Monday, January 19, 2009

The Our Lady of Vilnius Diaspora: More Roamin' Catholics

Where are the scattered parishioners of Our Lady of Vilnius attending Mass? St. Patrick's Cathedral (Old and New), Our Lady of Pompeii, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Francis Xavier, the Monastery Church of the Sacred Heart, St. Peter's, Annunciation (Apreiskimo) and Corpus Christi to name a few. Because we can't attend the one we love, we attend the one that's near. We believe, we pray, we participate in the Eucharistic celebration, but few of us are committing ourselves wholeheartedly to immersion in a new parish family.

When the Archdiocese of New York closed Our Lady of Vilnius, they did not designate a parish to receive the the displaced parishioners. The AD of NY press release stated that those who needed to worship in Lithuanian could attend Mass in Elizabeth, NJ, Maspeth, Queens or Williamsburg, Brooklyn. No comment was addressed to the rest of us: those fluent in English who attended Our Lady of Vilnius because the unique culture of the parish made God's grace more accessible to us. No provision was made to keep the family intact.

Until the fate of Our Lady of Vilnius is resolved, I will join the ranks of roamin' catholics everywhere, sitting in any available seat at God's table, but always as a stepsister to my brethren. I will leave the table nourished but vanish like a ghost, unnoticed and unremembered by those with whom I have just eaten.

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