A Brief History of St. Mary Magdalene Roman Catholic Church
Established out of a desire of a few Catholic families in rural Springfield Gardens and Laurelton for a Christian community, St. Mary Magdalene’s first Mass was celebrated by Father Maurice Fitzgerald, then pastor of St. Monica’s in Jamaica, in January 1902. The first Mass within the limits of the church was celebrated on June 22, 1905 over a store on Springfield Boulevard. From 1906 Reverend John S. Gresser, a mission of St. Gerard Majella in Hollis, administrated the sacraments and conducted Mass on a regular basis in the first temporary church. Through the sacrifices and perseverance of Reverend John S. Gresser, and families residing in Springfield Gardens and Laurelton, at that time, the first Church building was constructed by Samuel Ward around 1907-1908. It was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene, the patroness of sinners, on October 17, 1909. Styled after famous California Spanish mission churches, St. Mary Magdalene, situated east of 218th Street, south of 136th Avenue, was officially founded in June of 1913, incorporated on February 26, 1914, opened Christmas Day in 1924, and dedicated on November 11, 1925.
Father John Tinney of Donegal, Ireland, ordained in the seminary at Maynooth, Ireland, on June 22, 1893, was our first resident Pastor beginning in 1913. After four years in the community, he arranged for a rectory. He served the community of Springfield Gardens at St. Mary Magdalene from 1913-1947, his death. Currently, Reverend Jeffry T. Dillon serves as our church administrator.
From our humble beginnings of 25 families, to today where we are a growing and thriving faith community of over 300 families. Over the years St. Mary Magdalene Roman Catholic Church has become a close knit Christian community which is a life growing source of nourishment for its parishioners. St. Mary Magdalene has grown to meet the needs of its parish community by offering several programs run by volunteers and living its mission statement daily.