Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The final moments & those that have followed...

One day I will finally get around to sitting down and writing out how the last moments of Our Lady Of Peace unfolded. For now, photos will do. This was the sight that greeted us when we headed back over to make sure as was well there.
My heart felt a bit broken by the idea that this would have been the very first night that Our Lady Of Peace would not have been open to all until 9p.m. . The simple fact that Fr. Daly kept the church open from 7a.m. until 9p.m. was incredibly important to me. 
I found the votives depicting the Virgin Mary that I had lit during the vigil the night before and we added 2 new ones that I had made: one with my grandparents and one with the image of OLP :if I had one regret it was that we did not open the wooden doors as we left. The altar was no longer visible , nor was the painting of OLP. We also left a thank you card to everyone for all of their hard work. 
Since I was not sure what would happen next , I took some photos to capture what was still visible. 
Concerned that the lights might soon be turned off, I tri
ed to capture my great grandfathers name one last time.This was the best that I could do.
Along with the small stained glass windows under which we had all walked so many times in the last 2 days . Suddenly the smallest things seemed important simply because they might not be visible tomorrow.
We spoke with many folks who stopped by to pay their respects. Most were both saddened and shocked that such a beautiful church had been closed. 
Worn out and weary, we took one last photo and left. It was after midnight :we had officially rung in my husband's birthday at OLP. 
As time has passed , the steps have evolved and changed. We try to bring things that signify what OLP has meant to us. 
For me, the loss of our Shepard was almost as great as the loss of OLP itself. As  tribute to him, we left a photo along with a prayer for priests and some candles wrapped in clovers. 
The following weekend we left lights of LOVE for all. 
My original sketch called for the words "Love", "Peace" , "Hope" ,"Grace" ,"Joy "but I quickly learned that much more than  50 tea light candles would be required to legibly spell that many inspiring words. And Love seemed to be  the most important element to life that night. 
We returned this past weekend to celebrate mom parents 56th wedding anniversary. I would like to think our visit will bring the blessing of happy and healthy years to them both. 
Earlier in the week I had searched the church web site , looking through archived bulletins in search of prayers that might speak to folks as they stopped by the steps of OLP. 
Everything that we have left behind has been left with great love and with the hope that " God is indeed at work here" and that good will come of all of this. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

My grandparents wedding anniversary will be coming up soon. Married June 25th, 1930 in Our Lady Of Peace church, seen here on their honeymoon.
They settled in Queens, N.Y. and had 2 sons. I have many good memories of their garden , mainly of their fruit trees:they had apples, peaches, mulberries and pears. There was a magnificent magnolia tree that filled with blooms in early spring and would smother the lawn with it's petals. 
The lived opposite a school yard and to this day it is a focal point on neighborhood life. I can recall my grandmother saying that sitting at the window, watching the goings on was better than any t.v. show. 
I think I got my love of music from them. They loved to hum along to whatever they were listening to. 
My grandfather had been a New York City fireman. My grandmother had owned a dress making business before she got married. Perhaps I got my sense of duty from my grandfather and my fashion sense from my grandmother? Sadly, I did not inherit my grandmother's skill set and am disastrous with a needle and thread . 
They lived just down the street from their church and went every day. My grandmother explained that all they had to do was roll out of bed and there they were. 
We pay our respects throughout the year and I often imagine them to be at my side whenever adversity strikes. It reassures me to know that  I am not alone and that I have their DNA, their determination, their back bone ,their grit, their musicality, their creativity, their tendency towards frugality and resourcefulness , their ability to persevere. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

An overdue update: Since November 2014, Life on the 4th floor has been focused upon an effort to save Our Lady Of Peace church in NYC. To understand our involvement, you need to travel back almost 100 years : my great grandfather, along with many other Italian and Irish immigrants, helped to found this church.
When news broke that the Archdiocese of New York had released a list of churches scheduled for closure on or before August1, 2015, my mom called me and I headed over to to see how the parish handling this news and to learn what I could do to help as I knew our family would want to lend a hand in any way that we could. I was thrilled to learn that every tool available being used to get the word out ,including a online (and in church) petition . Since then, there have been many wonderful events held at Our Lady Of Peace to rally support : A MassMob (sign up for their efforts to support churches in NYC :a new round of voting will begin soon) 

, a Founders Day celebration, held several years prematurely, to mark the churches 100th year , and 

The New York Landmarks Conservancy's Sacred Sites open house weekend. 
There is more to come as the parish awaits word from the vatican , we hope for the best while preparing for the worst. 
In the words of my grandpa John (pictured in the photograph I am holding -shown  about to head off to World War 1 )  "Rome wasn't build in a day", " He who thinks he can can"  and "There is nothing to fear but fear itself". I am counting on my grandfathers words being right and I know they are all watching over us all as we work to preserve this wonderful church that so many call home .