St. Patrick’s Church, Newburgh, enjoys the proud distinction of being the oldest Catholic Church in Orange County, and in a few years from now, viz., 1937, will formally celebrate its centennial.
According to reliable historical sources, services were occasionally held in private houses in the locality, even prior to 1816, for the few and scattered Catholics of the District, but it was not until the year 1836, that a parish was formally established, and a pastor appointed.
The name of the first pastor was Rev. Patrick Duffy. The name of the Bishop then ruling New York Diocese, was the Right Rev. John Dubois. Father Duffy remained pastor until 1853. Since then the parish has had six pastors, and under each, Catholicity has made strong strides. Indeed, measured by the increase in the number of Communicants, its progress has been phenomenal. For the little flock of 200 in 1837, has now increased to nearly 5,000. This increase is all the more remarkable, when we realize that besides St. Patrick’s Church, there are now in Newburgh, three other Catholic Churches with large congregations.
But its progress is not marked by numbers alone. In the field of education, it has also a splendid record, conducting for some time, two parochial schools, one for boys, and the other for girls. In the work of Christian and Secular education in these schools, seventeen teachers are now employed. Measured also by a material standard, St. Patrick’s Church is in a. very strong position. Besides the church it possesses a great deal of real estate, including a Rectory, a Convent, a Brothers’ House, two Schools, two Cemeteries, and two houses, and a large hall. It also has a Church and some property in New Windsor. Besides St. Patrick’s Church, there are now as we have stated three other flourishing Catholic Churches in Newburgh, and in the County where there was only one church in 1837, there are at present 35.
The name of the present pastor is Very Rev. Henry O’Carroll, V. F. P. R. He was born in Listowel, Ireland, in 1869. He made his college studies at St. Michael’s College, in the same town, and also at St. Breendan’s, Killarney. From the latter college, he went to the National Ecclesiastical University of Maynooth, where he made his philosophical and theological studies. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1893, and soon after his ordination came to America. His first appointment was as one of the assistants at St. Patrick’s in Newburgh. Here he remained for over 14 years, when he was made pastor of Livingston Manor. After 7 years, in this pastorate, he was appointed by the late Cardinal John M. Farley, permanent rector of St. Patrick’s, Newburgh, December 1914.
In the year 1924, December 10, His Eminence, Patrick Cardinal Hayes, appointed him Dean of Orange and Rockland Counties.
At present he has associated with him in his work in the parish, three assistants, Rev. Stephen P. Connelly, Augustive A. Donoghue, and John O’Reilly.