Save Our Lady of Loreto, protesters outside Catholic Church offices demand

Judge decides to end temporary ban on demolition of Ocean Hill-Brownsville church

June 7, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Protesters against Our Lady of Loreto's planned demolition gather in Brooklyn Heights outside Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens' office. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Leave Our Lady alone.

Members of the Brownsville Cultural Coalition and their supporters staged a protest Wednesday against the planned demolition of Our Lady of Loreto, a vacant historic church in their neighborhood.

The picketing took place in Brooklyn Heights, outside the office of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens on Joralemon Street.

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“Corporate greed we must fight! Landmarks are a people’s right,” the protesters chanted.

The Brownsville Cultural Coalition has been campaigning to have the neoclassical Roman Renaissance-style church designated as a city landmark and adaptively reused as a neighborhood cultural center.

“Build for need, not for greed,” the demonstrators chanted.

Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corp. plans to tear down Our Lady of Loreto and build 40 low-income apartments on the site of the century-old church.

The charitable entity has a 53-year lease on the cast-stone building at 126 Sackman St. in the Ocean Hill section of Brownsville with an option to extend the lease term to 99 years.

“We do not need more housing,” Miriam Robertson, executive director of Brownsville Heritage House and a Brownsville Cultural Coalition member, told the Brooklyn Eagle at the demonstration.

“Don’t take away the history of our neighborhood,” Robertson said. “Brownsville is a neighborhood built by immigrants.”

Our Lady of Loreto was designed by Italian immigrant architect Adriano Armezzani. The church was a haven for Italian immigrants who were spurned by New York City Catholics of other ethnicities.

In April, former parishioner and Brownsville Cultural Coalition member Jillian Mulvihill filed suit against the Catholic charity in an effort to prevent Our Lady of Loreto’s destruction.

Justice Ellen Spodek of the state Supreme Court in Brooklyn has just denied Mulvihill’s motion for a preliminary injunction to halt the church’s demolition. See related story.


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