On Tuesday, June 29th, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and other officials from the Diocese of Brooklyn gathered to dedicate a new Church and art center. The creation of new churches in the five boroughs has become a rare occurrence in recent years, making Tuesday’s event a powerful milestone, especially after the pandemic limited the capacity of Churches for close to a year.
The new Church, Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church is located at the corner of S. 3rd Street and Berry Street in Williamsburg. With a maximum capacity of 550 people, Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church will easily expand the number of masses and services that the Diocese will offer in North Brooklyn.
Bishop DiMarzio chose to dedicate this new church on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, a Catholic feast celebrated annually on June 29. Immediately following the Mass, Bishop DiMarzio blessed the new parish center building, which includes a new arts center focused on community engagement. The art center comes equipped with a newly renovated 600-seat theater and is housed in the Historic Williamsburg Opera house, which was built in 1897.
“We have witnessed a ceremony that few get to see in a lifetime because there are not that many new churches, certainly not here in Brooklyn and Queens, but this completely new renovation making a new church here on the ground level, giving us so many classrooms and a public center is truly unique,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said in his homily.
He continued: “This new church, this new center, this new beginning, this new evangelization is something that gives us inspiration. I am happy that I have been here as Bishop now to see this day. It is a long time in coming but I pray that together today we take heart. We become new disciples of the new evangelization effort. We reach out to others who need us. Those who are already Catholics; those other Christians; those who know not the faith and need to encounter Jesus Christ.”
Monsignor Anthony Hernandez, the former pastor of the Parish who helped bring about the new construction project, also shared remarks.
“Today is a very important day for Ss. Peter and Paul Epiphany Parish and the Diocese of Brooklyn,” Monsignor Hernandez said. “With the inauguration of this new church and center, this parish, which has existed since before the Civil War, will begin a new chapter of outreach and evangelization to the people of Williamsburg, as well as to the people of Brooklyn and Queens.”
The last time a new church was opened in the Diocese of Brooklyn was in 2008 at Our Lady of Snows in the Floral Park section of Queens. The last church renovated and re-dedicated was the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, located in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn in 2014.