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St. Gabriel's Parish History

Early 20th century picture of St Gabriel's parish

St. Gabriel's Roman Catholic Church was consecrated on Sunday, May 28, 1893, on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity. This church was a memorial given by Mrs. Adrian G. Iselin, founder of St. Gabriel's and endowed by her for the Catholics of New Rochelle. The first Sunday in June is considered the anniversary date of the Church.

During the consecration a Pontifical Mass was offered by the Archbishop of New York, Michael Augustine Corrigan, assisted by the new pastor, the Rev. John A. Kellner, pastor.

The completion of St. Gabriel’s made it the second Roman Catholic Church in New Rochelle. At the present site, a small German Catholic congregation had worshipped. The appointment of Reverend Kellner, a German-American and one of the most well-known priests in the Diocese, to the new church was received with widespread satisfaction.

The church has long been renowned for its sumptuous stained glass windows crafted by Louis Comfort Tiffany Studios; The Gorham Company; Franz Mayer and Company; Heaton, Butler and Payne and others.

St. Gabriel’s was built as a memorial to the deceased members of the Iselin Family. The gift of land, church, and rectory – St. Gabriel’s owes its existence to the Iselin Family. Every Iselin now living, it is said, from the oldest to the youngest, has contributed some share of the wealth that has made St. Gabriel’s one of the most unique and artistic churches in Westchester County. In its early years, it was the spiritual home of the town’s aristocracy and more importantly all of the immigrant peoples-  Irish, Italian, and German who came to New Rochelle through the city’s west end. Today, it also serves the working class of New Rochelle which has a large Hispanic population.

A wood-framed mini-mosaic work of art featuring Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico is the centerpiece of a small chapel at the rear on the east side of St. Gabriel's Church. Hispanic members of the congregation have expressed awe, grateful appreciation and love for the symbol of their homeland, Mexico and feel a deep sense of belonging with their national religious symbol of Our Lady of Guadalupe at home in St. Gabriel's Church. This majestic portrait, elegant in its simplicity, was the work of Sviat Makarenko, a celebrated artist in the tradition of icon painting. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was created by him in the medium of mosaic tile and presented to the parishioners of St. Gabriel's Church by their pastor, Msgr. Patrick V. McNamara in 2003.

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