Religion in Corona
Religious Trends in Corona depend vastly on Corona’s demographics. Religious affiliations altered depending on who lived in Corona. For a long time Corona was mostly farm land. As transportation advanced, Italians moved in making them the primary ethnicity in Corona. Most Italians were practicing Catholics allotting Catholic churches as the dominant religious institutions in Corona. Since many Latin Americans were also catholic, when they immigrated to America, Corona seemed like the perfect fit. The Italians moved out as time went on, and more Hispanics moved in. Of course, this in just the bigger picture. The first synagogue in Queens was in Corona, and is now a landmark and newly refurbished. There is also a Muslim and a Hindu community as well.
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St. Leo Parish
In 2003 the St. Leo Parish had its 100th anniversary, making it now 109 years old. The Italians who first moved into Corona built St. Leo. Of the course of the church’s history, it went through a wide variety of parishioners. Starting off with Italians then came, Irish, Germans, now Latinos, reflecting the immigration trends of the time.
Today St. Leo offers a religious school and daily mass. Everyday there is mass English and Spanish, representing the current population. On Sundays at 8:30, there is an Italian Mass for those who still remain from the original group of immigrants 1.
Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida de Corona
Though one of the reasons Hispanics moved into the neighborhood was because they shared a religion with the Italians does not mean that is the reason for all immigrants in Corona. The Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida de Corona, is part of the United Methodist Churches. This church is Methodist as opposed to the traditional Roman Catholics.
Evident by the name this church primarily serves those whose native tongue is Spanish. They have mass daily as well as a religious school 2.
Congregation Tifereth Israel
In the early part of the 20th century there were two Jewish Communities in Corona. The older and poorer one was along Corona Avenue, where Jews managed shirtwaist factories, and the newer and more prosperous one along Northern Boulevard.
Congregation Tifereth Israel, the first synagogue in Queens, was built in 1911 by a community of Ashkenaz Jews from the Lower East Side. Tifereth Israel fell into a state of neglect as the Ashkenaz Jews started to dwindle, and the Bukharian Jewish community started to move in. By the 1970’s the Ashkenaz Jewish population had mostly left being replaced by Latin American and Asian communities. Bukharian community took over the temple in 1997. In 2008 it received it’s landmark status. Now in 2011, Tifereth Israel is in its 100th year and getting its much-needed restoration with a grant from the city and help from preservation groups. A notable member of the congregation was Estée Lauder, the cosmetics pioneer 3.
Though Italians and Hispanics are the stereotypical Corona citizens, there are other populations that have begun to grow. There is surprisingly a large Muslim population in Corona. There are currently four Mosques. Muslims immigrated from a range of areas like, Uzbekistan, Tajikista, and Africa. Since Corona has a better reputation then Harlem and Brooklyn, in regards to the African American neighborhoods, Black Muslims have gravitated towards Lefrak housing in Corona.
Masjid Al-Falah was established twenty years ago when the Lefrak City Muslim community wanted a place to pray. Word of mouth spread and more and more Muslims came to Corona making the Mosque need an expansion. The demographics aren’t the only things that changed since the Muslims came, but the community did as well. A New York Times article states that Muslim and the Jewish population have actually revived and stabilized Lefrak City 5.
- Interview with Volunteer at At. Leo, May 13th, 2012. ↩
- “Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida de Corona.” New York Annual Confrence. http://www.nyac.com/churches/detail/1871 (accessed May 17, 2012). ↩
- Chan, Sewell . “Landmark Status for 1911 Queens Synagogue.” The New York Times, February 12, 2008. ↩
- “MIT OpenCourseWare | Anthropology | 21A.453 Anthropology of the Middle East, Spring 2004 | Study Materials | Storefront Mosques of New York City Photos.” Free Online Course Materials | MIT OpenCourseWare. http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/anthropology/21a-453-anthropology-of-the-middle-east-spring-2004/study-materials/storefrontphotos/ (accessed May 21, 2012). ↩
- Interview with Volunteer at the Mosque, May 18th, 2012. ↩