November 22, 2004
Cardinals Egan, McCarrick and Bishops
DiMarzio, Murphy among those in attendance
Queens, NY – A dream of more than 50 years became reality at St.
John’s University this weekend with the historic Dedication of St.
Thomas More Church, a more than $10-million, 450-seat structure, on
the Queens campus.
Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, was the principal
celebrant at a Catholic Mass that was co-celebrated by Bishop
Nicholas DiMarzio, Diocese of Brooklyn, Bishop William Murphy,
Diocese of Rockville Centre (Long Island) as well as Theodore
Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, D.C. and Archbishop
Celestino Migliore, Papal Nuncio, United Nations. This historic
gathering was attended by approximately 500 members and friends of
the St. John’s Community.
“For more than 50 years, St. John’s had dreamed of having a
free-standing church to call its own here on the Queens campus.
Today, that dream has been realized,” said Rev. Donald J.
Harrington, C.M., President of St. John’s University. “We are
grateful to the family of John and Anita Brennan for helping us to
make St. Thomas More Church a reality.”
A generous gift of $10 million by the family of John Brennan
(‘63SJC, ‘66L) and his wife Anita, of Garden City, NY, put in
motion the plans to build the church. Named for St. Thomas More, a
15th Century lawyer who was executed for refusing to reject the
Catholic Church and swear an oath to the King of England, the St.
John’s church coincidentally bore the name of one of their sons,
Thomas More Brennan. On September 11, 2001, Tom Brennan was killed
in the attack on the World Trade Center. Although the
Brennans did not want the church as a whole to become a shrine to
their lost son, one of several shrines in the church has been
dedicated to the victims of September 11, 2001, including the 75
St. John’s alumni who perished on that day.
The Dedication Mass held on Sunday, November 21, 2004 also
included the ceremonial anointing of the altar and the placement of
relics of Saints in the reliquary below the altar. These important
rites of the Catholic Church serve to sanctify the space.
St. Thomas More Church was completed in Fall 2004 after a
two-year construction period. The church features mosaic tile
installations, including a 20-foot high Narthex (foyer) depicting
St. Vincent de Paul and the saints of the Vincentian Order and
Sisters of Charity. Designed to welcome all members of the campus
community, the church has a circular worship space to maintain a
connection between the congregation and the celebrant. A pipe organ
and soaring stained glass windows were also added to give this new
church its traditional feel.
- Photo 1: Cardinal Egan blesses the altar as part of the
ceremony sanctifying St. Thomas More Church, by rubbing oil into
the granite top.
- Photo 2: John and Anita Brennan (seated) are joined by (l. to
r.) Rev. Robert Moloney, C.M.; Rev. Thomas McKenna, C.M., Bishop
Murphy; Bishop DiMarzio; Cardinal McCarrick; Cardinal Egan;
Auxillary Bishop Ignatius Catanello; Archbishop Alfonso Cabezas;
Archbishop Migliore; Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M.
Photo credit: Jihad Nicholas Nammour
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