On June 27, 1929, the late Cardinal Hayes notified the Rev. John V. Delaney, Assistant Pastor of St. Agnes’ Church in New York, of his promotion to a pastorate and commissioned him to organize a new parish in the Fleetwood section of Mount Vernon.
In spite of the difficulties imposed by the economic depression, Father Delaney arranged for the use of a newly-completed auditorium on Broad Street and Gramatan Avenue, assembled the necessary altar equipment, and with the help of a few volunteers prepared a temporary chapel in this recreation hall. On Sunday, July 28, 1929, some 247 Catholics attended the first Masses celebrated in Fleetwood in the newly created parish of Sts. Peter & Paul.
A year after the parish was formed the number of parishioners had increased to 450, and Father Delaney announced that title had been taken to property consisting of 39 city lots on Birch Street between Westchester and North Fulton Avenues. Just three years after the organization of the Parish, on June 11, 1932, Father Delaney filed plans for the erection of the first unit, the Church and Auditorium. The Pastor broke ground in July 1932; and on Sunday, May 28, 1933, just one year later, celebrated the first Mass in the Auditorium which was now completed. Shortly thereafter, on October 23, 1933, before a large and distinguished gathering of clergy, parishioners and local residents, the cornerstone of the Church building was laid. On May 20, 1934, the new Church building was solemnly dedicated to the service and worship of Almighty God, by the late Cardinal Hayes, less than five years from the day of the founding of the Parish.
The Parish continued to grow and prosper; and in 1948, Father Delaney’s dream of a Catholic elementary school was realized. A new Parish elementary school of eight classrooms and staffed by the Sisters of the Holy Child was built adjacent to the Church building.
In 1954, Monsignor Delaney welcomed a new assistant, Father (now Monsignor) Thomas F.Scanlon, who initially spent more than twenty years here at Sts. Peter and Paul. (Monsignor Scanlon later returned to Sts. Peter & Paul where he continues to serve the people of the Parish). The new Rectory was built in 1957 and shortly thereafter, the Church welcomed its second pastor, Monsignor Charles O’Connor Sloane. He was a cultured gentleman who led the Parish through fourteen years of consolidation and growth.
Following the retirement of Monsignor Sloane in 1972, Monsignor Harry J. Wolff, who for many years served as an assistant pastor in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, became the third pastor of Sts. Peter & Paul Church. He served seven years until his retirement in 1979. He was quickly followed by Monsignor James M. McDermott. His background in teaching and administration prepared him well as leader of both the Church and School.
In 1991, Monsignor McDermott was succeeded as pastor by Monsignor Patrick J. Barry, who had previously served as a high school teacher and pastor of Visitation Parish in the Bronx. Leading the parish into the new millennium, Msgr. Barry skillfully served Sts. Peter & Paul until 2004. Later that same year, the parish welcomed Father John McDonough as its sixth Pastor, following Msgr. Barry’s retirement. Father McDonough served the parishioners of Sts.Peter & Paul until 2010, at which time, as he moved on to another parish assignment, the Parish welcomed its present pastor, Father John F. Lauri.
With the arrival of Father John and under his stewardship, the parish has experienced not only a growth in the number of parishioners, but a revitalization of organizations, ministries and activities, serving not only our parish community but many in the Mount Vernon community as well.
The year 2014 brought significant change, not only for the people and the Parish of Sts. Peter & Paul, but to all the churches that comprise the Archdiocese of New York. A program of consolidation and renewal, titled "Making All Things New", brought about a realignment and combination of many churches throughout the Archdiocese. Here in our own Parish, Sts. Peter & Paul welcomed and included the good parishioners of St. Ursula Church, now merged with its neighbor, Sts. Peter & Paul, forming the new Parish of Sts. Peter & Paul and St. Ursula.
Sts. Peter & Paul and St. Ursula Church, a parish community working together out of love for God, welcomes all to share in our community and our faith.