By Rebecca Henely
As the Church of the Holy Child Jesus in Richmond Hill marked its 100th anniversary this year, a priest with the help of Community Board 9 and City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) worked to get the parish special recognition.
More than 100 parishioners and others joined together Sunday at the intersection of 86th Avenue and 112th Street, close to where the church stands at 111-11 86th Ave., to celebrate the co-naming of the intersection as The Church of the Holy Child Jesus Plaza. Crowley issued a proclamation to the parish, church officials led the parishioners in prayer and children sang a hymn written just for the church’s centenary at the unveiling ceremony.
“This is a wonderful, wonderful day for all of us,” said Bishop Octavio Cisneros, the church’s pastor.
Crowley said the church is one of the few in Queens to have a bishop for a pastor.
Ivan Mrakovic, chairman of CB 9, said the Rev. Francis Colamaria of the church attended CB 9 a few months ago to request that the intersection be co-named for the church. He said Crowley was also instrumental in advocating for the renaming. The decision to rename the church passed with a majority vote by CB 9 board members.
In her remarks at the ceremony, Crowley said the renaming was a recognition of the church’s 100 years of service to the community. She said the church often worked with her office for charitable purposes, such as a coat drive and food pantry.
“The church has opened its doors to people of all ethnic and social backgrounds,” Crowley said.
Millie Bello, a 101-year-old parishioner at the church, pulled the string to unveil the sign.
Cisneros said the sign was an honor, but reminded those at the ceremony that the sign was only a symbol.
“It means that there is a community alive in this part of Richmond Hill,” he said.
Cisneros also congratulated the parishioners for making the church what it is.
“The church is only bricks and lights and beautiful things,” he said. “The church is you.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.