Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jėzus Kristus prisikėlė ir mes prisikelsime !





"A resurrection, the egg breaking its shell. 
The black Madonna, the mother of watchful God,
 Broods no longer; she knows her son has risen"

-from "Words for the Parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka on the Occasion of its Ninetieth Anniversary" by Stephen Stepanchev

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Seven years later...



We Mourn the Commodification of Our Lady of Vilnius by The Archdiocese of New York

Tomorrow at noon, when we would normally have gone through the small red door at the right and down the steep steps to the church hall for Mass, let us unite in prayer of gratitude for having lived Our Lady of Vilnius, for having gotten to know each other and for having received spiritual gifts which will last our lifetime and beyond. Let us pray for and to our departed for their intercession in preserving the spirit of our parish within the Roman Catholic Church. Let us pray that against all odds our church will stand as a symbol of God's goodness in this material world.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our Lady of Vilnius and Cinema Paradiso


This is Our Lady of Vilnius, 568 Broome Street, at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel.


This is Cinema Paradiso in Giancaldo, Sicily, from the 1988 film of the same name.

They resemble each other, no?  Our Lady of Vilnius was the only church designed by architect Harrison G. Wiseman, well known for designing movie theaters. Both Our Lady of Vilnius and Cinema Paradiso housed statues of the Virgin Mary.

At the end of the movie, Salvatore di Vita, once the projectionist and now a famous director, returns home  to Giancaldo for the funeral of Alfredo, his mentor and spiritual father.  As he processes towards the church behind the hearse, he sees that Cinema Paradiso, opposite the church, has fallen to ruin and is to be demolished within days.  One of the people told him that they had closed it 6 years ago because nobody came anymore... the economy, TV, video.  In the film the people stand in a crowd across the square and watch, some crying, as the theater implodes.

As I wept, I kept hoping that history could be rewritten for the little theater and that the fate of Our Lady of Vilnius is not yet sealed.  The church is being promoted as a "development site" by Massey Knackal.

Let us pray that it is purchased by someone who will love and preserve it and that it will not fall prey to the insidious commodification of everything.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mary Help of Christians slated for Demolition?


A post by EV Grieve on Curbed NY, Counting Down to the End of Mary Help of Christians confirms the terse message from a parishioner that I received and blogged on May 16th of this year, Mary Help of Christians sold to developers???.

The parish of Mary Help of Christians was suppressed as a result of the archdiocesan "realignment" in 2007. Our Lady of Vilnius was suppressed at the same time, though mysteriously outside the "realignment" process.    Parishioners of  Our Lady of Vilnius, Mary Help of Christians and Our Lady Queen of Angels shared the pain of losing their parish and many members of their community.  We also shared the effort to stand up and voice our point of view to the blank wall of our archdiocesan hierarchy.

My heart goes out to the parishioners of Mary Help and all of those in the network of humanity that will feel and grieve this loss.  Let us pray.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Feast of the Assumption: One Year Anniversary of Jurgis Aleliunas Leaving Us



On the Feast of the Assumption we honor our friend, fellow parishioner and fellow Knight of Lithuania for his warmth, his faith and the example of his life.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

A case for calling OLV country The Printing District

In today's New York Times opinion piece, Needles, Threads and New York History, Jean Appleton opposes the efforts of the local business improvement district to change the Garment District's name.  Ms. Appleton reviews the district's vital and colorful history concluding:

 "Doing so, however, would eviscerate the pulsating history of the place. It would pretend that the district was only ever about the final product, about the retail shops along Madison Avenue. Today “fashion” is the red carpet, Condé Nast, it is Schiaparelli and Prada at the Metropolitan Museum. The phrase “garment district,” by contrast, evolved from the blood and muscle of labor’s bodies.
Renaming the garment district would do more than offend our city’s history. It would dissociate this historic entity from its unique qualities and significance in the life of New York City. It would erase a vital part of New York’s past."

Likewise, I think that the nondescriptive and nondescript moniker "Hudson Square" eviscerates the pulsing history of OLV country, aka The Printing District.  The parish is closed, the church can be demolished and the footprints of the longshoremen and print shop workers who came to worship on Broome Street can be wiped away.  I am sorry that there are people who view this as improvement rather than loss.