FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 19, 2007
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OUR LADY OF VILNIUS PARISH WILL ALSO CLOSE
Although not a part of the realignment process, [Why not? There was a highly publicized protocol and appeal process associated with the realignment.] a decision has been made to close the Parish of Our Lady of Vilnius in Manhattan. Discussions concerning Our Lady of Vilnius began prior to the launch of the realignment process.[Again, why? Exactly when?Where is this documented? Why was this not shared with Father Sawicki and the parishioners]
Our Lady of Vilnius located at 32 Dominick Street across from the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, is a "national parish" founded in 1905 to serve Lithuanian Catholics then [ "Then" is a total inaccuracy. We (recent immigrants, visitors and descendants) are still here.] living in the New York metropolitan area. National parishes like Our Lady of Vilnius were originally established to serve large numbers of immigrants from a particular country, for instance Germany or Italy, by providing services in their native language and preserving their cultural and religious celebrations.
Sunday Mass attendance at Our Lady of Vilnius had decreased to approximately 100 parishioners, and the Mass was celebrated in English, not in Lithuanian. [The 11:15 Mass is usually celebrated in Lithuanian. The prayers are either said or sung in Lithuanian. The readings are done in Lithuanian by a native speaker and then again in English.] There were virtually no weddings or baptisms at the parish in recent years. [Three years ago the sanctuary was closed because of concerns regarding the stability of the roof. Correspondence from Father Sawicki to the Chancery requesting repairs has remained unanswered during this period. Mass has been held in the basement hall. Most people prefer to celebrate these momentous, highly photographed occasions in a Church]. Arrangements have been made with the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Archdiocese of Newark for the pastoral care of the Lithuanian people. Both dioceses have parishes in which Mass is offered in the Lithuanian language. [Someone should wake Cardinal Egan up at 3:00 AM, drive him to Poughkeepsie and have him take public transportation so that he can say Mass at 10:00 AM at Transfiguration in Maspeth before he endorses this one. Newark, Williamsburg and Queens are inconvenient to the point of hardship for people living outside of Manhattan. Not to mention that the Archdiocese is spurning the gift of spirituality and culture that the Lithuanian people have to offer. Where is Our Lady of the Dawn Gate? Where is "Marija, Marija"? Where is the Rupintojelis in this Archdiocese if we are closed?]