During the Year of Faith, residents of Queen of Peace Residence, Queens Village, had the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to the church of their baptism. If this was not possible, due to the consolidation of parishes or distance, the possibility of visiting a parish that had been important in their life of faith was given.
These visits extended from Bay Ridge to Oyster Bay, L.I., since all of Long Island comprised the Diocese of Brooklyn in the years when the residents were born.
Since Brooklyn is the borough of churches, there were no two residents requesting to visit the same church! These pilgrimages then became an afternoon of one-to-one attention. Each parish was called prior to the visit, since some churches are closed when Masses or devotions are not scheduled.
The reception that the pilgrims received was very warm. Some of the priests and parish secretaries had prepared gifts for them, such as statues of the parish patron, books about parish celebrations and anniversaries and copies of their baptismal certificates complete with the parish seal.
Frank Herbert had a moving return visit to St. Pancras Church, Glendale, where he had been baptized 95 years ago. The baptismal font was the same, though it had been moved to the sanctuary.
With a lighted candle in his hand, Herbert renewed his baptismal promises in a strong voice and affirmed the faith that his godparents had asked for him nearly a century ago.
Herbert reminisced how his father’s business with which he had worked had raised the original pipe organ to its place in the choir loft. The same business had been responsible for placing the statue of the Sacred Heart on top of the school where it watches over activities on the corner of 68th Street and Myrtle Avenue.
Also of note was the visit of Msgr. James Ryan in the 65th year of his priestly ordination to the parish of St. Dominic in Oyster Bay where he had received the sacraments and celebrated his First Mass.
Following the pilgrimage each resident received photos of the pilgrimage, a copy of the baptismal promises renewed and the candle that he or she had held.