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HISTORY

Saint Charles Borromeo

In early November of 1902, the Bridgeport Post announced to the citizens of Bridgeport that St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church (the Mother Church) on the East Side, had been divided.  Bishop Tierney revealed that the new parish would be known as St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church.  Bishop Tierney assigned the Rev. William H. Lynch as Pastor.  Property at the corner of East Main Street and Ogden Street was purchased.  

Mass was said for two Sundays (November 16 and 23 1902) in the hall of Barnum School, then in the basement of Saint John Nepomucene Church until Christmas 1903.  The laying of the cornerstone of the school took place on October 11, 1903.  Then Mass was said on the first floor of the new school from December 25, 1903, until the basement chapel was ready on December 8, 1907.  The school opened on September 23, 1905 with Saint Joseph's Sisters from Rochester, New York.  Saint Joseph's sisters were replaced by the Sisters of Mercy in September 1913.  Father Lynch died on August 13, 1913.

Reverend Patrick J. McGivney was assigned as the second pastor by Bishop Nilan.  A convent was built and occupied on November 11, 1921.  The superstructure of the church was begun on March 15, 1924, at a cost of $400,000, and was dedicated on September 6, 1925.  Msgr. McGivney died on May 7, 1928.

Rev. John J. McGivney, a younger brother of Msgr. Patrick McGivney became the third Pastor.  He built a rectory for the priests which was occupied on August 13, 1929.  A house was rented as a rectory from 1902-1904, then the old rectory was bought for $7,000 and in March 1929 was torn down to make way for the new rectory.  On March 18, 1929, he dedicated a hall to complete the splendid group of five buildings covering an entire square block.  On March 17, 1932, he was made a Monsignor.  Msgr. McGivney died at age 69 in March of 1939.  Rev Francis Morrisey was the administrator for a few months.

Rev. Thomas B. Gloster, who had served under Father Lynch back in 1913, became the fourth Pastor in July 1939.  Under his direction in 1950, a four-room addition to the school was built giving the school 16 rooms.  After a fire on February 27, 1950, he renovated the lower church naming it "the Rosary Chapel" and rededicated it on September 23, 1951.  On September 2, 1953, the Diocese of Bridgeport was formed and the Most Rev. Lawerence J. Shehan became the first Bishop of the new Diocese.  St. Amorose Church had already become an offspring of St. Charles in 1928 and St. Catherine of Siena became the offspring in 1955.  Father Gloster died at age 70 on January 16, 1956.

Rev. Joseph Ganley became the fifth pastor in 1956.  Although Father Ganley's health was not of the best during his short stay he devoted all his energies to the school children and the people of the Parish.  He died at age 68, on May 25, 1958.

In May of 1958, Monsignor George B. Curtiss became the 6th Pastor and was also Chancellor for the Diocese of Bridgeport.  He built the sun porch for the nuns at the convent, remodeled the rectory, and built a five-car garage.  Chimes were put in the bell tower.  Better lighting was put in the upper church.  Vatican II opened in October 1962.  The first lay Advisory Board was elected during Msgr. Curtis Pastorship.  Msgr. was transferred to St. Thomas Church in Fairfield in 1967.

Monsignor James P. Devine became the 7th Pastor on August 3, 1967.  He redecorated the church put new front doors of the Church, the new organ was moved to the front of the church, and the main altar was turned around as part of the changes of Vatican II.  In March of 1968, he suffered a stroke.  Rev. Edward B. Karl became administrator.  In May 1970 Monsignor Devine resigned because of ill health and went to St. Joseph's Manor.

Rev. Francis D. McKenna became the 8th Pastor in July 1970.  During the brief time he served as Pastor (eighteen months) he affected the necessary repairs for the improvement of the parish.  In September 1971 Rev. Frank Yoia became administrator.

Rev. John R. Sansonetti became the 9th Pastor on February 4th, 1972.  Under his leadership, both men and women participated as Cantors and Lectors.  A Parish Liturgy Coordinator and a Director of Religious Education were appointed.   Parishioners now bring the gifts to the altar.  The youth group participated in the Mass as lectors, choir members, and altar servers.  Pre-Baptismal classes have become mandatory for parents and Godparents.  New Rooms for the sacrament of penance were made.   The church was redecorated for the 75th Anniversary and the bell tower was repaired.  The San Gennaro Festival was held yearly as a fundraiser.  Father left on February 6, 1984.

Msgr. Joseph Potter became the 10th pastor in 1984.  A Spanish mass was started.  On June 21, 1986, St. Charles School closed due to low enrollment.  Sister Ann Moles, SSND became Director of Religious Education.  In 1990 the Haitians started a monthly Saturday evening Mass.  In 1992 the McGivney Community Center was started in the Hall by a group of men from Saint Catherine of Siena Church in Trumbull.  An elevator was installed in the upper Church.  In 1993, the Laotians Community started a monthly mass with the help of Sister Antoinette.  On September 1, 1996, the Haitians started a weekly Sunday Mass at 5:00 p.m.   The Brazilian Community started a Mass in 1997.  Msgr. Potter retired in October 1998.  

 

Rev. Alfred J. Bietighofer became the 11th pastor in November 1998.  Father saw the spiritual and temporal needs of the parish until he left in April 1999. 

Rev. Gustavo Falla became the administrator from May 1999 until January 2000.

Rev. Joseph J. Saba became the twelfth pastor in February 2000.  Father sees and understands the needs of the language the parishioners speak.  Father put the new doors on the back of the parking lot entrance of the upper & lower church and back entrance of the urban center and covered over the back and front entrances of the church.  He revied the Sain Charles Patrick Day Dinner Party which was well attended.  On November 2, 2022, at 4:00 p.m. the 100th anniversary Mass is celebrated by Msgr. Lawerence J. McMahon pastor of Saint Mark Parish in Stratford a native of the parish assisted by father Saba, current pastor, assistants at the parish, and former St. Charles priests.  Father later starts two weekend Masses in the four languages spoken in the parish.  In January 2008 a Finance Council is formed in all parishes by order of Bishop Lori.  Father retires in March 2009.

Rev. Edicson Orozco became the thirteen pastor in March 2009.  Father enlarged the parking lot, repaired the bell tower and roof, installed chimes in the bell tower, electrized the bells for the Angelous and start of Sunday Mass, and returned the Tabernacle to the Center of the Church.  Father left in February 2015.

Rev. Francisco Gomez became the fourteenth pastor in February 2015.  He was also Secretary to Bishop Frank Caggiano.  Dean of twelve Bridgeport parishes and Vicar for the Priests ordained fifteen of fewer years.  He started an annual pilgrimage to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge Massachusetts.  He started a youth group that had 125 youth attending weekly.  He took them to New York City for Christmas and Broadway shows.  He also started the Children of Mary.  He purchased new vestments, new furniture for the rectory and moved the lower church sacristy to the front of the church.  He held weekly classes in English and Spanish on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Father left in August 2018.

Msgr. Chris Walsh became the fifteenth Pastor on January 25, 2019.  He was the Administrator from August 18, 2018.  Father has conducted a very successful Capital Campaign "We Stand with Christ" for three diocesan foundations Education, Faith, and Charity.  Half the money raised will be for St. Charles to replace the lower church roof, repave and redesign the parking lot, and renovate the lower church.

The parish has more than doubled its goal with 430 parishioners pledging.

PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF SAINT CHARLES BORROMEO

1. Rev. William H. Lynch, November 2, 1902 - June 18, 1913

2. Rt. Rev. Msgr. Patrick McGivney, LLD August 27, 1913 - May 7, 1928

3. Rt. Rev. Msgr. John J. McGivney, June 14, 1928 - March 16, 1939

4. Rev. Thomas B. Gloster, June 15, 1939 - January 16, 1956

5. Rev. Joseph A. Ganley, January 1956- May 25, 1958

6. Rt. Rev. Msgr. George B. Curtiss, June 9, 1958 - August 10, 1967

7. Very Rev. Msgr. James P. Devine, August, 1957- May 1968

8. Rev. Francis D. McKenna, June 20, 1970 - September 1971

9. Rev. John R. Sansonetti, February 4, 1971,  February 4, 1972 - February 6, 1984

10. Msgr. Joseph D. Potter, February 1984 - October 1998

11. Rev. Alfred J. Bietighofer, November 1998 - April 1999

12. Rev. Joseph J. Saba, February 2000 - March 2009

13. Rev. Edicson Orozco, March 2009 - February 2015

14. Rev. Francisco Gomez, April 15, 2015 - August 18, 2018

15. Msgr. Christ Walsh, January 25, 2019 - January 1, 2021

16. Fr. J. Abelardo Vasquez, January 2, 2021 - Present

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