Diocesan News

One Bread, One Parish – Newly Merged Parish in Crown Heights Celebrates Unity on Corpus Christi

Parishioners from St. Matthew, St. Gregory the Great and Our Lady of Charity, all in Crown Heights, came together in Brower Park as a recently formed single parish under the name of St. Matthew, to celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi and to proclaim to everyone around that Jesus is “dynamite.”

Mass was celebrated at all three churches of the parish on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Parishioners then processed behind the Holy Eucharist, singing and dancing in praise to the Lord. The processions met in Brower Park.

As the three congregations from the one parish entered the park, children danced to welcome them. The adults sang festively proclaiming Jesus’ glory including a song with the lyrics: “What do you think about Jesus? He’s dynamite!”

Bishop Sansarique

This was the first major event of the newly merged parish.

“When we come together around the Eucharist, we bond together and we bond to God,” said Father Andrew L. Struzzieri, pastor.

The parishioners who attended the half-day celebration visibly enjoyed each other’s company around the Eucharist.

“This was a blessing,” said Mirlande Noel, a worshipper from St. Gregory the Great, who came to the festivities with her two sons. “We got to meet each other and we got to sing and praise together. This is what God is all about.”

Floe Patrick, parishioner, said she is pleased with the merger because it enlarges and strengthens the faith community. She also sees the merger as a good way to attract youth from the neighborhood.

To help encourage young people to become more involved, the youth group performed a show in the park. First they spruced up the attendees’ knowledge with questions about Jesus and His sacrifice and then they performed a dramatization of the Last Supper.

Leus Sumra, a youth group member who took part in the play, said he enjoyed the Corpus Christi celebration.

Youth Performance

“By doing this we encourage other young people to continue the mission of the Church,” he said. “Also it was creative and exciting.”

He also felt that when churches collaborate, the community grows.

“It made me feel happy that people came from the community to do something together,” he said. “I would like to have more of these events in the future.”

Father Struzzieri plans on making that happen. He puts high priority on community development. He expressed happiness with the outcome of Corpus Christi.

“People didn’t want to leave,” he said. “They just stayed around talking to each other. I think that was a good sign.”

Parishioner Frances McLeod was among those pleased to welcome new members into the St. Matthew’s family.
“At first there may be difficulties, but we are well equipped to deal with them,” she said.

Father Struzzieri said the communities have already overcome their first challenges. St. Gregory the Great is the newcomer since Our Lady of Charity had already merged with St. Matthew’s in 2007. This means that some changes are being implemented into St. Gregory. For example, there is now only one Mass on Sunday at St. Gregory’s Church.

Father Struzzieri said that although the merger was a difficult decision, it was made in consultation with St. Gregory’s parishioners. They chose the time of the Mass. The pastor also said the priests in the parish will rotate among the different worship sites to bring a feeling of unity among the parish.

On the financial side, Father Stuzzieri said the merger has helped the parish as a whole.

“All three church communities were financially pressured,” he said. “The one business administrator is helping us see a light at the end of this tunnel. That is a great benefit.”

Procession Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Procession Little Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome Dancing

Youth Performance

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