Our Hispanic Community
St. John’s Parish began ministering to the increasing number of Spanish-speaking people in this area when Rev. Robert Carden (1957-1961) became the first Spanish-speaking priest assigned to the parish specifically to minister to the growing Puerto Rican population in Beacon.
Rev. Thomas B. Fenlon (1961-1964) continued that ministry.
Rev. Neil Graham (1970-1973) introduced the changes of Vatican II to the Spanish community in 1970. Mass began to be offered regularly in Spanish in the lower hall.
Rev. Rogelio Cuesta, O.P., Director of the Newburgh – Beacon Spanish Apostolate, ministered to the Spanish speaking community from 1972 to 1978. He was assisted by the Daughters of Jesus order of nuns.
Fr. Fenlon returned to minister in the Spanish Apostolate from 1978 to 1987. He was assisted by the Daughters of Divine Love (Sisters Gloria Castro and Josephine Stabile)
Fr. Fenlon was followed by:
- Rev. Luis Alberto Bejarano, S.J. (1988-1989).
- Rev. Leonell Trudell (1989 – 1992)
- Rev. James Sheehan (1992 – 1993)
- Rev. John Albino (1993 – 1995)
- Rev. Nimal Mendis (1995 – 2001)
- Rev. Tomas Bobadilla (2001 – 2006)
- Rev. David Nolan (2006 - 2011)
- Rev. Richard Smith (2011 - present).
Beginning of Our New Parish
In July 2000, Rev. Joseph Bisignano, who was pastor of St. John the Evangelist, also became the Administrator of St. Joachim’s. At that time, all of the priests in Beacon (Rev. Nimal Mendis, C.H.S., Rev. Thomas Kallumady, Rev. Thaddeus Obba, and Fr. Bisignano) began to serve both parishes. Two deacons, Gary DiLallo and John O’Reilly, served the parishes at this time also. To promote a spirit of cooperation between the two parishes, Fr. Bisignano appointed an oversight committee in 2001 to define those areas of significant mutual interest and develop plans to strengthen those areas, effectively laying the groundwork for the combining of the two parishes into one.
In the meantime, Fr. Nimal was transferred and has since passed on to his eternal reward, Fr. Thomas was incardinated into the Archdiocese of New York (12/2000) and became pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, and Fr. Thaddeus was transferred to St. Ann’s Church in Yonkers.
St. Joachim – St. John the Evangelist
The two parishes in Beacon were officially combined into one parish effective January 2, 2004, with Fr. Bisignano as pastor. In July 2005, Fr. Bisignano became pastor of St. Patrick’s in Yorktown Heights. Rev. David E. Nolan became our pastor August 1, 2005.
To provide for additional priests for our parish, Fr. Nolan worked out an agreement with Bishop Gabriel Dunia of the Diocese of Auchi in Nigeria for two priests of that diocese to serve in our parish for three years as part of their development. Fr. Irenaeus Ikhane and Fr. Fabian Eghiabumhe began that assignment in December 2006. Prior to their arrival, Fr. Richard Enegbuma spent a sabbatical year with us. Fr. Charles Nasamu was likewise here for a year’s sabbatical.
Fr. Nolan embarked on an ambitious program of restructuring the finances and improving the physical plant and grounds of our parish, including the cemetery.
He also strengthened our program of visiting the nursing homes that are within our parish and our homebound parishioners. Our parish priests say Mass weekly at McClelland, Elant and Wingate at Beacon Nursing Homes and twice a month at Forrestal Heights, a senior residence. Special Ministers of Holy Communion regularly bring Holy Communion to the nursing homes as well as to other homebound parishioners.
He instituted the 5:30 children’s Mass and invites all parishioners to join the priests for morning and evening prayer.
In September or 2011, Fr. Richard Smith became our Pastor, and he has overseen some more changes.
The parish has active social and fund-raising programs for the parishioners.
Current parish organizations include: the Women’s Club, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Ladies of the Sacred Heart, Boy Scout Troop 24, St. Anthony’s Sodality, and the Altar Rosary Society. Today the religious education program enrolls about 300 children and is taught by volunteers who have received training in religious education. Over 200 children participate in our CYO basketball program.
Additional information on St. Joachim’s or St. John’s parishes can be found in the references cited in the Bibliography.
As part of this brief history of our parish, the following lists are also available separately on this website:
Priests who have served at St. Joachim – St. John the Evangelist
Priests who served at St. Joachim’s
Priests who served at St. John the Evangelist
St. Joachim’s parishioners who became priests
St. Joachim’s parishioners who became religious sisters
St. John’s parishioners who became priests or religious brothers or sisters
Brief history of the parish cemetery
St. Joachim’s –
1. “The Warmth of a Church: A Brief History of St. Joachim’s Roman Catholic Church in Beacon, New York, by Edward D. Archer, 1998.
2. “St. Joachim’s Roman Catholic Church, Beacon, New York, 150th Anniversary, 1853 – 2003,” 2003.
St. John’s -
1. “St. John the Evangelist: 1887 + A Century in His Service + 1987”
2. “St. John the Evangelist Church, 1887-1977, A History” (By Patricia B. Hanna)