Sunday, September 21, 2014

"State of the Parish" and "Increased Giving" in the Archdiocese of New York

Do Pastors Feel Sheepish?  Maybe they should.

Last week some devout Catholics of my acquaintance received a mailing; a roughly 6"x 8" cardstock inviting them to specific Masses at their parish of contribution in order to hear a "State of the Parish" address.  With "Making All Things New" hanging over the archdiocese like the sword of Damocles, this advance mailing created suspense, even among the not endangered.

I attended Mass last evening to kill this suspense.  The big reveal was the presentation of the Archdiocese of New York "Increased Giving" campaign.  Apparently the "tax" levied on parishes by the archdiocese is increasing, as are other expenses, so pastors have been directed to urge the dwindling faithful to contribute more in a systematic way, which leads me to a hail of bullet points:
  • Closed churches and schools have been sold for millions since 2007 including the soon-to-be demolished Our Lady of Vilnius.
  • Making All Things New will close 60-100 parishes, no doubt creating more real estate revenue.
  • Many church closures will be attributed to "dwindling attendance" and "structural instability" - things that could have been addressed the archdiocese before they became rationales for closures.
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral is undergoing a $200 million dollar renovation.
  • They are paying at least one consulting firm  for strategies and euphemisms.  Couldn't they conserve funds by assembling a brain trust of Roman Catholic volunteers in the "Capital of the World?"
They are scattering communities and breaking hearts.  Now they are asking for more from the least.   For the sake of the Church, get real with us, the laity. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Latest edition of "The Villager" chronicles the latest episode of the Our Lady of Vilnius saga

Just as The Villager began to chronicle our struggle in 2006 with "Lady of Vilnius and 'Pretzels ''Provolone' may lose home", so Yannic Rack has shared the story of our proposed demolition and transformation into condos in Thursday's piece, "No Last Minute Miracle for O.L. Vilnius Church? Tower plan is filed."

Thank you for paying attention to Our Lady of Vilnius, the Willy Loman of parishes.  And thank you very much for the question mark.

We continue to pray for that miracle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Our Lady of Vilnius Demolition in Sight - Filing on DOB Jobs Overview page noted

Some elucidation from a friendly neighbor:

"The job type abbreviation stands for "APPLICATION PROCESSED - NO PLAN EXAM” which means there is an application but nothing has been processed yet. So before anything can be demolished, the applicant still needs to hand in all documentation. And technically, that doesn’t mean that a permit will be approved/issued at all.

So it seems like this is just additional paperwork that they’ve filed - nothing else than the previous application, except that it’s specifically the demolition."

We people of weakness
Are seeking your grace
O Mary, refuse not our prayer
From terror and tempest
From famine and battle
O rescue us, give us your strength.
-from hymn "Marija, Marija"

Hudson Square Connections Business Improvement District is creating open spaces. Oooh!

Most recent e-blast from Hudson Square Connection invites all  to celebrate the Grand Opening of Freeman Plaza East on 9/17 between 12 PM and 2 PM.  Entrance is on Broome and Varick.  This sounds like a good vantage point from which to snap a photo of Our Lady of Vilnius, if it is still standing.

Soon 570 Broome will be an open space, at least briefly, and not one to burble about.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade: Is Gay the final frontier of, ahem, tolerance?

How about parishioners left behind by suppressed parishes and churches sold and/or demolished?

Cardinal Dolan is taking some heat from conservative Catholics as he will be Grand Marshall of the first New York St. Patrick's Day Parade to include a gay group marching under its own banner.

Next year representatives of parishes suppressed or churches demolished since 2007 should apply to the committee to march under the banner of their extinguished communities.  We are still here in the Archdiocese of New York, we are still Roman Catholic and we are still orphaned by the loss of our parish families.  Yes, we have step-parishes, but we will be orphans for life.

Next year let's march under a banner reading "The Forgotten Remnant of Our Lady of Vilnius."

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Šilinės/Happy Birthday, Marija

Something cooking in Edvinas Minkstimas' Ethnic Kitchen

Edvinas Minkstimas and the Eucharist made beautiful music together at Our Lady of Vilnius, Minkstimas dressed casually and seated at the yellowed ivories of our basement hall piano.  He completed his doctoral studies at Juilliard and continues to grow as an artist.

His most recent e-blast informs us that he scored and performed the music for  a documentary called Ethnic Kitchen produced and directed by Aiste Ptakauske.  Info pasted below:

Dear Friends,

I am super-excited to announce the upcoming premiere of the documentary Ethnic Kitchen by producer/director and my dear friend, Aiste Ptakauske, on October 2nd in Forum Cinemas in Vilnius, followed by a tour of presentations throughout Lithuania! I wrote and performed music for this film, which was a wonderful creative experience for me.

The film explores experiences and life paths of five women from all over the world, who found themselves living in Lithuania. Moving and funny, the film strikes a chord in each one of us.

Upcoming events and presentations in US and elsewhere will take place in a near future. Stay tuned for more news!

Aiste's letter is below. You can learn more about this project by visiting, and make reservations for the premiere by contacting Akvile at

Hope you will have as much fun watching it as we had making this film happen!


Brangieji mano bendrazygiai, bendraminciai ir bendraautoriai,
Noriu nuosirdziai jums padėkoti uz tai, kad buvote ir esate su manimi "Pasaulio virtuvėje". Jusu dėka, sis projektas man tapo neuzmirstama supratingumo, kurybingumo, kantrybės, meilės ir apskritai gyvenimo mokykla. Kvieciu jus visus pasidziaugti musu bendros virtuvės produktu s.m. spalio 2 d. 19 val. kino teatre "Forum Cinemas Vingis". Kadangi filmo premjera bus nemokama ir atvira visuomenei, vietu skaicius labai ribotas. Tad pirmiausia norime rezervuoti vietas jums ir jusu artimiesiems. Prasome iki rugsejo 15 d. pasisakyti, kiek vietu norėtumėte filmo premjeroje. Savo rezervacijas siuskite musu nuostabiajai prodiuserės asistentei Akvilei adresu Gavusi jusu laiska, Akvilė atsius jums oficialius pakvietimus, patikslins visas su filmo premjera susijusias detales ir atsakys į visus jusu klausimus.
Iskart po premjeros Vilniuje "Pasaulio virtuvė" isvyks i tura po penkiolika Lietuvos miestu. Jeigu turite draugu, pazistamu ar giminiu, kurie norėtu filma pamatyti savo mieste, sekite musu naujienas tinklalapyje arba "Facebook" tinkle ir registruokite savo pazįstamus į premjeras visuose Lietuvos miestuose! Kiekviename mieste filmą bus galima pamatyti tik po viena karta!

Iki pasimatymo "Pasaulio virtuvėje"!"

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Our Lady of Vilnius Appears in New York Magazine Approval Matrix, 8/25/2014 issue

This NY Mag feature puts OLV in the Highbrow/Despicable quadrant. CLICK HERE to see this in context.

Thanks to the folks at New York Magazine who have watched over us all of these years from their lofty perch: