With great joy we remember and celebrate our parish’s 70th anniversary this weekend. On November 5, 1950, Fr. Andrew J. McKeon was sent to establish a parish to serve the need of the fast-growing Valley Stream Catholic population. Here we are on November 5, 2020 celebrating our 70th anniversary. Congratulations to each one of you!
The area was just farmland when Fr. McKeon arrived. Many faithful rallied to convert an old farmhouse and two garages into our first Church. The name of our parish was chosen by the founding pastor, Fr. McKeon, a prayerful priest who had a great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The new parishioners gathered to celebrate the first mass on Christmas Eve of 1950.
The local population grew rapidly, and the number of people that gathered to worship at Blessed Sacrament necessitated an expansion of the worship capability of our parish. Major fundraising campaigns were launched to build a church in 1952 and it was dedicated in June 1953. That structure is what is now our gym. The school was then built and dedicated in 1957. The parish continued to thrive and grow which necessitated a larger worship space, which is our present church, dedicated in June 1963 by then Bishop Walter Kellenberg – just ten years after the dedication of the first Church.
Since the very beginning, in that converted farmhouse and garages, the Church of the Blessed Sacrament was and continues to be a vital part of the northern perimeter of the Valley Stream community. We are an ever-changing, multi-cultural community of faith who strives to answer God’s call through our mission: serve God and others, unite cultures, make disciples, and share the gospel. Many people have been fed, nourished, and educated through the good works and deeds of the people of Blessed Sacrament.
I am grateful to acknowledge so many men and women that have worked tirelessly for the growth of our parish; the priests, deacons and nuns that have served in our parish and school, the principals and teachers, our Directors of Religious Education and catechists, directors of parish outreach, business managers, maintenance personnel, receptionists, volunteers, and to all our parishioners both past and present. In a special way, I want to acknowledge and thank all the donors of our parish since 1950 to present. You are one of the reasons we celebrate this anniversary – through your sacrifice, your dedication and service, we continue the good works we are called to accomplish in His name. May God continue to reward you all.
My gratitude to my predecessors who have cleared a path for me to be here, Fr. Andrew McKeon, Fr. Clement Walsh, Fr. Edmond Trench, Bishop John Dunne, Fr. Gregory Cappuccino, Fr. Gerald Cestare and Fr. Peter Dugandzic. Your dedication and service to the people of Valley Stream is appreciated by all. We celebrate you as we celebrate this 70th anniversary.
My dear parishioners, although we are unable to celebrate this special anniversary as we had planned because of this pandemic, we know that when it is safe to do so, we will joyfully gather to celebrate it with a big party! The pandemic will become a part of our history, our story, and will also be a reminder that through it all we will overcome obstacles and remain strong in faith and love. Thank you for your continued support – financially, spiritually, and faithfully as we pray and worship together as a community of faith.
I am honored to be part of this celebration and to be part of the life of this parish. Let us continue to live our parish mission together and to be a blessing to one another. Please know that we are here for you. As always, be assured of my prayers.
At Your service and His,
Fr. Lawrence N. Onyegu