Today is Palm Sunday. Both of my churches are closed. I know where I am going to brunch but I do not yet know where I will go to Mass because, spiritually, I am wandering like a ghost.
Today I have no church, but my two parish communities, St. Stanislaus Kostka and Our Lady of Vilnius, are both active at the same time. The Administrator of St. Stanislaus, as of two weeks ago, described the parish as "officially closed, but we do not have a date yet." What is the canonical status of that?
Though the church of St. Stan's has been locked since September of 2005 ," the community lives on. The coffee social unique to St. Stanislaus is now being held in the rectory meeting room of St. Matthew's after the 9:00 AM family Mass. The Holy Rosary Society persists and at noon today will hold its annual Palm Sunday brunch at Rudy's Beau Rivage in Dobbs Ferry. I will not stand next to Polly Ciborowski in the alto section of the St. Stanislaus loft and sing Faure's "The Palms" and "Adoramus Te Christe." Perhaps Polly will have already attended Mass and will bring her palms to the brunch and gently lash me with them as she delivers her annual Polish blessing. When we assemble, the irrepresible humor will arise, glasses will be raised and there will be some occasion for singing "Sto Lat." It's always a great honor and pleasure for me to be among these people.
Meanwhile,the people of Our Lady of Vilnius will be assembling with their signs, icons and flags across the street from the main entrance of St. Patrick's Cathedral, for today is not only Palm Sunday, but the eve of Cardinal Egan's 75th birthday. Reporters will be inside, examining the Cardinal's homily for auguries of his future and that of the archdiocese as well. As the Passion is read and the homily follows, the parishioners of Our Lady of Vilnius will be across the street living the passion of the parish, which began to unfold on Ash Wednesday, and praying for a future. I hope that some of the reporters will cross to the other side of the street after the Mass and hear our story.
After leaving St. Patrick's, the OLV parishioners will gather again in front of the church on Broome Street to petition Our Lady's intercession, then mingle and enjoy each other's company.It is an embarassment of riches to have to choose between these two communities today, yet I am sad.
Why can't the archdiocese recognize these riches and allow them to grow?