Welcome to our web site, and thank you for your interest in Saint Jean Baptiste Church.
The story of Église Saint Jean Baptiste begins in 1882 with a growing French Canadian population struggling to find its place among the burgeoning immigrant communities of New York City's Upper East Side. They met for Sunday Mass in a large room over a livery stable on 77th Street and called their makeshift church "The Crib of Bethlehem." Within a short time, they built a modest brick church on the north side of 76th Street between Lexington and Third Avenues, and welcomed sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame from Montreal to start a school.
Subsequent events would forever transform Saint Jean Baptiste from a simple parish church into one of the city’s great houses of worship. The first was the arrival of a relic of Saint Anne, the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus. Monsignor J. C. Marquis brought the relic to Saint Jean’s in 1892 while en route to the great shrine of Sainte Anne de Beaupré in Quebec. Following the dramatic cure of a young child, tens of thousands of pilgrims visited the church during the ensuing weeks to seek Saint Anne’s intercession. Thus was born devotion to Saint Anne at Saint Jean’s and an annual novena which continues to this day.
In 1900, the Blessed Sacrament Fathers and Brothers came to Saint Jean Baptiste at the invitation of Archbishop Michael Corrigan. They carried with them their Founder’s love of Christ in the Eucharist and a desire to promote the renewal of Eucharistic life in the Catholic Church. Thirteen years later, the present church, a magnificent Italian Baroque edifice dedicated to the Eucharist, opened. Its construction was the gift of Thomas Fortune Ryan, a prominent businessman, convert to Catholicism, and generous philanthropist.
Buildings, programs, and schedules do not define faith communities; people do. We hope you will find Saint Jean Baptiste to be a warm and welcoming community, open to the city and the neighborhood around us, a place where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and lived and where the Eucharist, the center of Catholic life and mission, inspires our worship, witness, prayer, and service.
God bless you.
Father John A. Kamas, S.S.S.