St. Joan of Arc Church
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In the early 20th century Queens and Jackson Heights were transformed from farms to housing. As the population increased, Catholics were among those who moved here. Devout and desiring their own church these Catholics petitioned diocesan authorities and began a search for a suitable building site began. Executives of the Queensboro Corporation donated several lots, and plans for the new church were put into action.
Bishop Charles E. McDonnell approved the petition and a founding pastor was chosen, Father Ward G. Meehan. At this time Father Meehan had just returned from service in World War I in which he had been Chaplain to the 60th Infantry. This soldier-priest had seen action in many battles in France, including the Battle of Verdun. He had served as Commander of the Chaplains' School in Le Mans and had received a citation for his service at the recommendation of Colonel Bertram P. Johnson, Commanding Officer of the 60th Infantry.
Captain Meehan returned to this country sometime after the Armistice had been signed and served as Assistant Port Chaplain at Hoboken. He resigned his commission in 1919 and was appointed Administrator of Saint Bartholomew Parish in Elmhurst. It was while serving there, that he was named founding pastor of St. Joan of Arc Church.
Father Meehan quickly began organizing his "troops." Committees were formed, and it was decided that a prefabricated portable church would best suit the short term parish needs. The church was used for the first time on August 15, 1920, to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption.
Saint Joan of Arc was officially established on Sunday, June 5, 1920 when a first Mass was celebrated at the Casino. The use of this venue was made possible by Edward A. MacDougall, President of the Queensboro Corporation.
Today, Saint Joan of Arc Church is the largest Roman Catholic church in Jackson Heights.