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Saint Ignatius Loyola
Hicksville, New York
Est. 1859

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Parish History

Click here for a biography of St. Ignatius Loyola .

The History of Saint Ignatius Loyola Parish
Hicksville, New York

Compiled by Arthur A. Schreiber


The World into Which We Came [1859]
The Seed is Planted - our early years
Difficult Times for the Church

The Mission Pastors
A Pastor of our Own [1872]
A New Church [1883-1891]
A Parish School [1907]
The St. John's Protectory
The Sisters of St. Dominic

A New School [1923]
The End of an Era [1923]
Father Wunsch
Father Bittermann [1931]
The Third School [1961]
Father Harrer [1969]
Father Tarrant [1990]
Monsignor Bennett [1999]
From the Parish Archives
An Honor Roll of Vocations from St. Ignatius Loyola Parish
Pastors and Religious through the years at St. Ignatius Loyola
Our Parish Staff through the years


In the history of the United States the year 1859 was neither a particularly quiet or serene one. The country was in an economic depression and the call for secession was rife throughout the south. It was the year in which Abraham Lincoln scored highly in his famous debate with Stephen Douglas, but lost his bid for the nomination to run for the United States Senate seat for Illinois, and John Brown led an abortive uprising at Harper’s Ferry in Virginia. In Europe Charles Dickens published “A Tale of Two Cities,” and Charles Darwin published his “Origin of the Species,” and in the City of New York work was in progress on the building of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, the cornerstone having been laid the year before.

At this time, Hicksville, already a two hundred year old community, was a largely rural village of just less than 900 souls but was destined to be a major Long Island center because of its position on the Long Island Railroad. Much thanks for this was due to Valentine Hicks, a vice president of the line and a resident of Jericho, a village just to the north of Hicksville. The line was extended from Hicksville to Syosset in 1859.

While the area was principally agricultural, before the end of the century, in just forty years, it would become a manufacturing and mercantile hub with all the attendant industries and professions.

According to the BROOKLYN TABLET, when Bishop John Loughlin began his episcopacy on November 9, 1853 the Brooklyn diocese consisted of thirty churches and mission stations, all of Long Island, and a catholic population of 15,000 souls. Only fifteen parishes had resident pastors and twenty-three priests had the care of it all. When St. Ignatius Loyola parish took on an identity, in 1859, there were only twelve churches in what was to become Nassau County and Suffolk County. Nassau County became a separate entity as a result of the five borough consolidation of the City of New York in 1898 by breaking away from the borough of Queens. In 1859 our nearest neighbor parish to the west was St. Brigid’s in Westbury and St. Patrick’s in Huntington to the east. Holy Trinity Lutheran church had already been established in Hicksville in 1850.

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The first recorded Mass said in Hicksville was in the home of shopkeeper John O’Hara in 1855 at 175 Broadway, located on the north-east corner of Broadway and East Carl Street. John O’Hara was the great-grandfather of Fathers Stephen and John Stolz. The celebrant of that Mass was Father John McCarthy, the pastor of St. Monica’s parish in Jamaica. It was the practice of the day for a pastor to be a circuit rider of his outlying mission parishes, often on horse-back. Father McCarthy’s circuit carried him as far as Greenport, another mission church which became St. Agnes parish.

It is interesting to note that when Father McCarthy arrived in Hicksville he found the home of a brother Irishman in a town of nearly all German speaking citizens. One can imagine what the burghers told Father McCarthy after Mass because the next recorded celebration was by Father Ignatius Theodore Goetz in 1859. An interesting corollary to this story can be found in the fact that of the twelve parishes located in “Nassau” and Suffolk counties in 1859, five were named for St. Patrick.


While Catholics in the communities which were served by these traveling priests welcomed them joyously, the church in general suffered during this period at the hands of “Native American” zealots. During the late 1840’s and 1850’s this pseudo-patriotic aberration took the form of the American political party, or the “Know Nothings.” This name came about because of the requirement which had its members say they “know nothing” when questioned about their organization by the curious. It was a true secret society complete with passwords and secret handshakes. Former president Millard Fillmore unsuccessfully ran for the presidency of the United States under its banner in 1856 and attracted more than 21% of the popular vote.

The group was directly responsible for the burning of a convent in Massachusetts and caused services in all Catholic churches in Philadelphia to be suspended because of incendiary rioting. Saint John Neumann was Bishop of Philadelphia during this period. The party was also active in New York City and the City of Brooklyn. Churches in central and eastern Long Island also suffered at their hands. The churches of Sts. Peter and Paul and Most Holy Trinity in Brooklyn were marched on and damaged. Rioting accompanied Father Joseph Brunemann’s attempt to purchase a dwelling in which to establish his mission church in Southold. It was in no small measure that the patriotic and heroic services of young Catholic men during the Civil War finally quieted the bigotry and false claims these misguided fanatics of the American party left when they finally disappeared.

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It would not be until 1872, with the arrival of Father Lawrence Fuchs, that we would have a full time, non-mission riding pastor. From 1850 until 1859, Hicksville’s Catholics would have to journey to St. Brigid’s in Westbury by buggy, horse back or ox-cart. Before 1850, when St. Brigid’s was founded, they waited for a visiting priest on his far from frequent rounds.

Father Goetz was the pastor of St. Mary’s parish in Winfield, now better known as Woodside, Queens. Today, St. Mary’s is officially known as Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians parish. The enthusiasm with which he was met may be gauged by the generosity of parishioners Henry and Elizabeth Pasker, who deeded over two lots of valuable land, 53 by 150 feet, right on the main street, upon which was erected a 25 by 50 foot church that had a capacity of 150 persons. The cornerstone was laid on August 21, 1859, the very year Father Goetz came to Hicksville. Our pastor had to be shared with other parishes, but we had our own church. Undoubtedly, the naming of the parish was in no small way influenced by Father Goetz’ name, Ignatius.

The new church of St. Ignatius was not to begin its existence without its trials because as soon as the carpenters, Henry Pasker and his son Adolph, had the framework erected, a storm knocked it down. In the collapse, some of the timbers, a scarce commodity in those days, were broken. Since it would be too costly to purchase new timbers, the shortened timbers were used and an iron tie-rod, running the width of the building, was used to hold it together. This church served the parishioners for thirty-two years, and, after it was moved to make way for the new edifice in 1891, served the congregation as a parish hall for another fifteen years until it was taken down to make way for the first school. Warmed in the winter by a pot-bellied stove, furnished with rough and uncomfortable back-less benches, the congregation was, nonetheless, justifiably proud of its church.
In this church, on January 10, 1860, was baptized Charles Frederick, the son of Frederick Betz and Victoria Rinne, our community’s first Baptism. His godparents were Simon Kenninger and Frances Sophie Pasker. On September 30, 1861, the first bridal couple, George Bumbman and Margaret Schikert pronounced their vows in the presence of Christopher Frank and Mathia Bruederle.

Little is known of the pastorate of Father Casper Mueller, who replaced Father Goetz in 1863. He is mentioned in the 1916 Diamond Jubilee Journal of Most Holy Trinity parish in Brooklyn as “an old missionary from the southwest.” Evidently Father Mueller was a resident assistant in Father Goetz’ parish in Winfield and took over St. Ignatius when Father Goetz became overworked. The meager records he left here show the struggles of the time. On January 1, 1866, New Year’s Day, the collection amounted to $1.70, on the first Sunday, “rain and storm” resulted in a collection of 28 cents. The Easter Sunday collection, on the other hand, “came to $12.50 which was disbursed as follows, $7.00 in the hands of the priest, Father Lowecamp who gave his services for a few days, $2.00 for other expenses, remain for me $3.50; $1.00 false money; remain $2.50.”

Father Joseph Hauber became pastor in 1868 attending to St. Ignatius from his own parish, St. Boniface in Foster’s Meadow, now Elmont. It was he who organized the Altar Society in May 1868, evidently one of his first acts. He certainly knew who the shakers and movers were when he wanted to get things done. Father Hauber had a sacristy built onto the church and organized picnics to help defray the cost.

In November 1870 Father Lawrence Schneider became pastor. It was he who purchased a plot of land adjacent to the church and on it built the first Rectory. Until this time the attending priest had to depend upon the hospitality of his congregation in finding his night’s rest, or sleep in the sacristy of the church. Father Schneider’s records indicate that he ministered to the needs of Catholics in widely surrounding areas, baptizing in Farmingdale, Deer Park, Amityville and Breslau City (Lindenhurst). When Father Schneider resigned because of ill health he returned to his native Germany.

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When Father Lawrence Fuchs came to Hicksville on September 1, 1872 the parish had been without an attending priest for four months. It had a debt of $1,200., and Sunday collections averaged between three and four dollars. Seat money was often paid with a bushel of potatoes or vegetables enough to supply meals for a few days. Despite these conditions, this twenty-eight year old priest, ordained only three years, was destined to lead St. Ignatius through remarkable growth; direct the spiritual well-being of doubled and re-doubled parishioners, build a new church, erect a parochial school and replace it with a larger one when enrollment required it, and become beloved not only by his own flock but also by the community at large. He attained the title of Very Reverend and Dean of Nassau County and served us for fifty-one years.

His early years in Hicksville were difficult ones. He had to borrow additional funds to meet ordinary operating needs. But at the end of his second year as pastor there remained only a small deficit, proving Father Fuchs a canny manager of finances. Also, he learned to lean heavily on the advice of the prudent men of the parish. Through his and their wisdom and foresight, land was purchased adjoining the church property, thus the frontage of an entire block was obtained on Broadway. He had an eye on the future.


A building fund first appears in 1883. The old church building was nearing the end of its usefulness, and the congregation was increasing slowly but steadily and conditions were becoming cramped. Records show that the pastor was the fund’s best friend because an examination of the records shows him to be a generous contributor. The notation “Donated by the pastor” appears in nearly every year’s entries. Finally, in May 1891, the old chapel was moved to the adjoining plot just to the south of its original position. On Independence Day, July 4, 1891, the cornerstone was laid by the Right Reverend John Loughlin, the first Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn. Five months later, on December 15th, the Bishop returned to dedicate the new church. Father Fuchs, in a letter, adds a poignant footnote to the dedication ceremonies. He wrote –

“…here it may incidentally be remarked that the  venerable prelate had come in the morning to dedicate the church feeling unwell. He had scarcely performed the ceremonies, when in the parish house, he grew  worse – after returning to his home, he took to his bed, from which he was never again to rise. On  December 29, 1891 he returned to his eternal reward – It was the last Episcopal function he performed.”

The new church measured 40 by 96 feet and had a steeple 110 feet high. It had a seating capacity of 400, four times that of the original church. In the steeple was the small bell taken from the old church. In addition, and after overcoming the objections of the pastor because of the additional cost, a new bell, weighing 755 pounds was installed. The donors were Henry C. Stolz, William Braun, Sebastian Braun, Valentine Lottermann, and August Scheiber. They convinced Father Fuchs that the new bell was “imperative,” and so it was, giving a strong voice to St. Ignatius for the community. It  was a long nourished dream of Father Fuchs to build a school. He wrote -

“No parish is truly complete until the foundations of a Catholic life are laid in the minds of the young and their Characters are shaped according to Catholic principles.” 

However the financial condition of the parish would not permit the expenditure for fifteen more years. The new church had cost just in excess of $20,000.

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About the turn of the century, the parish debt was paid off and a surplus slowly began to accumulate. In 1906, with much justified pride, Father Fuchs announced the plans for his dream – the parish school - to the congregation. That summer the demolition work on the old church, now a parish hall, began. Father Fuchs must have watched the work with a large lump in his breast for he told a BROOKLYN TIMES reporter at that time –

“Many a happy day have I spent in that little church, many a dear friend and kind neighbor have I assisted to bury from there. Many, very many, have passed out of it to their eternal reward. But times have changed now, the people and their thoughts have changed. Those were good old times; neighbor helped neighbor, and his love for his neighbor and his sense of duty caused him to do so.”

The architect’s plans called for a two-story building with a  frontage on Broadway of 40 feet and a depth of 65 feet. The cornerstone was laid on July 29th by the Right Reverend Monsignor Peter Dauffenbach of Brooklyn, a classmate of Father Fuchs. Monsignor Dauffenbach gave his address in German and Father John York, the pastor of St. Patrick’s in Huntington, spoke in English. The following September (1907) the new school opened its doors to the first 104 pupils.


In 1890, property on Jericho Road, now North Broadway, where the Broadway Mall now stands, was donated to the Diocese of Brooklyn for the erection of an orphanage for boys, the St. John’s Protectory, under the care of the Sister of St. Joseph. In 1900 additional adjoining property was donated bringing the total acreage to 155. Its farms and dairy operated until 1937 when the boys were transferred to St. John’s Home on Albany and St. Mark’s Avenues in Brooklyn. The land was finally sold to developers in 1952. But from its opening day until infirmity prevented him from continuing, Father Fuchs ministered to all the spiritual needs of the boys and the sisters. Sunday after Sunday Father Fuchs would be picked up by one of the older boys in a cart to offer Mass at the home before the first Mass at St. Ignatius.

In 1909, Father Henry Spengler, our first curate arrived. Father Spengler, like Father Fuchs, was a product of Most Holy Trinity parish in Williamsburgh, Brooklyn, itself the cradle of many, many priests and religious. It was to Most Holy Trinity parish, and the protection of the Very Reverend John Raffeiner, its pastor, that the Sisters of St. Dominic first came from Ratisbon, Bavaria, in August, 1853.

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In 1907 the Sisters of St. Dominic came to St. Ignatius to teach Sunday School traveling each week from Nazareth Trade School in Farmingdale. In 1910 the Sisters were given charge of the elementary school. Until this time, Sunday School classes were held first in the old church building and later in the 1907 school building by Sister M. Bonaventure, O.P. and Sister M. Honorata, O.P. A small cottage, which stood on Carl Street just west of Broadway, was their first convent. The school had been operated for its first three years by a lay staff. Now the Order purchased property on East Cherry Street to build their own convent, a three story frame building, named for St. Peter of Verona. This building was purchased from the Congregation in June 1949 along with all adjacent land permitting plans to be drawn up for the erection of a new convent. Work was begun in October 1952 and the new building was opened in March 1954 at a cost of $325,000. In 1998, after ninety years of service to the parish, the sisters moved out of the convent. Their presence will be missed but the memory of their service will remain.


Hicksville and St. Ignatius grew by leaps and bounds after the first World War. Population and prosperity kept pace and before long Father Fuchs was thinking about a new and larger school. Property was purchased from the Sisters of St. Dominic on East Nicholai Street behind the church and on March 15, 1922 Father Fuchs turned over the first spade of dirt and the excavation was begun. The excavation, incidentally, was accomplished without cost, by volunteers from the parish, farmers bringing teams of horses, workingmen digging out soil and wives bringing coffee and hot food. The entire cost of the new school was $100,000. But as work progressed, Father’s health began to fail. He would not live to see the completion of this grand undertaking, the first day of classes for his children. He died on the 8th of June, 1923, in the fifty-first year of his pastorate.


Hicksville as a community owed a great debt to this grand old man. Everyone, regardless of creed knew or knew of him. The LONG ISLANDER, a local newspaper of the day wrote –

“The funeral Tuesday was very large and most impressive; in fact the entire village attended in spirit if not in person. The community flag was placed at half-mast. All business houses closed between the hours of 10:00 and 12:00 A.M. More than 75 priests came to our village to assist in honoring our beloved Father Fuchs. The Public School was closed during the forenoon. The Supervisor and the Town Clerk were there as representatives of the Town of Oyster Bay. The sermon was preached by the Very Reverend John C. York, a life-long friend of Father Fuchs.

“The funeral procession passed down Broadway headed by American and Church flags, draped, followed by represent-atives of the American Legion, and Fire Department. Then came the St. John’s Home boys and Parochial School children, followed by the business men of Hicksville, and representatives of the town. The men and women of the parish followed with hearses and pallbearers in the center.

“The procession continued north on Broadway to John St., where the entire line divided and stood with bared and bowed heads while the hearse passed slowly on toward Westbury, where rest the other members of the family. “Thus did Hicksville honor its noble dead.”

The high esteem in which he was held by the Catholic and non-Catholic citizenry was unique and long standing. When he celebrated his fiftieth year as pastor the year before, a parade was held and a public reception was tendered to him by the various denominations of the town. Everyone attended the Solemn High Mass he celebrated in thanksgiving that morning.      

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One can imagine the feelings of the new pastor as he sat at the desk of Father Fuchs for the first time. Indeed, imagine him entering the old gentleman’s apartments and attempting to let sink in the fact that he was going to have to fill his shoes.
It was Father Francis X. Wunsch who had the honor of opening the new school. On his arrival, on June 23, 1923, he was informed that the school would receive 350 pupils in the following September. By 1926 that number had risen to 485, with a faculty of nine Sisters and one lay teacher. Also at this time, the pastor estimated the parish census to consist of 328 families comprising 2,000 souls.

One of Father Wunsch’s first decisions was to give his blessings to plans submitted to him by William Braun, William Duffy, Joseph Duffy and Jeremiah Hennessey to institute a council of the Knights of Columbus, a national order of Catholic men, in 1924. The council was named for Joseph Barry, a parishioner who was one of the three Hicksville men to lose their lives in the first World War. Father Wunsch became the council’s first chaplain. The Holy Name Society had been established as a parish society since June 19, 1904. In 1925 the Brooklyn Diocesan Holy Name Rally was held in Hicksville and hosted by St. Ignatius parish. Father Joseph Hack, then a curate here, and later Monsignor Hack, pastor of St. Boniface parish in Elmont, remarked its success –

“…a torrent of rain that day dampened the huge parade but we showed the Ku Klux Klan a fine demonstration ofour respect for and honor of the Holy Name of Jesus.”

The presence of the local Ku Klux Klan was among the reasons for the establishment of the Knights of Columbus council.Father Wunsch left his unique mark on the parish too. It was he who, in 1925, built the transept of the church, increasing its capacity. The exterior of the building was stuccoed, two confessionals were added, new Stations of the Cross were erected, and additional stained glass windows were installed. Bishop Thomas Molloy came to dedicate the renovated church on November 25, 1926. The celebrant of the Mass was Father Eugene Nolan, a Hicksville boy and St. Ignatius vocation. He also had the Rectory enlarged and the grounds beautified with lawns, trees and gardens. Father Wunsch’s tenure as pastor was to be a relatively short one, as compared with his predecessor’s. Just long enough to present diplomas to the children he welcomed as first graders, the first students to use the new school, only eight years before when he first came. Indeed, he asked his successor, Father George Bittermann, to delay his arrival for two weeks until he could preside at the graduation exercises for his boys and girls. 

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Father Bittermann succeeded Father Wunsch officially on June 23, 1931. These were now “depression” years and times were hard. Unemployment grew, farm prices dropped and money was scarce. But despite all of this, Father Bittermann managed to pay off the parish debt, and make plans for a new Rectory. The little white house on the corner of Broadway and East Nicholai served its occupants for seventy years and was the scene of much joy and turmoil, triumphs and sadness. But the plain fact was that the two story frame building had become a fire-trap. Work was begun on the feast of St. Ignatius in 1939 and in April 1940 a beautiful English manor style building was completed, providing room for three priests, a guest and a housekeeper. Father Bittermann must have been clairvoyant because on June 1st, 1940 the parish welcomed its first “second” curate in the person of Father Lawrence Ballweg. The cost of the new building was $65,000.

World War II saw 386 of its young parishioners go off to war, eighteen of them never to return. During the war, the church saw its second major renovation. Work began in June 1943 and was completed in August 1944. Paneling, gilding and decoration were applied to the ceilings and columns and the front entrance was remodeled permitting entry straight into the church from the street rather than from the two original right angle entrance doors.

In the postwar boom years, which saw city population spill over into the suburbs of Long Island, many new parishes were formed from the original St. Ignatius jurisdiction; St. Bernard’s in 1948, Holy Family in 1951, Our Lady of Mercy in 1953, St. Pius X in 1955 and St. Paul the Apostle in 1962.

In 1949 the library wing was added to the school at a cost of $100,000. A drive to raise $25,000 towards its completion that year yielded $32,000. In July 1953 two additional classrooms were added atop the left and right sides of the East Nicholai Street front, and a Third classroom was remodeled at a cost of $65,000. In the school year 1953-54 St. Ignatius School was first in the county for school population with an enrollment of 1,258 pupils. At this time our Confraternity of Christian Doctrine program had 1,900 children under instruction under the direction of Father Ballweg and a staff of 60 Volunteers. By the end of the decade St. Ignatius was providing religious instruction for 3,600 public school children. Father Ballweg and his program was the subject of a major pictorial article in the national Catholic magazine THE SIGN, which provided the model for many parish Confraternity of Christian Doctrine programs over a wide-spread area.

A very great honor was bestowed on our pastor on May 7, 1954 and by extension, on the parish. Father Bittermann was named a Domestic Prelate with the title “Right Reverend Monsignor” by Pope Pius XII. Monsignor Bittermann also had the honor to be the Dean of Central Nassau county with the additional title of “Vicar Forane,” and Diocesan Consultor to the Bishop. In 1960 Monsignor Bittermann celebrated the Golden Anniversary of his priesthood. Perhaps the greatest accolade paid Father Bittermann was given by his assistant, Father Ballweg, who came to him right out of the seminary in 1940 and remained with him for twenty-six years. In the parishes’ 125th Anniversary memorial book he wrote a personal appreciation, something only someone like him could experience and carry with him throughout his life. He wrote –

“Very often the first impression can be deceptive. Not with Father Bittermann, however. I never changed my opinion of him. I was truly impressed by the warmth, the friendliness and the simplicity of my new pastor. And he was always the same – not only to me but to everyone else. There wasn’t the slightest bit of guile in him. In fact, I have never met a person who was more universally loved. Bishops loved him. Priests loved him. The parishioners loved him. The children loved him. Even his curates loved him.”

It was said of Father Bittermann that if after Rockville Centre was created a diocese in 1957 the position of Vicar General was to be voted upon, he would have been the unanimous choice of his peers.  

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On May 7, 1961 Bishop Walter Kellenberg came to St. Ignatius parish to dedicate our third school, which was located on East Cherry Street, just east of the convent. An additional 550 children were on the register in the new facility bringing the total registration well over 1,600 pupils, with no more than fifty pupils in a classroom according to the Bishop’s request. Assisting Bishop Kellenberg at this time was his secretary, Monsignor John McGann, later Bishop McGann, and one of the acolytes, St. Ignatius’ own Jim McNamara, later Monsignor James McNamara who served as Diocesan Director of Priest Personnel.

On January 30, 1969 Monsignor Bittermann was given the title of “Pastor Emeritus,” and succeeded by Father Frederic Harrer, our eighth pastor. Indeed, his position in the diocese was so unique that Bishop Kellenberg came here, to the Rectory, to inform him. Monsignor Bittermann died on May 11, 1970, in his eighty-fifth year, just ten days short of the 60th anniversary of his ordination. It is interesting to note that the pastorates of Father Fuchs, Father Wunsch and Monsignor Bittermann, together, spanned ninety-seven years of parish history.


It fell to Father Harrer to complete the implementation in St. Ignatius parish of the many and far reaching decrees and changes to come out of the Second Vatican Council. Almost immediately a parish advisory council was established through which the voice of the laity was brought to the forefront. In it many social and pastoral issues of the day were discussed. National attention was attracted to the parish in the May 24, 1976 issue of TIME magazine. In it, St. Ignatius was depicted as being one of the typical American parishes coping with the changes brought home by Vatican II. In 1975 the parish sponsored an eleven member Vietnamese family, bringing to St. Ignatius the Hao family. 1975 also was the year which saw the birth of the Human Services apostolate in the parish under the direction of Sister Beata Maria Berger, O.P. Sister Beata was soon joined by Sister Kathleen Murphy, O.P. who continued the program after Sister Beata’s departure. Sister Kathleen McCarthy, O.P. took over operations in 1995.

On December 17, 1972 a Mass of re-dedication was offered in the newly refurbished church. The interior of the church was vastly changed: the original altar and altar rail were removed and a new offertory platform and altar was erected in the sanctuary, a new organ was installed at the front in the north transept facing the altar, a Blessed Sacrament chapel was added, and the baptistery was moved to the altar area. Also, as a result of Vatican II, three men of the parish were ordained permanent deacons.

During his twenty-one year pastorate, Father Harrer completed three, and was working on his fourth round of parish census visits to every family in the parish. He oversaw a wide ranging Youth program, and a short-lived experiment that used the services of Altar girls, initially disapproved by the diocese but later permitted. On January 28, 1990 Father Harrer retired and became our second Pastor Emeritus. He returned to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of his ordination on April 30, 1995.

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Father Edward Tarrant came to St. Ignatius at the request of Bishop McGann on June 18, 1988 to serve as administrator of the parish. Father Tarrant became our ninth pastor at Father Harrer’s retirement on January 28, 1990. Father Tarrant had a knack of finding talent. Many parishioners gave a hearty “yes” when approached by Father Tarrant asking for help on the many ministerial, social and financial projects he began. The Annual Bishop’s Appeal was re-vitalized, new and innovative services were provided and the means to fund them established. The grounds and buildings began to take on a new look.

In 1990 a parishioner approached Father Tarrant to ask him if he would approve a plan to permit volunteers from the parish to take over the many gardens and the landscaping of the parish grounds which had been neglected for many years. He gave his enthuastic approval. The original “Adopt-a-Garden” volunteers grew from the three who responded to the original call, led by Jane E. Schreiber, to a group of 50 dedicated men, women and children who literally turned the parish grounds into a show place. National notice was achieved with the publication of our story in the October 1995 issue of U.S.PARISH, a national newsletter.

Two major restoration projects were begun, one in 1994 with the work on the altar in the church and the other in 1998 with the external church building and auditorium-gymnasium renovations.

When one of our parishioners, who requested anonymity, came to Father Tarrant in November 1993 to arrange a fitting memorial for his wife, recently deceased, the first object that came to mind was a new altar. Father Tarrant came to the staff with the proposal and after much consideration, and an offer by the parish Maintenance Club, led by Fred Hess, it was decided to permit them to craft not only a new altar, but to completely renovate the sanctuary area. Many pieces of the original wooden altar in the Gothic style, the original altar railing, and their fittings salvaged from the 1972 renovation remained stored in the basement of the church. Some pieces, now over 100 years old and in perfectly usable condition, would be brought back, refurbished and used in the restoration.

The best of the remnants were selected and sent to professional furniture refinishers to strip away all the coats of stain and varnish applied over the years. What was used was the old communion railing for the railing behind the celebrant’s chair and ambo (a word resurrected from the early church meaning “pulpit”), and the railing on the right side of the ambo. These railings dated back to Father Wunsch’s 1926 renovation in which the north-south transepts were added to the church. The base of the ambo was taken from a statue pedestal. A new lectern top was constructed and affixed to it. A similar statue pedestal was used to replace the one in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel used as a base for the tabernacle.

The altar base also used parts of the old communion railing. The front pieces depicting the grape vines and the loaves and fishes were taken from the two hinged gates. The upright side-pieces came from the reredos of the high altar between the statues of St. Ignatius Loyola and St. Francis Xavier and the tabernacle. The altar side pieces as well as the base of the ambo date back to the1891 construction of the church and are over 100 years old. A new altar top had to be constructed because the old one did not meet our measurement requirements. The altar was blessed by Father Tarrant on Holy Thursday, 1994.

The celebrant’s chair came from the pre-1940 Rectory and was probably used by Father Fuchs In his dining room. This chair was at least sixty years old. It, too, was sent to be stripped and re-upholstered. A Deacon’s chair, matching the celebrant’s chair except that it had no arm rests, was subsequently found, refurbished, and placed in use.
Pre-dating the donation of the new altar by a few months, two catafalque candles, part of a set of six, were also discovered in the church basement. They were in bad condition but were salvageable. The steel was brass plated and the black enamel was replaced by red. The fittings were changed to eliminate wax candle fittings and to accommodate the newer safety flame canisters used elsewhere on the altar. The eventual new altar plans were kept in mind when the refinishing instructions were given.

The crucifix hanging over the altar was also altered. The result was a subdued appearance more in keeping with the conservative look of the renovated sanctuary. 

The general intent of this renovation was to unify the look of the church into an all-Gothic appearance instead of a multi-architectural conglomerate of styles. It was meant to be a pleasing return to the traditional style of St. Ignatius Loyola Church, one conducive to undistracted worship. From the outset, it was recognized that merely replacing the altar was not feasible. Liturgy, esthetics and tradition had to be considered and satisfied in all that was to be done.

On July 29, 1996 our pastor and his parish were again honored in the elevation of Father Tarrant to papal honors and the title “Reverend Monsignor.” On November 6, 1998, Monsignor Tarrant was additionally honored by the parish in the re-naming of the newly refurbished auditorium-gymnasium as the “Monsignor Edward L. Tarrant Parish Center.” To accomplish this, a parish campaign was undertaken in 1997 – 1998 to raise the funds. The result was gratifying and a tribute to Monsignor Tarrant.

On June 30, 1999 Monsignor Tarrant retired and was named “Pastor Emeritus” by Bishop Mc Gann. He took up residence in Corpus Christi parish in Mineola. In his place came Monsignor Donald T. Bennett to become our tenth Pastor. In his coming, the parish was again honored in that he was the first new pastor to come to us as a Monsignor.    

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Shortly after his arrival Monsignor Bennett’s expertise was put to the test. Our parish plant began to display serious and immediate problems. The one hundred and ten year old church and the seventy-five year old school on Nicholai Street began to crumble. In addition, the Rectory and convent suffered deterioration. To correct these major problems, which were given temporary fixes because of financial problems in the past, a major reconstruction had to be undertaken. To finance this a Vision of Faith Campaign was accomplished. This along with the Diocesan Jubilee Fund Campaign contribution to the parish and a loan from the Bishop financed the project. While we will be paying off this loan for some time, we will not have to face sudden major tasks in the foreseeable future. In our Vision of Faith Campaign, our parishioners responded with pledges in excess of eight hundred thousand dollars.

Monsignor Bennett also brought to us his own special spirituality that he makes us aware of in many subtle ways. Each of our pastors has endeared himself to us in his own unique way.

If it is true that the past is prologue, then much is expected of our new pastors. A priest does not come into a parish that is so rich in faith, history and tradition without a strong sense of responsibility and expectation. A pastor of St. Ignatius parish need never worry about support. All he needs to do is look over his shoulder to see all the followers. All he needs to do is ask.

With much thanks and appreciation,
Arthur A. Schreiber
February 8, 2002

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The primary sources of the facts used in this compilation was the dozen or so previously published articles and histories printed between 1890 and 1984, the parish COMMUNITY magazine and the Sunday BULLETINS. Every effort to corroborate dates and names was made. In addition, the following were used:

Diamond Jubilee Souvenir Journal, St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Hicksville, Long Island; 1859-1934.

125 Years of Faith, St. Ignatius Loyola, Hicksville, New York; 1984.

Diamond Jubilee Souvenir Journal, Roman Catholic Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Brooklyn, New York; 1916.

The TABLET – Supplement, One Hundredth Anniversary, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, 1853-1953, Brooklyn, New York; October 31, 1953.

Sharp, Msgr. John K. & Redmond, Rev. Herbert P., Priests and Parishes of the Diocese of Brooklyn, 1820-1972, R. C. Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y.; 1973.

Evers, Richard E., Hicksville Today and Yesterday, undated monograph.

Hicksville’s Story, 300 Years of History 1648-1948, Hicksville, Long Island, N.Y.; 1948.

From the Parish Archives


Hicksville July 27/1906

St. Ignatius Church was organized as a parish by Rev. Ignatius Theodore Goetz, acting pastor of St. Mary’s Church – Winfield – L.I. in the year 1859 – The cornerstone of the old Church was laid on August 21st of the same year. Pope Pius IX being Soverign Pontiff of the Church – Rt. Rev. John Loughlin Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn – and James Buchanan President of the United States – after being attended by several priests Rev. Father Goetz – who died Feb. 8, 1879 – Rev. Caspar Muller – died Oct. 29, 1881. Rev. Hoseph Hauber who attended from Fosters-Medow (sic) for three years – died Oct. 8, 1905. Rev. Father Laurentius Schneider succeeded Father Hauber but on account of ill health attended only for 18 months – and resigned – returned to Germany and died Aug. 24, 1883 – The Rev. Laurentius Fuchs, the present pastor then a young priest – ordained June 30, 1869. Acting curate for three years in St. Nicholas Church

(Page 2)

Brooklyn – N.Y. was assigned by the Rt. Rev. Bishop John Loughlin to take charge of the comparatively small and poor parish – after it had been left for four months without a priest – The first Mass was offered up by him in the old church – a frame structure 25 X 50 for a half filled church on Sunday September 1, 1872. Enough to make anyone feel discouraged – but God blessed the work. Under him a debt of $1100 on the new erected parish house was paid off. – The parish increasing made it necessary to acquire more grounds and soon it was found out that the little Church was inadequate to accommodate the Congregation after hard struggling enough money was raised to build a larger and more accommodating edifice – on May the 12th 1891 the old Church was moved to an adjacent lot – ground was broken and on July the 4th 1891 the cornerstone was laid by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Loughlin of Brooklyn – and the handsome well build (sic) was dedicated by the same venerable prelate – on Dec 15-1891-here it may incidentally remarked that the venerable prelate had come in the morning to dedicate the church feeling

(Page 3)

Unwell, he had scarcely performed the ceremonies, when in the parish house, he grew worse – after returning to his home, he took to his bed, from which he was never again to rise. On Dec. 31, 1891 he returned to his eternal reward – it was the last Episcopal function he performed. The Rt. Rev. Chas. E. Mc Donnell succeeded him, and was consecrated Bishop on April 25, 1892 – It was a long cherished wish of the pastor to have a parochial school and hall connected with the church, finally after 15 years hard work, the Mortgage on the Church was liquidated, and funds to the amount of $7000 collected – 

On April 16, 1906 – after plans and specifications drawn up by the Architect Franz T. Berlenbach had been approved by the Rt. Rev. Bishop and the trustees of the church Adolph Pasker – Peter O’Brien, and Henry C. Stolz – the contract was signed and given out to Sebastian Braun to do the Mason work, Poschman and Stolz the Carpenter work, P. Sherman of Westbury the Roofing – and Henry Braun the painting. The estimated cost of the Building when completed will amount to $15000.

(Page 4)

Laying the corner stone took place on Sunday afternoon July 29, 1906 at 4 Oclock – the Rt. Rev. Peter Dauffenbach an old classmate of the Rector, on the same day the Holy Name Society connected with the Church, have a new banner blessed. The event took place under the concourse of a large assemblage. Pope Pius X being Sovereign Pontiff of the Catholic Church Rt. Rev. Chas. E. Mc Donnell Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Theodore Roosevelt president of the United States – Priest (sic) present on the occasion were Mgr. Peter Dauffenbach, who laid the cornerstone and preached in German and Rev. John C. York Rector of St. Patrick’s Church – Huntington, L.I. who preached in English Finally Rev. Gerard Spielman O.S.B. Rector of St. Killian’s Farmingdale – Rev. Dr. Mc Ginnis of Westbury – and the Rector Laurentius Fuchs.

May God bless the Work and the Benefactors.

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An Honor Roll of Vocations from St. Ignatius Loyola Parish


Rev. Linus Stahl
1920 Rev. Eugene Nolan 
1924 Rt. Rev. Msgr. Elwood Purick
1925 Rt. Rev. Msgr. Myron Purick
1930 Rev. Stephen Stolz
1931 Rev. Francis Bintener
1940 Rev. John Stolz
1941 Rt. Rev. Msgr. Marion Reinhardt
1942 Rev. George LaFlare
1943 Rev. Harold Buetow
1971 Rev. Msgr. James McNamara
1971 Rev. Randal (Russell) Gillette, C.P. 
1972 Rev. Bernard Palka, S.A.
1973 Rev. Donald Harrington, C.M.
1976 Rev. Paul M. T. Dmoch, N.Y. Archdiocese
1981 Rev. Msgr. Robert McCann, Oakland Diocese
1981 Rev. Thomas Murray
1984 Rev. Brian McNamara
1991 Rev. Richard Gill, L.C.
1991 Rev. Martin Klein
1992 Rev. Michael Shannon, L.C.


1979 Deacon Don Zirkel
1979 Deacon Frank Moore
2007 George A. Mais



Bro. Edward Metzger
Bro. William Boslet, O.S.F.
Bro. Symeon (Michael) Gillette, O.S.B. 


(Sister) O’Brien
(Sister) O’Brien
S. Grace Adelaide Healy
S. Charles Joseph, C.S.J. McGunnigle (Florence)
S. Emeline, C.S.J. McGunnigle (Emmy)
S. Ignatia, O.P. Markle
S. Theresa, O.P. Markle
S. Isaabel, O.P. Francke
S. Grace Lawrence, C.S.J. Quinn (Mary)
S. Thomas Edmund, C.S.J. Purick (Alice)
S. Maurita Therese, O.S.F. Waters (Virginia)
S.Therese Isabel, O.P. Klewicki (Mary)
S, Mary Imelda, G.G.S. Buetow (Evelyn)
S. Henry Joseph, O.P. Braun
S. Clarence Aloysia, O.P. Braun
S. Maria St. Peter, M.M. Heilig
S. Maureen, I.M.H. Schrimpe
S. Patricia, O.P. Saunders (Pat)
S. Francis De Sales Sarli
S. Laurentia, O.P. Doyle
S. Charles Joseph, O.P. Doyle
S. Leona Knoll
S. Robert Francis, O.S.F. McGann
S. Elizabeth Carmel, C.S.J. McGunnigle
S. Michael Bernadette, O.P. Lamoureaux
S. Mary Cyril, O.P. Spinner
S. Marie Celine Reinhardt
S. Bernadette, O.P. Jones

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Pastors and Religious through the Years at St. Ignatius


1859-1863 Rev. Ignatius Theodore Goetz
1863-1868 Rev. Caspar Mueller
1868-1870 Rev. Joseph Hauber
1870-1872 Rev. Lawrence Schneider
1872-1923 Very Rev. Lawrence Fuchs, V.F.
1923-1931 Rev. Francis X. Wunsch (Later Rt. Rev. Msgr.)
1931-1969 Rt. Rev. Msgr. George M. Bittermann, V.F.
1969-1990 Rev. Frederic J. Harrer
1990-1999 Rev. Msgr Edward L. Tarrant (Administrator 1988-1990)
1999- Rev. Msgr. Donald T. Bennett


1909-1915 Rev. Henry Spengler
1915-1919 Rev. Peter Schutz
1919-1920 Rev. John Regulski
1920-1921 Rev. Alphonse Rickert
1921-1923 Rev. John O’Mahoney
1923-1924 Rev. Paul Korczyk
1924-1931 Rev. Joseph W. Hack (Later Rt. Rev. Msgr.)
1931-1959 Rev. John J. Wissler
1940-1966 Rev. Lawrence F. Ballweg (Later Rev. Msgr.)
1950-1965 Rev. Leo J. Goggin (Later Rev. Msgr.)
1959-1973 Rev. John P. Vitsas
1961-1969 Rev. Edward J. Shanahan
1965-1969 Rev. William J. Gallagher
1966-1969 Rev. James Carmody
1969-1970 Rev. Charles Guarino (Later Rev. Msgr.)
1969-1980 Rev. William Karvelis
1970-1978 Rev. Patrick Boyhan
1973-1977 Rev. Hugh Cannon
1977-1979 Rev. Robert Field
1979-1981 Rev. Edward Caskin
1980-1984 Rev. Louis I. Newman
1981-1987 Rev. Alfred Rogers
1984-1988 Rev. Thomas Costa
1987-1995 Rev. Peter T. Liu
1988-1993 Rev. Robert J. Giuntini
1993-1997 Rev. John V. Tunny
1995-2003 Rev. Gerard A. Gordon
1997-2007 Rev. James Carmody
2003-2008 Rev. Douglas R. Arcoleo
2008-  Rev. Jose Quilcate

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Our Parish Staff through the years


1910-1913 S. Bonaventure Elling, O.P.
1913-1925 S. Antonia Berlenbach, O.P.
1915-1948 S. Rosarita Conawsky, O.P.
1948-1955 S. Adelaide Schuerkamp, O.P.
1955-1961 S. Rose Dominic Funsch, O.P.
1961-1967 S. Mary Venard Clair, O.P.
1967-1970 S. Alphonsus Marie Maus, O.P.
1970-1976 S. Roseann McHale, O.P.
1976-1977 S. Kathleen Patricia Murphy, O.P.
1977-1980 S. Loretta Marie Devoy, O.P.
1980-1982 S. Alice Byrnes, O.P.
1982-1984 S. Mary Theresa Keane, O.P.
Interim S. Kathleen Patricia Murphy, O.P.
1984-2001 Jacqueline Burdi
2001- S. Mary Noonan, R.S.M.
2001- S. Mary O’Donnell, O.P.


Rev. Lawrence Ballweg
Rev. John Vitsas
S. Lillian DeLorme, O.P.
S. Maureen McCullough
Henry Fuoco
Lorraine Manning
Peggy Bischof
Mary O’Brien-Carbajal
Jane Ellen Schreiber
Rev. James Carmody (interim)
Mary Jane Mastrodomenico


1970-1974 Robert I. Jones
1974-1977 Don Haines Guidotti
1977- 2006 Frank Crosio
2006-2007 Dominic Eckersley
2007-2008 Dr. Thomas Tirino
2008-          Ms. Jennifer Toohey



1984-1988 Martin Klein
1988-1996 Arthur A. Schreiber
1996-1997 Edward Lundy
1997-1997 Robert McGuire
Interim Arthur A. Schreiber
1997-2006 Donald Cleary, Jr.
2006-2007 Maria McCarthy
2007-          Linda Price



1904 Michael R. Hines Earliest records
1904-1922 Peter O’Brien date from 1893.
1922-1927 Joseph J. McGunnigle
1927-1951 William Duffy
1951-1972 Vincent McGunnigle
1972-1988 Arthur A. Schreiber
1988-2005 Charles I. Montana, Jr.
2005-          William White

1918 Adolph Pasker
1918-1934 Henry C. Stolz
1934-1958 Lawrence Braun
1958-1979 Herbert Purick
1979-1981 Joseph Robinson
1981-1991 William M. Heberer, Jr.
1991-2006 Constance Clarke
2006            Mary Ann Lang

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date last changed: 12/09/2010
© Copyright 2009 Saint Ignatius Loyola Parish, Hicksville, New York.  All rights reserved.