We are blessed to be the Academy for three parishes.
St. Ephrem Catholic Church
St. Ephrem's parish was founded in 1921. The previous October, Pope Benedict XV declared the Father of the Church, St. Ephrem the Syrian, a Doctor of the Universal Church. Living from about the year 303 to 373, St. Ephrem wrote many hymns, poems, and sermons in Syriac. (I wonder to what extent the script Ephrem used resembles that seen on medical offices along Bay Ridge Parkway.) The present church has a 1952 cornerstone. St. Ephrem remains a strong parish community for the residence both new and old. In 2020 they celebrated their 100th year of service to the community.
Basilica of Regina Pacis
On the Second Sunday of May in 1942 in the middle of World War II, the Pastor of St. Rosalia Parish, Msgr. Angelo Cioffi asked the parishioners to make a vow to our Lady to keep our soldiers safe and return them home to us, and to bring lasting peace to the world. As a vow, the 12,000 parishioners at the time promised to build a magnificent church dedicated to Mary, the Queen of Peace. At the time, the property had nothing more on it than two unappealing gas tanks. The Church, which had taken only 3 years to build and cost $2 million dollars, was finally completed and dedicated on August 15, 1951. The church was beautifully decorated with all forms of donations and art. The painting of Regina Pacis which hangs over the main Altar was painted by the famous artist Ilario Panzironi when he was 93 years old.
In more recent years, Regina has continued to grow with the support of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI elevated Regina Pacis to a Minor Basilica on October 19, 2012.
On December 8, 2012, the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, celebrated a Solemn Mass inaugurating Regina Pacis as a Minor Basilica.
On the Solemnity of All Saints, November 1, 2015, His Excellency Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn Blessed the new Saint Joseph Chapel and Dedicated the Columbarium.
The Basilica of Regina Pacis was selected as a “Mercy Church” of the Diocese of Brooklyn for the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy.
On Sunday, December 13, 2015, Bishop James Massa, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, celebrated the Rite of the Opening of the Door of Mercy.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe was founded in 1906 in the Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn.
A simple frame structure with a steeple was erected on 15th Avenue facing 73rd Street. In 1908, a larger church was built on the same site and contained an impressive altar, statuary, and ornate Stations of the Cross.
Within a few years, the church complex grew to include a rectory, convent, and two school buildings. In 1933, the church building was completely destroyed by fire.
A new church was designed in a neo-Italianate style and built on the same location. In 1973, a fire devastated the interior of the 1930s building, destroying or damaging many of its furnishings and windows.
The church was soon rebuilt within the old walls and included new stained glass windows and a new pipe organ.