OF SAINT RITA'S CHURCH
THE STORY OF TWO CHURCHES
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
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.
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