Diocesan News

Many of the Faithful, Led By Bishop Brennan, Will Take the 7 Train to the Eucharistic Revival

CORONA — Straphangers taking the No. 7 train in Queens on the morning of Saturday, April 20, may notice something one would not normally see on the subway, the bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Bishop Brennan will be taking the subway to the diocese’s Eucharistic Revival taking place that day at Louis Armstrong Stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. But he won’t be alone. Thousands of pilgrims from different churches in the diocese are expected to join him along the way, boarding the No. 7 train at several stops before getting off at the Mets-Willets Point station.

From the Mets-Willets Point station, Bishop Brennan will lead the faithful on foot, walking from the subway station to the stadium for the revival.

“When the idea of using the tennis stadium for the Eucharistic Revival surfaced it occurred to me, oh wow, a 7 train pilgrimage would be great. And then it grew from there,” Bishop Brennan told The Tablet.

He is looking forward to pilgrims from different parishes boarding the train en route. “The tennis stadium, Flushing Meadow Park, and the 7 train are iconic of Queens. We always talk about the 7 train taking you through the neighborhoods of Queens and the whole world getting on and off at each stop,” he added.

Three Queens churches — St. Michael’s in Flushing, Our Lady of Sorrows in Corona, and the Church of St. Leo in Corona — will be walking in processions to the stadium from their respective parishes.

“We are really looking forward to it. I think it will help us feel closer to the spirit of the revival; to walk as Jesus walked,” said Father Manuel De Jesus Rodriguez, pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Church. He expects 1,600 of his parishioners, the majority of them young people, to participate in the procession and the revival. “We cannot wait. We had yellow T-shirts made up,” he added.

DeSales Media Group, the ministry that produces The Tablet, is working with the diocese, the MTA, and the NYPD to coordinate Bishop Brennan’s subway journey as well as the church processions.

“There’s going to be a train coming in from the No. 7 Line for five stops. Bishop Brennan is going to board the train and we’re going to have thousands of people on that train. It’s going to be an unprecedented event,” said Vincent LeVien, director of external affairs for DeSales Media Group.

The NYPD’s Chief of Transit, Michael Kemper, is coordinating the police presence on the train and on the stations. LeVien explained.

Coordination is key, because the MTA isn’t suspending regular service or providing a special train for Bishop Brennan to ride on. It will be a normal No. 7 train.

Bishop Brennan will board the train at the Court Square station in Long Island City at 7:30 a.m. and will ride in the first car. At some stations — Queensboro Plaza, 61st Street-Woodside, and 74th Street-Broadway — pilgrims are expected to board the train to ride with Bishop Brennan.

To ensure safety, police officers will be stationed on the train and on the station platforms. “Obviously, safety is important,” LeVien said.

At those stations, deacons from various parishes will be holding signs to direct the pilgrims where to go and when to board the train.

Once the train arrives at the Mets-Willets Point station Bishop Brennan and the pilgrims will get off the train and proceed on foot to the stadium located a few minutes away.

Pilgrims interested in boarding the train along the route can connect to the No. 7 train from other trains. Riders can make a connection to the No. 7 from the N and W trains at Queensboro Plaza. The 61st Street-Woodside station has a connection from the LIRR to the No. 7. And the 74th Street-Broadway station connects the E, F, and R subway lines to the No. 7.

A great deal of planning has also gone into the processions from the churches to take place on the day of the pilgrimage.

Parishioners from St. Michael’s Church will meet at the church, 136-76 41st Ave. in Flushing, at 7 a.m. and proceed straight up 41st Avenue to Meridian Road, the street located near Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Father Vincentius Do, the pastor, said that as of April 5, 250 people had signed up to participate in the pilgrimage but that he expected more to join the list as the date for the revival drew closer. “We will have people at all of our weekend Masses to sign people up,” he explained.

The parishioners are excited, Father Do said. “They’re used to processions. They love them. We have many of them here at St. Michael’s,” he added. The parish had its most recent procession on Good Friday.

Over in Corona, Father Rodriguez and his parishioners will gather at Our Lady of Sorrows at 104-11 37th Ave. at 6 a.m. and begin walking to the stadium. The pilgrims will be praying and singing hymns along the way with music provided by a sound system in a van.

At some point, the folks from Our Lady of Sorrows will be meeting up with Father Carlos Agudelo, pastor of the Church of St. Leo, and his parishioners, who will be starting their journey at the church at 104-05 49th Ave. 

The two parishes will then walk together to Louis Armstrong Stadium. The meetup point has not been finalized, but one possibility is the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and 108th Street. 

Approximately 500 parishioners from the Church of St. Leo are expected to participate.

As the revival date draws closer, Bishop Brennan said he is growing more excited.

“I’m really looking forward to this special gathering of the Church in Brooklyn and Queens,” he explained. “How diverse we are, how many nations represented, the languages that are spoken here, the experiences that we all have in life.Yet we’re absolutely united in our faith, in the Lord, and that has its fullest expressions in our unity in the Eucharist, the source and sign of our communion.”