The church of St. Matthew’s is located at 100 Kinne St. in East Syracuse, and on Sept. 21 the congregation will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the construction of the church. (Submitted Photo)
By Hayleigh Gowans
St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church in East Syracuse has been a religious center for many residents in the area for more than 100 years and on Sept. 21, the parish will signify the 100th year of worship in the current building with a celebratory mass.
St. Matthew’s was established on June 15, 1880, on the plot of land where the current church off of Kinne Street is located — known as St. Matthew’s Square — and Rev. Michael Clune was the first pastor. On May 20, 1917, the present Romanesque-style church was built under the direction of Rev. Dennis Moore.
“I think the building of this church 100 years ago was a testimony to the faith and growth of this area, both in the population and the economy,” said current pastor Father Sean O’Brien. “I always say there are two things that keep a town alive — a school and a church. Take one of those away and you lose the foundation of a community.”
The current congregation that St. Matthew’s serves includes 1,500 families, and it serves as the hub church for two other linked parishes — St. Francis of Assisi in Bridgeport and St. Mary’s of Assumption in Minoa.
A Centennial Celebration Mass will occur at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 21 — the same day as the feast of the church’s patron saint, St. Matthew. The principal celebrant is Bishop Robert Cunningham, and Father O’Brien along with other former pastors and priests that grew up in the parish will also participate in the service including former pastors Father Haggerty, Father Dwyer and Father Clemente.
Father O’Brien said the church has remained mostly the same since the original construction in 1917 and has been maintained throughout the years to keep it in good condition. In the 1960s, a second alter was added to better serve the church community. For the future, Father O’Brien said he hopes maintenance can continue so St. Matthews can serve the community for 100 more years.
“We hope that by celebrating the centennial of the church, it will remind residents of our parish community, the village of East Syracuse and surrounding communities that the church is there and will always be there in times of need, especially during the existing events and catastrophes around the world today,” said Joseph Parone, chairperson of the centennial committee.
To learn more about the centennial celebration, call 315-437-8318.
I am a reporter for the Eagle Bulletin and Cazenovia Republican at Eagle News. I report on topics ranging from town and village government, business, news and features. I am a 2014 graduate of the Roy H. Park School of Communications and have a degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.