Star of the Sea Name History
The name, Mary Star of the
Sea, has a two-part Grand Island history, first as a summer church in the first
half of the 20th century, and then as a Knights of Columbus council
in the second half of the 20th century and beyond.
This narrative will generally explain each part.
Due to a large number of
summer residents, the trustees and Father Frank Meyer (Pastor, 1910-16) of St.
Stephen’s Church were instrumental in building a summer church at the corner
of Ferry and Orchard Roads. Construction
of the church began in 1911 and was completed in 1913.
This church, dedicated in July 1911 by Bishop Colton, was called
"Mary Star of the Sea". The
first Mass was said on July 4, 1913. The
summer church remained the responsibility of the Pastors of St. Stephen’s
Church after Father Meyer until 1948: Fathers Charles Kraehn (1916-28), Albert
Hoffmeyer (1928-35), Alfred Hagemaier (Dec‘35-Jan‘36), William Martin
(1936-43), Martin Marnon (1943-45), and Edward Schwegler (1945-67).
With the decline of summer
visitors and increase of permanent residents and the enlargement of St.
Stephen‘s Church in 1948 all Catholic services were moved to St. Stephen. Mary
Star of the Sea Church building was sold to the Grand Island American Legion
Post in November 1948. In August
1960, the building was purchased by the Grand Island Masonic Lodge No. 1138
F&AM. In 1997, the building was
sold by the Masonic Lodge to private residents.
Besides the building still
at Ferry and Orchard Roads, two memorabilia of the old church exist on the
island, the church bell and the building cornerstone.
The church bell, composed of 78% copper and 22% tin, has the following
raised lettering in two lines: MENEELY & CO., WEST TROY, NY, 1911, and
“AVE, MARIS STELLA”. On October
10, 1976, the Masonic Lodge presented the church bell to Grand Island’s
Knights of Columbus Council No.4572. Since
1976, the bell has been located in front of the Council’s building at 1841
Whitehaven Road. It is supported by vertical structural steel which rests on a
concrete base, with ‘June 76” scratched on the base surface. This 1976 Masonic Lodge presentation was included with the
dedication of the Albert Schoenle Memorial, which is also located in front of
the Council’s building. It
consists of an engraved metal plate attached to stone embedded in the ground
near the bell; it has the following inscription in three lines: ALBERT//SCHOENLE//MEMORIAL.
The cornerstone from the
summer church has the following inscription in three lines: CHURCH OF MARY//STAR
OF THE SEA//JULY 4TH 1911. Several years before presenting the bell, the Masonic Lodge
presented the cornerstone to the Knights of Columbus Council.
It was included as part of a shrine on the Council’s Whitehaven Road
lawn in front of the building. The
Council donated the corner stone to St. Stephen Church in 2000 to be placed
inside the new St. Stephen Church near the statue of Mary. It remains there
The name, Mary Star of the
Sea, remained dormant from the closure of the summer church and sale of the
former church building in 1948 until the establishment of Knights of Columbus
Council No. 4752 in 1959. As a
remembrance of the former summer church, and with the appropriate permission,
the Council was named Mary Star of the Sea.
Brother Peter Kuszczak