In 1913, at the direction of Bishop McDonald, Fr Marco Tullio Simmenetti was selected for a special work- that of establishing a mission in the New Lots section of Brooklyn for the many Italians who had settled there. He began this task set up for him by God in June 1913. He found that, with few exceptions, the people of the parish were poor hence it was impossible for them to give large offerings for the building of a church. So he made an appeal to the people of the Diocese of Brooklyn for funds to help build it, trusting that they would not refuse an offering for their own Catholic brethren in their home city. " Donations however small and whatever faith will be gratefully acknowledged ", he stated in his appeal and requested that all donations be sent to him at his temporary address, 367 Essex Street. And so it was that Saint Rita's first Church was the product of brotherly love and cooperation of many people of all faiths in the city.

The first Mass was said in a basement of Saint Michael's Church. The next week Father Simmonetti rented the store at the southwest corner of Essex Street and Atlantic Avenue. During the next three months he bought all the property on Essex Street on which the old rectory and church were built and work subsequently began on these two buildings.

On November 15, 1913, the cornerstone was laid. Work progressed rapidly and on Easter Sunday in 1914, the first solemn Mass was celebrated. From the ceiling down the main aisle there hung a row of 4 chandeliers.