Preamble were many Catholics who sought priests of the catholic Church, not only to counsel them in religious matters, but also to advise them. As is every year, 1910 was noteworthy for significant events, which occurred throughout the world. In the United States, William Howard Taft was in the second year of his presidency; Baroness de Laroche became the first woman pilot to be granted a license to fly; French pilot, Emil Aubrun made the first night flight; Portugal became a Republic after the overthrow of its monarchy; Japan annexed Korea; the Federal Union of South was formed and received dominion status within the British Empire; and the fraudulent reelection of Porfirio Diaz ignited the Mexican Revolution.
1910 was also the year when the United States was involved in great industrial development, begun in the nineteenth century and propelled into the twentieth century by innovations in science and technology. Inventions and mass production of them transformed the United States from an agricultural to an industrial society. Three striking examples of this phenomenon were Isaac Singer earlier invention of sewing machine, which helped remodeled women’s fashion to a more loose, lighter and comfortable life-style; Henry Ford’s automobile, and the power-driven airplane of the Wright Brothers. Also in 1910, William D. Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America; and Luther Halsey Gulick organized the Camp Fire Girls.
The vast industrial expansion of the United States inevitably required a larger work force. The prospect of employment became the incentive for 60% of the world’s immigrants to come to the United States in the period from 1820 to 1930; however, religious or political reasons could have been the motives for others. Most of the immigrants came from Europe. First came the Irish, and then the Italians, Russians, Poles, Hungarians, Germans, and English. Among them in making adjustments to life in the “New World.” On its part, the Church warmly welcomed the immigrants. In religious sphere, our reigning Pontiff in 1910 was Pope Pius X (1903-1914), and Archbishop John Murphy Farley was the Archbishop of New York.
The Founding of the Parish
In 1910, Archbishop John Murphy Farley, in his tenure as fourth Archbishop of New York, established the Church of Saint Bartholomew. In the beginning of summer that year the Archbishop assigned Father James F. McNamara to the West end of Yonkers to found the Parish of Saint Bartholomew. Since the future parish had neither land nor an existing structure, the few parishioners who comprised the nucleus of the congregation came together every Sunday in a private home on Stone Avenue where Father McNamara said the first Masses.
When the rapidly growing congregation had need of a more spacious accommodation for Sunday Masses, it convened in a tent set up on Lockwood Avenue. Its next arrangement was a storefront building at the corner of Clarendon and Lockwood Avenues. Undoubtedly the founding of the Church of Saint Bartholomew garnered little or no attention in the world at large, but for the individuals who gathered to found the church and for future generations of parishioners, its significance was immeasurable. Moreover, in the minds and hearts of those of us who are aware of his accomplishment, Father McNamara will long be admired with affection as our “Pioneer Pastor.”
According to the Parish records in the Archives the first person to be baptized and received into the Church of Saint Bartholomew by Father McNamara was a three-week old girl, Anna Maria Albright, whose parents were William and Anne. She was baptized on January 29, 1911. The congregation grew rapidly, and on April 15, 1911, the Parish was officially incorporated by the State of New York. In September of the same year, the new church building, a converted carriage house on the Palmer Estate at the corner of Saw Mill River and Palmer Roads was dedicated as the new church.
In December 1911, Father McNamara obtained permission from the Archdiocese to purchase nine lots stretching from Roosevelt Street to Palmer Road, at the total cost of $8100, less 10% for cash. He finally paid $7290 for the nine lots on January 21, 1912. His aim was to build a Parish Hall, (and possibly, a rectory and a church building in the future). Thus, after purchasing the land, he embarked on a fundraising drive to accomplish his purpose. In a letter seeking permission from the Archdiocese, he wrote in part: “…Moreover, I have planned to erect a hall in which my people can meet and hold festivals, entertainments, etc., as I have no Church basement or anything to take its place. The building of the hall will not exceed $5,000.”
The Parish Hall and Shows
Two years later, in 1914, four years after becoming the founding Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, Father McNamara oversaw the building of a Parish Hall, a red brick structure that seated five hundred people on the main floor and one hundred in the balcony. Coming from the Parish of Holy Innocents in New York City, which was adjacent to the theater district on Broadway, Father McNamara was strongly influenced by his association with the Broadway Theater Production group. In an attempt to find a source of raising money for building a new church and a rectory, he set up a dramatic club in the Parish and started producing Broadway Shows in the Parish Hall. In dedicating the new Hall, the Saint Bartholomew’s Dramatic Club, performed its premiere production, The Brixton Burglary, a London comedy, which made its debut on May 13, 1901, at the Empire Theater in Albany. The early years of the Dramatic Club and its productions brought such celebrities as Morton Downey, Russ Columbo and Rudy Vallee to perform at the fundraising affairs in the Hall. Saint Bartholomew’s Parish was making noticeable progress!
Living Among the People
Since the rectory had not yet been built, Father James McNamara earlier resided in a private home at 140 Stone Avenue until he moved to a house, which the Church had acquired, at 21 Palmer Road. Early in 1912, Father McNamara began raising funds, which were put into a mortgage for the purpose of building a proper rectory. On March 2, 1915, he wrote a letter to the Archbishop, John Cardinal Farley, seeking permission to build a rectory at 15 Palmer Road, “for the corporation of the Church of St. Bartholomew, Yonkers, New York, at a cost not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000).” About eight years later, a foundation was laid for the new Rectory building. At the completion of the building in 1924, Father McNamara could not wait to move in to enjoy the comfort of the magnificent building. As the founding pastor of the Parish, Father McNamara coordinated all the activities of the Parish. The Jesuit priests who resided in the Old Abbey on North Broadway, Yonkers, were readily on hand to assist him with Masses on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation.
In September 1918, the See of the Archdiocese of New York fell vacant with the death of Cardinal Farley. On February 16, 1919, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XV, appointed Bishop Patrick Joseph Hayes as Archbishop of New York. He served the Archdiocese until his death in 1938.
Sunday School / Religious Education Program
In 1925, the then Archbishop, Patrick Cardinal Hayes, appointed Father George Fury as Assistant Pastor to aid Father McNamara with pastoral assignments. Father Fury was a bona fide Ivy Leaguer, having matriculated at Brown University before his ordination as a member of the St. Joseph Seminary Class of 1921. Since religious instruction is required of every Catholic child, and we had no Elementary School in Saint Bartholomew’s Parish, Father Fury moderated the Religious Education program, otherwise called, Sunday school. He arranged for the Sisters of Saint Francis of Mount Hope to assist in religious instruction, which was held in the Parish Hall. Early in 1935, a Maryknoll priest, Father Epstein, was made curate pro tempore (temporary assistant) until Father Richard T. Mahoney succeeded the ailing Father Fury. Father Mahoney who became assistant pastor to Father McNamara in 1935, attended New York City public and parochial schools and Cathedral Preparatory Seminary before entering St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, from which he graduated and was ordained in December, 1930. Like his predecessor, Father Mahoney was placed in charge of the Sunday school program in the Parish. He was instrumental in organizing the released-time religious instruction classes for children from P.S. 5 and P.S. 24. Moreover, during his tenure as assistant pastor, Boy Scouting at Saint Bartholomew’s Parish had its greatest stimulus with the formation of dauntless Troop 38.
Except for the Annual Parish Supper or the St. Patrick’s Night Entertainment, the Hall was dark from the late twenties until Father Mahoney organized a Sunday evening presentation of basketball and dancing, which commenced in 1937, and was terminated four years later when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, involving the United States in World War II. At the conclusion of the War, OLD TIME MINSTREL SHOWS were held in the Parish Hall for the enjoyment of all, only to come to an end in 1949 (seven years after the death of Father McNamara, who had been instrumental in their productions).
The End of An Era
After the sudden death of Cardinal Hayes in his sleep on September 4, 1938, the See of the Archdiocese of New York remained vacant for a few months and the vacancy was further prolonged by the death of Pope Pius XI on February 10, 1939. On March 2, 1939, one of the shortest Conclaves in history, elected a new Pontiff, Pope Pius XII. New York had waited for almost eight months for a new Archbishop; thus, there was an outburst of joy and jubilation when, on April 24, 1939, it was officially announced that Francis Spellman had been appointed the new Archbishop of New York. Pope Pius XII later created him a Cardinal in 1946.
After the death of Father McNamara on December 13, 1942, Archbishop Spellman appointed Father Patrick J. Mee the second Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew. Patrick J. Mee was born in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. He studied at the National University and St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, before entering St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie where he studied Theology and was ordained to the sacred Priesthood in 1915. After his ordination, he spent eight years as curate of Holy Trinity Church, Mamaroneck, and fifteen years at St. Angela Merici, in the Bronx, before becoming the pastor in 1983, of Regina Coeli Church, Hyde Park.
The Birth of Parish Societies
Shortly after his installation as pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, Father Mee introduced weekly evening services and an annual Parish Mission. In the spring of 1943, a group of women in the Parish approached the Pastor, Father Mee, with the intention of establishing a Women’s Society in the Parish. Their purpose was to promote and encourage devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary among the women of the Parish and also to help the Pastor in keeping the Altar, the altar linens and cloths clean. After a prayerful and thoughtful consideration, Father Mee formally gave permission for such a Society to be formed. It was to be called “Altar Society,” a name which was later changed to “Rosary Altar Society,” because of their desire to promote devotion to the Blessed Mother Mary. In December 1943, the Pastor, Father Mee, officially inducted the pioneer members, with Anna Florence as their President. In February 1953, the first step toward raising funds for the establishment of a Parochial School began with a Card Party, organized by the ladies of the Rosary Altar Society.
Two years later, in 1945, following in the footsteps of the ladies, the men of the Parish came together to form the Holy Name Society, with the objective of promoting the spiritual welfare of the men of the parish and also promoting greater participation in Parish life and cooperation among men.
Father Mee’s skillful management, with the help of these Societies, enabled him to pay off the Parish debt of $57,000 in three years. Father Mee was assisted by Father McMahon and later by Father Francis X. Reilly. Father Mee was Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew for 13 years until he died quietly in the Rectory on January 24, 1955.
The Search for a new Pastor
About two weeks after the death of Father Mee, on February 9, 1955, a concerned parishioner, George V. McShane, on behalf of the parishioners of Saint Bartholomew, wrote a letter to the Archbishop, Francis Cardinal Spellman, informing him “that Saint Bartholomew’s does not have a parish school despite the large number of Catholic children in the parish. There have been over a hundred children in each of the First Communion classes for the past several years.” His main objective for writing the letter was to persuade the Cardinal to keep this concern in mind when choosing the next Pastor for the Parish.
As matters would unfold later, Cardinal Spellman did, indeed, take into consideration the parishioners’ concern. In late February 1955, he appointed Father William B. Duggan as third Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew. William B. Duggan was born and raised in the Parish of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. After completing his training at Saint Joseph’s Seminary, he was ordained for the Archdiocese of New York at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in May, 1917. Prior to coming to the Parish of St. Bartholomew’s, Father Duggan had served as an assistant pastor for twenty-two years at St. Bernard’s Church, Manhattan. He later became Pastor of the Churches of St. Mary, Ellenville; Holy Name of Mary, Montgomery; St. Paul, Staten Island, and St. Anthony, the Bronx.
The Start of a new Phase
Another historic moment for the Parish of Saint Bartholomew was in the making. In April, 1957, two years after he became Pastor, Father Duggan began a campaign to raise funds to help cover part of the cost of building a Parish School, a Convent and an Auditorium, on Saw Mill River Road between Palmer Road and Roosevelt Street. He received memorial gift pledges in the amount of $150,000. Soon the desire for a parochial school for the Parish materialized. In August 1957, the Red Brick Hall built by the dynamic founding Pastor and Drama/Theater enthusiast, Father McNamara, was demolished, marking the end of an era, and paving the way for the beginning of a new era. In the spring of 1958, the building housing the School, Convent and Auditorium (Parish Center) was completed. It was ready for the school year that began in September, 1958. The Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary were entrusted with the responsibility of staffing the School.
A Historic Moment At St. Bart’s and the Universal Church
The parishioners and the sisters were happy and delighted when the doors of the school opened on the birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Tuesday, September 8, 1958, to the pioneer students. As the Sisters of the Presentation put it: “The first day of school was a happy one for all at St. Bartholomew’s. The children were in awe over the newness of everything. We knew then that God had blessed us with lovely a group of children. We knew they were glad to be with us; and we were delighted to include them in our Presentation Family of schools.” The School started with Grade one to four, with a total number of 204 students (Grade one had 54 students, Grade two, 54, Grade three, 56, while Grade 4 had 40 students. The School was staffed by the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Newburg Order, with Sister Mary Augustine as the Superior of the Community and Principal of the School. Sister Mary Thaddeus was the First Grade teacher, Sister Mary Campion the Second Grade teacher, Sister Mary Denis the Third Grade teacher, and the Fourth Grade teacher was Sister Mary Olivia.
The School building included eight classrooms, principal’s office, medical room and a multipurpose room, providing the parish with an assembly Hall and a cafeteria for the School children and adequate facilities for athletic, social and recreational activities. In addition, the Hall was used for Sunday Masses, since the present Church was too small to accommodate the parishioners. The Convent located above the School included a chapel, community room, refectory, laundry and two visitor’s parlors. It had accommodations for ten Sisters. The Sisters of the Presentation lived in the Convent while working in the School and the Parish until 1988 when the last two, Sister Ann Marie and Sister Esther relocated to another Community. In the meantime, the Sisters of the Presentation continued to serve our Parish School until Sister Ann Marie retired in 2003 due to ill health. She later died in 2005.
In 1958, as history was unfolding at the Parish of Saint Bartholomew, an historic moment was also unfolding in the Universal Church with the election of Pope John XXIII on October 28, 1958. He sought reforms in the Church and thus constituted and summoned the Second Vatican Council, which first met on October 11, 1962, four years into his Pontificate. When Pope John XXIII died of cancer on June 3, 1963, Pope Paul VI was elected on June 21, 1963 to succeed him. He continued with the work of the Second Vatican Council, which was started by his predecessor. He successfully brought it to a close on December 8, 1965. The Second Vatican Council was to be a turning point in the history of the Universal Church.
Here at home, on April 19, 1959, a year short of the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, the new Saint Bartholomew’s School and Sisters’ Convent were solemnly blessed and dedicated by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Spellman. About 2000 persons were in attendance for the ceremony. The program for the ceremony consisted of the blessing of the School, the blessing of the Convent and the erection of a crucifix in the main lobby of the School. Prior to the ceremony, the invocation of the Holy Spirit took place in the Church. Saint Bartholomew’s Church Choir sang the responses. All Parish Societies participated. Msgr. John J. Voight, Ed. D. Secretary of Education, Archdiocese of New York, delivered the dedicatory address.
Monsignor Duggan saw a rebirth of the Parish with the new School. This was quite noticeable in the increase of new members into the Parish Societies. In the early 1960’s the Parish Annual Bazaar was replaced by a fundraising Annual Appeal. In addition, in the same period, the ladies of the Rosary Altar Society introduced cancer pads to help those in the parish who were infected or affected by cancer.
The Old Church Building
For some reason, history always has its downside. Skimming through the Parish Archives there is no documented evidence that the Parish marked the Golden Jubilee of its establishment. The old Church building, a converted carriage house, which was dedicated in September 1911, housed the parishioners through its 50th Anniversary in 1960, during the pastorate of Monsignor Duggan. Today, some old time parishioners relish reviving fond memories of the old church, which had neither air conditioner, ceiling fans or heating system. Around the Church were flower gardens, and in the Church yard, below Fero Street, was a beautiful cherry tree, where after the School was built, the graduating class would stand to have its picture taken. There also was a wrought iron bell tower outside the sacristy door that would be rung to summon parishioners to Mass.
Shepherding the Flock
One of the darkest moments in the history of our country occurred in Dallas, Texas, during the pastorate of Monsignor Duggan as Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman, Lee Harvey Oswald, on Friday, November 22, 1963, barely thirteen months after the start of the Vatican II Council. As Pastor, Monsignor Duggan played a great role in providing counseling and pastoral assistance to the parishioners who were traumatized by the death of the President. Though not directly involved in the deliberations and decisions of the Fathers of the Vatican Council, Monsignor Duggan was very much interested in its conclusion, as these decisions would affect his local community as well. Like other pastors in the Archdiocese, he was prepared for the reforms that would finally sweep through the Church.
The Establishment of Parents’ Association At the beginning of the school year in the Fall of 1967, some parents of our Parochial School approached the then School Principal, Sister Mary Charles, about forming a Parents’ Association in the School, the aim of which was to bring parents and school faculty to work together for the benefit of the Parish School. Sister Charles was hesitant and skeptical about the idea, and thus referred the parents to the Pastor, Monsignor Duggan, who received them warmly and spoke to them with respect and consideration. He, too, was skeptical and voiced his concern about parents getting “too involved in the administration of the School.” The parents took pains to assure Monsignor that the purposes of the Association would be fund-raising for the School and Educational programs for the parents. These purposes would be made specific in the bylaws for the association.
Determined to form an association, the parents sought help on “principles and guidelines,” from the office of the Archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools where they obtained some draft copies of “Home and School Association.” (The term “PTA” is one that is copyrighted and can only be used for public school organizations.) With the approval of the Pastor, Monsignor Duggan and the Principal, Sister Mary Charles, a task force of School parents was formed to prepare bylaws that would guide the activities of the Parents’ Association. Sadly, Monsignor Duggan did not live to see the start of the parents’ group, which had formed under his leadership. His successor, Monsignor Joseph Tracy inaugurated the Saint Bartholomew’s Parents’ Association at the beginning of the school year in September 1969. Its first president was Gene Lanza, whose three sons subsequently graduated from the School. The Association became active and involved in the school activities, and has remained so ever since.
Deaths and Graces
On the evening of Friday, December 1, 1967, Cardinal Spellman suffered a massive stroke and was rushed to St. Vincent’s Hospital, New York where he died shortly before noon the following day, Saturday December 2, 1967. On March 8, 1968, Pope Paul VI appointed the youngest of the New York local auxiliaries, Bishop Cooke, as the new Archbishop of New York. Coincidentally, the new Archbishop was installed on April 4, 1968, the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee – an unfortunate tragedy that led to a nationwide wave of riots in more than 100 cities around the country. In immediate pastoral response, Bishop Cooke went to Harlem to plead for racial peace and later attended King’s funeral. A little over a year after his installation as Archbishop, Terrence James Cooke was created a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI on April 28, 1969.
The Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, Monsignor William Duggan, due to illness, was unable to attend the installation ceremony of the New Archbishop. Sadly, he died a day following the Archbishop’s installation, on April 5, 1968.
After the death of Msgr. Duggan, Archbishop Cooke, on May 9, 1968, appointed Reverend Monsignor Joseph F. Tracy, as the fourth Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew. Joseph Tracy was born in Newburgh, New York. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1934. He served as an associate for 29 years in the Church of Saint Catherine of Genoa in upper Manhattan. He was named pastor of St. Denis-St. Columba Church, Hopewell Junction, Duchess County, New York, in April 1963, where he inspired the parishioners and planned the construction of a parish school, before being transferred to Saint Bartholomew’s Church.
Changes from Vatican II on the Local Levels Vatican II Council had ended a few years back, and talk of reforms was in every ecclesiastical gathering and dialogue. Shortly after Monsignor Tracy had been Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, he introduced several liturgical changes, including the 5 p.m. Vigil Mass on Saturdays for fulfilling the Sunday obligation. During his tenure as Pastor, Monsignor Tracy instituted a Parish Finance Committee to manage the financial and corporal affairs of the Parish. He also installed an air-conditioning system in the Parish auditorium.
A New Church Is Built and Dedicated
Since the congregation was rapidly growing, Monsignor Tracy saw the need for a new church, large enough to accommodate the increasing population of worshippers. On October 3, 1971, he began a fundraising campaign, which, through the hard work and generosity of the parishioners raised an amount in excess of $380,000 in pledges. At the end of the campaign, some undocumented sources suggested that he might have raised between $300,000 and $1,000,000. Thus, the proud Pastor, beaming with joy, announced publicly that he had no need of any mortgage to help build the new church.
The old “white” church which stood where the present parking lot is located was demolished to give way to the construction of the new church, erected on the corner of Roosevelt and Fero Streets. The architectural firm of Van Summeren and Weigold designed the long awaited new church on clean modern lines. The construction was begun in the fall of 1972 and completed in the spring of 1973 by the builders, John Maguire and Company, General Contractors. The exterior of the church is constructed of brown brick, and the inside is semi-circular in shape, so that the presiding priest may be seen from all directions while at the Altar. The building is comprised of a sacristy, confessionals, altar servers’ room, ushers’ room, and a crying room for mothers with infants. The new church opened for worship in 1973 with the celebration of the first Mass on Palm Sunday. It was formally dedicated on Sunday, November 18, 1973, at 4: 30 p.m., during a ceremony presided over by the Archbishop of New York, His Eminence, Terence Cardinal Cooke.
In the interim, between the demolition of the old “white church” and the building of the new one, all Masses and other liturgical services were held in the Parish auditorium, which had previously been used for Masses and other activities for the school children. This was before the auditorium had been air-conditioned. One longtime parishioner recalled, “it was so hot in the auditorium that some parishioners often passed out during Masses. It got to a point that some men of the Holy Name Society volunteered to manually fan some fragile parishioners during Mass.”
After the dedication of the new church, a notary of the church observed that, “An atmosphere of intimacy and warmth results from the absence of an altar rail and from the semi-circular arrangement of the pews. A free-standing altar and a pulpit, together with a sculpture of the Risen Christ, dominate the chancel area.” Behind the Altar was hung the Sculpture of the Risen Christ in place of a proper crucifix. However the absence was rectified, when in 2001, a magnificent crucifix, donated by the Friars of Renewal and refurbished by the Rosary Altar Society, replaced the “Sculpture of the Risen Christ” in the chancel area. Its dramatic power impels parishioners and visitors alike to contemplate the Passion of Jesus who suffered and died on the Cross so that we might have eternal life.
In early February 1977, Monsignor Joseph F. Tracy took ill and spent approximately three weeks in St. John’s Hospital, North Broadway, where he died on February 26, 1977. About two weeks after the Pastor’s death, Rev. Msgr. Thomas P. Leonard of the Archdiocesan Priests Personal Board, requested the Episcopal Vicar of the Southern Westchester Vicariate, Monsignor Raymond P. Rigney, to conduct a survey of the Parish of Saint Bartholomew. The objective of the survey was to look at the socio-ethnic composition of the parish, and to establish its pastoral and financial needs. At the completion of the survey, in his report, the Vicar observed that Saint Bartholomew’s Parish “is presently largely middle-class. Most parishioners own their own homes – one or two family structures…It is a rather stable Parish…The ethnic composition is predominantly Italian-American and Polish/Slovak-American with an admixture of Irish-Americans… Average weekend Mass attendance is about 1800 persons: The average Sunday collection is about $1500…the Parish has been (incurring) an annual deficit of about $60,000…There are 300 pupils in the (Parish Elementary) School organized into 8 classes…(Four Religious sisters are among the teachers). There is no kindergarten.” The report further stated that the “Parish needs a strong, energetic leader as Pastor who will exercise authority firmly and prudently.” It recommended that the “incoming Pastor should be prepared to establish a Parish Council since one does not now exist.”
One would assume that this report did influence the decision of the Archbishop, Cardinal Cooke, who, on May 21, 1977, appointed Msgr. Charles Joseph McManus as the fifth Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew. Charles Joseph McManus was born in the Bronx, New York on June 26, 1918 to Charles and Anna Faulkner McManus. He attended Immaculate Conception grammar School in the Bronx and Holy Trinity Grammar School in Manhattan before entering Cathedral Preparatory Seminary. He continued his studies at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. He was ordained on May 30, 1942 in St. Patrick’ s Cathedral by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Spellman. After his ordination Father McManus spent the summer at Good Shepherd Parish in Rhinebeck before continuing his education at Fordham University where he earned a doctorate in Philosophy in 1947.
In June 1947 he was assigned to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral where he remained until June of 1962. During this period he served as a Cathedral Assistant, later working full time in Saint Patrick’s Information Center, conducting instructional classes in Catholic faith for adults, both Catholic and Non-Catholic. He was elevated to the rank of Monsignor in 1958. In 1962 he was made principal of Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, NY, and served as principal until 1970. During this time he also served as secretary of the Archdiocesan Liturgical Commission. In July 1970, Msgr. McManus was appointed Pastor of St. Bernard’s Church in White Plains where he served until his appointment to the Church of Saint Bartholomew in 1977. Barely a year after Monsignor McManus had become Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, important events took place both on the Local and Universal Church levels that would later affect the Church on a parish level. On April 20, 1978, all the bishops of New York State paid an ad lamina visit to Pope Paul VI, and this occasion turned out to be their last meeting with him before he died in August 1978. Later in the same month a new Pontiff, Pope John Paul I (Albino Cardinal Luciani), was elected. Unfortunately, his pontificate lasted for only 34 days and was one of the shortest on record. After his death, a second conclave in as many months was called. On October 16, 1978 a new Pontiff, John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) was elected.
The Community Theater Group
In order to encourage the social aspect of parish life, Monsignor McManus agreed to a request by some parishioners to set up a theater group in the parish. In 1979, a community theater group, called “Broadway at St. Bart’s,” was organized. The group brought in Musicals and dramas that entertained the parishioners and friends of the parish for over a decade. The group hosted musicals and dramas such as, Mame, South Pacific, Carousel, Guys And Dolls, The Pajama Game, The Music Man, Hello Dolly, Annie Get Your Gun, Oklahoma, and Fiddler On The Roof.
First Permanent Deacon for Saint Bartholomew’s Parish In keeping with the directives of Vatican II, steps were taken to include the laity in the leadership role of the Church, and the Parish rejoiced when, when Mr. John D. Sullivan, a public school administrator, was ordained to the permanent diaconate on May 31, 1981. He was the first clergyman and permanent deacon to be ordained for the parish. Deacon Sullivan served the parish for many years until he and his wife, Barbara, retired and moved to their second home in New England.
There were numerous redactions and commentaries on the Council Fathers’ recommendations. On January 25, 1983, Pope John Paul II promulgated the new Code of Canon Law. It was almost two decades after the close of the Council; thus it was time for some of the recommendations to be implemented in local churches. Therefore, it is not surprising that during the tenure of Monsignor McManus the Parish Council was instituted at the Church of Saint Bartholomew to assist the pastoral staff in running the parish.
Establishment of a Parish Council
During Monsignor McManus’ pastorate at Saint Bartholomew’s the Universal Church was implementing some of the recommendations for reforms as mandated by the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council. For the enhancement of the pastoral work of the Church, in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the Archdiocese of New York decided to mandate pastors to establish Parish Councils in their individual Parishes in order to decentralize power of governance on the Parish level. The objective of establishing the Councils was to involve the laity in the mission of the Church and thus help pastors in effectively running their parishes. Archbishop Terrence Cardinal Cooke established an office which would assist pastors in the formation of Parish Councils. Monsignor Henry Mansell was appointed Director of the office. He was later appointed the Chancellor of the Archdiocese in the late 1980’s, then Bishop of Buffalo, and presently is Archbishop of Hartford.
In appointing Monsignor McManus as Pastor of Saint Bartholomew’s Church, because of his background and record of achievement, the Cardinal had hoped that he would truly concern himself with pastoral needs, especially in establishing a parish Council. As expected, three years into his tenure as Pastor, with the view of establishing a parish Council, Monsignor McManus consulted several leading members of the Parish who supported his idea. In 1981, a process of selecting members for the Parish Council was put in place. Monsignor McManus asked Mrs. Catherine Hickey to chair the Nominating Committee for the Parish Council. In the Fall of 1981, the Pastor inaugurated the first Parish Council, with Mr. William E. Bruder as President. Bylaws were drawn up for the Council, which required memberships to be elected by popular vote of the registered parishioners of Saint Bartholomew’s Church. He further introduced the laity of the parish to greater participation in the various liturgical ministries within the Church. He installed some as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, others as Lectors, and some he commissioned as Catechists.
The Death of the Pastor’s Friend, the Chief Shepherd
On October 6, 1983, Archbishop Cardinal Cooke who appointed Monsignor McManus Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, died quietly and relatively quickly. It was a difficult time for all who loved him, especially Monsignor McManus who had developed a great bond with him and had admired him greatly, largely due to the manner in which he had shepherded the flock God entrusted to his care in the Archdiocese of New York. The Cardinal’s funeral Mass was celebrated on October 10 1983, by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Pio Laghi. Approximately 7 cardinals, 17 archbishops, 88 bishops, and 900 priests attended the funeral Mass, among whom, were Monsignor McManus and many lay faithful. The death of Cardinal Cooke left a vacant See that was relatively of short duration. On January 3, 1984, Pope John Paul II appointed the Bishop of Scranton, John O’Connor, the Archbishop of New York. He was installed as Archbishop on March 19, 1984; and was created a Cardinal on May 25, 1985.
On April 25, 1985, while still serving as Pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, the Yonkers Council of Churches presented Monsignor McManus with a Community Service Award for his work in ecumenical and interfaith activities which reached out into the broader community of Yonkers. Monsignor McManus was appointed Vicar of the Yonkers Area Conference of Catholic Clergy and in January 1986 was appointed Episcopal Vicar of Southern Westchester. He was also chosen to be a member of the Yonkers Community Planning Council of which he served as Chairman as well.
Incorporated 75 Years and Counting
Although the Church of Saint Bartholomew was founded in 1910, it was a year later that it was officially incorporated by the State of New York. Thus, on April 26, 1986, the Parish marked the 75th Anniversary of its official incorporation. The Pastor, Monsignor McManus, organized the celebration with the fanfare and dignity it deserved a Mass of Thanksgiving was offered, presided over by Archbishop John Cardinal O’Connor, a Banquet dinner was organized, and a Diamond Jubilee Journal was published. In the Jubilee Journal, there appeared, a brief history of the parish, its pastors, associate pastors, and deacons who served its people. Many businesses, individuals, families and friends of the parish seized the opportunity to memorialize loved ones, advertise businesses, and congratulate the parish on its 75th Anniversary. At the Anniversary Thanksgiving Mass, Gift Bearers were chosen to represent the Beginning, the Past, and the Present.
Food Pantry for the Poor and Needy
As the community was growing, there were families within and outside the parish in material need. Thus, in 1986, with the blessings of Monsignor McManus, Sister Rose Murphy started the Parish Food Pantry. The aim of the Pantry was to provide food for the less fortunate families living in our community.
The Second Permanent Deacon for the Parish
With the encouragement of Monsignor McManus, Mr. Robert Clemens studied for the Archdiocesan deaconate program and was ordained a deacon by Cardinal O’Connor in May 1988. He was the second permanent deacon ordained for the parish, and continues his ministry to the present day.
The Parish Made Proud
In August 1989, the Parish of Saint Bartholomew was also made proud when His Eminence, John Cardinal O’Connor, appointed one of its parishioners, Dr. Catherine Hickey, as Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of New York. She became the first Superintendent in the history of the Archdiocese who was neither a priest nor a religious. In 2002, the Archbishop, His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan, appointed Catherine as Secretary of Education, a position that was exclusively held previously by priests.
In July 1993, Monsignor Charles McManus retired as Pastor of Saint Bartholomew and moved to St. Gabriel’s Parish in Riverdale, the Bronx, where he served as a “senior” Priest in the parish. He later took up residence in Our Lady of Consolation Residence in Riverdale and remained Pastor Emeritus of Saint Bartholomew’s Parish until his death on December 26, 2008.
Cardinal O’Connor, upon the retirement of Monsignor McManus, on August 15, 1993, appointed Monsignor Vincent Case the sixth Pastor of Saint Bartholomew’s Parish. He was born to Lillian Marinelli and Philip P. Case in New York City on May 4, 1932. He attended P.S. 61 and P. S. 64 in Manhattan and Cardinal Hayes High School, Cathedral Preparatory Seminary, and Cathedral College. He attended St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, where he completed his Theological studies and was ordained on May 31, 1958 in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by Francis Cardinal Spellman. He received a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Counseling from Iona College after his ordination. His first assignment was to serve as Parochial Vicar of St. Joseph’s Church in Spring Valley from 1958 to 1964. From 1964 to 1976, he served at Corpus Christi Church in New York City. In October 1976, he was appointed Administrator of Our Lady of Grace Church, the Bronx, and was appointed its pastor in 1981. He served in that capacity until 1993 when he was appointed Pastor of the Church of St. Bartholomew.
Monsignor Vincent Case devoted much of his time at Saint Bartholomew’s Parish in developing the liturgy with particular attention to the church choirs. In order to enhance the liturgy and encourage fuller participation by parishioners in liturgical worship, he installed a pipe organ in the church.
Establishment of the Social Ministry
In January 1995, Monsignor Case signed a contract with the Sisters of the Presentation of BVM that enabled Sister Esther Byrne to work to establish a Parish Social Ministry. The Food Pantry was further expanded as Sister Esther took over the coordination of its activities. She diligently organized a few dedicated women in the Parish to assist in running the Ministry. Among such dedicated women was the late Mary Grubiak. While the women took charge of the temporal matters of the Social Ministry, Sr. Esther devoted her time to the care of the sick – bringing Holy Communion to the sick and homebound, informing the priest of members who were in need of spiritual care and Sacraments, such as Confession and/or Anointing. She arranged the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick to be administered every six months to homebound parishioners who were unable to leave their homes for whatever reasons. In May and October each year, the Liturgy for the general Anointing of the sick was organized, followed by a luncheon in the Parish Center. The Ministry also served the aged and the sick in Institutions within the parish boundaries, such as the Home For The Aged Blind and the Newman Residence of Alzheimer’s Patients.
Monsignor Vincent Case served the Parish for four years and was transferred to Immaculate Conception Church, Tuckahoe, in 1997. He died on June 13, 1999.
Following the transfer of Monsignor Case, in September 1997, Cardinal O’Connor appointed Father Brian McCarthy as seventh Pastor of St. Bartholomew’s Parish. Brian McCarthy was born in Washington Heights, Manhattan, on June 2, 1949, to Richard McCarthy and Mary Newman. He attended St. Elizabeth’s Grade School, Cathedral Preparatory Seminary and Cathedral College. In 1971 he entered St. Joseph’s Seminary where he studied theology and was ordained transitory deacon in December 1974. As Deacon, he served at Holy Spirit Parish, the Bronx, for one year. On December 6, 1975, Cardinal Cooke ordained him a priest. Father McCarthy’s first assignment as a priest was at the Church of St. John, in Kingsbridge, the Bronx, where he served as parochial vicar from January 1976 to September 1982. He also served as parochial vicar at the Church of Our Lady of Mercy, the Bronx (September 1982 to September 1985); Church of St. Joseph, the Bronx (September 1985 to November 1988); Church of St. Barnabas, the Bronx (November 1988 to September 1997), from which he was transferred and made pastor of the Church of Saint Bartholomew. Father McCarthy continues to hold the Parish of Saint Bartholomew dear to his heart primarily because it was the Parish he first served as Pastor after twenty years as a priest.
During his tenure, Father McCarthy introduced the first Dinner Dance in an effort to raise funds for the school. He also relocated the Baptistery and the Tabernacle and replaced the pipe organ with the present organ. Through his intervention, the Franciscan Friars donated the magnificent crucifix that adorns our Altar today. He introduced the Family Mass on every first Sunday of the month with the intention of attracting school parents and children to Mass.
The Third Permanent Deacon for the Parish
During Father McCarthy’s pastorate the parish was again blessed with the ordination of its third permanent deacon, Anthony Mercandetti, who was ordained by Cardinal O’Connor in May 1998.
The Tragedy of September 11, 2001
When terrorists hijacked commercial plains and flew them into the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001, the parishioners of the Church of Saint Bartholomew, as all Americans were shocked and traumatized by their horrendous acts. As Pastor, Father McCarthy had to stay strong and remain focused, offering his parishioners much needed counseling and comfort. It was a difficult moment in the history of the country; hence the spiritual and emotional support of Father McCarthy helped to soothe the pain of his parishioners and friends. Father Brian McCarthy served the parish for more than seven years before he was transferred in January 2005 to the Church of Christ the King in Yonkers, New York.
A New and Historic Era
January 2005 ushered in an entirely new phase and historic moment in the history of Saint Bartholomew’s Parish. After the transfer of Father McCarthy, the Parish was placed under the pastoral care of an African Missionary Institute, Missionary Society of St. Paul, a group founded by a Nigerian bishop, Dominic Cardinal Ekandem.
Our Eight Pastor
Father Francis Ibanga, MSP, was appointed the eighth Pastor and Father Anthony Bassey, MSP, the Parochial Vicar. This significant change was, perhaps, difficult for some parishioners to accept, but the spirituality, kindness and pastoral outreach practiced by Fathers Francis and Anthony did much to alleviate the tension. Francis Imeobong Ibanga was born on November 27, 1959 in Anua, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. From 1978 to 1986, he had his Seminary formation at The National Missionary Seminary of St. Paul where he earned degrees in Philosophy and Theology. He was ordained on June 28, 1986. His first mission assignment was to Liberia, West Africa, where he served for four years from 1986 to 1990. In 1991, he was sent to Ngaoundere, Cameroon, where he served until 1996. In 1999, Father Ibanga was sent to South Africa where he served until 2001. In the Fall of 2001, he enrolled at Fordham University to study for a Master’s Degree in Religious Education, which he obtained in 2005.
Father Francis’ first major step was to hire a fundraising group to encourage parishioners to increase their weekly donations to the church. In order to enable Father Ibanga to devote more time to his studies, the Superiors of the Society withdrew him at the end of December 2005.
Our Ninth Pastor
With the withdrawal of Father Ibanga, the Archbishop, Edward Cardinal Egan, on December 31, 2005, appointed Father Anthony Ita Bassey, MSP, the ninth Pastor of St. Bartholomew’s Church. The appointment took effect on January 6, 2006. Anthony was born to Charles Bassey and Eno Martha Ekpeyong in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, on June 27, 1964. In 1977, Anthony graduated from Sacred Heart Elementary School and in 1982 from Immaculate Conception Junior Seminary. In November 1982, Anthony gained admission into The National Missionary Seminary of St. Paul in Iperu-Remo and Abuja, Nigeria, where he studied for the priesthood; and obtained separate Bachelor Degrees in both Philosophy and Theology. On December 8, 1990, Anthony Ita Bassey was ordained a Deacon and was incardinated into the Missionary Society of St. Paul. On June 22, 1991, Reverend Bassey was ordained priest for the missions.
After his ordination, Father Anthony worked at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria, as an assistant. In December 1992, he was sent on mission to South Africa where he served for almost twelve years. While in South Africa, he had the privilege of working in two dioceses, Bethlehem and Kroonstad. He served as pastor in three different parishes, and as Diocesan Director on Catechesis and Youth Affairs, and Diocesan Chaplain to St. Anne’s Women’s Sodality. From 1994 to 2004, Father Anthony served as a Defender of the Bond on the Bloemfontain Interdiocesan Tribunal. In 2004, Father Bassey obtained a Master’s Degree in Canon Law at St. Augustine’s College, South Africa.
New Challenges and Developments
After Father Anthony Bassey, MSP was appointed Pastor, he quickly settled down to work and to win the confidence of parishioners who were uncertain or disillusioned with the sudden changes in the parish. He introduced weekly visits to sick and homebound parishioners. He established different committees of the Parish Pastoral Council; and drafted a guideline, which was approved and adopted for use by members of the Council. He established a Finance Committee. In an effort to encourage greater participation of our children in the liturgy, Father Anthony made other innovations: the Children’s Mass at every 10 a.m. Mass, except the first Sunday of the month which is the Family Mass; a Children’s choir; Teen / Young Adult group; with the Sunday 5 p.m. Mass designated for them; and a Bereavement Group for those who have lost a loved one through death or divorce.
Website established for the Parish
With the goal of keeping pace with contemporary technology, in 2007, Father Bassey, set up a website for the parish. The website, managed by one of our parishioners, Kevin Albanese, has been an effective method of disseminating information about the parish to all.
Bicentennial Parish Campaign
A little over three months, after Father Bassey was appointed Pastor of Saint Bartholomew’s, in April 2006, in celebration of the Bi-Centennial Year of the Archdiocese, a Parish Fundraising Campaign was launched with the goal of raising $500,000. With the participation of 165 families, the Parish was able to raise $443,000 in pledges over a period of five years.
The School’s Golden Jubilee
On September 7, 2008, parishioners, alumni, faculty and staff of the Parish Elementary School came together to mark its Golden Jubilee. The occasion was marked with a Holy Mass presided over by the Pastor, Father Anthony Ita Bassey, MSP; and followed by a light luncheon and classroom visitations by alumni, parents and parishioners. On April 25, 2009 a Dinner was organized to further celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Parish School, and also to kickoff a yearlong celebration of the Centennial Anniversary of the Parish. Many parishioners and alumni turned out to grace a most entertaining occasion.
Preparations for the Centennial Anniversary of the Church
In early 2008, to prepare for the Centennial Anniversary of the establishment of Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Father Anthony Bassey announced a ten-person committee to plan and organize a year of events in celebration of the milestone, beginning on April 19, 2009 and culminating on April 25, 2010. In the summer of 2008, with 80% of the money raised from the Archdiocesan Bicentennial Parish Campaign, Father Bassey renovated the parking lot, driveways, and sidewalks around the church. In September 2008, we welcomed Father Francis Oroffa, MSP, as parochial vicar. Father Oroffa, a classmate of the Pastor, Father Bassey, was ordained on June 22, 1991. In early 2009, with donations from a few generous parishioners, Father Bassey replaced the wooden, carpeted Sanctuary with marble. At the same time, he also installed a new marble Altar, Pulpit, Baptistery, and Tabernacle pedestal. The interior of the church was repainted and a new roof put on the Church.
Activities for the Parish Centennial Celebration
Many and varied activities were scheduled to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the foundation of the parish of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle, including the following:
Mass celebrating the end of the Centennial year celebrated by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, and including the consecration of the new Altar
Our Tenth Pastor
On July 1, 2013 Fr. Anthony Bassey, MSP was transferred to Corpus Christi Parish In Chicago and Reverend Rapahel Ezeh, MSP was appointed the 10th Pastor of St. Bartholomew’s Parish by Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Fr. Raphael had the desire to be a priest when he was nine but his mother refused for many years. In his tribe there is a great emphasis placed on getting married and having children. Being one of only two boys in the family, the family wanted Fr. Raphael to marry. When he entered the seminary in 1987 it was only his uncle who supported his decision. His mother ultimately supported his choice to be a priest prior to his ordination. He was ordained by Bishop A.K. Obiefuna on June 29, 1996.
His early assignments during his first three years after his ordination were in Nigeria. His desire to be a missionary serving outside of Nigeria and helping people to know God was realized in November 1999 when he was assigned to the Office of Mission Development in Houston, Texas. Shortly thereafter he spent three months in Mexico learning Spanish. He was assigned Parochial Vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes in New Orleans in September 2000. He ultimately became Pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in March 2001 and remained as Pastor until April 2006 when the parish was closed due to the effects of Katrina on the population served.
While serving in New Orleans Fr. Raphael enrolled in Loyola University and earned his Masters of Science in Counseling in 2006. He later received certification as a National Certified Counselor in March 2007 and as a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Illinois in March 2008. His belief and interest in the need to combine the science of counseling and spiritual counseling to achieve human growth, maturity and wholeness led him to pursue and earn a Masters degree in Pastoral Counseling, also in 2006. Since then, helping others to reach for greater maturity, fulfillment and happiness in life has been a passionate part of his ministry.
Fr. Raphael was assigned as Pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Chicago in November 2006, and remained there as Pastor until his assignment in July 2013, when he was appointed Pastor of St. Bartholomew’s in Yonkers, New York.
As Pastor of St. Bartholomew’s Parish, he immediately embarked upon a parish survey, which produced a three year Pastoral Plan for the parish. The main focus of the Plan was the re-organization and strengthening of current ministries and expansion of ministry opportunities within the parish. A few months later, he established St. Bart’s Theatre Troupe. Each year, they produce a Christmas Play and a Passion Play, which have become a favorite tradition of all in the parish. In the spirit of St. Paul, he has actively evangelized each summer with the youth to all in our parish boundaries. To the delight of many, he established an annual block party to celebrate the Feast of St. Bartholomew each summer. Under his leadership the parish has increased its devotion to Eucharistic Adoration with an all-day First Friday Eucharistic Adoration. With a special place in his heart for the future of the parish and the church he has worked diligently to increase membership in the Youth Group. On January 1, 2016 he launched a re-designed Parish Website, with extensive improvements, undertaken in an effort to better serve our parishioners and broaden our outreach to the community.
The Parish Pastoral Council
Originally established in response to recommendations for reforms as mandated by the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council, the first members of Saint Bartholomew’s Parish Council were invested by the fifth pastor, Monsignor McManus, in the autumn of 1981. The development of the Parish Council provided a venue for interested members of the parish laity to assist the pastor in the pastoral care of the parish, and as well provided an opportunity for members to actively contribute to parish growth and to the mission of the Church. In 2006, Father Anthony Ita Bassey, MSP reemphasized the pastoral mission of the Parish Council, thus, he named it “Parish Pastoral Council.” He drafted a new guideline, which focused basically on the pastoral work that was to be implemented by the Pastoral Council. Father Anthony subsequently established a Finance Committee to handle all the financial and structural matters of the Church. Father Rapahel Ezeh, MSP, further enhanced the Pastoral Council after the survey that was administered to determine the needs of the parishioners. As a result, he re-organized the existing parish ministries and established new ministry groups in an effort to re-position and strengthen the parish for the future and to better serve the community.
Deaths in our Parish Family Years 2006-2015
On October 31, 2006, we lost one of our Permanent Deacons, Anthony Mercandetti, who died after a long struggle with heart disease. His untimely death was to be followed by that of our weekend associate priest, Father Tom McDonald, on February 18, 2008, after a brief illness. They were painful moments in our parish history. Another sad day was the death of our pastor emeritus, Monsignor Charles McManus, on December 26, 2008 at the of ninety. Our most recent loss was the death of our former Pastor, Father Anthony Bassey, MSP on June 4, 2015. His death, following a heart surgery and a brief period of encouraging recovery, was very shocking and devastating to the community.
Over the years, Saint Bartholomew’s Parish has been blessed to have the services of dedicated priests who, with the exception of Father Mee, were born and raised in our country. Now we especially thank God for the services of priests from the African Continent in the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria. St. Bart’s Community cherishes the exuberance and energy they bring with them, their spirituality,
Names of Associate Pastors who had served the Parish over the years
Reverend George Fury
Reverend Richard Mahoney
Reverend William McMahon
Reverend Msgr. Francis X Reilly
Reverend Donald Riedy
Reverend Michael D’Alessandro
Reverend Mario F. Ziccarelli
Reverend James E. Burke
Reverend Edward McCorry
Reverend Msgr. James Walsh
Reverend Edward McCorry
Reverend Msgr. James Walsh
Reverend Joseph Komanchak
Reverend Robert McCarthy
Reverend John Donahue
Reverend John Vigilante
Reverend Hugh Rooney
Reverend Carmine Rita
Reverend Robert Kajoh, MSP
Reverend Ayo Efodigbue MSP
Reverend Francis Oroffa, MSP
Reverend Donald Eruaga MSP
Reverend Daniel Oghenerukevwe, MSP
Reverend Anthony Mbanefo, MSP