By Francesca Norsen-Tate, Religion Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral Underwent $18.5 Million Restoration Project
Cardinal Egan Is Among Special Guests
The dedication liturgy of St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral on Tuesday, May 13 marked even more than a diocesan-wide celebration that brought in more than 300 priests and deacons and more than 2,000 attendees from around the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. This standing-room-only occasion was also the fruit of an $18.5 million restoration campaign.
The Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn, preached and presided at the dedication Mass, at which he and several priests anointed the altar and walls of the sanctuary.
St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, which has the capacity to hold 1,500 people, is larger than St. James-Cathedral-Basilica, which will continue as one of the two Sees of the Diocese.
Last Tuesday’s event brought in two esteemed guests – Edward Cardinal Dolan, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of New York; and the Very Rev. Fr. Eugene N. Pappas from the Three Hierarchs Greek Orthodox Church in Brooklyn. Cardinal Dolan presented his greetings to the crowd following Communion, saying that the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Archdiocese of New York share a special relationship. Commanding officers and other members of the NYPD, representing Brooklyn North and Brooklyn South, were also in attendance and helped govern traffic during the event. The multilingual liturgy included readings and prayers in Spanish, Creole, Italian, Portuguese, Polish and Korean, representing Brooklyn’s diversity. Before the liturgy, the band from Xaverian High School played as clergy processed into the cathedral.
Bishop DiMarzio, during his homily, pointed out two Biblical Josephs who were protectors of the people. The first was Joseph, son of the patriarch Jacob, who held a key position at the Pharaoh’s court in Egypt. (This story is narrated in the Book of Genesis.) The inscription on the co-cathedral’s altar canopy reads “Ite Ad Joseph”; the translation from Latin is “Go to Joseph.” It was the command given to consult with this leader as he saved Egypt from famine. The cathedral is named for St. Joseph, husband of Mary, and foster-father of Jesus, whom Bishop DiMarzio said protected Mary and Jesus from the harshness of religious law and society at that time.
Most of Bishop DiMarzio’s homily focused on the challenges and importance of repairing and restoring St. Joseph’s Church.
“During one of my first visits to St. Joseph’s, an elderly Hispanic man came to me and said, ‘Bishop, please do not let this Church fall down!’ The fact is, the window of the Sacred Heart under the mural of Christ in glory literally had been blown out by heavy wind. In fact, all of the windows were in danger of collapse because of the rotting wooden frames. That man made an impression upon me,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “As we look around the church today, we are all struck by beautiful decorations, which, by the way, were the least of the costs incurred. Rather, the infrastructure of St. Joseph’s is what took most of the funds: the heating, the air conditioning, the electricity, which had not been updated since the church was first built, and so many other items we do not see which needed attention. As we can notice today, however, the decorations have a common theme. In Joseph’s house, the spouse of Mary, there is always room for Mary.”
Bishop DiMarzio said that day (May 13) marked the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, whose image decorates the back wall of the co-cathedral. He pointed out the roundelettes along the ceilings of the side aisles and other areas where the various titles of Mary, as venerated by the immigrants of the diocese, have been placed in all of their glory.
“Presently, there are 22 images of the Blessed Mother, representative of the various language apostolates of Brooklyn and Queens,” Bishop DiMarzio said.
Among those represented are the apostolates of the Philippines, Cuba, Italy, Korea, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Argentina, Lithuania, Poland, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, the Czech Republic, France, Portugal and Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States.
The restoration project was made possible through the diocese and the Compostela Fund, which loaned money to St. Joseph’s parish. The entire sum is expected to be repaid over the next 10 years, using income from parish property and rentals.
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Forum @ St. Ann’s Presents ‘Raising the Dead’ Exhibition
Along with the spirit of the Easter season, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church will present “Raising the Dead,” an exhibition of sculptures by Sandra Osip and paintings by Douglas James, starting on May 25 and running until July 6.
The second in a series of visual art programs at the landmark church, “Raising the Dead” is a presentation of The Forum @ St. Ann’s, which seeks to engage the community in conversations about the arts, ideas and civic life. An artist talk is scheduled on Sunday, June 1 at 2 p.m., followed by a reception. All of the works are for sale and a portion of the proceeds will benefit future programming at St. Ann’s.
The exhibition’s title suggests the tension caused by human ambivalence and fascination with death. Osip and James are inspired by different desolate landscapes, yet are similarly drawn to the vibrancy of past lives they discover there, creating an expansive view of loss that is both personal and universal.
For the past decade, Osip has been investigating both environmental and economic disparity. As a native of Detroit, she brings a nostalgic perspective, perhaps common to all who have lived amidst or experienced such urban decline and decay. Her arresting sculptures of derelict, graffiti-tagged houses will be displayed in the church narthex, just inside the church entrance.
Osip recently visited her old neighborhood and discovered that her childhood home was no longer standing. She explains the impetus and inspiration for her current work this way: “Detroit, this once powerful city is no longer; [my] fond memories are now vanished. The decayed homes and buildings and overgrown lots are all the remembrance I have left of my childhood.”
Douglas James, who also grew up in Detroit, is influenced by his travels in the Southwestern U.S., where he photographed descansos, or roadside memorials, marked with crosses and plastic flowers that are along major roads and highways. He translated his images into watercolor and acrylic paintings, breathing new life into these homages to death with a vivid color palette. James’ descansos and another large-scale still life will hang in the sanctuary of the church.
The works will be on view through July 6 at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity, Montague and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights, Tuesdays through Thursdays, 12-2 p.m.; Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; two Saturdays, June 7 and June 21, from 1-6 p.m.; and by appointment by contacting the parish office at 718-875-6960, or [email protected].
For further information, visit www.stannholytrinity.org.
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Russian Chamber Chorus of NY to Perform at St. Charles Church
The final concert of St. Charles Borromeo Church’s Spring Series will be held on Saturday afternoon, May 31 at 3.30 p.m., when The Russian Chamber Chorus of New York presents “Eternal Flame: A Choral Memorial.” The program commemorates Memorial Day and honors peace.
The group will present selections by Kastalsky, Tchaikovsky, Barber, Golovanov and others. Tickets will be sold at the door. Admission is $25, or $15 for students and seniors (age 65+).