Diocesan News

Sunnyside Parish Doubles Generations Drive Goal

On the heels of Pope Francis’ historic visit to New York, exciting updates for the Generations of Faith campaign continue throughout the diocese. In Sunnyside, Queen of Angels parish has raised $920,000 on its goal of $460,000.

The parish offers the diversity the Holy Father spoke about as it includes many different ethnic and cultural groups, with new and longtime parishioners.

Father Brian Dowd, pastor of Queen of Angels, Sunnyside, and his parish staff are ecstatic over the response to the Generations of Faith campaign.
Father Brian Dowd, pastor of Queen of Angels, Sunnyside, and his parish staff are ecstatic over the response to the Generations of Faith campaign.

“Historically, our parish has been home to many Irish families, and our neighborhood, Sunnyside, has a very historic section, where recently some new families have settled,” said Father Brian Dowd, pastor.

“We have a Hispanic community, as well as a Bengali and Filipino community. Some of our parishioners who have been here for years were a part of the founding of the parish. For all parishioners, Queen of Angels is an important part of the Sunnyside community, and it is where our parishioners come to find Christ in their lives.”

The parish plans to use its share of the Generations of Faith campaign funds for interior improvements to the church, so that necessary restorations can be made to the church building and worship space.

“Making sure that our church is here for the future is incredibly important, and I think it is something that is very important to all our parishioners,” Father Dowd said.

Now that Queen of Angels has successfully completed the campaign, it will replace the original pews and kneelers, and also install a new church floor. It also hopes to focus on pastoral development and to enable more lay leaders to participate in the Diocesan Pastoral Institute, and other parish leadership workshops.

“Since I came to Queen of Angels six years ago, I have thought that it is so important to give parishioners a true understanding of being a parish leader, and an opportunity to connect with other parish leaders in the Diocese,” explained Father Dowd. “Those who have participated in these workshops and the Pastoral Institute lead our many ministry groups here at the parish.”

Father Dowd attributes the parish’s successful participation and the positive reception of his parishioners to their generosity, the enthusiasm of his campaign team, and in some part to the inclusion of the Generations of Faith campaign in the parish feast day celebration in August.

Father Dowd and his campaign team decided to incorporate participation into the parish feast day by celebrating the success of the campaign, sharing the message of Generations of Faith with those who had not yet participated, and also by asking parishioners to share their love for the church and Queen of Angels parish.

“We felt that this was a great time to combine this important moment with Generations of Faith. Intertwining the two gave us an opportunity to do something special and different than we had in the past,” he said.

“My committee and campaign chair Jonathan Ung came up with the idea of creating a ‘Faces of Faith’ video montage, so that on this important day, our parishioners could express their love of the parish and the Church.”

Parishioners were asked to respond to the question: “What does my parish mean to me?” and to submit written answers on a card. Many participated, and the responses were highlighted in a video montage during the feast celebration, and campaign events.

“I always knew we had creative and dedicated parishioners, who have a desire to live out their faith on a daily basis,” the pastor said.

“Although we had significant trepidation at first about meeting our goal, I think that Generations of Faith gave us an opportunity to come together, create our campaign plan, and rally around our parish.

“Our faith gives us the strength to pray about Generations of Faith, and participate. I am grateful for the support of my parishioners, and I am very excited about the impact that the campaign will have on our parish as a whole.”