Church History

A Brief Parish History

January 1926 – Bishop Thomas Molloy appoints Fr. Francis Scullin to build a church that would serve the people in the fast growing community of Rego Park. A temporary church is constructed by the parishioners on 55 th Avenue in Elmhurst . It is called the Church of the Ascension at Elmhurst.

February 1926 – The first Mass is celebrated in our current church building.

March 1926 – The first baptism takes place in our current church building.

June 1926 – The first wedding takes place in our current church building

June 1931 – Father Henry Hald is installed as the new pastor. Fr. Hald purchases 75 property lots located on Woodhaven Boulevard, 61 st Road, 85th Street and Eliot Avenue. Fr. Hald is transferred and Fr. Patric Feely is assigned pastor and is responsible to proceed to build the church and the school.

July 1938 – Ascension Church and School is built, and a new rectory building and convent follow (Parish priests previously lived in the rectory on 55 th Avenue in Elmhurst.)

September 1939 – Ascension School doors open to the neighborhood children.

December 1943 – Fr. David Lynch Becomes the new pastor of Ascension Parish. Shortly after his installation, Bishop Molloy assigns Fr. Thomas Dunnigan (Fr., Lynch’s senior associate) to be pastor of the original church “Ascension at Elmhurst.” This decision created a major pastoral problem that was not resolved for many years since there now existed “Ascension Church at Elmhurst “ and “Ascension Church” in Rego Park.

July 1945 – Ascension Church at Elmhurst is re-established as a totally new parish. All previous years’
records are transferred to Ascension, Rego Park from Ascension, Elmhurst.

October 1949 – Both pastors write to Bishop Molloy to clarify the established dates for each parish. The Bishop’s letter states that Ascension, Rego Park was legally and canonically organized as a church in Elmhurst in 1926. Ascension, Elmhurst was legally canonically established in 1945.

January 1951 – Bishop Molloy give a new name to Ascension, Rego Park – Resurrection-Ascension Church Ascension at Elmhurst continues to support its ongoing mission and vision of the diocese

June 1953 – Ascension School, Elmhurst is built.

June 1957 – Fr. Richard B. Lavelle is installed as Ascension’s second pastor. The Holy Name and Altar Rosary Societies are introduced to the parish.

June 1962 – Fr. John Ansbro is installed as Ascension’s third pastor. Ascension responds to one of the changes from Vatican Council II (1962-65) to renovate the altar of sacrifice so that the celebrant faces the congregation.

June 1966 – Fr. William F, Matters is installed as Ascension’s fourth pastor. The Church holds society meetings for Holy Name, Altar Rosary, Golden Age and Choir. The first Spanish Mass is celebrated.

June 1976 – Fr. Joseph L. Pitsch is installed as Ascension’s Ascension’s fifth pastor. Fr. Pitsch becomes Ascension’s accountant, and eliminates the need to employ accounts to maintain records.

June 1984 – Fr. Charles E. Bleilevens is installed as Ascension’s sixth pastor. The activities of the parish continue to flourish. Parishioners commit to a pledge to repair the parish building.

March 1988 – Fr. Vito A. Buonanno is installed as Ascension’s seventh pastor. With his leadership, foresight, planning and support from parish members, in the year 2000 the church building was totally renovated. The original church pews and beams were incorporated in the renovation. It was made accessible for handicap, both in the church as well as the church hall below

June 2005 – Ascension School Building is permanently closed due to low enrolment. It continues to be property of the church and is used for Religious Education classes.

January 2007 – Ascension School Building is leased by the NYC Board of Education where it is presently being used as P.S. 211 for grades Kindergarten through second grade. On the weekends it continues to be used for Religious Education classes.

July 2009 – Fr. Jovito B. Carongay Jr. is installed as Ascension’s eighth pastor (admninistrator). Under Fr. Carongay’s leadership the Church has successfully participated in yearly Catholic Appeals. In 2015 with Fr. Carongay at the main, the Church participated in the Generations of Faith Campaign, exceeding the goal of $405,000.  The Church now holds First Wednesday of the month and First Friday of the month evening Masses. A Cebuano Mass is held twice per month. The Spanish Prayer Group organized their first Our Lady of Guadalupe festival under Fr. Carongay. Many more Church organizations are part of Ascension Parish, Couples for Christ, Cebuano Group and Spanish Prayer Group to name a few. These dedicated organizations work together with one another and members of the community to offer services and help to each other. After typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013 our church collected goods as well as money for aide to the country. In 2015 our Church had their first Good Friday Procession, repeating it with great success in 2016.