Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving: For Our Lady of Vilnius, NYC

  • For the home Father Sestokas' parish gave to my grandparents, a place where Lithuanian immigrants could meet each other and form a community, speak their language which, in other circles was obscure and comical, and, most important, not be "different".
  • For the home it gave to my father; American born and driven by his parents to become totally American, a place where his heritage was lived rather than preserved, a place for him to remain Lithuanian despite the imperatives of upward mobility.
  • For giving me, a prodigal daughter, a home to which I could return.
  • For the people that I met there, attracted to the unique culture and charism of this parish like iron filings to a magnet: the Lithuanians at Sunday Mass, the Portuguese neighbors, the weekday lunch crowd, Council 12 of the Knights of Lithuania, Knickerbocker Council of the Knights of Columbus, the people who came to listen to Father Eugene's encouraging preaching of the gospel, Edvinas Minkstimas who worked miracles on the gap-toothed basement piano, the members of NSM who brought good fellowship and good times to the basement hall as they promoted Lithuanian culture, all the lecturers, artists and performers who shared their gifts with us in the cozy, time-battered basement hall.
  • The lore of the parish passed on to me by all of the above.
  • For "Marija, Marija"
  • For the gradual movement of my soul closer to God
  • For all of you


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Help Save an Endangered Species: The Roman Catholic Warbler

A tome has been written on Why Catholics Can't Sing. Well, these Catholics can! The Archdiocesan Festival Chorale, made up of volunteer singers from parishes all over the archdiocese have been holding an Advent/Christmas Concert at St. Joseph's Seminary (Dunwoodie) in Yonkers for 23 years. The raison d'etre for this chorale are the seminarians themselves, bravely stepping up before the public in concert rather than their usual bailiwick, the liturgy.

X-mas began shortly after Halloween. As Advent approaches, our hearts turn to Christmas, the celebration of the birth of Christ. Join the Festival Chorale and the seminarians on Saturday, December 4th at 7:00 PM and/or Sunday, December 5th at 3:00 PM to begin Advent with some musical inspiration.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Required Reading: Archdiocese of New York Releases Financial Report

In the interest of transparency, the Archdiocese of New York announced via press release that they have released a financial report. I think that all of the following merit reading and evaluation: Read them and think.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Archbishop Timothy Dolan Elected President of USCCB

This is yesterday's news, but I wanted Our Lady to stay at the top of the blog for her feast day. The New York Times ran the story today on their front page: "Dolan Chosen as President of U.S. Bishops’ Group". The piece touches upon Dolan's role in investigating allegations of abuse in Ireland as well as this new role, noting:

"In New York, he has a full plate of challenges, including a budget-cutting effort that will close dozens of churches and parishes."

The news story is accompanied by a profile, "Prelate, Crowd-Pleaser and Defender of the Faith"

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Today is the Feast of Our Patroness: Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn

"As we end let us thank God the Almighty for sparing this church many times in the past. The construction of the Holland Tunnel in the early twenties, the Great Depression of the early thirties, World War I, II, the Korean and Vietnam wars. These indeed had left it with scars and loss of membership. But like the Phoenix we are survivors and rise from the ashes awaiting our 100 anniversary. As experience has already proven, we can rest assured that Our Lady of Vilnius - The Worker of the Aušros Vartai will lead us and our future heirs fo a brighter day in the years ahead."

- Dailia Bulvicius, parishioner,"90 Years for God and Country", 1995

Committe member and leader of Sunday prayers, Rita S. recently returned from Lithuania. While there, she requested Masses for the intention of our parish. On November 14th she relayed the following message: "Intention for our church was held TODAY in Ausros Vartai chapel!!!.And all feast week masses will be held for us every day!!!...And it is "original mother church" in Vilnius. Prayers for us in this special time at Ausros vartai feast are priceless."

Let us unite in prayer with those worshipping in the Gate of Dawn in Vilnius, thanking Our Lady for her protection and asking her for her help in the future.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Brooklyn Priests Speak Out About Church Closures

So many newspapers, so little time! I missed today's Daily News cover story, "Priests charge that Brooklyn Dem boss Vito Lopez influenced closure or merger of churches" Two respected pastors express their opinion that their churches were targeted for closure because they opposed agendas supported by Lopez. Paul Moses posted on this article at dotCommonweal (Priests say that Brooklyn pol meddled in parish closings) While he is unfazed by allegations that church actions are politically motivated, he is impressed that priests are speaking out. Visit this post and enjoy. The comments are frequently priceless.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rest in Peace, Henryk Gorecki

Henryk Gorecki passed away on November 12, 2010. He gave us a little piece of heaven on earth with this meditation on Marija.

After casting out parishioners, Roman Catholic Church in US displays renewed interest in casting out demons

In today's New York Times, Laurie Goodstein describes a renewed interest in exorcism on the part of the Church. Her piece, titled "For Catholics, Interest in Exorcism Is Revived" describes how Catholic priests are responding to a call from the laity for more exorcists. On Friday and Saturday, Bishop Thomas Paprocki (any relation to Danny and Snookie?) of Springfield, Ill, is holding a 2 day conference for priests on exorcism and the determination of demonic possession.

For those who might be scratching their heads over "why do this now", in light of other issues facing the Church, Ms. Goodstein consulted R. Scott Appleby, a Professor of Catholic History at Notre Dame, who offered this quote:

“What they’re trying to do in restoring exorcisms,” said Dr. Appleby, a longtime observer of the bishops, “is to strengthen and enhance what seems to be lost in the church, which is the sense that the church is not like any other institution. It is supernatural, and the key players in that are the hierarchy and the priests who can be given the faculties of exorcism.

“It’s a strategy for saying: ‘We are not the Federal Reserve, and we are not the World Council of Churches. We deal with angels and demons.’ ”

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Our Lady of Vilnius "Valio!" for Adele Jencius

There's Adele at the far right of the picture, standing serenely by as St. Brigid's parish celebrated its salvation by an anonymous donor last year.

Today we celebrate the 80th birthday of a lifelong Our Lady of Vilnius parishioner and a stalwart supporter of our effort to save the parish. Adele was baptized at Our Lady of Vilnius by our parish founder, Father Joseph Šestokas (Shestokas)and married there by Father George Gurinskas, namesake of our basement hall.

Adele is part of the living heritage of Our Lady of Vilnius parish, a quiet example of faith from whom we can learn, even though she does not teach or preach. Let's celebrate with her today and strengthen our resolve to restore the parish that shaped her and gave us all the opportunity to be quietly improved by her example.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"Pathways to Excellence" will be cleared with a sharp scythe

Today's New York Times lets us know that 32 parochial schools in the Archdiocese of New York will close. The article, "32 New York Catholic Schools to Close" by Paul Vitello, reports that Church officials characterize this as the largest school system reorganization in its history.

CLICK HERE to view Archdiocese of New York press release including list of schools under consideration for closure.

Without their schools, will the pathway to excellence be paved with suppressed parishes?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Dan Brown-ish Plot Unfolds in Mt. Kisco

Today's New York Times published a story titled "2 Charged With Fraud of Millions from Pianist." While financial scandals are often fascinating in their own right, the scammers created a a baroccoco page turner in order to deceive their mark. The story, by Manny Fernandez, details the scenario that Vickram Bedi and Helga Invarsdottir concocted as follows:
"Mr. Bedi’s uncle supposedly had learned that Polish priests tied to the conservative Roman Catholic organization Opus Dei were trying to harm Mr. Davidson, the district attorney’s office said. The Central Intelligence Agency, Mr. Bedi told Mr. Davidson, was working with him to prevent the priests from infiltrating the United States government, officials said."

Is this another instance of the Times' anti-Catholic bias or could it be

Friday, November 05, 2010

NY State Court of Appeals Grants Our Lady of Vilnius' Motion to Appeal

A message from Mindaugas arrived today:
"Yesterday the Appellate Division for the First Department, based in Manhattan, issued an order granting our motion to appeal to the Court of Appeals. This means that the State’s highest Court will have an opportunity to rule on the significant and novel issues pertaining to the proper interpretation of Section 5 of the Religious Corporation Law and whether or not the archdiocese can demolish the Church without the consent of the parishioners."

This decision came on the feast of our friend St. Charles Borromeo, canon and civil lawyer. Thank him for his intercession and continue to seek his aid.

It's delightful, it's's Diwali!

Today our friends (and my endodentist) of the Hindu tradition celebrate Diwali, the festival of light. Today commemorates the return of Lord Rama to his rightful place after 14 years of exile and the banishment of evil by the light of good.

Here in NYC alternate side of the street parking is suspended. All NYC believing motorists should thank God for an easier Friday.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Today is the Feast of St. Charles Borromeo: Civil and Canon Lawyer!

A Man for Our Lady of Vilnius Parish! Who knew!

On April 29, 2007, when members of Council 12 were permitted to enter Our Lady of Vilnius Church to retrieve their property, I found a medal with the face of St. Charles Borromeo on it. The medal was apparently issued to honor the 50th anniversary in the priesthood of Father Charles Tallarico. None of the parishioners that I asked about Father Tallarico seemed to remember him, nor have any idea of how the medal made its way to our choir loft.

The November issue of Magnificat celebrates this day as the feast of St. Charles, stating the following about him:

"As both a civil and a canon lawyer, as well as a bishop, Saint Charles understood the pastoral work of law-giving according to the model of Christ. His unflagging efforts to promote Christian life and Church reform were prompted by a profoundly self-sacrificing love of Christ living in the Church."

Please ask for the intercession of St. Charles Borromeo and Father Charles Tallarico in restoring Our Lady of Vilnius' community of faith

Monday, November 01, 2010

For All the Saints...

"The holy ones on earth become endless bliss to those who are in heaven."

Julian of Norwich