History of the Church

Our Lady of Fatima celebrated its first Mass on Palm Sunday, April 18, 1943, as a Mission Church to St. Peter of Alcantara. For five years, a group of women calling themselves the Ladies Guild held bazaars and fund-raising activities to raise money and buy property in order to build the structure that became the current Our Lady of Fatima Church at Cottonwood Road and Manorhaven Blvd.

  • On June 5, 1948, their dream and hard work became reality, when an administrator was named to head the new church, Rev. Joseph McGoldrick.

  • On July 11, 1948 Our Lady of Fatima became an official parish of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

  • On October 7, 1948 Thomas Molloy, Bishop of Brooklyn came to dedicate Fatima as a new Church in Manorhaven.

Over the past sixty-seven years, the church has been serving the spiritual needs of parishioners in the Port Washington/Manorhaven and surrounding communities. We are proud of our history, which is marked by strong bonds of dedication and commitment on the part of both laypersons and clergy.

Early Years

The first administrator of Our Lady of Fatima was Father Joseph McGoldrick, who cared for parishioners in the fledgling church for six years. In 1953, a new pastor, Father Leonard Pavone, transformed the warehouse across the streetfrom the church into a Youth Center, which became today's Parish Center.  To finance additions to the church, Father Pavone established an annual festival held in the vacant area around what is now the Soundview shopping center, which continued for more than 30 years.

1960's - 1970's

The results of Vatican II were very much in evidence in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, when lay lectors first began reading scripture, and singing was encouraged at Mass.  Fatima's sanctuary was reconstructed, and priests began facing parishioners while celebrating Mass. 

The years 1972 through 1974 were active years.  In 1972, Father Dwyer retired and Father Lawrence Ballweg was appointed to head the parish.  Fatima celebrated its 25th Anniversary.  A parish dinner dance was held, and Bishop Walter J. Kellenberg visited the church to share in the Silver Jubilee. Tthe Youth Center took on a new look with the creation of two classrooms to provide a better environment for the Confraternity Program.  The Parish Council gave financial assistance to St. Peter’s  students from Our Lady of Fatima attending that school.  21 men and women served as lectors in the parish, and a parish choir was in full swing.  In 1975, Father Ballweg encouraged the parish and the parishioners to sponsor a Vietnamese family. The church held a clothing drive in which volunteers prepared cartons of clothing for the Catholic Relief Services. 

1980's - 2000

In April, 1980 Father Ballweg left the parish to assume the post of Diocesan Director of the Propagation of the Faith, and Father Kenneth Nee as welcomed as the new pastor of Our Lady of Fatima. Extraordinary Ministers began serving the Eucharist. The pews were detached from the lateral walls of the church, allowing for aisles to enter and leave the pews more easily during Communion.  A church steeple was erected.  The Charismatic Prayer Group was formed, and the 9:30 am Family Mass was celebrated

Over the next 20 years, church ministries expanded and grew richer in depth and scope.  The “Romans 8” Program gave parishioners the opportunity to share and reflect with others on the conversion experience of St. Paul the Apostle.   A Single Parents group, and a Spanish Mass were initiated.  The custom of blessing and distributing St. Joseph’s bread at Mass to parishioners was begun.   An offertory procession was instituted, with the gifts of water, wine and bread carried in procession to the altar during the Offertory of the Mass.  RENEW and Faith Partners were introduced to help parishioners along in their journey of faith.

2000 - Present

Over the most recent decade, Fatima has continued to provide active, shared ministries to members of the community.  From the Giving Tree program at Christmastime, tithing as part of Stewardship, Family Time to support religious education of children, Faith Partners, the annual Thanksgiving Vigil Interfaith Service and many many others, Our Lady of Fatima Parish has played a vital role in leading people to live their faith through the Sacraments and through a commitment to support Jesus’ mission, to serve the world and one another.