Monday, April 21, 2008
This is a quote from today's "New York Times" article titled Cat Lovers Appreciate Soul Mate in Vatican. Normally I will curl up on top of the Times for a nap or bat a paw at it while it's being read, but today I nearly shredded the paper in my enthusiasm for this article. Please read the rest of this inspiring story.
Our Lithuanian-American chorister held up the little icon as the Holy Father paused briefly before the choir in his popemobile.
The archdiocese closed our church but we are still present, still hopeful, still faithful and still part of the Mystical Body of Christ.
Friday, April 18, 2008
Danute had been living with cancer since I first met her three years ago. Sometimes she wore a wig, sometimes her own hair. Sometimes she had a rattly cough. She did not let these things diminish the pleasure she took in life. She joined in our protests and social gatherings and graciously offered us hospitality. She was very proud of her heritage and was eager to share its riches with initiates like me. I remember sitting across the table from her last spring in Kenny's Broome Street Bar as she spoke enthusiastically about her upcoming vacation in Lietuva.
Last November, after our committee to save the church had met, Danute invited us to her home for a snack. She proudly served us her zeppelinai and mushroom gravy, hardly a snack but more of a special occasion meal.
I will miss her smile, her fortitude, her kindness and her love of life. Whenever we gather she will always be with us and in our prayers.
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!
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
This Sunday, when we gathered, we celebrated the birthday of Deacon Vytas, whose presence is always so welcome and inspiring.
One of our parishioners also reminded us of the birthday of Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday. As we sang and toasted and wished Vytas "long years" in Lithuanian, we also wished the same for Pope Benedict and included him in our prayers.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Let us all aspire to be "SATYAGRAHI," as described below:
B) The satyagrahi must always provide a face-saving "way out" for the opponents. The goal is to discover a wider vista of truth and justice, not to achieve victory over the opponent.
I will strive for the above AND, I'm going to the opera. It's sung in Sanskrit. Maybe it will help me with my Lithuanian!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Afterwards we head downtown to Our Lady of Vilnius, 570 Broome Street, where we ask Our Lady for her mercy and protection. Afterwards, we share refreshments and enjoy good fellowship.
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place."