By Allyson Escobar and Emily Drooby
St. Pius X, Rosedale, whose church was ravaged by a fire on June 16, is showing the world that it’s the faith of its parishioners that makes a community, not a building.
On Corpus Christi weekend, at least 1,000 parishioners attended five Masses and a procession was held in the school cafeteria at Success Academy, next door to St. Pius X, according to Father Jean-Miguel Auguste, the pastor.
The Masses were also held in the school cafeteria, a week after the parish’s church building, which was built in 1960, was nearly destroyed after a two-alarm fire broke out, gutting the whole interior.
Father Auguste said almost everything in the church sacristy and sanctuary was destroyed — “the altar, the amble, the books, the tabernacle, everything.”
The fire was caused by accidental electrical wiring in the area of the altar, according to the FDNY, which said its investigation has concluded.
Pastors of other parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn have been helping provide materials for Masses, including clergy vestments, hosts and church wine.
Father Auguste said the parish will hold a community meeting on June 26 to discuss its next steps, including fundraising and rebuilding efforts. The parish does have fire insurance, and it’s waiting to hear how much the policy will cover, a process that will take weeks, the pastor said.
“We’re determined to stay together,” said Kathleen McCabe, who serves on St. Pius X’ parish council. “I think it shows that it doesn’t matter what the building is that you’re attending, it’s the heart of the community, the people. What we always say is, ‘God is the church, is the people,’ and it just proves that we have always been that.”
”It proves to me that God is there,” Fiano Jackman, a longtime St. Piux X parishioner, said of how the parish is coming back after the fire. “God is with us because people are coming out so it shows that they have their faith and we all believe and we are holding strong, we are taking our strength from Him.”