Friday, April 18, 2008

Benedictus Qui Venit

On April 30, 2007 The New York Post carried a brief item by Dan Mangan: "POPE WANTS TO SAVE N.Y. CHURCH: LITHUANIA PREZ." The item begins:

"Pope Benedict XVI wants to see a lower Manhattan church shuttered by Edward Cardinal Egan reopened, according to a European head of state."

The inclusion of Our Lady of Vilnius Church on President Adamkus' agenda during his audience with the Pope was confirmed on the Lithuanian government's web site.

Today Pope Benedict XVI arrived in New York. During his 3 day visits he may pass very closely by our unassuming church nestled in its side street. The Holy Father might have glanced out of the helicopter carrying him to the UN and unwittingly seen the roof of Our Lady of Vilnius.

As I blog, my television is tuned to coverage of the Holy Father's visit. On EWTN Father Richard Neuhaus was explaining why the Pope addressed the UN in French saying that the Holy Father recognizes that "...Man is dependent on culture. Culture is dependent on tradition." EWTN then went dark, so I turned to CBS where Pablo Guzman was offering some historical information on St. Joseph's Church in Yorkville, where Pope Benedict will attend vespers this evening. Mr. Guzman stated that there is a German Mass on Sunday followed by a coffee hour.

A native New Yorker, I am more of a skeptic than a cynic. As irrational as it seems, I have really been waiting in joyful hope for this papal visit. As noted above, we have a Bavarian Pope who believes in the importance of culture. A church that holds Mass in the mother tongue and has a coffee social is hosting him.

I feel a certain electricity in the air. This will be a weekend that many Catholics will converge. Everyone who values the unique culture of Our Lady of Vilnius should pray early and often throughout the Papal visit that the Holy Spirit blows the dust off of this archdiocese, renews our faith and influences the powers of this archbishopric to honor the values expressed by Our Holy Father.

Pray for the survival of our parish and our church!

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