Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn for March 6

March 6, 2015 By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The side aisle ceilings at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph depict devotionals of the Blessed Mother from the language apostolates of many nationalities. This photo was taken at the May 13, 2014 re-dedication of St. Joseph’s Church as a co-cathedral. Photo by Francesca Norsen Tate
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Two Brooklyn Churches Receive Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards

Other Recipients in Borough Include Conrad Duberstein Courthouse, Kings Theatre

The Brooklyn Eagle has learned that two churches in brownstone Brooklyn have been named as recipients of the prestigious Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards.

The announcement was posted on the website of the New York Landmarks Conservancy on Thursday, Feb. 26.

Grace Church, an Episcopal congregation in Brooklyn Heights, and the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, have received two of the 25th Lucy G. Moses Project Awards.

Two other non-religious Brooklyn architectural landmarks — the Conrad B. Duberstein U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse and the Kings Theatre — also received awards.

The Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards are the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s highest honors for outstanding preservation. The conservancy has been a leader in preserving, restoring and reusing New York City’s wonderful architectural legacy for more than 40 years. The awards are named for Lucy Goldschmidt Moses, a dedicated New Yorker whose generosity benefited the city for more than 50 years. Moses and her husband, attorney Henry L. Moses, shared a wide range of philanthropic interests.

“I don’t think we’re worth anything unless we do for others,” she said in a 1983 interview with The New York Times.

For 25 years, the Moses Awards have recognized individuals, organizations, architects, craftspeople and building owners for their extraordinary contributions to preserving New York City. The generous support of the Henry and Lucy Moses Fund makes the awards possible. Hailed as a national model, the New York Landmarks Conservancy has loaned and granted more than $40 million and provided countless hours of pro bono technical advice to building owners. Its work has saved some 2,000 buildings across the city and state, preserving the character of New York for future generations.

Both Grace Church and the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph received extensive news coverage on their renovations.


Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights

The multi-million-dollar renovation — plus a surprise discovery — at Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights, 254 Hicks St., was the subject of excellent national and local news coverage with David Dunlap’s New York Times in December 2013, and a CBS broadcast story that same week, both focusing on the celestial artwork in the church’s roof. The Brooklyn Eagle also gave wide coverage.

The $5 million renovation also involved the installation of a new copper roof, new insulation, wiring and cleaning many of the Austin Organ’s 3,200 pipes. Famous architect Richard Upjohn designed Grace Church, which was founded in 1847. The first service was held in the sanctuary in December 1848 and the parish recently marked this 166th year milestone. The sanctuary reopened on Easter Day 2014 and was rededicated on the Feast of Pentecost, June 8, 2014.


St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral

The Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, 856 Pacific St. in Prospect Heights, was designated as such in March 2013, as one of former Pope Benedict XVI’s last actions before he stepped down as pontiff. 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.

The history of St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral traces itself to 1851, predating the establishment of the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1853. St. Joseph was the eighth parish to be established on Long Island. Its first pastor was Father Patrick J. O’Neill, who served there until 1867.

Brooklyn architect F.J. Berlenbach designed the church, which is the third on that site, replacing the previous buildings that had been serving the large immigrant population that was moving into the City of Brooklyn.

This church building which was built with glazed brick and terracotta. The Alexander F. Locke Decorative Co., a Brooklyn firm, was responsible for the design and execution of the stained glass windows. The altar and baldachino (the canopy over the altar) were designed by Cav. Domenico Borgia, as were the pulpit and four side altars.

The $18.5 million restoration project was made possible through the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn 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. The restoration included repairs to the windows which, as Bishop DiMarzio explained during his homily at last year’s dedication service, were in danger of collapse because of the rotting wooden frames.

Bishop DiMarzio pointed out at the time that the infrastructure of St. Joseph’s consumed most of the funds.

“The heating, the air conditioning, the electricity, which had not been updated since the church was first built,” he said, “and so many other items we do not see, which needed attention.”

He said also that the roundelettes along the ceilings of the side aisles and other areas represent the various titles of Mary, as venerated by the immigrants of the diocese.

“These comprise 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 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards will be presented at a ceremony on Thursday, April 30, and are being hosted at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph. For more information, visit

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Spanish Organist Loreto Aramendi Performs at Next Recital in Series

The pipe organ at Our Lady of Refuge in Ditmas Park recently underwent a complete repair and restoration with the help of contributions from more than a thousand people in the New York area and around the world.

A.R. Schopp’s Sons and Quimby Pipe Organs, Inc. did the pipe organ restoration. Now, with this major accomplishment complete, the multicultural parish shares the excitement with the community by inviting world-class musicians to perform organ recitals. The next recital in this ongoing series, taking place on Sunday, March 15, features Spanish organist Loreto Aramendi.

Her recital will benefit the pipe organ maintenance fund for the organ at Our Lady of Refuge. The program features Franz Liszt’s Fantasy and Fugue monumental chorale on “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam.”

Loreto Aramendi originated from the Basque country, a place of unique culture and language in northern Spain. She grew up in a small coastal village, a place from which many fishermen once went to Canada in hope of catching whales.

During her childhood, she was accustomed to attending to Dominican mass. (Saint Dominic, founder of the religious Order of Preachers, familiarly called Dominicans, was from Spain, although from the Old Castile region.) Deeply moved by the sound of the organ, which is of significant importance along with choral tradition in the Basque country, young Aramendi decided to become a musician.

Graduating brilliantly in piano, chamber music and harpsichord, she moved to Paris to complete the advanced degree course and returned at the age of 23 to hold the place of teacher of harpsichord and piano at the Conservatoire of San Sebastian in Spain.

Along with teaching and concert activities in Europe, she started to study organ as a passion and soon graduated with honors from the local Conservatoire. This opened the doors to the international pipe organ class of the late Jean Boyer and also of Louis Robilliard at the National Conservatoire of Lyon.

She focused on organ concerts and obtained the position of main organist of the unrestored Cavaillé-Coll instrument of Santa Maria del Coro (1863), similar to the original organ of César Franck at Sainte-Clotilde in France. She created an association to preserve it and organized visits and concerts. During the visit of the Pipedreams tour in the Basque country, she met Joe Vitacco, who spearheaded the capital campaign leading to the restoration of the Organ at Brooklyn’s Our Lady of Refuge Church.

Aramendi is currently involved in the post-production of a recording made on the organ at Santa Maria del Coro. This may well be the last recording on that instrument before its restoration. In preparation for this massive project, she is learning organ tuning and maintenance in a French organ factory.

Aramendi’s March 15 concert begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available through the parish’s organ webpage:

Our Lady of Refuge Church is at the intersection of Ocean and Foster avenues in Ditmas Park.

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Churchgoers: Set Clocks Ahead for Daylight Saving Time Weekend

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 8. Readers who are attending church later that morning are reminded to set their clocks ahead one hour on Saturday night, March 7, in anticipation of “springing forward” and, of course, milder weather to herald the upcoming vernal equinox. 


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