Cathedral Preparatory School and Seminary began its illustrious history in the Fall of 1914 at the corners of Atlantic and Washington Avenues in Brooklyn, NY.
In the Spring of 1914, Bishop Charles E. McDonnell, D.D., “seeing the need of fostering and cultivating the grace of a vocation in a young man”, entrusted the direction of a minor seminary to his auxiliary and Cathedral’s first rector, the future Cardinal of Chicago, Msgr. George Mundelein. Under Bishop McDonnell’s direction, Msgr. Mundelein gathered 84 young men at Saint John’s Chapel (presently Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School) for an opening Mass on September 7, 1914. The first class, consisting of 110 students, began the academic year in the vestry building of Saint John’s Chapel. Among the early faculty was Cathedral’s first Spiritual Director, the future Archbishop of Brooklyn, Msgr. Thomas E. Molloy. Already, Cathedral Prep was to be known for having future bishops, cardinals and leaders for the Church on its faculty and among its alumni.
On December 8, 1914, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, ground was broken at 555 Washington Avenue in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn. Early in its history, Thursdays were scheduled as days off as students had to attend Saturday classes, and the school was styled on the le petit séminaire model used throughout Europe and North America consisting of 4 years on the secondary level and, eventually, the first two years of college. If the student so desired to continue his formation he would enter the 6-year major seminary program. For many, they then attended the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception (Huntington, LI) before being ordained for the priesthood. But many took other vocational paths entering religious orders, medicine, law, education and other avenues of service.
In 1963 an additional campus was open in Elmhurst, NY. The “two became one” at the Elmhurst site in 1985.
Michelle Powers of NetTV and alumnus, Ed Wilkinson, `65, relive Brooklyn Cathedral!
Brooklyn Cathedral Construction Photos – courtesy of Martin Murphy, ’85