FOREST HILLS — Our Lady of Mercy Church, Forest Hills, marked its 90th anniversary with a Mass on Oct. 6. that was celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger, a native of Brooklyn who once lived at Our Lady of Mercy, was one of the concelebrants, along with Msgr. John McGuirl, the pastor, Father Greg Stasiak, the parochial vicar, and many priests who have connections to Our Lady of Mercy.
Before the Mass, uniformed scouts greeted congregants at the entrances of the church, and the pageantry of the Mass itself was notable.
A long and colorful procession to the altar began with altar servers clad in red, followed by parish members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
The Knights and Dames of the Holy Sepulchre dressed in traditional attire. The men wore white capes with the order’s symbolic red cross over the left breast and black velvet berets on their heads. The ladies of the order wore ankle-length black capes bearing the red cross, over long black gowns. Black lace mantillas covered their heads.
Many priests, most of whom had previously served at Our Lady of Mercy Church, followed, including Fathers William With, Michael Perry, Vincent Daly, Francis Passenant, Raphael Munday Kukana, and Msgr. Ralph Maresca.
Bishop DiMarzio acknowledged Msgr. McGuirl for his care of the parish, as well as the many priests who have served the parish over the years. In his homily, the bishop recognized the gift that comes through faith and stated that Jesus makes forgiveness a central teaching of faith.
“This is one of the most difficult things that we must do,” Bishop DiMarzio said. After the Mass, a gala celebration was held at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston. More than 250 people attended the party.
Prono is a parishioner at Our Lady of Mercy.