Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Irish Echo brings news of St. Brigid's

The Irish Echo piece St. Brigid's Rebuilds provides us with an update on the parish of St. Brigid, which had been closed, then subsequently revived by a $20,000.000 anonymous donation. The article contains some quotes from Ed Torres who steadfastly led the effort to save the church. Ed recently had the opportunity to re-enter the building for the first time since the church had been closed.

When asked how he felt Ed said:

"I did get a sense of satisfaction, absolutely. But I always had that faith that I would be back in there."

Imagine. Have faith. And pray.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Good News at St. Peter's, Boston, MA

An update from a parishioner:

"The fire was limited to one small room, while the church was full of smoke, damage was limited and repairable with no structural damage. Thankfully the fire fighters arrived before it could spread. Currently cleaning and construction company crews are at work so that we will be able to hold the Christmas Eve Mass (Kucios) in the church hall and have the Kucios dinner in the lower hall afterwards."

Read today's follow-up story in the Boston Herald.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Prayers Needed for Parishioners of St. Peter's Church, Boston, MA

The picture above accompanies today's Boston Herald story, Blaze ravages old Boston church.

The fire broke out during an Advent service and was confined to the sacristy. Damage is estimated at $100,000.00. There were no serious injuries, but Father Stephen Zukas was taken to the hospital for observation.

St. Peter's had been slated for closure in 2004. Cardinal O'Malley reversed this decision in 2005. The parishioners had been instrumental in saving the parish, replicating the hill of crosses in front of the church as a physical embodiment of their hopes and prayers.

My heart goes out to the St. Peter parishioners. Let us keep in touch with this situation and offer prayers for them and their parish as well as Father Zukas, who sounds like a real mensch.

Visit the parish web site.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Archdiocesan Transaction Watch

Touro College to buy New York Medical College for $60M

This story appeared in today's Journal News, the Gannett newspaper for the lower Hudson Valley. Interesting communicative style:

"Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the archdiocese, confirmed the medical school's Catholic identity will end. He referred questions about what that will mean to the medical school."

The medical school, in turn:

"I can't confirm that the agreement has been fully executed, and until it is, I can't comment on what's in the contract," Moriarty said."

God bless them for extracting the story!

Mindaugas Rallies Our Supporters

Most Sundays since the doors of Our Lady of Vilnius were locked, we have gathered across from St. Patrick's Cathedral at 10:30 AM. We sing, we pray, we hold up our signs of plea and protest and we talk to anyone who will listen.

Afterwards, we make our way downtown to Broome Street where we pray and then have a social gathering much as we did after Sunday Mass when the church was open.

Mindaugas usually sends out an e-mail reminder of this every Friday or Saturday. Today he attached the picture, above. This shot was taken in November, when we celebrated the feast of our Patroness, Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, the 3rd such feast celebrated outdoors. Though the church is closed, we are happy that it is still standing and happy that we are together.

Please join us in prayer, whether you attend or not.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Local Color: "The Haunts of Miss Highsmith"

This morning's New York Times ran a piece about the author Patricia Highsmith and the neighborhood in which she lived. The occasion of this piece was the release of Joan Schenkar's biography, "The Talented Miss Highsmith." Ms. Schenkar and the author of the article, Patricia Cohen, retraced the paths that Miss Highsmith had beaten through Soho and the Village. The print version featured the map, above. Unmarked at the southern end of the map sits Our Lady of Vilnius, well within Ms. Highsmith's radius, but not on her radar .

The phrase in the article that caught me was:

"We were engaging in ambulomancy or “divination by walking,” Ms. Schenkar explained, stepping through Highsmith country in order to understand the writer herself. “Every physical location is also an emotional location,” Ms. Schenkar noted."

"How true," I thought. Then I thought of Our Lady of Vilnius, the church and the rectory, silent, empty and unmarked at the southern end of the little map that will be seen by thousands, if not millions, today. Over fifty years since I first set foot in this church and nearly 3 years after the church was closed, I am still imbued with its flavor. When we visit the church, we pray that this emotional location, so important to many of us, will not be lost.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Immaculate Conception....Yaayy!

In my little world the word "Yaayy!" follows "Immaculate Conception" like the knee jerks in response to the doctor's hammer. As soon as I could talk my mother amused me with the Immaculate Conception's (Tuckahoe) basketball cheer:

Jigga jigga whole potato,
Half-past alligator,
Ram, ram bully jam,
Jig-wah do,
Chigga-boom, chigga-boom,
Chigga-boom, boom, boom,

A day to rejoice, a step closer to Christmas as we continue to wait in joyful hope. Immaculate Conception, YAAAYY!.

P.S. Remember to go to Mass. Alternate side of the street parking is suspended in Our Lady of Vilnius country today: another reason to give thanks and praise!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Apellate Division Rules Against Columbia U. in Eminent Domain Case

On January 11 of last year I posted on the case of Nicholas Sprayregen fighting the loss of his property through eminent domain (Variations on a Theme). In that post I referenced a New York Times article titled Pushing Back as Columbia Moves to Spread Out in which Mr. Sprayregen was quoted as saying:

"Property rights abuse is running rampant, but what’s unique in this instance is that eminent domain always seems to be used against the down-and-out, people who can’t afford to fight back in a meaningful way. I can. But I think it’s anti-American that I’m probably on the losing side.”

Today's New York Times ran a story titled Court Deals a Blow to Columbia's Expansion Plans. The story describes a ruling by the Apellate Division of the State Supreme Court stating that the state could not use eminent domain on behalf of Columbia University to obtain parts of a 17-acre site in West Harlem.

Read the article in its entirety, then visit my imaginary (and imaginative) friends at dotCommonweal, where Paul Moses has addressed the topic in a post titled Columbia’s not-so-eminent domain. Strike the harp and join the forum!