32 Dominick St.
New York, NY 10013
Tel. (212) 255-2648 Fax (212) 924-6210
September 26, 2006
Your action and intervention is being requested so that the Church of Our Lady of Vilnius located at 570 Broome Street, New York 10012 can be saved from closure by the Archdiocese of New York.
On July 31st 2006 Father Eugene Sawicki was notified to come to His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan’s office at the Archdiocese of New York office located at 1011 First Avenue, New York 10022 for a meeting. He was informed that the church of Our Lady of Vilnius will be closed, but not imminently.
This is the only active Lithuanian church in the Archdiocese of New York and was founded in 1905. For many years this parish church was the center of Lithuanian life. In the late 1920’s the Lithuanian community was dispersed because of the construction of the Holland Tunnel. Our roster consists of about 300 people comprising of business, neighborhood and Lithuanian people who attend Mass at this house of worship. In addition a group of Lithuanians usually comes twice a month for Lithuanian cultural events. This group has recently become affiliated with the Lithuanian American Community whose New York chairperson is one of our parishioners.
The parish is debt free. The sole problem is the church roof. In early 2003 it was determined that the roof required repair as some of the supporting trusses had cracked. The Archdiocese was notified and insurance claim filed. Since then, all that has been dome by the Archdiocese is erect a de-icer and position a three-storey scaffold in the middle aisle of the church. The approved insurance claim money is being held by the Archdiocese. No money has been sent to the parish for making the necessary repair.
The church had to be closed and Mass is held in the basement hall. No weddings, funerals or baptisms have been held for the past three years. Father hears confession in the hall, staircase, closets, or out in the street.
We are most grateful for your assistance by writing to Cardinal Egan protesting this decision to close the church. A copy of your letter will be appreciated and put into the church log. By the way, you’re welcome to come and attend religious services and pray with us.