway life, say parishioners.

"All of my memories of the church are special to me," said Loretta Cummings, long time parishioner, "I never want to be any place else…" Loretta is one of the few parishioners who has been there since she was born, having made all of her sacraments in the church. She, like so many other parishioners of Saint Camillus, loves the homey aspect that the church provides.

Under the direction of new Pastor Father Rich, and long-time priest Father Dunne, Saint Camillus is expected to reach new heights in the community, one parishioner told The Wave recently.

Saint Camillus is planning a celebration for this momentous occasion.

There will be a meeting on Tuesday January 29, at 7 p.m. in the rectory for anyone who would like to help plan the 100th anniversary of Saint Camillus parish. For more information, call the rectory at (718) 634-8229.

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