About Rochester Churches
Rochester Churches is an online encyclopedia cataloging all of the Catholic houses of worship, past and present, located within the geographic boundaries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.
Each church in diocesan history will have an entry in the encyclopedia comprised of the following:
- brief biographical capsule
- complete list of pastoral leaders who administered the church
- detailed historical sketch
- present-day photo gallery of the exterior and interior (whenever possible)
- historical photographs that show the church at different periods of time
- map to aid in locating the church
The purpose of this project is primarily historical in nature. Inspired by the late Fr. McNamara's broad historical review
of the Diocese of Rochester, I've decided to take his monumental effort a step further by exploring the individual histories of every Catholic church and chapel to ever exist within this diocese.
The photo galleries are intended to create a visual historical record of the churches, as they appear today (current photos) and in days past (historical images),
forever preserving their diverse architectural and artistic characteristics for future generations to appreciate. It's my hope that Rochester Churches will serve as a valuable resource
for anyone with an interest in diocesan or individual parish histories.
Who is the creator of Rochester Churches?
This project was created by James Sarkis, now residing in Charlotte, NC. You may contact me by clicking here.
Why did you create Rochester Churches?
My interest in diocesan history began several years ago. When I was in college, I began attending various churches in the Diocese of Rochester, usually making a visit to a different site each weekend.
I attended most of the final Masses for those churches that were closed during the mid to late 2000s, and it was at these Masses that I'd often pick up a history book and flip through it, and look at old photos
affixed to poster board displays stationed in the narthex. With so many churches closing their doors for good, the idea dawned on me to begin photographing all of these churches so as to preserve their memory.
That was how this project began. I brought my cheap digital camera along with me to a handful of churches slated to close (Our Lady of Perpetual Help, St. Andrew, etc.), and I started taking photographs
that I would share with anyone who might be interested. This project would grow over time, eventually expanding to photographing every open and closed church in the diocese, and I also began writing
short histories about these churches from information that I learned along the way. Thus, Rochester Churches was born.
Is Rochester Churches affiliated with the Diocese of Rochester?
Rochester Churches is an independent project not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester. Despite this, I've enjoyed the support of countless
priests, deacons, religious, and lay pastoral staff who've helped me immensely with this project. From sending me historical photos, to giving me parish history books, to unlocking churches,
to personally driving me around towns and cities so that I can get inside to photograph multiple-site parishes, the enthusiastic assistance I've received from diocesan employees has been wonderful.
Without their kind help, this project wouldn't have advanced as far as it has. Thank you to everyone who has lent a hand in some way!
Is this site free to use?
Of course it's free! I've made no money from Rochester Churches, nor do I ever intend to. This project is a free historical resource for the community.
Can I use some of your photographs?
As long as you're not doing so for an anti-Catholic, nefarious purpose, you're more than welcome to share some of the photos on this site. Please give credit and provide a link back if you do
(Title: Rochester Churches, Address: http://dorchurches.com/). If you intend to include my photos in a published work, or in any way profit from them, please contact me
first to obtain my permission.
I'm lost. How do I navigate Rochester Churches?
I've tried my best to make Rochester Churches an easy-to-use resource, however, because the project contains over 250 entries, navigating through all of this information and photographs may be a bit overwhelming
for the first time visitor. There are two methods for locating a church's encyclopedia entry.
Method 1: Search
In the search box near the top of the homepage, begin typing the name of the church you want to view. A drop-down list will appear showing all possible matches. Click on the
name of the church in the drop-down list, and then click on the "Go" button. You'll be taken to the encyclopedia entry for that church. Note: If the church you're looking for
begins with the word "Saint", type the abbreviation "St.", otherwise it may not show up in the results.
Method 2: Using the full list on the homepage
Scroll further down beyond the search box on the homepage to view the full list of churches and chapels in the encyclopedia. To view an entry, click on the name of the church (as shown below) or,
alternatively, click on one of the icons that may appear next to the church name ('E', 'I', or 'H') to jump to the exterior, interior, or historical photographs for that church.
To speed up finding the church you want to view, you can jump down to the appropriate county listings via the search box. Choose the county and then click on "Go."
If you're just looking around, and not trying to find anything in particular, you can click on a church name below one of the random images that appear on the right side of the homepage.
The randomized images will change every time you reload the page.
Why aren't some priests called "Father" in the pastoral listings?
Every priest listed in the pastor/administrator/rector section of an entry is described by the title he held upon death (e.g. "Father", "Bishop", "Monsignor", etc.). Those
who left the priesthood, deliberately or otherwise, aren't called by one of these titles. Priests who've been disciplined by the diocese for abuse, and who are listed on the
diocesan Web site dispositions under sections 1-3, out of respect for victims,
won't be called by these titles. I've made the decision to retain titles for priests listed in sections 4 and 5 of the dispositions, as they didn't have the opportunity to defend
themselves prior to death (applying the principle of "innocent until proven guilty").
Where is -insert name of a missing church- ?
If you notice that I forgot to include a church or chapel, please let me know so that I can add it to the encyclopedia.
Chapels located in schools, prisons, or other difficult to photograph sites are unlikely to be included in Rochester Churches unless someone is able to send me photographs.
What if I spot a mistake?
It's a challenge to be the expert for 250+ churches, so mistakes are inevitable. If you spot one, send me an e-mail and I'll fix it ASAP.
How can I help?
There's still quite a bit to be done! I appreciate assistance, especially in the following areas:
- Historical photographs of any church are appreciated.
- Information that might assist me in writing parish histories is appreciated.
- There are some gaps in available information about pastoral leader listings, mostly from before the 1940s.
Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy the site!
© 2008-2020 Rochester Churches. All photographs
on this site listed under "External" or "Internal" photographs are property of
Rochester Churches. Historical images are the property of their respective owners. This site is
an independent venture not affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.
Rochester Churches is not for profit. The purpose of this site is to create an online
catalogue of Rochester Catholic churches, past and present.