About Us


Welcome to the St. Lawrence O’Toole Parish Community. We invite all of our parishioners and visitors to be involved in the daily life of the Parish. This site is now under construction and will tell you about who we are and provide you with the information you seek and the contacts you need to participate more fully in the Parish. Welcome!

St. Lawrence O’Toole Church History

Established 1885 From 1859 until 1881, the first Catholics of the southwest section of Hartford belonged to St. Peter on Main Street. In the 1870s Catholic numbers had risen to about 400, a fact prompting Father Lawrence Walsh of St. Peter to acquire land at the corner of Wilson and Laurel (later Hillside Avenue) Streets for a church. The new chapel, named for Father Walsh’s patron saint, was dedicated on December 3, 1876, by Bishop Thomas Galberry. In 1881, jurisdiction over the mission chapel passed to the Cathedral of St. Joseph. In 1883, St. Lawrence mission was made a parish by Bishop Lawrence S. McMahon, who named Father John F. Lenahan first pastor. Father James J. Smith bought land in 1895 at the corner of Wilson Street and Hillside Avenue for a lyceum building to serve the young people. With encouragement from Bishop John J. Nilan, Father John A. Dooley purchased four lots on New Britain Avenue in February 1926. On April 29, 1928, a solidly built basement chapel was blessed by Bishop Nilan. Father John J. Kelley completed the superstructure of the church, which was dedicated on October 24, 1954, by Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien. When a fire destroyed the Cathedral of St. Joseph at the end of 1956, St. Lawrence O’Toole Church served as the pro-cathedral for the Archdiocese until the new cathedral was constructed.

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Reverend Alexander Avendano.

I am originally from Colombia. I hold a degree in Master of Divinity from The Catholic University of America in Washington DC. I was ordained priest for the Archdiocese of Hartford in 2012. For three years, I have served as a Parochial Vicar at the Saint Joseph Parish in Bristol and then for one year at the Saint George Parish in Guilford.

Currently, I am serving as a Pastor of Maria Reina de la Paz Parish in Hartford, Connecticut.

Contact information:

Phone: 860 216 2093

Email: pastor@mariareinadelapazct.com



Paul Ravita

Paul Ravita has been with the parish for many years serving first as the Director of Music and Organist and subsequently in the position of the Parish Manager as well. His duties here include overseeing the daily operations of the parish as well as special projects affecting the parish property. In addition to his responsibilities in the parish office he serves as the organist at parish liturgies and assists in the musical planning and coordinating of our many bilingual ceremonies here at Maria Reina de la Paz Parish.

Contact information:

Email: manager@mariareinadelapazct.com

Phone: 860 522 1129 

Sister Andrea Gil Espinosa

Originally from Colombia. I am a religious sister of the Congregation of the Dominican Daughters of Our Lady of Nazareth since 2001. I studied my license in Religious Education and Ethic from the university of Juan de Castellanos in Tunja, Colombia. I graduated as a lay minister from the archdiocese of Hartford in 2016. I have worked as a religious teacher in catholic schools as well as with the youth as pastoral coordinator. Currently, I work in a ministerial capacity at this parish. As a pastor’s associate my primarily responsibility is to support the pastoral/spiritual activities.


Contact information:

Email: associate@mariareinadelapazct.com

Phone: 860 216 0380