2008-04-25 / Top Stories

St.Virgilius,St.Camillus Parishes To Merge

By Howard Schwach

St.Virgilius, St.Camillus Parishes To Merge
Catholic parishes, one in Rockaway and the other in Broad Channel, will merge into one, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn Diocese told The Wave this week.

A postcard view of St. Virgilius Church in Broad Channel, circa 1930.
"Pastor John Maloney [the St. Virgilius Parish priest] will be 71 later this year, and asked to retire," said Frank DeRosa, a spokesperson for the diocese. "We can't supply a new priest [to the Broad Channel parish] on a full-time basis, so we're going to merge that parish with St. Camillus."

De Rosa said that Father Richard Ahlmeyer, the current priest at St. Camillus, would take over the duties at St. Virgilius as well, beginning on September 1.

Ahlmeyer, De Rosa said, is a native of Broad Channel, whose family still lives there, so he is familiar with both the community and the parish.

"Sunday Mass will continue at St. Virgilius [after the merger], as will religious instruction," De Rosa explained.

A collaborative committee made up of parishioners from both of the churches will work to settle whatever details remain after the merger takes place, he continued.

St. Virgilius today. Many Broad Channel residents believe that the merging of the parish with one in Rockaway spells the beginning of the end for the historic parish.
There will no longer be a resident pastor at the Broad Channel parish, however.

Some parishioners were skeptical of the mergers, however, seeing it as the beginning of the end for the parish.

"First they closed the school. Now, they're getting rid of a resident pastor," said a long-time parishioner who asked not to be identified. "In a year or so, they will close the parish entirely and force us to go to Rockaway. Then, they will sell the land [that the church stands on] to a developer."

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