And still praying for a miracle...
On February 26th, 2007, I went down to Our Lady of Vilnius for noon Mass. I suspected that it might be the last Mass I would attend there. I knew Father Sawicki was scheduled for a meeting with Cardinal Egan at 9:00 AM that morning. When I got there, people were arriving for Mass and standing, stunned, in front of the locked church as Joy, Father's assistant, repeated the story of how the locksmith and church officials came to the rectory and locked the church and the parish hall.
This past Friday evening, as the city began to dig out of a big nor'easter, we gathered in front of the church and we had to dig, too.
Due to the weather, we were small in number. We prayed. One by one we spoke about how we felt at the three year mark. Lincoln Anderson of The Villager took notes and Mindaugas filmed.
Three years out: more about heritage, less about parish. We prayed for the dead of our parish, Danute Strout, Dalia Bulgaris and some that were not familar to me.
I interjected the name of Frankie Pretzels, of "Pretzels and Provolone" fame.Carmen Villegas was there with her unique blend of faith and humor. Carmen had been arrested 3 years ago for declining to leave Our Lady Queen of Angels when the archdiocese came to lock its doors. It was a gift to have her with us, praying and encouraging us to keep the faith.
Lately there is talk of a different goal, of preserving the building, saving it for an "alternate use," perhaps a Lithuanian cultural center. I still hope for a parish. St. Brigid's was revived long past the 11th hour as a court date loomed on the horizon. I pray for a similar outcome. It will only be impossible if we choose to abandon that vision.