Last week, the St Frances X. Cabrini Shrine in Upper Manhattan hosted over 1,500 youth on pilgrimage. The energy and faith of the teens was electrifying! It was an honor to introduce them to Mother Cabrini, to answer their questions, and to pray with and for them. All were headed toward a Redemptorist Mater conference. The first Redemptorist Mater seminary is outside Newark, on the grounds of an orphanage founded by Mother Cabrini.
Mother Cabrini’s 171st birthday was celebrated with great joy last Saturday at St. Frances X. Cabrini Shrine in Upper Manhattan. Joining us were a dozen Missionary Sisters, several lay collaborators from Cabrini Immigrant Services of NYC and Dobbs Ferry, and hundreds of faithful families and friends. We had Mass with Bishop Gerald Walsh (English) and Bishop Josu Iriondo (Spanish), cake, mariachi, activities for kids, and a very, very good time.
The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre performed A Very Grimm Festival of fairy tales for a large audience of parents and friends. The thespians included 26 children ages 5-11.
We also had a special visit from musicians of New York City Ballet Orchestra, who performed several classical pieces for strings, before being joined by six dancers from New York City Ballet for the public premiere of a ballet about getting through the pandemic titled Nite of Spring.
As COVID restrictions have lifted in New York City, our neighbors near St. Frances Cabrini Shrine have hungered for a greater sense of community. The Shrine responded by developing a 5-part jazz series on our lawn for the month of June. Each Wednesday night we explore the immigrant influence of a different culture on jazz. The series has been enthusiastically received, with between 150 and 200 attendees each week.
A few weeks ago a regular attendee at the 11am Mass at St. Frances Cabrini Shrine in New York City floated the possibility of doing a May crowning this year. The idea was met with enthusiasm. Our regular Sunday priest, Fr. Mike Eguino, suggested we use the statue of Our Lady of Grace, but… well, it’s a long way up to her! We couldn’t hoist a youngster up, and no one volunteered to climb a long ladder themselves. Instead, we borrowed a 32” statue from the Shrine gift shop. One of our gift shop workers who is good with crafts made a beautiful little crown of silk roses.
Our congregation at 11 am is mainly single people and couples, but we managed to corral 8 kids into participating. The children were very, very excited. That made the procession beautiful and chaotic, in that it-will-be-what-it-will-be way that’s part of working with kids.
After the crowning Fr. Mike asked — impromptu — anyone whose native language wasn’t English to come forward and say the first part of the Hail Mary in their language, and the congregation responded in English. It was great. We had Tagalog, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Russian, Twi, Amharic , German, and one other. Not a bad haul for an average Sunday morning!
Sunday, June 7th was a beautiful day in a variety of ways. [In the Upper Manhattan neighborhood by the St. Frances X. Cabrini Shrine] about 200 people of diverse ages and backgrounds turned out for the Faith March 4 Justice. The goal of the Faith March was to provide young people with a way to channel their frustration and hope about racism into faith rather than anger.
The group arrived at the Shrine singing Amazing Grace, accompanied by the police, and many neighbors stopped to listen. The clergy and people stood outside the Shrine wall, underneath the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
One of the priests said that walls are often perceived as a sign of division, and yet, the wall of the Temple in Jerusalem is the holiest site for Jewish people, where they unite in prayer. Then the clergy, representing a variety of denominations, took turns leading the people in prayer. It was peaceful and reverent.
We are very thankful to nearby St. Elizabeth’s Parish for including us in this event. We had refreshments on the porch of the Shrine, where social distancing was easily possible and fresh air, abundant.
In the cold morning air on Saturday, March 21, Cardinal Timothy Dolan hurried into the Chapel at St. Cabrini Shrine in New York City. Leaving his coat on a pew, he picked up a bouquet of white flowers and walked quietly to the main altar. After kneeling silently, the Cardinal read a prayer to Mother Cabrini on behalf of all who are affected in any way by the virus outbreak. Then he was off again to his next stop.
The Cardinal visits the Shrine often, especially in time of crisis, and relies especially on the intercession of this holy woman who walked the streets in our neighborhood.
St. Frances Cabrini, pray for us!
A Prayer for those Afflicted by Covid-19
His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, at The Shrine of Saint Frances Cabrini, New York City
Sunday, 22 March, 2020
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
To you do we come O Jesus, Jesus Son of God, Savior and Divine Physician.
We approach you not alone, but in communion with your Mother Mary,
with the angels, with your foster father Saint Joseph and with all the saints and citizens of heaven.
Especially do we kneel to seek the intercession of one of our own who we love, who we call mother,
Saint Francis Xavier Cabrini.
You, O Mother Cabrini, who had while on earth such a compassion for the sick
will now be at the bedside of the those struck with the virus.
You Saint Frances Cabrini, who formed women and founded institutions to care for the ill
will watch over our physicians, nurses and health care advocates tending to those struggling today.
You, oh Mother Cabrini, who walked the teeming streets of the city on the lookout for the lonely,
the scared and the vulnerable, now traverse the empty streets of this frightened metropolis bringing healing, comfort and encouragement.
While our supplications this morning are for this community of New York we call our passing home,
we trust your intercession with Jesus on behalf of your own beloved Italy as well, so afflicted,
your home and that of so many of our parents and grandparents.
Place our frail prayers into the furnace of mercy and love of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
who is Christ our Lord, Amen.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen.
To view a video presentation on the move from West Park:
BY ARMANDO MACHADO, Catholic New York
At St. Frances Cabrini Shrine in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, July 13 was a day for two Masses in two languages, with one message: the Church in New York reaffirmed its commitment to immigrant rights and demanded “fair and just” treatment of immigrants on a weekend of federal arrests of undocumented immigrants in New York and other cities across the United States.
“With the difficulties and the tensions and the challenges that we’re facing, this would be a good time to thank God for her (Mother Cabrini’s) example, and to seek her intercession for justice and charity,” said Cardinal Dolan, the principal celebrant, in his homily during a noon Mass celebrating the 169th anniversary of Mother Cabrini’s birth on July 15, 1850. She is the patron saint of immigrants.
“Mother Cabrini took literally God’s Holy Word…She realized fully that Abraham was an immigrant, Abraham was a refugee,” the cardinal said. “Mother also took to heart the great commandment of Jesus, love of God and love of neighbor, and the parable of the Good Samaritan…We keep the spirit of Mother Cabrini alive.”
“Happy 169th, Mother Cabrini. That’s pretty old; but in this city and this archdiocese, you are ever young.”
The cardinal noted Mother Cabrini’s tireless devotion to the many people coming to New York from Italy, her native land. “Today, she would be there in the front lines (for all immigrants); her work still goes on through the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” he said.
The cardinal reiterated his grave concerns over federal immigration raids in a short news conference after Mass, at one point with visible anger and sorrow.
“People who are trying to obey the law, and trying to get their documents in order, are so afraid and so confused that they don’t know what to do, and this isn’t right, this isn’t good,” he told reporters, citing fluctuating immigration laws and policies.
“We all know that hundreds of thousands of immigrants are living a moment of terror and anguish and fear,” said Father Ambiorix Rodriguez, pastor of St. Elizabeth parish in Washington Heights, in his homily during a 2 p.m. Spanish Mass which he celebrated. That Mass also honored Mother Cabrini.
“That is why today we are in solidarity, in action and in prayer, for each one of them…And we ask that the repression stops, the repression of our undocumented brothers and sisters. Every person has dignity, a dignity that is inviolable and given by God.”
After the Spanish Mass, Father Rodriguez participated in a Neighborhood Procession for Immigrant Rights; the procession route included Cabrini Boulevard. Father Rodriguez was a concelebrant in the earlier Mass.
Cardinal Dolan, at the news conference, told reporters, “Our (immigrant) brothers and sisters—they are scared, really scared.” He noted that one parish priest in the archdiocese told him last week that his parishioners were concerned about leaving home and attending Mass because of the planned federal raids.
“That’s how scared some people are,” the cardinal said. “And I’m just hoping that this Mass and the presence of the Church, and the assurances that I’m giving now, will let them know that they’re not alone. Jesus is with them, and the Church with them…We’re hiking up our efforts.”
With the cardinal was Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of archdiocesan Catholic Charities, who was one of the Mass concelebrants with Auxiliary Bishop Gerald Walsh.
“We know that so many of our neighbors are frightened and they feel threatened,” Msgr. Sullivan told the journalists. “And so we have our counselors, our attorneys who are available this entire weekend at both the New York State New American Hotline and the New York City Action Hotline, so people can call and they’ll get good, accurate, prompt information about how to respond to any threats that they may fear…We believe in abiding by the law, but we don’t believe in abusing the law.
“So we want people to exercise their rights…They do not have to respond unless (agents) have the proper documents,” Msgr. Sullivan said. Extra people were manning the hotlines last weekend, he noted.
Sister Catherine Garry, M.S.C., from the Lower Manhattan convent of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was founded by Mother Cabrini, spoke toward the end of the English-language Mass. She expressed gratitude to all who support her congregation’s mission in advocating for immigrants.
Sister Yolanda Flores, M.S.C, who is from the same convent, spoke at the end of the Spanish Mass, thanking all who work to assure immigrants know their rights and can rely on the Church for help.
In interviews with Catholic New York after the Spanish Mass, several attendees spoke of their thankfulness for the Mass celebrations and the procession, and for the Church’s advocacy for immigrants through Catholic Charities, Cabrini Immigrant Services and other Church organizations.
Among them was Maria Caguana, 35, a parishioner of Immaculate Conception in Astoria, Queens. She is from Ecuador and is in the process of obtaining U.S. permanent resident status.
“It was beautiful,” she told CNY of the Spanish Mass and homily. “I am here to pray, to pray for my family, to our Lord and Our Mother.”
Manuel Dutan, a parishioner of Our Lady of Lourdes in Queens, and Ruth Ovalle, a parishioner of St. John-Visitation parish in the Bronx, both said they are immigrants who have documented status in the United States. Dutan is originally from Ecuador and Ms. Ovalle from the Dominican Republic. In separate interviews, they said they attended the Cabrini Mass as a strong show of support for immigrants seeking such status.
“I am here for the Mass, for Mother Cabrini and the procession on this beautiful day,” Ms. Ovalle said. “I am here to demonstrate my support for all immigrants, and to pray that the Lord opens doors for them.”
New York State New American Hotline: 1(800) 566-7636, and New York City Action Hotline, 1 (800) 354-0365.
~by Katie Honan, WALL STREET JOURNAL
Across New York City, there are nearly 150 statues that honor men and just five dedicated to women.
A citywide initiative plans to shift the ratio and will start with a statue of Shirley Chisholm, the first black congresswoman in the U.S., who represented New York’s 12 congressional district which at the time was centered in Brooklyn.
The statue honoring Ms. Chisholm who ran for president in 1972, is the first selected through a city-led initiative called She Built NYC, which was created to commission a public monument or piece of art that honors women’s history.
In June, the city asked New Yorkers to submit nominations of inspirational and influential women. They received 326 eligible nominations representing a diverse list of women, from celebrities to schoolteachers to suffragettes.
The woman who received the most nominations through She Built NYC was St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, known as Mother Cabrini, who founded the Missionary Sisters and was a supporter of Italian immigrants. Author and activist Jane Jacobs came in second, and Ms. Chisholm came in third. [Read more…]