Diocesan News


On Tuesday, October 29th at 7:30 p.m., on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, family and friends of one of the hardest hit parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn will gather for a commemoration and healing Mass at St. Mary Star of the Sea, located at 1920 New Haven Avenue, Far Rockaway.


After the super storm, thousands of those in this Far Rockaway community flocked to the parish for relief. Within days, a community-based disaster relief center was set up at the parish’s St. Gertrude’s location in nearby Edgemere, which helped many residents, both Catholic and non-Catholic.

Of the 1,200 parishioners of St. Mary of the Sea, over 60-percent are Spanish-speaking, including many undocumented immigrants who still feel the aftermath of the hurricane twelve months later.


Over 400 families participated in the D-SNAP program, where they received awards ranging between $700 and $900. This was the only program assisting storm victims that allowed the undocumented to participate. Many are left unable to qualify for any FEMA assistance due to their immigrant status. St. Mary Star of the Sea served as one of the pickup locations for Diocese-sponsored shuttle buses transporting the D-SNAP applicants to the New York City Human Resources Administration registration center in Downtown Brooklyn in mid-December 2012.


Father Fulgencio Gutierrez, pastor, said the church has assisted people in many ways, including helping them pay rent and providing clothing for children.


Tuesday’s Mass marking the one-year anniversary will be celebrated in hopes of “healing the psychological trauma of the past year, and to give thanks for the generosity of so many who responded to not only our physical needs but also to our spiritual anguish. During the first two weeks after the storm, we were isolated. There was no electricity and no transportation, but people came anyway to help clean, and distribute food and clothing to our brothers and sisters,” he said.