The History of St. Raymond Parish
In July 1909 the Most Reverend Charles E. McDonnell, Second Bishop of Brooklyn, appointed Reverend Dennis E. Carroll to be the first Pastor of the new parish of St. Raymond of Penafort. The parish would include the areas of Bay Park, East Rockaway, Lynbrook and part of Malverne up to the railroad tracks. Until that time, this area had been part of the parish of St. Agnes in Rockville Centre.
And so it was that on July 30, 1909, Father Carroll offered the first Mass for our parish in the Lynbrook Lyceum, now the site of Lynbrook Medical Center. For the next two years Father Carroll celebrated Mass and held Catechism classes in the Earle Avenue Firehouse and a garage on Spencer Avenue, while the first church was being constructed.
On January 22, 1911, on the eve of it's patron's feast according to the Church calendar at the time, the "Little Wooden Church" was dedicated. For many years its size was adequate for the congregation. However, in the 1940s, the rapid growth of the population necessitated the formation of another parish, namely Our Lady of Peace Parish in Lynbrook. Just as St. Agnes was the parent parish of St. Raymond's, so was St. Raymond's the parent of Our Lady of Peace.
Thereafter, the population of St. Raymond's continued to increase and with it the need for a larger house of worship. Under the direction of the then Pastor, Reverend William J. Walsh, and with the approval of the then Archbishop Thomas E. Malloy, plans were drawn up for a new church on July 4, 1955 and there followed a two year period of demolition and the construction of a new church and rectory.
St. Raymond's was the first church to be completed in the newly formed Diocese of Rockville Centre and the first to be dedicated by Bishop Walter Kellenberg. The dedication took place on June 30, 1957 and the church building then consecrated for liturgical use still serves our parish today.
In the early years of the parish, the religious education of the children in the parish was confined to Sunday school classes which were taught by the Sisters of Saint Dominic from Rockville Centre. Thereafter, through the efforts of Father McKenna, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whose motherhouse is located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, came to Saint Raymond's Parish. Saint Raymond's Parochial School was built in 1926 with the original building, which still stands today, consisting of twelve classrooms, the auditorium and the gymnasium. The school opened in 1927 with a registration of 124 students under the direction of Sister Donald Murray as Principal and Mother Superior.
The first convent was located at the O'Rourke home on Centre Avenue. Next, it moved to the corner of Scranton Avenue and Samuel Place. Finally, in 1937, the present convent was erected at the rear of the school.
As time progressed and the leadership of the school continued under various principals, enrollment increased. In 1932, there were 442 pupils registered with Sister Mary Recarda as Principal. Thereafter, the registrations increased under successor principals, namely Sister Mary Alive, Sister Mary Gerard, Sister Mary John Frances, Sister Mary Alphonso, Sister Alma Marie and Sister Maria Thomas. Eventually the registration reached over 900 students and an addition to the school building was needed. In 196, additions to both school and convent were constructed when Rev. William Walsh was Pastor and dedicated by Bishop Walter Kellenberg. The new wing of the school added ten classrooms and was attached to the original building in an "L" shape where it stands today and continues to serve our parish. Enrollment slowly declined after the peak of over 1,100 students in 1966 and now has reached a current total of 440 students. Principals who have served our school since 1961 included Sister Mary Dawson, Sister Regina Marie, Sister Nancy Elder and our current Principal, Sister Ruthanne Gypalo.
St. Raymond's Parish is two square miles in size and currently is composed of some 2,600 families. There is an active Parish School Board as well as numerous Parish organizations including the Altar Society, Nocturnal Adoration Society, Holy Name Society, Sodality of our Lady, Choir Folk Group, Charismatic Prayer Group, Usher's Society, Band Associates, Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Parent School Association and C.Y.O. Parish programs such as the Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, Religious Education Program (C.C.D.), R.C.I.A. Liturgy Committee, Human Life Committee and Pre-Cana Program, all continue to enrich the spiritual life in the Parish.