Friday, September 15, 2006

Cardinal Egan, you've gotten my Irish up!

And all of my other immigrant ancestors as well! And they are all going to fight to keep Our Lady of Vilnius open.

Yes, that's right. I am Lithuanian on my father's side, but my mother's grandmother came from County Cork. My mother's grandfather came from Bavaria. If you want to quantify my ancestry, I am 1/2 Lithuanian, 1/4 Irish and 1/4 German.

Why do I love Our Lady of Vilnius? Let me count the ways:

  • Because all of my now deceased Lithuanian relatives worshipped at this church. My Lithuanian grandfather died before I was born. My Lithuanian grandmother died the night I came home from the hospital. My father, his sisters and all of his first cousins have passed on. It feels like a reunion to pray in the same space where they once prayed.
  • Because the icon of Our Lady of Vilnius is of unsurpassed beauty and I have never seen it displayed in another Archdiocesan parish.
  • Because the hymn "Marija, Marija" touches my heart. I never heard it in the Bronx parish where I was raised.
  • It is a symbol of the Lithuanian people's gift of devotion, music, art and culture to the Archdiocese of New York and to New York City.
  • It provides a spiritual home for diverse groups that are united in their love for this parish: Knights of Columbus, Knights of Lithuania, Lithuanians and Lithuanian-Americans, the Portuguese and other residents of the surrounding area, the lunch hour daily communicants.
  • It is a vibrant, living celebration of humanity: our humanity and that of Christ, our Brother.

No comments: