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Brooklyn Religion Newsbriefs May 8-14

May 8, 2013 By Francesca Norsen Tate Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Catholic Diocese Installs New Deans As Bishop Hails New Model For Parishes to Collaborate

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, leader of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, recently approved the creation of a deanery structure to enable the clergy and parishes to work more effectively together. The deaneries were officially launched and blessed during an installation liturgy on April 28 at St. James Cathedral-Basilica. During this Vespers (late afternoon) service, Bishop DiMarzio formally installed 22 priests as deans.

The deaneries replace the parish cluster system that was in effect since a Diocesan Synod that took place 14 years ago. Clusters were groupings of parishes that shared resources and collaborated to enhance ministries in a special area. Bishop DiMarzio hopes that the deanery structure, which is largely geographical, will be able to serve the parishes in additional ways that the clusters could not.

Deaneries are already a proven model in other denominations, such as in the Episcopal Church’s dioceses and Archdeaconries (smaller geographical areas within a diocese.) For example, within the Episcopal Archdeaconry of Brooklyn are four deaneries—named for each of the Gospel evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and most of Brownstone Brooklyn are in the St. Mark’s Deanery.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn has, in recent years, undergone a reconfiguration process that sought to address pastoral and practical concerns. Foremost among these concerns was the best way to deploy priests during a shortage of vocations to the priesthood.  Many priests are already assigned to special ministries around the diocese, including on school campuses.

Each dean will be responsible for the spiritual and temporal/practical needs of the priests and parishes in their deaneries, including coverage of Masses and pastoral presence when a priest falls ill. Deans will also have a leadership role in working with the clergy, staff and lay leaders in their deaneries to increase ways of collaborating on special ministries and sharing resources, as before.

During the installation liturgy, Bishop DiMarzio stated, “We recognize that the fundamental thing we are working on is building relationships. Truly in being a Church, we must work together for the sake of the Kingdom. We are developing working relationships to better execute good works.”

While acknowledging that most people do not want to attend more meetings, Bishop DiMarzio pointed out that such gatherings will provide a necessary structure for organizing and providing pastoral services of the Church.

Bishop DiMarzio spoke of the need to impart the faith to the next generation. Challenging the new deans, he said, “If you want to be heroes in the deaneries, figure out what the Church can do for young people.”

During the vespers, Msgr. Anthony Hernandez, diocesan chancellor, read the decree formally establishing the new system and then called forward by name all the deans into the sanctuary. The deans pronounced an oath of allegiance and profession of faith before the bishop.

Three of these deaneries, B3, B4 and B5 comprise the Roman Catholic parishes in Brownstone Brooklyn. Fr. Edward Doran is dean of B3, which includes the parish where he is pastor: St. Charles Borromeo Church and Assumption Church, both in Brooklyn Heights; St., St. James Cathedral-Basilica on Jay St.; St. Boniface Church (home of the Brooklyn Oratory of St. Philip Neri) in MetroTech; Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen’s Church and St. Mary Star of the Sea parishes, both in Carroll Gardens; and the joint parish of St. Paul & St. Agnes (with two churches: St. Paul’s on Court and Congress streets and St. Agnes at Sackett and Hoyt streets). Visitation Church in Red Hook is also part of Deanery B3.

Deanery B4 includes, but is not limited to parishes in Park Slope and Windsor Terrace: Immaculate Heart of Mary; Holy Family-St. Thomas Aquinas; Holy Name, Our Lady of Peace; St. Augustine; St. Francis Xavier; St. Saviour; St. John the Evangelist-St. Rocco; Our Lady of Czestochowa-St. Casimir.

Deanery B5 includes parishes in Fort Greene/Clinton Hill, part of Bedford-Stuyvesant and Prospect Heights: Queen of All Saints; St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral; St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Matthew, and the joint parishes of St. Martin de Porres-St. Peter Claver-Our Lady of Victory, whose church buildings are in Bed-Stuy.

The Brooklyn Eagle thanks The Tablet diocesan publications for background information on the new deaneries.

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St. Paul’s Church in Carroll Gardens Honors Fr. Cullen for 25 Years As Rector

The parishioners of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Carroll St. surprised their rector, Fr. Peter Cullen, with a celebration in his honor after Mass on Sunday, May 5. Fr. Cullen passed his 25th anniversary rector of St. Paul’s.

Planning the event under the guise of Home Coming Sunday, the parishioners gathered to thank him for all that he has done for the church and community. Karen Talus, who was head of the search committee that led the vestry to call Fr. Cullen 25 years ago, came all the way from Portland, Oregon to be a part of the celebration. Other former parishioners also returned to St. Paul’s for the occasion.  Known for his modesty and humility, Fr. Cullen has overseen the activities of the church from a time when a devastating fire had partially destroyed the church building, through the healing and growth, to the thriving parish that it is today.

contributed by Drew Helstosky, parishioner

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‘Healthcare, Not Warfare!”

Interfaith Rally Calls for Increased Medical Presence Here

The fight to save Long Island College Hospital and SUNY Downstate Medical Center has a definite religious dimension.

Calling for “Healthcare, Not Warfare,” Brooklyn For Peace and friends—the Downstate Coalition of Faith, Labor, and Community Leaders are organization an Interfaith Service this Thursday, May 9.

The service begins at 4:15 p.m. at Mt. Zion Church of God, 203 E 27 St., (between Church Ave and Linden Blvd). From there, participants will march to SUNY Downstate, 470 Clarkson Ave between E. 37th St and New York Ave., for a 5 p.m. rally.

A statement on the Brooklyn for Peace email dispatch reads: “The combined forces of labor and community have won an important victory at LICH (Long Island College Hospital). The board of directors of SUNY, which controls LICH, has backed off its plans to close the hospital. But even with the victory at LICH the threat is far from over. LICH is part of SUNY Downstate Medical Center. For over a year New York State and Governor Cuomo have been threatening Downstate Medical Center with cuts, layoffs and ultimately privatization or complete closure.

“Brooklyn For Peace supports the maintenance and full funding of SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

“By shifting priorities away from war spending toward meeting human needs, and by enacting fair taxation, state and federal government will be able to adequately fund and expand urgently needed health services for all.”

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Enjoy a Christian Feast Day Complete with Polish Sausages

Parishes in the Episcopal Deanery of St. Mark will jointly celebrate the Christian feast day of the Ascension, which commemorates the rising of Jesus to heaven, narrated differently in each of in the four Gospels).

The host parish’s namesake is this feast day: Ascension Church in Greenpoint!  Father Clark Powers, rector of St. John’s Church in Park Slope is the guest preacher at their Patronal Festival at 7 p.m. Fr. Powers will be retiring next month.

Polish Sausages and lots of other goodies will be available after the Mass!  Everyone is invited! Connect to the northbound G train and take it the Greenpoint Ave. stop. Ascension Church is at 127 Kent St between Franklin St and Manhattan Ave.

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Taizé Service in French Offered To Commemorate St. Joan of Arc

St. Paul-St. Agnes Church hosts a Taizé prayer and song service. This liturgy, which will also be prayed in French, is hosted at St. Agnes Church on Sackett and Hoyt streets on Wednesday, May 22.

The service will be celebrated in anticipation of the feast of a beloved patron of France, Saint Joan of Arc. Father Rob Powers will preach and preside; Samuel Lefebvre of Notre Dame Church, W. 114th Street, NY will be the pianist; leader of song will be Eleanor Carton de Wiart, also from Notre Dame. All who would enjoy this music-filled hour of prayer. Fluency in French or the familiarity of prayers in French is helpful.

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Congregation Beth Elohim Hosts Its First Grandparents/Grandpals Day

A new tradition for Congregation Beth Elohim begins this Friday with the temple’s first-ever Grandparents and Grandpals Day.

In the spirit of the commandment to honor one’s parents and forebears, Congregation Beth Elohim invites its members to bring grandparent, grandchild or grandpal to this event, which offers community-wide daytime and evening programs. During the day, elder participants who have pre-registered will be able to visit their grandchild’s or grandpal’s classroom, meet their teachers and friends, and participate in a unique project to celebrate the special day.

The community-wide special Shabbat program honor will grandparents, grandpals, and the strong bonds between generations. The family-friendly Shabbat service with special blessings will be held in the sanctuary. A meal follow at 6:45 p.m. Reservations must be made online by Wednesday, May 8. For more information call (718) 768-3814 ext. 296 or e-mail [email protected]

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Milestones in Faith

Congregation Mount Sinai (Jewish-Independent Egalitarian)

This synagogue, whose original name was Chevra Mount Sinai, was incorporated 131 years ago this week, on May 8, 1882.

For many years, services and meetings were held in the homes of members and in rented halls. Then, on May 5, 1909, the corporate name was changed to Congregation Mount Sinai and title was taken to a building at 305 State Street. High Holy Day services were held there for the first time that fall.

Congregation Mount Sinai grew in acclaim and its activities. A fire in January, 1948 destroyed the beautiful State St. sanctuary, and a neighboring synagogue on Atlantic Avenue opened its doors to Mount Sinai’s members until October, 1949 when Mt. Sinai moved to 305 Schermerhorn St.

In its centennial year, 1982, Congregation Mount Sinai moved to its present home at 250 Cadman Plaza West, near Tillary St.

The Congregation continued to expand its activities, and its influence was felt more and more in the downtown section of Brooklyn. There were many ambitious plans for the future, but they were tragically snuffed out when the beautiful building on State Street was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Sunday morning, Jan. 4, 1948. Congregation Jacob Joseph on Atlantic Avenue offered its facilities, and Congregation Mount Sinai conducted all of its services and activities there until October 1949, when the Congregation moved to 305 Schermerhorn Street. The Synagogue remained there until October 1982, when that building was sold and facilities for a new Synagogue at 250 Cadman Plaza West were acquired under a long-term lease.

Dr. Louis Pulvermacher, a charter member, served as Rabbi and Cantor from Mt. Sinai’s founding until the 1909 move to State St.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik became the Congregation’s spiritual leader in September 1972. In the four decades of his ministry he has initiated many new programs and activities. The synagogue will honor him later this year on the 40th anniversary of his leadership here.

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Milestones in Faith

St. James Cathedral-Basilica Became a Basilica 31 Years Ago

On May 6, 1982, during the 160th anniversary year of its founding, St. James Cathedral was designated a basilica. The Vatican issued the Official Decree designating St. James Cathedral a basilica was issued by Rome, declaring that, “henceforth the Diocesan Church of Brooklyn and Queens will be titled, The Cathedral-Basilica of St. James.”

Founded in 1822, St. James was the first Catholic parish on Long Island. It pre-dates the establishment of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.


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