The rickety old stable was leaning heavily, held up only by a makeshift pipe between it and the church building. It had served the parish of St. Anthony-St. Alphonsus, Greenpoint, very well through the years, and was a focal point of the Christmas season on the busy Manhattan Ave. shopping area.
But time had taken its toll; it was becoming a safety hazard as people passed on their way into Mass. It finally had to be demolished.There was an empty space on the grounds, and something missing in the hearts of the residents.
Members of the parish’s Lexington Council No. 293, Knights of Columbus, sensed the loss and were determined to replace the structure in time for Christmas.
On the recommendation of St. Stanislaus Memorial Post No. 1771, American Legion, where the local Polish Businessmen’s Association holds its monthly meetings, the Council sought out the Victoria Consulting and Development LLC, which had previously done renovation work at the Post.
The proposal for a new stable was brought to the construction company in late September, and it was agreed the company would replace the crèche. But, in a rare bit of good economic news, the company was extremely busy with major construction projects and the days before Christmas started to slip away.
It came down to the week before Christmas, with hearts sinking fast at the prospect of no crèche, when owner Dariusz Knapik and his workmen arrived and began to build a new, better and water-resistant stable on the site of the previous one.
Three days later, in the spirit of “in three days, I will rebuild this temple,” the structure was in place and complete. Members of the parish outfitted the stable, provided decorative lighting, and once again the Holy Family, the Infant Jesus, the three kings and the animals had a place to spend Christmas.
A formal blessing and dedication took place after the 5:30 p.m. Mass ton Dec. 20. Father Kavungal Davy, C.M.I., pastor, was joined by Fathers Jilson George, C.M.I., parochial vicar, and John Sheehan, S.J., a member of Lexington Council, and his fellow Knights in blessing the stable.