Diocesan News

Bishop DiMarzio Visits St. Pius X to Offer Help After Fire

Last week, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio visited St. Pius X, Rosedale, the parish whose church was almost destroyed by a fire earlier in June, to offer help from the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Bishop DiMarzio visited on June 28, the feast day of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to meet with Father Jean-Miguel Auguste, pastor of St. Pius X.

It’s always sad to see a church that burns — because it’s a sacred place, and we don’t expect that to happen, but it does happen at times. It seemed to be an electrical problem that happened in the church, no negligence, so we’re happy about that,” Bishop DiMarzio told The Tablet. 

Bishop DiMarzio said insurance will cover most of the costs of the repairs. 

“There will be enough money to repair the church, to put it back in shape the way it was, and better,” he said. 

The parish will rebuild the pews and sacristy and put in new windows. 

“I am confident that we can put the church back together again. It may take about a year, but we’re hoping that it could be a little sooner,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “It’s all covered, the parish will continue. And we’re very happy that there’s a good conclusion to the tragedy. New Yorkers are resilient. We don’t give up very easily. So I think that there’s a stick-to-it-tiveness; it’s their parish, they’re going to see it through…we’re going to restore it so they can continue to come.”

A two-alarm fire gutted the inside of the church, which was built in 1960, on June 16. 

The fire was caused by accidental electrical wiring in the area of the altar, according to the FDNY, which said its investigation has concluded. Two firefighters sustained minor injuries, according to the FDNY, and no other injuries were reported.

“We are taking it one day at a time. The fact is that the church is burned, and we have to rebuild. So we will do what we have to do,” Father Auguste told The Tablet. Father Auguste was coming home from a Vatican mission trip with his parishioners when he heard the news. “It has been draining, and a challenge, but we’re not afraid because we’re not alone.”

Other parishes in the dioceses have been helping with donations, and St. Pius X parishioners and Father Auguste are planning ways to raise funds.

In the meantime, daily Masses are being held in the basement of the rectory, and weekend Masses are being celebrated next door at Success Academy. 

“Sometimes you don’t know how people are going to react. To see them come together faithfully, to pray, they bring food to the rectory, they bring things to help, and they call and say, ‘Father, we’re here for you, to help you, whatever it is. Whatever it takes, we’ll be there for St. Pius,’” Father Auguste said. “When you hear that [as a pastor], you say that maybe you are doing something good.”