Prior to 1838, Catholics in Binghamton only saw circuit riding priests when their schedules brought them to the area. However, in 1838 Bishop John Hughes of New York dedicated the first permanent Catholic Church to St. John the Apostle and subsequently was formally made a parish under the guidance of Rev. Andrew Doyle on October 24th 1843 who was quickly followed by Rev. Sheridan. In 1847 Rev. James Hourigan became the third resident pastor who served with honor and distinction for nearly half a century.
The current church was built during his tenure and dedicated to St. Patrick on September 23rd 1873. The red brick and limestone gothic structure was designed by prominent architect Isaac Perry and executed by contractor Stuart Wells. Rev. Hourigan, a man of vision, also established a parochial school, a boarding school for girls, an orphanage and the cemetery on Riverside Drive. After his death in 1892 his nephew, Rev. Nicholas J. Quinn, became interim administrator until the appointment of the Successor Pastor the Rev. John McDonald in 1893. St. Patrick’s was the only parish in Binghamton until St. Mary’s, Court Street, was established for Catholics living east of Washington Street in 1887. Over the generations, St. Patrick’s has undergone renovation and redecoration with significant additions during Rev. Ambrose Dwyer’s tenure including expansion of the sanctuary and sacristy and the addition of marble altars, marble aisles, marble altar rails and pulpit as well as additional stained glass windows and a magnificent organ; All of this during the great depression. Rev. Dwyer was followed by Rev. Sheehan who worked to reduce the parish debt. Rev. Msgr. Curtain then served next and worked to erecting Catholic Central High School in the 1940’s.
In 1963, Rev. Frank Harrison became Pastor as well as a Monsignor and devoted much of his attention to renovating existing parish properties, the first major repair in 35 years. Msgr. Harrison was elevated to Titular Bishop of Aquae in Numidia in 1971 and made Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse, he remained pastor until becoming Bishop of Syracuse in 1974. Succeeding Bishop Harrison was the Rev. Thomas Doran who then also became a Monsignor who was followed by Rev. James Fallon who established the Divine Mercy Perpetual Adoration Chapel. After Rev. Fallon’s departure Rev. David Pichette and Msgr. Robert Davern served as Administrators until Rev. James Quinn was appointed as the twelfth resident Pastor of St. Patrick’s who served briefly as he was to devote fulltime energy to Seton Catholic Central. Msgr. Peter Owens then served as Pastor until appointment of Rev. Laurence Lord who served until his retirement. Rev. Charles Opondo-Owora served as interim until Rev. Booth served as Pastor until he died.
Rev. Msgr. John Putano has served as Pastor since 2009, as well as the Episcopal Vicar of the Southern Region of the Diocese. For over 180 years, St. Patrick’s has been an icon of the Westside exemplifying the beauty of a gothic cathedral as well as its Irish heritage.
1838: First Catholic Church in Binghamton dedicated
1843, October 24: First Catholic Parish in Binghamton established
1873, September 23: St. Patrick’s Church dedicated
1943: Centennial of St. Patrick’s Parish
1968: Quasquicentennial (125th) of St. Patrick’s Parish
1993: Sesquicentennial (150th) of St. Patrick’s Parish
2013: Dodransbicentennial (175th) of the first Catholic mission in Binghamton, 170th of St. Patrick’s Parish
2023: Sesquicentennial (150th) of St. Patrick’s Church