St. Boniface Church, Brooklyn (1854)

St. Boniface Church, Brooklyn (1854) June 5, 2014


Rev. Bonaventure Keller, O.S.F., one of St, Boniface’s first pastor, was active in German-American communities nationwide.

Rev. John Stephen Raffeiner of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, at that time vicar general for the Germans, saw the necessity for a new German parish, and with the approbation of Bishop Loughlin, encouraged the work of foundation. The congregation was at once formed, and Father Schneller of St Paul’s placed the basement of his church at their disposal until they could build their new church. In 1853, a board of trustees, of which Mr. F.J. Glatzmayer was the leading spirit, purchased for $4,500 St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, which was dedicated by Bishop Loughlin under the invocation of St. Boniface. The first pastor was Rev. Moritz Ramsauer. The congregation numbered some 200 souls, and the children were taught by a lay teacher in a school in the basement of the remodeled church. Father Ramsauer was succeeded by Rev. Bonaventura Keller, O.S.F. , but on account of failing health, he resigned and went to Wisconsin. Succeeding pastors were Revs. Joseph Brunnemann, O.S.F.  (1855) whose pastorate was very short; John G. Hummel, O.S.B., who remained five years; Michael J. Decker (1865) who in 1867 secured two lots on Duffield Street, between Willoughby and Myrtle Avenues, on which he proposed to build a new church, but was prevented from doing so by his failing health, and introduced the Dominican Sisters for his parochial school; W. Oberschneider (1868);  B. Bariffi, during whose pastorate the cornerstone of the new church was laid by Bishop Loughlin in 1871; Peter DeBerge, who completed the church which was dedicated in 1872, and built a convent and school for the Sisters; Peter Schwarz, who attended the parish for nearly a year when he went to Amityville, L.I.;  John B Willman (1877), who tore down the old frame buildings on Willoughby Street and replaced them with substantial brick houses, but after a pastorate of two years, retired from active service; George Feser; Martin Lang, who decorated the church, and in November 1904, celebrated the golden jubilee of his parish. Father Lang is assisted by Rev. W. Hamma. The school has an attendance of 98 boys and girls under the care of 7 Sisters. The parish numbers about 1,200 and the church property valued at $75,000 with a debt of $25,000.

The Catholic Church in the United States of America (Three Volumes) (New York: The Catholic Editing Company, 1914), II, 546. 

NOTE: Today St. Boniface is run by the Oratorians, and has proved to be one of the city’s most vibrant faith communities. Recently NET, the Brooklyn diocesan channel, featured a profile on the parish, which I attach here:

St. Boniface, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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