Below you will find two oral histories recorded with members of the parish- Angel Marinaccio, a lifetime resident of the neighborhood, and Monsignor John Ahern, who now resides in the rectory. Each recorded history offers a unique insight into the life and times of the parish, the way the church has affected the community, and vice versa.
Angel Marinaccio was born in 1950 in New York City. Her family was from Sciacca, in Sicily. Her great-grandparents immigrated through Ellis Island with her grandparents in the early 1900s and settled on Elizabeth Street, which was mostly comprised of other Sicilians. Angel was the second generation born in the United States, but her ethnic background still played a dominant role in her life. In Little Italy, she lived near numerous family members, as family was of the utmost importance in Italian culture. So was religion, and although Angel didn’t attend the Cathedral School, when she was old enough, she chose to attend mass there every Sunday. Later in life, she decided her children would attend school and do their sacraments at St. Patrick’s. Today Angel continues to live in Little Italy with her husband and is an active parish member of Old St. Pats. While many of her friends and family members have moved away, those who grew up in Little Italy continue to stay connected to one another.
Monsignor John Ahern was ordained in 1954. For the majority of his years with the Archdiocese he has worked in various administrative jobs, primarily concerning social justice. He worked as part of the Poverty program both within the diocese, and as a representative of the program to the governing body in New York City. He also served as program director for Catholic Charities, and as director of the Holy Name Center for Homeless Men, and pastor of its attached church, Our Lady of Loretto. During his time in New York Msgr. Ahern has witnessed great changes both within the Church and within his community. Msgr. Ahern retired in 2010, at which time he joined Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral as parochial vicar.
The story is not over, and the historical record is by no means complete! If you would like to contribute your own stories and memories to help expand our knowledge of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, you can call in to record your memories over the phone as an audio file, or post them here as a written document. These stories will appear here on the website so that others can learn about your unique experiences as members of this fascinating community.