"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned." - Isiah 9:2
Just before Easter, New York City Councilmember Ben Kallos spoke at another Upper East Side Roman Catholic Church, St. Stephen of Hungary. He opened with a prayer, which related to divine intervention for the Israelites, and said he hoped this would happen now to keep city churches from closure or merger. He noted that “the upper East Side is slated to receive 2,000 more housing units in the next several years and where are 1000 families going to go for religious services if we close all these churches.” As reported in Our Town, he also had some harsh Old Testament prophet-like words to say about the “disease of worldly profit.” He may even have read USA Today's article, Our Lady of Revenue. And so it goes for the other Upper East Side churches including St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Thomas More, and of course, Our Lady of Peace.
There is something worth saving here, and the demographics are telling a very different story than most of those decrees issued by the Archdiocese of New York, especially that "whereas" clause about radical shifts from the city to the suburbs.
People aren't moving out of the Upper East Side, they're moving in! There will be a new ferry stop at the end of East 62nd Street. There will be a subway stop on the new 2nd Avenue line just around the corner, and you won't even have to cross a street to get to Our Lady of Peace. It's called growth and development, and Councilmember Kallos has it exactly right.
Meantime, at Our Lady of Peace and St. Elizabeth of Hungary, two of eight known churches in the Archdiocese that had recourse accepted by the Congregation for Clergy at the Vatican, hope came in time for Holy Week and the celebration of Easter.
“It’s not ‘game over,’ ” Kalman Chany, a parishioner and trustee of St. Elizabeth, told the Wall Street Journal.
Divine intervention, Divine Mercy - Easter is hope, and hope springs eternal. Keep the faith!