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Our Parish History

In September, 1905, Bishop Bernard J. McQuaid of the Rochester Catholic Diocese established a parish in the hamlet of Despatch, later to be known as East Rochester. With only a dozen Catholic families, mass was said in a hall on the third floor of an East Rochester Commercial Street building owned by Adolphus D. Branchaud.

As the area grew, so did the parish. On August 12, 1906, Bishop McQuaid, accompanied by many visiting priests, helped with the laying of the cornerstone of a new building at West Commercial and South Garfield Streets. Reverend Bernard J. Gefell was appointed pastor.

The new church and rectory were built at a cost of $13,000. By 1927, the parish had grown so much that both the church and the rectory had to be enlarged at a cost of $40,000.

It was Father Gefell's desire to establish a Catholic school in the community. In 1917, he purchased several lots on the corner of West Avenue and South Garfield Street. Plans for the school building were drawn up over the next eight years, but were then laid aside.

In 1938, the parish organized the Catholic Youth Association. Held on the third floor of the Harry Eyer Building, the facility gave the Catholic youth of the village a place for recreation. A decade later, on October 26, 1948, a recreation center, which cost $100,000, was dedicated. The property, located at West Avenue and South Garfield Street, was opened by direction of Father Gefell for all the youth of the village, regardless of their religion.

Father Gefell died on February 9, 1950. Bishop James E. Kearney appointed Reverend Roy B. Morphy as the new pastor of St. Jerome Parish.

Father Morphy put much of his energy into raising money for a Catholic elementary school. His dream was fulfilled at the groundbreaking on June 29, 1954. It was situated on the original lots which Father Gefell had purchased thirty-seven years earlier.

The parish was shocked at the sudden death of their pastor in February of 1965. Reverend Anthony F. Calimeri, who had served the parish as assistant pastor in the 1950's, was appointed pastor of St. Jerome Church. He remained until 1983, when the Precious Blood Fathers were assigned to the parish by Bishop Matthew H. Clark. Reverend Nicholas Arioli became pastor. In September 1986, Reverend Richard J. Masciangelo was appointed pastor.

St. Jerome School was closed in June 1987 due to declining enrollment.

In June of 1994, Father Masciangelo retired from St. Jerome Church. He died suddenly on December 19, 1994. Father Albert Delmonte was named pastor of St. Jerome Church in June 1994, by Bishop Matthew H. Clark. Father Delmonte was pastor until November 1999. Bishop Clark appointed Father Michael F. Conboy, in January 2000, and retired June 2005. Father Steven Lape was appointed as pastor on June 28, 2005.

In June of 2011, Father Willian B. Leone was appointed as the church pastor. Having served a short term with St. Jerome back in 1977-1980, his return has been a very welcome one.

Who was St. Jerome?

Also Known As: Eusebius Hieronymus Sophronius; Girolamo; Hieronymus; Man of the Bible

Memorial Day: September 30

Born: 340 in Strido, Dalmatia

Died: 420 in Bethlehem

Patronage: archeologists, archivists, Bible scholars, librarians, libraries, people named Jerome, schoolchildren, students, translators

St. Jerome, who is called in Latin "Hieronymus", which means "holy name", was born in Dalmatia in 340 A.D. He was baptized a Catholic when he was eighteen years old. After living as a hermit in Palestine, St. Jerome went to Rome. Much against his will, because of his great humility, he was ordained a priest. St. Damasus, the thirty-ninth Pope, commissioned him to translate the whole Bible into Latin. It took St. Jerome fourteen years to make his first version of the Holy Scripture in Latin, in what is known as the Vulgate. A few more years were required to make emendations, and then, in the beginning of the fifth century, the work was completed.

St. Jerome had a great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He went to Bethlehem, and lived near the crib where Our Lord was born. Two disciples there, St. Paula, and her daughter, St. Eustochium, set up three convents for nuns under St. Jerome's direction.

 St. Jerome also had a great devotion to the Guardian Angels. He is the doctor of the Church, who assures us that each one of us has a Guardian Angel for him or her self.

St. Jerome died in Bethlehem in 420 A. D., with his head in the manger where Our Lord was born. His body is kept at the Church of St. Mary Major in Rome, where Our Lord's crib is also kept.

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