Immaculate Conception Church, Astoria

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   A Tower of Faith located on the corner of Ditmars Blvd. & 29 Street

  About Us | History


In January, the Most Reverend Bishop Thomas E. Molloy, STD assigned Father Michael D. Lopez to institute in the Arleigh Section of Queens (now Astoria) a new parish to relieve the strain on the few existing parishes in the fast growing community.

The site of the first Mass was the home of Dr. John J. Dempsey, Principal of P.S. 85, located at 28-19 Ditmars Avenue (Blvd.)

The corner stone of the new Church-school was laid in July 1924, with Bishop Molloy presiding. At this time, enthusiasm and dedication of parishioners brought into existence the Holy Name, Rosary and Altar Societies.

In October 1924 Fr. Lopez said the first Mass in the Immaculate Conception basement Church. The upper Church and four classrooms were completed. The Sisters of St. Francis of the Mt. Hope Community arrived to staff the school.


Reverend Edward J. Higgins replaced Fr. Lopez.


In memory of his father, Fr. Higgins erected a Grotto dedicated to Our Lady and St. Bernadette located on the side of the Church.  Fr. Higgins founded the Catholic War Veterans, a movement which spread throughout the United States and its territories. Also, the Novena to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal was introduced as a special devotion to Our Lady.


The community of nuns had increased and a residence at 21-56 29 Street was purchased by the parish and blessed by Bishop Molloy.


On the advice of Bishop Molloy, the present rectory was constructed and completed in 1940.


The Sisters of the Holy Union, from Fall River, Massachusetts, replaced the Franciscan Sisters.


Bishop Thomas E. Molloy celebrates a Mass of Thanksgiving on the 25th anniversary of the parish and ground is broken for the new Church of the Immaculate Conception.


Dedication of the new Church took place.


Monsignor Higgins, having served as pastor of the parish for 30 years went to his eternal reward.  Fr. William D. Lyons, an assistant since 1950, was installed as pastor on June 20, 1964 by Bishop Bryan J. McEntegart.


Bishop McEntegart dedicated an addition to the school and a new school hall. A group known as Our Ladys Pre-School came into existence under the guidance of Fr. Lyons and the assistance of a core group of dedicated parish volunteers.


The main altar in the Church was moved forward and the baldachin constructed which enhanced the beauty of the sanctuary.


Dedication of the new convent and an extension to the school hall (gym) was officiated by Bishop Mugavero.


Members of Immaculate Conception parish and Grace Lutheran Church met to initiate a Senior Citizen Club for Northwest Astoria.


Under the leadership of Fr. John Harrington and with Fr. Lyons blessing, a chapel was opened at 20-20 21 Avenue to better serve the growing Spanish community.


Fr. Lyons retired as Pastor and was replaced by Fr. Walter V. Murphy.  During Fr. Murphys pastor ship, Eucharistic Ministers and Lectors were commissioned. Also a young mothers support group met once a week in the school hall.  The mid 80s saw the beginning of a Homeless Program for women.


Fr. Murphy retired and was succeeded by Fr. Charles P. Boccio. On March 18, 1986, Fr. Boccio was appointed to Immaculate Conception Church by Bishop Mugavero and officially installed as pastor on April 20, 1986.


Fr. Boccio was raised to a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor on December 3, 1989.


Sr. Bridget McGettigan spearheads ministry to the sick and homebound.  Girls took on the role of altar servers along with the boys for Sunday Masses and holy days. Three separate prayer groups from the English, Spanish and Filipino communities begin meeting on a regular basis.

On December 8, 1994 the Knights of Columbus Council #11449 was established in our parish.


Monsignor Boccio retired January 2008 and was succeeded by Monsignor Fernando Ferrarese.

A Parish Pastoral Council was established to work with the community and plan for the future of the parish. 


Vibrancy of parish grows and the number of programs reach an all-time high focusing on the spiritual and religious education of adults and young people alike.
































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