This is one of the videos that brings it all back. We hope to have a candlelight vigil in front of the church tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM to commemorate the event, to thank God that the church is still standing and that we still have the strength to work for the restoration of our community and the perpetuation of our heritage. We hope that the weather will permit this gathering, and if it does, we invite you to join us.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Archbishop Dolan Reflects on His First Year: Affably Refers to Financial Woes of Archdiocese (and Remedies)
Archbishop Dolan sat down for an interview with ABC Local and reflected, but not terribly deeply, on his first year at the helm of the Archdiocese of New York. Amidst the humor and charm, a stark message:
"Whammy number one, more people are coming to church for help. Whammy number two, we have less money to give out," Dolan said.
His predecessor, Cardinal Egan, closed many schools and parishes to help balance church finances. It's a painful process and one that may not be over.
"Will there be future school closings? I wish I could say no. I sure hate doing it, but I'm sure there will be," he said."
When there are, please consult us for advice.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Today's NY Times energized me in a positive way today rather than making my hair stand on end in terror. The "Metropolitan" section ran a piece on Brooklyn College professor Sharon Zukin titled A Contrarian’s Lament in a Blitz of Gentrification.
The article describes the gentrification process as limned by Ms. Zukin:
"The pattern in places like Williamsburg and Atlantic Yards, Ms. Zukin said, is dreary and inexorable: Middle-class “pioneers” buy brownstones and row houses. City officials rezone to allow luxury towers, which swell the value of the brownstones. And banks and real estate companies unleash a river of capital, flushing out the people who gave the neighborhoods character."
Ms. Zukin will be discussing her book “Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places” tomorrow evening at the CUNY Graduate Center. Alas, though free, the event is sold out. I can console myself with the book, but how can I bond with the other attendees?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
St. Stanislaus Kostka parishioner Gene Quillen passed away on February 16, 2010. Though the church of St. Stanislaus closed in October 2005 and the parish suppressed at some indeterminate time a few years later, the community lives on through coffee social at St. Matthew's, the Holy Rosary Society and the occasional dinner at the Polish Community Center in Yonkers.
Gene Quillen was an integral part of this community, displaying the fortitude, heart and humor that characterize the St. Stanislaus Kostka community. I could also imagine him in the basement of Our Lady of Vilnius, happily kibitzing with our Knickerbocker Council Knights of Columbus. Gene had been absent from our events for some time due to illness, but we stayed in touch with him through his wife, Ann, and he was always with us in our thoughts and prayers. He will remain with us in that way forever.
Read Gene's obituary here.
Monday, February 15, 2010
On Thursday, October 11, 2007, "Andrew the Sinner" began to visit one church in Manhattan each week and to document his experience of worship in his blog, Catholic Churches of Manhattan.
This Sunday, he visited Our Lady of Vilnius and found it closed. Consistent with his mission, he nonetheless documented his experience and I thank him for creating a lovely record in his post, 86. Our Lady of Vilnius (CLOSED).
I've added Andrew's blog to my sidebar because I am going to be a frequent visitor. I would like to see what he has to say about the other churches and to visit the comprehensive library of interesting links on his sidebar.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Tomorrow evening at 7PM, the parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Angels at 232 East 113th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) in East Harlem will observe the third anniversary of their struggle to save their parish.
Three years ago tomorrow night, these same parishioners were forcibly evicted from their church, and six of them were arrested for trespassing in their own sanctuary.
Please join them on the same sidewalk where the people of OLQA have gathered together with family, friends and supporters every single Sunday morning since the night the church was locked up.
You know that they have gathered there to pray together in all seasons, in rain and in snow, in the summer heat and in the chill of spring and fall, always keeping the faith, always hopeful, always trusting that their prayers will be heard and will be answered.
They will gather once again Friday night to pray together, to sing together, to be together as the struggle continues.
Let us all join them and support them in their continuing efforts to find a way to save the faith community of Our Lady Queen of Angels.
Please forward this message to family and friends.
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Todays New York Times, one of my 3 sources of morning adrenaline, addresses the current crisis at St. Vincent's Hospital in a piece titled The Decline of St. Vincents. The piece attributes financial woes of the institution to a composite of forces including the Sisters' of Charity exercise of, well, charity:
"How St. Vincent’s went from a cherished neighborhood institution to one threatened with extinction is a chronicle of increasingly troubled management whose problems were made worse by the economics of the health care industry, changes in the fabric of a historic neighborhood and the low profit potential in religious work."The article also states that the hospital did not change with the neighborhood and quotes Susan Sarandon:
“I would not want to bring my children there,” Ms. Sarandon declared at a landmarks preservation hearing."
The article opens with the following description:
For more than 150 years, St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan has been a beacon in Greenwich Village, serving poets, writers, artists, winos, the poor and the working-class, and gay people."
It goes on to describe the current clientele:
"In short, many of the patients who frequent St. Vincent’s are part of the old Village rather than the new Village, as was clear from a tour of the emergency room last week. It was electric with activity, every bed filled. Many of the patients were elderly, from Chinatown, or grizzled remnants of the Village’s old working class."
Wouldn't it be great if the denizens of the "new Village" took a page from the Sisters of Charity and behaved like neighbors rather than consumers, becoming activists for the cause of St. Vincent's? Why do we have this "old Village/new Village" healthcare consumption dichotomy? Can't we have one Village that embraces everyone?
Susan Sarandon: Please become part of the solution.
Tuesday, February 02, 2010
John Usalis' piece in today's "Standard Speaker,"County man killed in fall at St. George describes a fatal fall that took the life of John Martz and injured his co-worker, Anthony Webb.
A quote from parishioner Charles Vascavage:
""I'm a parishioner and I've been here every day since they started," Vascavage said, who has come to know the workers doing the demolition.
"These guys are like friends to us," Vascavage said. "I'm very sorry that this happened. I'm going to pray for this man for the rest of my life. We told them all that we wished them no ill will. This is almost like a family member getting hurt."
Let us pray for the soul of John Martz, the restoration to health of John Webb and for everyone touched by this tragedy. Like Charles Vascavage, for the rest of our lives.
Monday, February 01, 2010
dotCommonweal brought my attention to the fact that on January 16th honorary citizenship of the City of Freising was conferred upon Pope Benedict. The blog excerpted his brief talk. Everything he said of the Cathedral is also true, in my estimation, of Our Lady of Vilnius. Below I present the Pope's speech in grayscale sentence by sentence followed by my minimal paraphrase, in black italic. Here goes:
"Today Munich airport is located at the gates of Freising." Today Our Lady of Vilnius is located at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel. "Those who land or take off from there see the towers of Freising Cathedral, they see the mons doctus, and can perhaps understand a little of its past history and of its present." Those who are idling in traffic, awaiting passage to New Jersey, see the squat, begrimed little church, they see the humble surroundings and fading signs and can perhaps understand a little of its past history and of its present. "Freising has always had a sweeping view of the chain of the Alps." Our Lady of Vilnius has always been overshadowed by its taller neighbors. "By means of the airport it has become, in a certain sense, also global and open to the world." By means of the tunnel it has become, in a certain sense, also global and open to the world. "And yet I want to say: the Cathedral with its towers points upwards to heights that are loftier by far and very different from those we reach in airplanes; the true heights, the heights of God from whom comes the love that gives us authentic humanity." And yet I want to say: the church with its small striving towers points upwards to destinations that are loftier by far and very different from those we reach in any vehicle; the true heights, the heights of God from whom comes the love that gives us authentic humanity. "Yet the Cathedral does not only indicate the loftiness of God who forms us and shows us the way, but also indicates an expanse, and this is not only because the Cathedral embraces centuries of faith and prayer, because it contains, so to speak, the whole community of saints, of all those who went before us who believed, prayed, suffered and rejoiced." Yet the tiny church does not only indicate the loftiness of God who forms us and shows us the way, but also indicates an expanse, and this is not only because the church embraces a century of faith and prayer, because it contains, so to speak, the whole community of saints, of all those who went before us who believed, prayed, suffered and rejoiced. "It indicates, in general, the great host of all believers of all time." "Thus it also shows a vastness which goes beyond globalization, because, in diversity, even in the different cultures and origins, it gives the strength of inner unity, in other words it gives that which can unite us: the unifying power of being loved by God." Thus, though small, humble and locally beloved, it also shows a vastness which goes beyond globalization, because, in diversity, even in the different cultures and origins, it gives the strength of inner unity, in other words it gives that which can unite us: the unifying power of being loved by God. "Thus for me Freising also continues to point out a path." Thus for me, for countless travelers and for the Lithuanian diaspora, Our Lady of Vilnius also continues to point out a path: a path that I hope our church will continue to illuminate with the Holy Spirit for years to come.