Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our Lady Queen of Angels celebrates 125 years of faith: 4 1/2 of them outdoors

Today joyful noises were made, the faithful prayed and shared a homemade feast, sang and danced in front of the church that has been locked to them since February of 2007. It was a pleasure to join them in praying that they would once more be able to go inside for Mass. Even more noteworthy than their faith and persistence is their vitality, pride in their culture and generosity in sharing it with us. We certainly will return to join them in prayer at their Sunday gatherings at 10:00 AM in front of the church. Gracias and aciu to the bomberos who added so much joy and soul to the festivities.

Friday, July 29, 2011

RIP Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi

Today's New York Times published the obituary of Papal Nuncio Pietro Sambi. Those of us involved in saving Our Lady of Vilnius will be forever grateful for his assistance in getting our correspondence to the Vatican and for his replies to our correspondence to him. His Christmas homilies from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington will also be missed.

Archbishop Sambi always will be included in our prayers and given a good seat at one of the long tables in the OLV virtual basement, where he may sip coffee with Avery Dulles and Dorothy Day.

May he rest in peace in the presence of Our Lord under the serene gaze of Our Lady.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crystal Cathedral to become RC?

My print version of the New York Times arrived this morning with Ian Lovett's story, Bankrupt Evangelical Megachurch May Get a Roman Catholic Makeover, though the e-version has a publication date of yesterday. Now that Jason Berry has piqued my interest in the secret life of money, these articles increasingly snag my attention. Salient quotes:
"The Diocese of Orange has offered $50 million to buy Crystal Cathedral’s 40-acre campus and convert the landmark church into a Catholic cathedral, part of a plan to allow Crystal Cathedral Ministries, which operates the church, to
emerge from bankruptcy proceedings
. "
"The diocese has pledged to erase Crystal Cathedral’s debt: all creditors would be paid by the end of the year, with some cash left over for the ministry, Mr. Martin said.

Still, it is not clear exactly how the diocese would finance a $50 million purchase. In 2004, the diocese paid around $100 million to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit — at the time, the largest such settlement for any diocese in the United States, which led to layoffs and budget cuts."

Monday, July 25, 2011

NY Times reviews "Render Unto Rome"

Garry Wills bundles Jason Berry's book, subtitled "the secret life of money in the Catholic church," with a book about Scientology in a review titled "Scientologists, Catholics and More Money Than God." The commonality as Wills puts it:
"These two books trace the cash source of theological confidence. "

Friday, July 22, 2011

Trinity Real Estate proposes zoning changes for OLV 'hood

The latest issue of "The Villager" features Albert Amateau's article on the topic: More conversions, schools wanted for Hudson Square. What Catholic church could argue against more conversions?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Archdiocese of New York parishioners fear that change is a harbinger of church closing

Parishioners of Sacred Heart in Patterson, NY are concerned that transfer of their Pastor may be the first movement towards closure. The local Gannett daily covers it in this story: "Patterson Catholic church must share new pastor, parishioners fear closing."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

6 Roman Catholic churches readied for sale in Boston

Christian Canons Have Fired At My Days, Part I:

A brief AP item in yesterday's New York Times announced that 6 churches may soon placed on the market in Boston.
"The head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has paved the way to sell six churches, including three at which parishioners have been holding protest vigils since their parishes were closed in 2004. The decision by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, announced Thursday, means that the churches are no longer holy places, but secular buildings."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Working Class: One of the united cultures of Our Lady of Vilnius

Yesterday Dwight Garner of the New York Times reviewed Owen Jones' book "Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class." In Mr. Garner's take on this book, Mr. Jones' thesis is "How did the salt of the earth come to be viewed as the scum of the earth? " Though Mr. Jones' observes this phenomenon in England, can it be operant in the United States as well?

My roots, as the roots of many parishioners of Our Lady of Vilnius, are planted firmly in the American working class. This is poignantly displayed in the first article to address the future closing of Our Lady of Vilnius, The Villager's "Lady of Vilnius and 'Pretzels' and 'Provolone' may lose home'. It is my view that Our Lady of Vilnius is a casualty of gentrification and the real estate bubble as much as anything else. The working class of New York City is being pushed to the perimeter of the city and beyond. Its habitat, haunts and monuments are being destroyed.

When I was a child, I was encouraged to lose my Bronx accent and associate with people who had "class". I mastered the art of upward mobility, but the spiritual quest for Our Lady of Vilnius has caused me to abandon it. How I miss the "F--- 'em if they can't take a joke" resilience and humor of my parents and the neighbors who surrounded me as a child: people who are smart but not intellectual, who are holy but not conspicuously pious and who do not take themselves too seriously. I found them again in the community of Our Lady of Vilnius and I treasured them.

Returning to Mr. Jones book through the filter of Dwight Garner:

"The author notes how demonizing the lower classes makes it easier to make policy against them. “To admit that some people are poorer than others because of the social injustice inherent in our society would require government action,” he writes. “Claiming that people are largely responsible for their circumstances facilitates the opposite conclusion.”

In this country even those who would champion the working man have reduced him to "Joe Sixpack" Owen Jones' book sounds like a fun, provocative read and, most likely, a cautionary tale.