Sunday, December 31, 2006


Under your protection

Food for Thought from Charlotte Bronte

"Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee, is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

These things and deeds are diametrically opposed: they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them: they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is - I repeat it - a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly the line of separation between them.

The world may not like to see these ideas dissevered, for it has been accustomed to blend them; finding it convenient to make external show pass for sterling worth - to let whitewashed walls vouch for clean shrines. It may hate him who dares to scrutinise and expose - to rase the gilding and show base metal under it - to penetrate the sepulchre, and reveal charnel relics; but hate as it will, it is indebted to him."

-December 21st, 1847, written under the pseudonym Currer Bell in the Preface to Jane Eyre

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Comptroller William C. Thompson backs landmark status for St. Brigid's

Peter McDermott elaborates on this development in his story in the December 27 edition of The Irish Echo.

To see what they are doing to save St. Brigid's, visit Http:// Maybe we can pick up some pointers.

Thank you for Kucios

Pictured here, post-Kucios and pre-cleanup, are some of the people who made it a reality. From left to right, Rita, Larry, Vesta, a guy whose name I don't know, Vita and Edvinas. They planned, decorated, cooked, sliced, diced, served and cleaned. The hall looked beautiful, the food was delicious and everyone had a good time. Thanks also to Asta, not pictured, and those who prepared food at home and brought it to share with us. Thanks to any unsung heros whose help escaped my awareness. Thanks to all of you for the gift of your time, energy, hospitality and elan vital.

Thanks also to Father Eugene, for supporting this gathering and gracing it with his genial presence and to all who attended and gave the pleasure of their company. Thanks to our ancestors, who were with us in spirit and to our Guest of honor, who made it all possible.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Saint Brigid's in the news again today

Why am I always blogging about St. Brigid's?

Because I think that we have some things in common and they have been very effective at hanging in there against all odds. Today weighs in with an item entitled East Villagers Battle Archdiocese to Save `Irish Famine Church' by Mike Di Paola.

Read, learn and think.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Midnight Orations of Jellybean

Yow! Reah! Ahem, ahem. What the...? Hmmm. Ow! Can you turn on a light for me? I'm not a kitten anymore. Hey! Pour 3 cat-toes of Scotch into that saucer, if you please... Mmmm. Prrrrrrrr. Where's that catnip cigar I was playing with before?...Mmmmm. While you're up, can you dial the Chancery for me? What do you mean they're not answering? I just wanted to wish Cardinal Egan "Linksmu Kaledu"! He should have come to Kucios. By the way, is any of "that fish" left over? Would you mind going across the courtyard to get it for me? Mmmmm. Sit over there, I'd like to jump into your lap. Mmmmm. A little under the chin. Mmmmmm. Sorry about those doors. Nice music. Prrrr. Hodie, Christus natus est....

Linksmu Kaledu from Our Lady of Vilnius, NYC

"What we want is to love and know we are loved and to imagine a world that lives up to the purity of that feeling."

-From the New York Times Editorial "How We Say Christimas"

Wesołych Swiat to St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

This photo was taken in 1983, when Father Ed Fabisinski was Pastor.

This year the sanctuary is dark and still, but nonethelss beloved as it sleeps in heavenly peace.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Celebrating the "Sacred messiness of life"

One of the reasons that I am "Nobody's Wife" could be my apartment. A suitor one day looked at my living room and said "What male bird would mate with a female bird that builds a nest like this?"

That's why I was happy to open my New York Times this morning and see Penelope Green's article Saying Yes to Mess. Illustrated by an exuberantly chaotic Koren cartoon, the article presents the positive psychological and spiritual underpinnings of messiness.

The article quotes Rabbi Irwin Kula, author of a book entitled "Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life," saying "Order can be profane and life-diminishing." Clutter and disarray need not signify slovenliness, but may be a manifestation of abundance.

At Our Lady of Vilnius, all kinds of things and people are joyfully juxtaposed in a rich and uncontrived pageant of humanity. Gloria in excelsis deo!

A stranger on the train remembers theater at Our Lady of Vilnius

While I was celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Vilnius on Broome Street, an SUV was tearing off my passenger side mirror outside the Rectory on Dominick Street. Since my front tire was flat this morning, I decided that it was a good day to bring the car in for repairs and take MetroNorth to work.

As I purchased my ticket from the vending machine, I heard the downtown train depart. I scanned the schedule for the next train and started a conversation with a woman who was heading to Manhattan as well. The thread ran from the schedule of trains to life in our village, to St. Stanislaus Kostka church, to growing up Catholic, to a play she had written, then, to a film she would like to make. She remarked that she had lived in Little Italy at one time, so I mentioned Our Lady of Vilnius.

She was not only familiar with the church, but had designed and built a set for a reading of Estonian poetry organized by Linda Pakri. She seemed to remember the hall very well and described the set and how she constructed it. She reminisced about the power of the poetry and the reverence for nature that the Estonians shared. I told her about the current condition of the church and its plight as well as describing Father Eugene and other denizens of the underground barroom/sanctuary/dreamscape. She seemed happy to revisit this time and place in her past and I was happy to meet someone who took part in this vibrant chapter in the life of Our Lady of Vilnius.

After my first adult visit to the church hall in November, 2004, I started surfing the net to learn more about this mysterious place. There was not much. I felt like a stranger sifting through another family's trunk of keepsakes. A few of the items that I found referred to Linda Pakri and Arts Club Theatre. From one of the pages I learned that she had died in August 2003 after suffering severe burns. Like Aldona Kepalaite, she is another sketchy ghost of Our Lady of Vilnius to whom I feel strangely attached. I never met her, yet I regret her loss.

At a recent meeting about saving the church someone suggested renovating the basement hall. Response to this was very mixed, but I remember Aukse hearkening back to the 1980's and describing the ways in which the room was transformed into anything they wanted it to be.

I am now happy to know someone who participated in one of these transformations.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Invitation to Kucios from Gintare

Tiems, kurie noretu siais metais svesti Kucias kartu su mielais tautieciais Niujorke jaukioje aplinkoje yra maloniai kvieciami i Ausros Vartu parapija sekmadieni, gruodzio 24 d. Kaledu isvakariu Misios bus 7 v.v., o Kucios tuoj po Misiu.

Vakaro programoje: tradiciniu giesmiu giedojimas, seni liaudies burimai, ir aisku, 12 tradiciniu patiekalu vakariene. Visi yra prasomi atsinesti po $5 vertes dovanele!

Iejimas yra nemokamas, bet butina uzsiregistruoti is anksto iki
treciadienio, gruodzio 20 d. parapijos tinklapyje, Save Our Lady of Vilnius,

Thursday, December 14, 2006

St. Brigid's: The Canary in the Archdiocesan Coal Mine Still Sings

Today my attention was brought to an Irish Echo article entitled Artists back St. Brigid's by Peter McDermott.

Read, learn and ponder.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We invite you to Kucios, NYC on Christmas Eve

On this most auspicious of evenings, we will observe the Lithuanian tradition of Kucios with a dinner after the 7:00 PM Mass on Christmas Eve. If you would like to attend, please visit the Message Board to sign up before December 20 so that we know how much food to prepare. Please bring a $5 grab bag gift.

Visit to learn more about the tradition of Kucios.

For a more contemporary take on Kucios, read Reminiscences of Kucios Past by Milda Motekaityte DeVoe in Labas: The Lithuanian E-Zine. Ms. DeVoe is a recent Pushcart Prize winner who has shared her work at Our Lady of Vilnius within the past year.

As an American born weak Lithuanian hybrid, I did not grow up with this custom. I'm sorry that this event will probably break up before midnight, when, according to folklore, Jellybean, the rectory cat, might mouth off in English and water could turn to wine.

Of course, either of these would be more mundane than the usual at Our Lady of Vilnius.

Kucios, NYC

Aušros Vartų Parapija rengia bendras Kūčias

sekmadienį, gruodžio 24 d., parapijos salėje
520 Broome Street
Kalėdinės Mišios – 7 v.v., Kūčios tuoj po Mišių

Įėjimas - nemokamai

Reikia užsisakyti vietas iš anksto iki š.m. gruodžio 20 d. Aušros Vartų parapijos tinklapyje

Concert/Gathering on Saturday, December 16 in Our Lady of Vilnius Church Hall

"New Yorkers Among Us" looks back with satisfaction at a year of memorable events and raises a glass to the future on Saturday, December 16, in Our Lady of Vilnius Hall.

You are invited to attend a concert of the works of Robert Schumann as performed by Edvinas Minkstimas.

Edvinas has studied at the Lithuanian Academy of Music, Paris National Conservatory and Juilliard School. In addition to this, every Sunday he gamely pulls us through the liturgy and soothes our souls with a beautiful Communion meditation.

Edvinas is featured in an interview on the Bernardinai web site, alas in Lithuanian! Yet another incentive to learn this language.

Doors open at 7:00 PM - Concert at 7:30 PM

Ateinanti sestadieni, gruodzio 16 diena

kvieciame i vakara - susitikima su tarptautiniu konkursu laureatu, Niujorko Juilliard muzikos mokyklos, Lietuvos Muzikos akademijos ir Paryziaus Nacionalines konservatorijos absolventu, pianistu ir kompozitoriumi EDVINU MINKSTIMU

Vakaro metu klausysimes Robert Schumann'o kuriniu

Placiau apie Edvino Minkstimo kurybini kelia galite pasiskaityti Bernardinu svetaineje

Visi musu sveciai bus pavaisinti vynu ir drauge pakelsime taures uz praejusius turiningus ir grazius NSM metus

Prasau, persiuskite si skelbima savo artimiesiems, draugams, kolegoms. Iki greito!

Iejimas nuo 7:00PM.
Koncerto pradzia - 7:30PM

Iejimas:laisva auka