- This lecture will be held in St. Mary’s Church, which was designed by Irish-born architect
Patrick Charles Keely (1816-1896) designed and built an estimated 700 ecclesiastical structures including churches, cathedrals, schools, colleges, and other parish buildings. He left Thurles, Ireland, for America in 1842, and arrived in Brooklyn, NY where he began to practice his carpentry skills gleamed from his father and brother, who had both worked on the building of St. Patrick’s College, Thurles. Keely arrived in the United States just as the Roman Catholic Church was experiencing unprecedented expansion.
A chance meeting with Fr. Sylvester Malone of Brooklyn led to designs for Keely’s first church in America — the highly acclaimed Church of St. Peter and Paul in Brooklyn, 1848 (demolished 1957), designed in the Gothic Revival style, fast becoming a hallmark of Catholic Church design. The Brooklyn commission spawned a succession of designs for churches, cathedrals, and institutional buildings that distinguished Keely as America’s leading Catholic architect of the 19th century. This career eventually led Fr. James Fitton, legendary New England pioneer priest, to bestow on Keely the title of “Prince of American Catholic Architects.”
In 1848, Patrick Keely would begin the design for “Church of the Holy Name of Mary,” in Newport Rhode Island. Fr. Fitton was the first pastor of St. Mary’s and he later called upon Keely to design Holy Redeemer Church in East Boston, where Fr. Fitton remained until he died.
The Power Point presentation will focus on what is known of the (Kiely) Keely family in Ireland, their contribution to the Catholic Church in America, on through the building career of Patrick Keely, and the legacy of his monumental career of ecclesiastical structures in America.
Edward H. “Ted” Furey is the founder and president of the Keely Society, dedicated to the art and architecture of Patrick Charles Keely (www.PatrickKeely.com). Mr. Furey is the Historical Curator of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and the Cathedral Liturgical Museum. He is Head of the Art Dept. of St. Bernard School, Enfield, CT and a Board Member of the Enfield Historical Society. He has been an expert witness at historic landmark hearings regarding Patrick Keely. He has hosted a number of Keely Congresses in both Boston and Brooklyn. Ted also was called upon to write an extensive article on Patrick Keely for the Pugin Society, UK, which was published in their quarterly publication