Mass was first celebrated in our parish church of St. Frances Cabrini on July 5, 1953, but the beginnings of our parish go back to about 1945, a year before Blessed Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized. Prior to 1945, Ronkonkoma priests served the small number of Catholics living in the Coram and Selden area. Mass was celebrated in different locations, one being the Selden home of the Burns family who had a private chapel dedicated to St. Margaret of Scotland. When the people of Selden got their own church, the Catholics from the Coram, Middle Island and Ridge area traveled to various locations, including St. Sylvester’s in Medford, Infant Jesus in Port Jefferson and St. John’s and St. Isodore’s in Riverhead. In time, a small group of Catholics petitioned the priest from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Patchogue to help establish a mission church in Coram.
The first mission church was located on the corner of Route 25 and Route 112, in a store-like extension of the Pfunstein family home. There was much work to be done: the people breathed life into the mission parish by donating their time to paint it and build an altar. They borrowed chairs from the firehouse and the community club, and they donated statues. One or two women took care of cleaning the sanctuary: altar linens were purchased with the donations from women who held afternoon tea and card parties in their homes. One can sense the feeling of joy and accomplishment which must have existed in our Parish during that time.
On July 7, 1946, Blessed Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized. Soon after, the Catholic community of Coram (which was then a mission of Selden) took her as its patron saint, making it the first parish ever to be named after the first American citizen saint.
Article from the Cabrini Connection: Volume 1. Issue 1. Fall 1997.