Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cordero de Dios

The Choir of St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Archdiocese of New York Festival Chorale sing the Cordero de Dios (Lamb of God) from Monsignor Abel di Marco's Missa Breve as Pope Francis celebrates Mass at Madison Square Garden on Friday, September 25th.

Thank you Pope Francis for coming to see us and gracias, Monsignor di Marco, for your beautiful compositions.  I might look for a parish where I can sing Cordero de Dios until I find one where I can sing Dievo Avineli.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

New Filings for OLV Rectory aka 32 Dominick Street

Filings to enlarge Rectory aka 32 Dominick Street will be presented to landmarks committee of Community Board 2 on 7/16.  Meeting will be held at the Sheen Center. CLICK HERE for CB 2 July calendar and agenda.

Proposed changes to rectory:
*32 Dominick St. Application is to restore front fa├žade, replace front and rear windows and doors, recladding of roof, enlarge the rear dormer, addition of rear 2
nd and 3rd story, excavation for rear addition.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Community Prays Together to Keep Nativity Church Open

CLICK HERE to visit WPIX for video of Saturday's Mass at Church of the Nativity in honor of Dorothy Day.

Archdiocese of New York Pastor Announces 8/1 Departure

Departing Pastors Make Way for Corporate Board Shuffle

When I attended Mass this Sunday, the Pastor announced that he would be leaving as of August 1 and didn't know where he was going to be sent.  He struggled to maintain his composure and the congregation was shocked.  At the end of Mass, there was a long line down the center aisle as everyone in attendance waited to shake the Pastor's hand, much like waiting to pay respects at a wake,

I will address the emotional aspect of this later.  Right now I want to call your attention to these facts:

  • Parishes in the Archdiocese of New York are legal corporations under civil law
  • Parishes are incorporated under New York State Religious Corporation Law
  • The fate of a church is in the hands of the corporate trustees, who have to vote if the church is to assume any purpose other than a house of worship
  • The board of trustees consists of the Cardinal, the Vicar General, the Pastor and 2 lay trustees appointed by the Pastor.
  • The composition of the board is critical to the archdiocese maintaining control over parish assets
  • Because the stakes are so high, the board that votes on the fate of a church is carefully chosen to assure that everyone votes the way the Cardinal wishes.
A theological argument for the movement of pastors can be advanced, but the timing speaks to a corporate motivation.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Dorothy Day: Unquenchable flame in a church slated for closure

Last evening I attended Mass at the Church of the Nativity in honor of Dorothy Day.  I had never been there before.  From the outside it looks like a spiritual bunker, consistent with Pope Francis' vision of the Church as a field hospital for the wounded.  The sanctuary is spare and simple with a 60's Corita Kent-ish vibe.  The Mass was celebrated in English and Spanish, music led by a male duo that sang in a melody/descant format accompanied by piano.  The music was bilingual and echoed the teachings of Dorothy, whose icon stood on an easel to the right of center as you faced the altar.

As the regulars trickled in, most paused to kneel briefly in front of the tabernacle as if to greet Jesus on entering his house.  Some prayed in English during the Spanish prayers and some prayed in English during the Spanish prayers.

Martha Hennessy, Dorothy's granddaughter, read a brief excerpt from her writings.

After the Mass everyone went downstairs to share a home-baked cake brought by Martha.  A parishioner who had helped prepare the church for the Mass told me:  "This is a place that welcomes everyone, not matter color, how you look what you are wearing."  And it was true.  The Mass and the after-Mass constituted a beautiful feast presented by the sheep to the Lamb of God.

Parish of the Nativity: another flame that should not be extinguished.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Following in the Footsteps of Dorothy Day at Church of the Nativity

Today's New York Times ran a piece by David Gonzalez titled "Invoking the Radical Spirit of Dorothy Day to Fight a Church Closing."   The story touches upon the history of the parish as the place where Dorothy Day worshipped and ministered to the poor.  Now, while supporting the the cause of her sainthood, the Archdiocese of New York has decided to close the church, depriving us of the opportunity to literally walk in her footsteps.

Salient quote from Dorothy Day's granddaughter, Martha Hennessy:
“In the East Village, with all the affluence, the party atmosphere and the materialism, we still have poverty,” Ms. Hennessy said. “They are doing their best to hide it, but if there was a shrine dedicated to the history of her work, that might be more helpful. It would raise the question of economic refugees.”

Mass will be held on Saturday at 6:00 PM in honor of Dorothy Day.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Eagle Provisions Leaving Park Slope: A Kindred Atmosphere no more to be savored

Monday's NY Times carried the obituary of  Eagle Provisions: Shop Owners in a Changing Brooklyn Decide to Call It Quits 

I discovered Eagle Provisions while trying to find my car after a Greek Orthodox wedding.  It was a hot summer day and elderly ladies in housecoats and white anklets were tending their impeccable and colorful gardens.

Beyond the friendly greeting and aroma of sausages, this place was a cool and dim wonderland of Polish and Lithuanian beer.  I stocked up on every type of Svyturys ever brewed and faithfully served as a Lithuanian beer ambassador for the rest of the summer.

Not only are we losing the provisions, but another irreplaceable atmosphere.

Monday, May 25, 2015

For Memorial Day, T.M. Luhrmann on the spiritual power of place: Read it and think

Today's New York Times gives us an op ed piece by T.M. Luhrman titled "How Places Let Us Feel the Past"

As someone who has felt the mystical power of Our Lady of Vilnius, I continue to ponder its attraction:  its source, its nature, its reality.  T.M. Luhrman, through scholarship and contemplation has been able to illuminate and articulate these ponderings for me.  Salient quotes below:

"WHAT gives certain places their extraordinary power to move people so deeply?"

"Locations have always been central to human thought and feeling. Anthropologists have found that in traditional societies, memory becomes attached to places."

"They give an external presence to something that can only be imagined. They make that which has been imagined real, different and, at times, overwhelming. This is also true for places made holy in the imagination."

"It is easy in our individualistic culture to think of memories as private and selves as interior. That is an illusion. Our memories and dreams dwell incarnate in the world. Sometimes, they are too much to bear."

Attention materialists at 1011 First Avenue, especially those of you who have been ordained:  Please read this article, think and pray.   How can you sacrifice the sites that are the collected souls of your people made manifest?