Crypt

The crypt is found beneath the narthex, or vestibule, of the church. The first two pastors are interred there.

The History of the Crypt

Fr. John Stephen Raffeiner died on July 16, 1861. He was buried three days later in the parish cemetery (Most Holy Trinity Cemetery) on Central Avenue, where his mortal remains rested for thirty-four years. When Msgr. Michael May died on February 11, 1895, a tomb, constructed of brick and mortar, was immediately built under the narthex of the church; the new tomb had six vaults (i.e., room enough for six caskets). According to the wishes of Msgr. May, the remains of Fr. Raffeiner were to be transferred back to Montrose Avenue and interred in the new tomb. Accordingly, the two priests, Raffeiner and May, the first two pastors of this great parish, have rested alongside each other ever since in the crypt of the church. The four remaining vaults were never used; subsequent city laws pertaining to the location of burial places later ruled out the possibility that any others would be interred in our church’s crypt.

The Final Resting Place of our First Two Pastors

This is the final resting place of our first two pastors, Fr. John Stephen Raffeiner and Msgr. Michael May. The tombs are located under the narthex of Most Holy Trinity Church on Montrose Avenue in Brooklyn, New York. Raffeiner is on the left and May is on the right.

 


 

 

 

 

 

The plaque bearing information about Fr. Raffeiner; the “V.G.” after his name is an abbreviation for “Vicar General.” In 1843 Raffeiner was named Vicar General to the German-speaking people of the Archdiocese of New York; he retained the title and the office within the Diocese of Brooklyn when it was established in 1853. This is the second resting place for the mortal remains of Fr. Raffeiner; he was buried first in the parish cemetery on Central Avenue and then moved here after the death of Msgr. May.


The plaque bearing information about Msgr. May; he also held the title and office of “Vicar General.” In his role as Vicar General he assumed temporary leadership of the Diocese of Brooklyn after the Most Rev. John Loughlin, the first bishop of Brooklyn, died on December 29, 1891. Father May (who had not yet been named “Monsignor”) managed the concerns of the diocese until the Most Rev. Charles B. McDonnell was installed as the second bishop of Brooklyn on April 11, 1892.


The door that leads to the crypt is located just off the vestibule in the east tower–it is under the stairway that leads to the old choir loft and is within the small passageway that connects the church and the friary (rectory); a sign on the door reads “vault.”
The actual entrance to the crypt is guarded by a “jail-like” gate of iron bars.
A view into the crypt from outside of the iron gate.
Ornate lamps stand guard on both sides of the tomb; a brass and iron railing sets it apart, and a wooden kneeler, for those who wish to say a prayer, is positioned in front.
An old-fashioned “skeleton” key is needed to open the iron gate.
There is a narrow and dusty stairway leading down into the crypt.