In the wake of the blockbuster announcement of the impending closure of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy in Bensonhurst, rumors began flying across the social media landscape that the church affiliated with the school is also about to shut its doors.
Not true, said the Rev. Msgr. Robert Romano, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.
Eager to dispel the rumors, Romano posted a statement on Facebook and on the parish’s website in which he issued a flat-out denial that Our Lady of Guadalupe is closing.
“There have been some rumors made as to the closing of our church. Let me be the first to dispel those rumors. Our church has its doors open and will continue to do so, as well as our youth program and other highly active community organizations. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our rectory,” Romano wrote.
Romano is also the Catholic chaplain for the New York Police Department.
“Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn will be closing its doors after this school year. The church will remain open although we aren’t confident as to how long,” a Facebook user wrote on the Italian Enclaves page.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church has a history of surviving despite the odds.
Located at 7201 15th Ave., it was established as a parish in 1906. In the beginning, parishioners attended mass in a simple frame building, according to a history page on the church’s website. The church building was constructed in 1908. It was destroyed by fire in 1933 and was rebuilt. Forty years later, in 1973, another fire damaged the church’s interior. It was rebuilt again, according to the website.
Last week, rumors of the parish’s demise spread like wildfire after it was announced by Board of Directors Chairperson Michael Masaracchio that Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy would close in June due to rapidly declining enrollment and escalating operating costs.
In February, 2018, it was announced that the nearby Santa Rosalia Church — which had stopped celebrating mass and the sacraments in June, 2016 — would be sold. That church, at 6301 14th Ave., was subsequently demolished.
The school at Our Lady of Guadalupe, located at 1514 73rd St., has been open for more than 90 years and has educated generations of Bensonhurst children.
“This difficult decision was reached, following, extensive consultation, due to continuing economic challenges faced by the academy and a rapidly decreasing pool of students choosing Catholic school education in our area,” Masaracchio wrote in a letter to parents.
The Class of 2019 will be the last graduating class in the school’s long history.