History of
Valley Stream, N.Y.

Click any blue underlined item, to view that portion of the history.


The Most Reverend Bishop James Thomas McHugh S.T.D. succeeded as the third Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Center on January 4, 2000, upon the acceptance of Bishop John McGann's retirement at the age of 75.

The passing of two great men marked the first year of the new century. First our beloved Pastor Monsignor Daniel E. Fagan went to his eternal reward April 25, 2000, followed by Bishop James McHugh who passed away on December 10, 2000.

On December 15, 1999, Reverend Thomas J. Harold was appointed temporary Administrator of Holy Name of Mary Parish. After the death of Monsignor Fagan in April 2000, Father Harold was appointed Pastor effective June 28, 2000.

He was formally installed as the eighth Pastor at a noon Mass on Sunday, October 1, 2000. He stated at that time, “In my short time with you this past year, I realize what a privilege it is to be among you as priest and Pastor. ... I am most happy to be here, and share life with you. I look forward to many years with you! ... My prayer is that our loving God will grace us with many more joyous celebrations that help us to grow as a family of faith under the protection and intercession of Our Blessed Mother.”

Father Thomas J. Harold was born in New York on March 1, 1954, and baptized at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hempstead.

Reverend Thomas J. Harold

He attended elementary school at St. Thomas the Apostle School, and at that parish celebrated the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation. He is the middle of seven children and has five brothers and one sister. After graduating from St. Thomas the Apostle, Father Harold attended Chaminade High School from which he graduated in 1972. After graduation from Chaminade he entered the Society of Mary, Marianists, and attended St. John's University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology with a double major in English.

Father Harold began teaching English at Chaminade in 1976 and soon after beginning his teaching career, earned a Master of Arts in English from Hofstra University. While a teacher at Chaminade, he served as guidance counselor, the newspaper and yearbook moderator, and student government moderator.

Leaving Chaminade in 1987, Father Harold felt the call to the priesthood and entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in September of 1987. Bishop John R. McGann ordained Father Harold a priest on May 25, 1991, and assigned him to Holy Family Parish in Hicksville where he served for five happy years.

In 1996 Bishop McGann appointed Father Harold as Vocation Director of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. He remained in that office until June 26, 2002. As Vocation Director he encouraged young men interested in the priesthood, and was helpful to those men and women who had an interest in religious life.

Father Harold loves being a priest. He cannot imagine doing anything that would bring greater happiness and reward. He feels that it is a great privilege to share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, and is hopeful that others might feel that call to priesthood and be generous in their response.

He is an avid Mets fan and enjoys the game of golf. He has made several trips to Ireland where his grandparents were born. Visiting Ireland brings a sense of rest and relaxation and a wonderful reminder of his roots.

On September 1, 2000, Reverend Saji George Mukkoot was the first priest appointed to Holy Name of Mary in the new century. Father Saji was the founding Administrator of St. John Chrysostom Malankara Catholic Mission in Hempstead.

In the early months of 2001, planning was begun to increase the facilities for Parish Outreach. Parish Outreach had been so successful that it had outgrown its present space. As part of Project A.R.C.H. (A Road to Charity and Hope), a two-family house located on the east side of the rectory, was purchased on January 2, 2002, as a rectory annex. After being refurbished, a portion of it was used as the new headquarters for Parish Outreach.

The Holy Name of Mary Summer Camp was initiated in the summer of 2001. Attendance this first year was close to two hundred children.

A 5 P.M. Sunday Mass was initiated.

On June 26, 2001, the Most Reverend Bishop William Francis Murphy, S.T.D., L.H.D. (Doctor of Humanities), the Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, was appointed the Fourth Bishop of Rockville Centre. He was installed at St. Agnes Cathedral, on Wednesday, September 5, 2001.

In the later part of the year, the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was made available every Saturday at the 9 A.M. Mass.

It was Tuesday, September 11, 2001, when Father Harold made an announcement a few minutes prior to the start of the 9 A.M. Mass, that there was a report of an accident at the World Trade Center in New York City. Little did anyone know based on those initial reports, of the tragedy that was to befall our country on that day. September 11, 2001, was a “Day of Infamy,” as the sneak attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon caused more casualties than the attack on Pearl Harbor. Seven parishioners lost their lives in the tragedy of September 11.

On Sunday, September 16, 2001, Bishop Murphy was to administer Confirmation to over one hundred fifty teenagers at our Confirmation Mass. This was to be Bishop Murphy's first Confirmation as our new Bishop.

The tragedy and destruction that demolished the World Trade Center changed his plans as he was called to St. Patrick's Cathedral for that day. Bishop John R. McGann administered the sacrament of Confirmation in his place.

Deacon Robert P. Walsh was ordained as a Deacon on May 26, 1978, for the N.Y. Archdiocese. Deacon Walsh was assigned to Holy Name of Mary on June 24, 1983. After serving here for six years, he was reassigned to work as a chaplain at Mercy Medical Center on October 1, 1989, while he continued as a member of our parish. He retired from Mercy in October 1999 and was reassigned to Holy Name of Mary on December 24, 1999.

Deacon Robert P. Walsh

Deacon Robert Walsh died suddenly on September 21, 2001. Many parishioners have fond memories of Deacon Walsh for his consoling ministry at Mercy Hospital as well as his enthusiastic service to Holy Name of Mary Parish.

Bishop Murphy's first visit to Holy Name of Mary Parish was on October 13, 2001. On that day he concelebrated the Saturday 5 P.M. Mass with the Pastor, Father Harold, and the three Associate Pastors, Fathers Maltese, Brigandi and Mukkoot.


The year 2002 is the centennial of the founding of Holy Name of Mary Parish. A Centennial Anniversary Committee of parishioners was established. The first of many meetings was held on January 3, 2001. Plans were created for a year filled with activities and celebrations, beginning with a New Year's Day noon Mass followed by a reception.

In the summer of 2001, a Centennial Logo contest was announced to design a logo that would be used throughout the Centennial Year. The logo chosen was circular in shape and deep blue in color.

Its features included the:
  • Name, Holy Name of Mary Parish
  • Celtic  Cross that graces both the south and the
    west outside entrances of the church
  • Alpha Omega symbol, from one of the columns
    which  supported  the 1956 altar and now is the
    base of the ambo (gospel lectern)
  • Maria   Regina   symbol   that   appears  on  the
    stained glass window of each entrance door
  • Dates,  1902  of the founding of  the parish and 2002 that of its Centennial
  • Parish village, Valley Stream, N.Y.
  • Four  themes  to  consider  as  we  progressed through the Centennial Year
  • On Sunday, September 23, 2001, following the noon Mass, the redesigned Path to Mary Centennial Shrine was dedicated. Father Stephen Brigandi, who was in charge of its redesign and restoration, was commended for the outstanding results.

    Path to Mary Centennial Shrine

    Memorial plaques in memory of Monsignor Daniel E. Fagan, Monsignor Peter P. McGovern and Bishop James T. McHugh were incorporated on the wall behind Our Lady's statue.

    In December 2001 a detailed schedule of events and celebrations for the Centennial was finalized. Included in the schedule were 22 different items. Several of the highlights were: a January 1 opening day noon Mass followed by a reception; a Mardi Gras celebration; a St. Patrick's Dinner Dance; Parish picnic; international celebrations; and a Pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Island Shrine. The primary liturgical celebration of the year was a Centennial Anniversary Mass on September 8. There was a special Mass of Remembrance on the first anniversary of the tragedy of September 11. On November 8 there was the Centennial Anniversary Dinner Dance.

    As Father Harold wrote in his November 24, 2001 column, “It will be a year of remembering and celebrating the past. It will also be a year of looking ahead with hope and promise to the future. Most of all, the Centennial will be a year of welcome. We need to use this special year of grace to welcome new parishioners and to welcome back some of us who perhaps have been distant from our parish or from the sacramental life of the church. Hopefully it will be a year during which we reinvigorate our prayer and worship life together. ... 2002, our Centennial Year, will also be a year of continued healing.

    The healing process that now follows the tragedy of September 11 and its aftermath offers us many challenges. Jesus was fully engaged in the ministry of healing. He will guide us in our speech and in our actions. The challenge for us all is to keep returning to Him for His guidance and direction during this healing process.”

    Tuesday, January 1, 2002, was a clear brilliant day and the beginning of our Centennial Year. A standing room only crowd of over one thousand parishioners and friends filled the church to celebrate the noon Mass of the Solemnity of Mary. Father Harold concelebrated the Mass with the three Associate Pastors, Fathers Maltese, Brigandi and Mukkoot. Father Sebastian Fernando, who had had been with our parish for several months during the illness of Monsignor Fagan, and Father Gerard Ringenback, who had served here from 1978 through 1983, also concelebrated the Mass. Prayer, music, joy, memories and community spirit filled the air. The feeling was electric. Each person who attended was presented with a Centennial lapel pin.

    A reception followed in the school gymnasium. Father Harold introduced longtime parishioner, Marge McDermott Chvatal, who was born in a house across the street on East Jamaica Avenue. She offered a toast to begin the Centennial. “I feel so blessed to have lived my entire life in Valley Stream and be a part of Holy Name of Mary. I have sweet memories when I leave the church and am able to look across the street at the house of my birth.” Father Harold then introduced parishioner and Councilman James Darcy who said, “It's almost impossible to separate Holy Name of Mary from my very being. This church has been interwoven in my whole life.” He then reminisced about some of his parish memories. The Councilman came to the parish in 1955, was married here, and his children were baptized here.

    Marge Chvatal supplied us with the following letter summarizing a few of her many memories.

    “My sisters, Adelaide, Marion, Anne, and myself were born in our grandmother, Louise Rohner McDermott's house at 44 East Jamaica Avenue, across from Holy Name of Mary Church. Our father came to Valley Stream in 1906 and was an altar boy for Father McGovern.

    I remember the annual church fair held in a large tent where Holy Name of Mary school now stands. It was one of the highlights in Valley Stream; everyone in town attended. The Rosary Society had a refreshment booth. The other societies had booths and raffled off prizes. The Boy Scouts also had a booth. The person threw a ball and tried to knock over a doll to win a prize. The fair ran for about a week and on the last night a raffle was held; the prize was a car.

    I remember Sunday school in the Church Hall on Jamaica Avenue, across from where the school now stands. Sisters Theophilia and Jerome Anna, St. Joseph nuns, came by train from Brooklyn to teach us. One of my classes was held in the kitchen and one of my classmates was Ted LeTure who later became Father Theodore LeTure, Pastor of Holy Name of Mary Church. One of my teachers was Angéle Aubry who lived for a time with her aunt and uncle on Cochran Place. She later returned to her home in Canada and entered the convent. Sister Angéle and I have been corresponding since 1939.

    On Wednesday evenings we would go to church for the Miraculous Medal novena and then to the Church Hall. Fathers Schoenenberger and Kelly gave us religious instructions followed by a social time with dancing. All the teenagers were welcome.

    In the middle 1930s, I joined the Junior Catholic Daughters of America (JCD of A). We met at Mrs. Rice's home - she was a wonderful lady and mentor.

    Many of our original group have gone home to God, but almost seventy years later the remaining group, Catherine Murphy Bonora, Fran Horn Cook, Marian Masterson Schaufler, Martha Raeder Budischak and myself, still get together three or four times a year. We are a little past the age to call ourselves the JCD of A, so we are known as the GDFM girls, God Doth Friends Make.

    I feel so blessed to have spent my entire life in Valley Stream and been a part of Holy Name of Mary Parish.

                                                  Marjorie McDermott Chvatal”

    Ownership of the Rectory Annex, the new home of Parish Outreach, was obtained on January 2, 2002.

    Rectory Annex, new home of Parish Outreach

    The Most Reverend Bishop John R. McGann died on January 29, 2002. A plaque in memory of Bishop McGann was later added to the wall in the Path to Mary Centennial Shrine area.

    The following provides a flavor of the time and the community spirit that filled the parish. In his weekly column of February 16, 2002, Father Harold wrote, “On Tuesday, we had Mardi Gras for about four hundred fifty people, mostly young families with children from our religious education program and parish school. In true Mardi Gras spirit, the kids enjoyed face painting, masks, balloons and beads. They were invited to design their own shopping bags and there were many recreational events in the gym and in the downstairs meeting rooms. Parents of the kids cooked more than eight hundred hot dogs. It was great to see so many young children and their parents come together and have so much fun. Sr. Barbara came up with this great idea, organized it, and probably will make it an annual tradition.”

    Holy Name of Mary Church, March 2002

    The Centennial events continued to be extremely popular among parishioners, with sold-out and oversubscribed becoming the keywords.

    On Tuesday, April 16, 2002, the building permit was approved to allow renovation of the Rectory Annex. The Annex provides offices and consultation area for Parish Outreach. The basement of the house is the new place of operation for our St. Vincent de Paul ministry to families in need of food.

    It was 7:30 P.M., April 24, 2002, a beautiful Wednesday evening, when one of the highlights of the Centennial Celebration occurred. Matthew Kelly noted Australian lecturer and author made an inspirational presentation at our church that was crowded with approximately one thousand people. His theme for the evening consisted of two basic ideas, “Ten Minutes a Day, in a classroom of silence,” to talk with your God and “Take Sunday Off,” to restore the rhythm in your life. This was a unique event; the people who witnessed it realized that they were observing someone and something special, an event which they would never forget. Attendees were given the opportunity to individually meet Matthew Kelly after he had completed his presentation. Gratitude was expressed to Father James Maltese, who did most of the research and planning which resulted in Matthew Kelly's visit to Holy Name of Mary Parish.

    Early Pentecost Sunday morning, May 19, 2002, Holy Name of Mary Parish experienced a different form of fire and spirit; a fire had broken out in the school cafeteria.

    The Valley Stream Volunteer Fire Department was on the scene within minutes and extinguished the fire with precision and speed. Fire damage was limited to a small section of the cafeteria. However there was extensive smoke and soot damage. Parishioners began to arrive at the school before 8 A.M.  More than sixty parishioners helped in the cleanup, which was completed about seven hours later. This spirit was reminiscent of the early 1970s when the outside wall of the church was defaced with graffiti. Approximately five hundred volunteers eagerly arrived on the scene and cleaned the wall.

    On June 26, 2002, Father Stephen Brigandi was transferred from Holy Name of Mary to Our Lady of Lourdes in West Islip. On the same day Reverend Thomas M. Coogan succeeded Father Harold as Vocation Director of the Diocese, thus allowing Father Harold to devote full time to being Pastor.

    On July 2, 2002, a memorial tree in honor of our seventh Pastor, Monsignor Daniel E. Fagan, was planted in the lawn area of Our Lady's Shrine.

    During the summer of 2002, Kenneth Heino was appointed Youth Minister. Elizabeth A. Bartolomeo was appointed as a trustee of the church. She succeeded John O'Connor who had retired after serving as trustee for approximately twenty years.

    The sky was cloudless and intensely blue, as if this day was created especially in honor of Our Lady. It was the feast day of the Birth of Mary and the Liturgical Celebration of our Parish Centennial. The temperature was ideal and the sun was beaming, as were the faces of over a thousand people who filled Holy Name of Mary Church on September 8, 2002. Bishop William F. Murphy was the main celebrant of the noon Mass before a standing room only crowd.

    Left to right on the top step:  Father Saji George Mukkoot, Father Theodore LeTure,
    Bishop William Murphy, Father Thomas Harold and Father James Maltese

    Bishop Murphy concelebrated the Mass with sixteen priests. Among them were:

    • Reverend Thomas J. Harold, Pastor
    • Reverend Theodore J. LeTure, Pastor Emeritus
    • Reverend James L. Maltese, Associate Pastor
    • Reverend Saji George Mukkoot, Associate   Pastor
    • Reverend Joseph DeGrocco, Bishop's secretary
    • Reverend Paul Bharathi, Summer Assistant

    and ten priests who formerly served in our parish. The ten priests who formerly served in our parish as priests or deacons are listed in the order of their starting date of service.

    • Thomas Kelly
    • Gerard Gfroerer
    • Msgr. John Bennett
    • Gerard Ringenback
    • Thomas Mulvanerty
    • Nicholas Figliola
    • Robert Clerkin
    • Thomas Candreva
    • Stephen Brigandi
    • Patrick Riegger

    Our four parish deacons assisted in the celebration. Approximately a dozen Sisters of Saint Joseph who served in this parish were also present. Bishop Murphy led the congregation in the renewal of their Baptismal vows. Each person in the church was given a Centennial Candle that was lighted during the renewal. Prayers were offered for the victims from our parish who died on September 11, 2001.

    Bishop Murphy noted in his homily that the growth of this parish was the true meaning of what life was all about. It was a story of dedicated people working together, through good times and bad, successes and failures, to accomplish a common purpose. He then delineated specific highlights of the parish history. Bishop Murphy singled out our Pastors, Father Harold and Father LeTure, Sister Margie, Sister Elizabeth and Sister Barbara for their outstanding work. The mention of each name was met with thunderous, appreciative applause.

    Father Harold's letter of September 14 best described the music that day. “Our music and song stirred many. Mr. Kevin Faughey spent much time and energy organizing, preparing, rehearsing and bringing together the efforts of more than sixty musicians and singers. Our cantor, Reneé Socci, our three sopranos, the Choir, Folk Group, Spanish Choir, and Children's Choir combined talents and their own enthusiasm to provide a music program that helped draw us all together on this important occasion and express our shared joy.”

    After the conclusion of Mass, Bishop Murphy greeted many of the parishioners.

    Bishop William Murphy being welcomed to Valley Stream
    by Mayor Edward Cahill and his wife Mary Ann

    A festive reception with lunch followed on the church lawn. Parishioners had a chance to reminisce with each other and the priests and nuns who had served this parish for many years.

    September 8, 2002, was a day of inspiration, prayer, song, remembrance, pride, anticipation, excitement, and community spirit. It was, to this point, the highlight of a “highlight-filled” year.

    On Wednesday, September 11, 2002, the first anniversary of the World Trade Center tragedy, our Parish offered a special Prayer Remembrance for the victims. The Remembrance began with a Mass on Tuesday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m for Peace and Justice with the intention of the Victims and their families. It was followed by a 24-hour period of prayer that extended through the night on Tuesday, through all day Wednesday and concluded Wednesday night with Mass at 7:30 p.m.

    After Mass on Tuesday, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament continued all through the night. Each Mass on September 11, 2002 was concelebrated and included the intention of the Victims of September 11 and their families. Exposition continued through the day on Wednesday until the 7:30 p.m. Mass.

    On October 16, 2002, which was the twenty-forth anniversary of his elevation to the papacy, Pope John Paul II issued an apostolic letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae. In it he proclaimed the year from October 2002 to October 2003 as the Year of the Rosary. He proposed to expand the Rosary by adding the Mysteries of Light, specifically “to include the mysteries of Christ's public ministry between his Baptism and his Passion. ... It is during the years of his public ministry that the mystery of Christ is most evidently a mystery of light: ‘While I am in the world, I am the light of the world’
    (Jn 9:5). ...

      (1) his Baptism in the Jordan,
      (2) his self-manifestation at the wedding of Cana,
      (3) his proclamation of the Kingdom of God, with his call to conversion,
      (4) his Transfiguration, and finally,
      (5) his institution of the Eucharist, as the sacramental expression of the Paschal Mystery.”

    • Reverend Thomas J. Harold, Pastor
    • Reverend Theodore J. LeTure, Pastor Emeritus
    • Reverend James L. Maltese, Associate Pastor
    • Reverend Saji G. Mukkoot, Associate Pastor
    • Deacon Anthony W. Cuseo
    • Deacon James M. O'Hara
    • Deacon Richard F. Raad
    • Deacon Clyde C. Ruggieri
    • Sister Elizabeth Marie Lynch, C.S.J.,
      School Principal
    • Sister Barbara Anne Shea, O.P.,
      Religious Education Director
    • Sister Margaret Kelly, C.S.J.,
      Parish Outreach Director
    • Mr. Kevin Faughey, Music Director
    • Mr. Anthony Zizzamia, Folk Group Director
    • Mr. Kenneth Heino, Youth Minister

    DECEMBER 31, 2002

    • Baptisms - 116
    • First Eucharist - 184
    • Confirmations - 152
    • Marriages - 36
    • Funerals - 136
    • Religious Education
        Number of Teachers - 75
        Number of Students - 910
    • Parish School
        Number of Teachers - 18
        Number of Students - 262
    • RCIA Program - 16
    • Adult Formation (Bible Study) - 55
    • Mass Attendance
        Sunday/Saturday Vigil - 2,225
        Weekday - 175
    • Parish Outreach - had more than 10,000 contacts(Information/Referral, Food, Clothing, Emergency Financial Assistance, Homebound Needs, Eucharistic Ministers, Volunteers, Bereavement, Employment Advocacy etc.)
    • St. Vincent de Paul helped - 4,761