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.