The new pastor of the recently merged Our Lady of the Assumption-St. Mary Star of the Sea Church is ready, willing and more than able for the challenges ahead.
In September 2015, Fr. Knapp was officially named as Our Lady of the Assumption-St. Mary Star of the Sea Church new pastor, succeeding Monsignor Anthony Marchitelli who had served there since 2011.
Msgr. Marchitelli presently serves as pastor for St. James the Apostle and Our Lady of the Lake Mount Carmel Parish in Carmel, NY.
To formally welcome Fr. Knapp as the parish’s new pastor, a Sunday, November 29 Installation Mass was held at OLA Church in which St. Raymond Church’s pastor, Monsignor John Graham, installed Fr. Knapp at the very beginning of the service.
Following his installation, Fr. Knapp proceeded to celebrate the Mass with the congregation.
“It’s a honor and a privilege to serve the people here and on City Island and I’m looking forward to working together with everyone,” said Fr. Knapp adding. “It’s coming full circle and it’s great to be back in the neighborhood. Whether it’s baptizing babies, comforting families experiencing the loss of a loved one, celebrating Mass or working together with Our Lady of the Assumption School, I’m looking forward to helping any way I can.”
A Bronx native, Fr. Knapp grew up in Locust Point and graduated from St. Frances de Chantal School in 1974.
His days at St. Frances de Chantal Church played a pivotal role in inspiring his pursuit of the priesthood.
“It was something that I wanted to do since the 4th grade and the parish priests there were very good men who inspired me to pursue this field,” he said.
Fr. Knapp, a Class of 1978 St. Raymonds High School for Boys alum, attended Iona College where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History with a minor in Philosophy in 1982.
Next, Fr. Knapp attended St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, for four years where he studied theology.
Fr. Knapp was ordained in 1986 and began his first assignment as parochial vicar for the Bronx’s Our Lady of Refuge Church in November of that same year.
Three years later, Fr. Knapp was assigned as an administrator of St. Denis-St. Columba Church in Hopewell Junction, NY.
In July 1993, the Bronx native returned to his roots when he was named an administrator for Our Lady of Solace Church for two years.
Fr. Knapp served in the role of pastor for a dozen years at Our Lady of Solace until it merged with St. Dominic Church in 2007.
From there, Fr. Knapp served as pastor at St. Gabriel Church.
In August 2015, Pelham Bay-based OLA and the City Island-based St. Mary Star of the Sea merged as part of the Archdiocese of New York’s ‘Making All Things New’ pastoral planning initiative seeking to best match the religious, spiritual and pastoral needs of several Catholic parishes.
His prior experience at OLS and St. Dominic prepared him for the challenge of joining the two congregations into one.
Fr. Knapp explained Our Lady of the Assumption-St. Mary Star of the Sea will undergo an incorporation merger in September 2016 which will result in a new name.
He added there are plans to hold town hall meetings in the new year at OLA and St. Mary Star of the Sea to disseminate information on the upcoming parish merger.