In 1695 John Mowbray bought, from the Native Americans, the land extending from the Awixa Creek on the east to the Sagtikos Manor Farm on the west, approximately the same land known today as Bay Shore. In 1733 Montauk Highway was built as a main east-west route, passing through the southern part of town less than a mile from the bay.

    As late as 1812, not a house was located on the south side of Main Street and only fifteen houses were on the north side. Lush, wooded tracts of oak and pine covered much of the area. Lumbering, as well as fishing and farming were the occupations of the people.

     In 1822, a man named Peter Turner circulated a letter expressing the desire of Catholics in Brooklyn to have their own Church. It said, in part: "In fact we want a church, a Pastor, and a place for internment; all of which with the assistance of Divine Providence, we have every reason to expect by forming ourselves into a well regulated society: - and as we have not only cheerfully assisted in building the Churches in the Diocese (New York), but nearly all the Churches in the United States lately erected, we have every reason to expect the cheerful assistance of the Laity as well as the Right Reverend the Bishop and all his clergy."

     The next decade marked the establishment of the first churches in Bay Shore. The First Congregational Methodist Church on Penataquit was established in 1853 on the north side of Main Street east of First Avenue. During that same year the cornerstone for St. Patrick's Catholic Church was laid.

     From the time of Peter Turner's letter when there were no churches on all of Long Island - not Brooklyn not Queens, Nassau, Suffolk - until 1858 when the first Mass was celebrated in Bay Shore, the Catholic population of Long Island experienced tremendous growth, primarily through immigration.

     In 1831 the western part of Islip, recognized as a separate village, was called by a new name - Mechanicsville. In 1849 the community had grown sufficiently to request its own post office. Since the state of New York already had another town called Mechanicsville, this community changed its name to "Penataquit," an Indian name in keeping with other nearby towns such as Hauppauge and Patchogue. In 1850 Penataquit welcomed its new post office. 1868 marked the coming of the railroad to Bay Shore and a further change to the town's name. Tradition holds that people had such difficulty pronouncing and spelling "Penataquit" that the descriptive and appropriate name "Bay Shore' was selected.

     During the 1830's, 1840's, and 1850's, Catholics began to arrive in Bay Shore, an area populated primarily by protestants of British descent. These new Catholics were part of the steady stream of immigrants from Europe, mostly from Ireland in these decades.

     As Catholic immigrants spread out into the less settled parts of Long Island, priests from "the city" began a visitation program for the outlying areas. In 1832 Catholics gathered in Sag Harbor; in the 1840's at Huntington, Smithtown, Riverhead, and Greenport. IN 1849 St. Patrick's Church in Huntington was built.

     On July 29, 1853, Pope Pius XI issued a decree creating Long Island as a new diocese. Bishop John Loughlin, installed that fall, immediately turned his attention to the rapid expansion of the Catholic Church. It was he who responded to the request of the Catholic families in Bay Shore for a priest.

     Five years after the creation of the new diocese, a small group of people gathered at the home of Own Drum, 38 Fifth Avenue, to celebrate the first Mass in Bay Shore. Reverend Michael O'Neil, who traveled around the island on horseback, had added this community of approximately 200 Catholics to his "rounds." He was followed in 1860 by Reverend Jeremiah Crowley of St. Patrick's, Huntington, who established Bay Shore as a mission also dedicated to St. Patrick. Mass was celebrated at the Drum home for more than four years.

      The first church, dedicated in 1863, was a converted carpenter's shop located on the east side of Fifth Avenue between Main Street and Union Boulevard. It measured 90 x 40 feet and had been purchased and renovated at the total cost of $1,200. Part of the original church still stands today as does the old rectory on Fifth Avenue. A local newspaper of August 25, 1869 stated that Father Crowley offered Mass in the Church "on the second and fourth Sundays of the month at eleven o'clock."

      St. Patrick's in Bay Shore remained a mission of St. Patricks, Huntington until 1883 when Reverend James Bobier was appointed the first pastor. During his fifteen years as St. Patrick's Father Bobier ministered not only to the Bay Shore community but also to the Catholics residing in Bohemia and East Islip. In 1884 he began caring for about twenty-five families; he build a small pine church in Bohemia and offered Mass there on Christmas day, 1885. At the same time, St. Mary's in East Islip became a mission of Bay Shore and he erected an addition to that church.

     At his own personal expense, Father Bobier expanded the Fifth Avenue Church in 1890, purchased a parsonage near it, and in 1894 purchased the cemetery land on Brentwood Road. He also attended to the spiritual needs of the patients at the mental hospital in Central Islip until the summer of 1895.

     In 1898 Father Bobier left St. Patrick's, spending the last 20 years of his life in Brooklyn. He was buried in St. Patrick's Cemetery upon his death in 1918.

     Bay Shore experienced many changes during the pastorates of Father Bobier and his successor, Reverend Joseph McGinley. Between 1885 and 1902 the first telephones, electricity, water mains, fire department, bank, and public library all appeared on the scene. St. Peter's Episcopal Church had been built on Main Street, the present site of Msgr. Purick Hall.

     In 1904 Reverend Henry C. Jordan was appointed pastor. In 1915, Father Jordan purchased, for the site of a new and larger church, the property on Main and Clinton adjoining St. Peter's Episcopal Church. He also laid the cornerstone for the new church on July 4, 1916. Father McGinley had previously purchased a piece of land at the corner of Main Street and Bay Shore Road, but the business growth of downtown Bay Shore made that site undesirable.

     Father Jordan was succeeded in 1916 by the Reverend William J. McKenna who remained until February 1919. He was followed by Reverend Francis J. Dillon whose pastorate lasted for a period of three months. Reverend Edward J. Donovan came to St. Patrick's in May of that year and say the work on the present church completed.

     All five pastors who served St. Patrick's after Father Bobier participated in the dedication of the new church on September 7, 1919. the eleven o'clock solemn Mass was celebrated by Father Jordan, assisted by Father McGinley as deacon and Father McKenna as sub-deacon. Father Dillon was the master of ceremonies for the occasion. The new pastor, Father Donovan, was celebrant at the evening Vesper Service.

     With the completion of the new church the parish prepared to dispose of the former "Fifth Avenue Church" buildings and property. In 1920 authorization was obtained for the removal of remains in the old cemetery adjoining the church to the new cemetery on Brentwood Road.

     Now that the Catholic community had established its church and cemetery, it turned its attention to the education of its young people. In 1920 Father Donovan had purchased the estate known as "Elysian Views," the former home of the prominent Bay Shore resident W. W. Hulse, for the sum of $8,000. The large wooden building had been used as a canteen for the servicemen stationed at Oconee Air Station during World War I.

     At the invitation of Father Donovan, four Sisters of Mercy traveled from Brooklyn to Bay Shore in September 1921 to staff the new St. Patrick School. Since "Elysian Views" was still being renovated, the 185 children in grades 1 to 4 were taught temporarily in the old church building on Fifth Avenue. In November, the Sisters and children were able to move into the school on Main and Clinton, the site of the present St. Patrick School. The Sisters of Mercy also taught catechism classes after school and visited the sick in their homes and hospitals. Father Donovan also purchased additional land west of the school building.

     In 1928, Reverend Cornelius Duffy began a 20 year pastorate at St. Patrick's. During his administration the mortgage on the new church was cleared and in 1938 a new, modern school-convent building was erected at a cost of $250,000.

     In 1940, a few women of the parish formed a Welfare League supplying food and clothing to those in need. They relied on the "big" summer card party as the main source of funds for this charitable work.

     When Monsignor Myron J. Purick arrived as pastor in 1948, there were 4000 parishioners; when he retired in 1973 there were approximately 12,000. During his pastorate, the parish school was doubled in size to accommodate the enrollment which reached more than 1000 at its peak. The inadequate frame rectory was replaced by the present modern brick building by 1960.

     Anticipating the need for more room, Msgr. Purick purchased the property next to St. Patrick's Church when St. Peter's Episcopal Church moved to the Thorne Estate. Mass was then celebrated in a crowded school gymnasium in addition to the church. The new hall built on this site and dedicated in 1968-and later named in his honor-provided a worship area for 1000 on the upper level and room for courses and meetings on the lower level. The impressive parish plant now consisted of a large brick church and hall facing Main Street, a new rectory attached to the church facing Clinton Avenue, an expanded school with attached convent on the west side of Clinton, the building-now known as Msgr. Coffey Center-behind Msgr. Purick Hall, and ample parking facilities.

     Following the Second Vatican Council laymen served as lectors at Mass and in 1972 laywomen joined them in this work. When Msgr. Purick retired in 1973 at the age of 75, St. Patrick's had begun to move into its Post-Vatican II life. Msgr. James F. Coffey arrived as pastor in 1973 and continued to help guide the faith community instilling a sense of Stewardship as a way of life.

     As early as 1983 Msgr. Coffey asked the parishioners of St. Patrick to make annual commitments or recommitments to active stewardship (the Diocese did not begin their stewardship program until the mid 1990's). Msgr. Coffey retired in 1983.

     Msgr. Coffey was succeeded in 1983 by Monsignor Robert Emmet Fagan who remained as pastor until 2000. During his pastorate, Msgr. Fagan co-established the Bay Shore Clergy Association, which serves as a voice for the poor and those in need. He also served as the Chair of the Islip Interfaith Caregivers Board. Msgr. Fagan left St. Patrick's in 2000 to serve as Associate Pastor in the parish of St. Jude, Mastic Beach. He later was appointed Episcopal Vicar for the Western Vicariate. He was followed by pastor, Monsignor John C. Nosser.

     In July of 2000, Msgr. Nosser obtained permission from then Bishop James McHugh to refurbish the historic organ, with 1082 pipes, in the church. The work was completed and a concert was held on Pentecost Sunday, June 3, 2001. Back in 2000 Msgr. Nosser also began the process of renovating the worship area of Msgr. Purick Hall. The work was completed and the worship area was rededicated by Bishop William Murphy on December 15, 2001.

      In 2002, central air conditioning was added to Msgr. Coffey Center, which houses the Hospitality Center and soup kitchen.

     St. Patrick's Parish has a wonderful history and a very bright future. Please remember in your prayers all those who came before you to make this a wonderful faith community and let us pray for one another that we continue to help our faith community grow and thrive for future generations.