|On December 7, 1913, Fr. Eugene Donnelly celebrated Mass in a building on 62nd Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. With that sacred act, St. Athanasius Parish was born. Thanks to the support and sacrifice of area families, the first parish church was built less than a year later. Building continued through the Great Depression as a school, community center and convent were added to the parish. At that time, the Sisters of St. Joseph, Brentwood, began their long association with the St. Athanasius family.|
By the late 1950s, it became clear that the little church, as it was affectionately known, was no longer big enough to handle the parish’s needs. A new church was needed. In 1961, our magnificent current church was built and finished in 1963. It is now on Bay Parkway and became the center of parish life. During the turbulent years of the early 1960s, St. Athanasius parish adapted to the ever-changing needs of its people and embarked on a period of outreach. Mass began to be celebrated in English instead of Latin, giving the congregation a real sense of participation. The Folk Mass was introduced. Singing to the strum of the guitar and the beat of a tambourine laid the ground work for an expanding Music Ministry and the establishment of two vibrant Charismatic Prayer Groups. Today our Folk Mass is still celebrated at 10a.m. and our Choir provides music for the 11:30a.m. Mass.
Soon after, St. Athanasius started an Italian apostolate, celebrating Mass in Italian in the Lower Church with an Italian Choir. As the years progressed and the demographics of the community changed, Korean and Spanish Apostolates were added. Today, St. Athanasius is pleased to offer Masses in English, Italian, and Spanish. The Korean Community recently moved to the neighboring parish of Holy Spirit on 45th Street and 17th Avenue.
St. Athanasius has a thriving grammar school serving Catholic and non-Catholic children alike with an innovative Religious Education Program, serving children, their families and adults.
The parish additionally offers many opportunities for fellowship, spiritual growth, and community service. St. Athanasius continues to clearly live the theme for its Jubilee year — Celebrating 95 Years of Faith and Family!