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New bishop installed for Diocese of Brooklyn

Clergy, community leaders, and parishioners gathered at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights to watch as Robert J. Brennan was officially installed as the new bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The installation, which was overseen by Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan, officially brought a close to Nicholas DiMarzio’s time as bishop. Dimarzio, age 75, originally submitted his letter of resignation on June 16, 2019.
“I can’t wait to get started, this is just incredibly exciting,” Bishop Brennan said ahead of the installation mass. “New York is a wonderful place to live. I’m going to be so happy serving the church here in Brooklyn and in Queens.
“From the day that my appointment was announced at the end of September, I just experienced such an incredible welcome,” Brennan continued. “Back in September my heartstrings were tugging as I was leaving Columbus [Ohio], but now that I’ve been here a couple days, I can’t wait to get started.”
During a question-and-answer session, Brennan explained that he is not committed to pursuing a concrete plan, but rather listening to the needs of the community and responding accordingly.
“I don’t have an actual program that says we are going to do X, Y, or Z. It would be, quite honestly, a little foolish on my part to come in and say, ‘okay, now it’s the Brennan way of doing things,’” the new bishop said. “There’s a rich history here and I want to learn from that.”
Bishop Robert J. Brennan was born and raised on Long Island, where he attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School in Lindenhurst and St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip.

New bishop installed for Diocese of Brooklyn

Clergy, community leaders, and parishioners gathered at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Prospect Heights to watch as Robert J. Brennan was officially installed as the new bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The installation, which was overseen by Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan, officially brought a close to Nicholas DiMarzio’s time as bishop. Dimarzio, age 75, originally submitted his letter of resignation on June 16, 2019.
“I can’t wait to get started, this is just incredibly exciting,” Bishop Brennan said ahead of the installation mass. “New York is a wonderful place to live. I’m going to be so happy serving the church here in Brooklyn and in Queens.
“From the day that my appointment was announced at the end of September, I just experienced such an incredible welcome,” Brennan continued. “Back in September my heartstrings were tugging as I was leaving Columbus [Ohio], but now that I’ve been here a couple days, I can’t wait to get started.”
During a question-and-answer session, Brennan explained that he is not committed to pursuing a concrete plan, but rather listening to the needs of the community and responding accordingly.
“I don’t have an actual program that says we are going to do X, Y, or Z. It would be, quite honestly, a little foolish on my part to come in and say, ‘okay, now it’s the Brennan way of doing things,’” the new bishop said. “There’s a rich history here and I want to learn from that.”
Bishop Robert J. Brennan was born and raised on Long Island, where he attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School in Lindenhurst and St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip.

Brooklyn Diocese honors act of subway bravery

Sean Conaboy, a resident of Sunset Park and a parishioner at St. Michael’s Church, was waiting for a train at the Union Square Station in Manhattan on May 19 when he heard a woman screaming.
He rushed over and found a woman being attacked by a man with a knife. Conaboy immediately tackled the assailant, who was later arrested on four felony counts.
The incident was the second violent crime at the Union Square subway station within seven days.
Last week, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and community members gathered at the Diocese of Brooklyn’s headquarters in Windsor Terrace to honor his bravery.
“It was an honor to be with Sean this morning and recognize him for his selfless sacrifice on behalf of his fellow New Yorker,” said Bishop DiMarzio. “Sean was the Good Samaritan here when he stopped the attack and put his faith into action.”
The Most Reverend Kevin Sweeney, Bishop of the Diocese of Paterson, New Jersey, who previously served as Pastor of St. Michael’s, also praised the actions of his former parishioner.
“Sean’s Catholic upbringing nurtured him and made him ready for that moment, with the help of the Holy Spirit and with the protection of St. Michael, he stepped into that battle and saved someone who was being attacked,” said Bishop Sweeney. “As a native New Yorker, it is great to see New Yorkers being who New Yorkers are; we respond when others are in need.”
Conaboy remained selfless throughout the ceremony, reminding those present that violent crimes have a serious emotional and physical impact on victims.
“I am moved beyond words and say thank you to both Bishop DiMarzio and Bishop Sweeney,” Conaboy said. “As honored as I am to be here, there is a victim in all of this, and it is not me. I think she deserves all of our prayers from this day forward.”
The assault Conaboy stopped was one of many throughout the year. Crime has risen significantly throughout New York City, with the NYPD reporting close to 200 felony assaults on the subway in the first six months of 2021 alone.

Brooklyn Diocese asks for more police protection

The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn recently requested the NYPD increase patrols near churches in Brooklyn and Queens. The response comes after a series of recent incidents on Church properties throughout the city.
“It is disheartening to see acts of religious intolerance against the Catholic Church, most recently at St. Athanasius and our Diocesan offices,” said diocese deputy press secretary John Quaglione.
The two incidents Quaglione referenced happened within a week of each other. In the early morning hours of May 14, a crucifix was toppled and damaged and an American Flag burned at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in Bensonhurst.
The damaged crucifix was discovered by Monsignor David Cassato around 8 a.m. on his walk from the rectory to the academy to greet the students. The crucifix was installed as a tribute to the monsignor’s late mother.
On May 17, a statue of Mary holding the baby Jesus was found vandalized near the diocese’s administrative office in Windsor Terrace. Jesus’s head was removed. Diocese officials are working towards repairing the statue to its original form.
The incidents come after a year in which New York’s places of worship have been either closed or seen their capacity greatly limited.
“Many people are now just getting comfortable returning to church after more than a year of hesitation and fear stemming from the coronavirus pandemic,” explained Quaglione. “We have now reopened our churches at 100 percent capacity and the last thing we want is our faithful to feel unsafe attending Mass.”
Despite the incidents, Quaglione is confident that the diocese can thrive and be of service as the pandemic slowly comes to a close.
“As we continue to see the light at the end of the tunnel of the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be people who are experiencing anger and frustration over the loss of a loved one, employment, or income,” said Quaglione. “Our message to them is to let the Church help you through the mental health services offered through Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens.”
The diocese is not the only religious community experiencing a surge in hate crimes. On May 13, worshipers at the Tayba Islamic Center in Sheepshead Bay were shocked to find anti-Palestine phrases scrawled on the side of the building.
On May 22, a group of Jewish worshipers were verbally assaulted outside of a Borough Park Temple. Both episodes occurred while tensions between Israel and Palestine remained extremely high.

Adams thanks diocese for COVID relief efforts

Standing in front of Borough Hall this past Friday, Borough President Eric Adams honored the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Emergency Task Force for its year-long effort to assist first responders and frontline workers.
The task force consists of volunteers who worked closely with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Diocese leadership to distribute food and equipment.
Since the pandemic began, the group has delivered over 500,000 masks, 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 40,000 gloves to police and fire departments, hospitals, nursing homes, and other entities in need throughout the state.
Additionally, the group delivered iPads to students throughout the borough to assist with virtual learning.
“When we were out there criss-crossing Brooklyn, we saw the borough president out there criss-crossing as well,” said task force member said Vincent Levien. “He has always been there helping us help the people most in need.”
Adams awarded citations to all of the members present before offering his own brief remarks.
“We want to thank all the members of the organization for being the COVID heroes we expect,” he said. “Even during these challenging times, we should acknowledge how our faith-based institutions played such a vital and critical role in getting our city up and moving.”
“We are able to hope to get back to normal life because of dedicated people like them,” added Councilman Mathieu Eugene. “They put themself in danger to help of those in need. If it weren’t for them, the crisis would be worse.”

Adams thanks diocese for COVID relief efforts

Standing in front of Borough Hall this past Friday, Borough President Eric Adams honored the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Emergency Task Force for its year-long effort to assist first responders and frontline workers.
The task force consists of volunteers who worked closely with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Diocese leadership to distribute food and equipment.
Since the pandemic began, the group has delivered over 500,000 masks, 100,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 40,000 gloves to police and fire departments, hospitals, nursing homes, and other entities in need throughout the state.
Additionally, the group delivered iPads to students throughout the borough to assist with virtual learning.
“When we were out there criss-crossing Brooklyn, we saw the borough president out there criss-crossing as well,” said task force member said Vincent Levien. “He has always been there helping us help the people most in need.”
Adams awarded citations to all of the members present before offering his own brief remarks.
“We want to thank all the members of the organization for being the COVID heroes we expect,” he said. “Even during these challenging times, we should acknowledge how our faith-based institutions played such a vital and critical role in getting our city up and moving.”
“We are able to hope to get back to normal life because of dedicated people like them,” added Councilman Mathieu Eugene. “They put themself in danger to help of those in need. If it weren’t for them, the crisis would be worse.”

Diocese dealing with two hate crimes

Leaders of the Catholic church are worried they are in the midst of a hate crime spree after two acts of vandalism in just three days.
In the early morning hours of May 14, a crucifix was toppled and damaged and an American Flag burned at St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church in Bensonhurst.
The damaged crucifix was discovered by Monsignor David Cassato around 8 a.m. on his walk from the rectory to the academy to greet the students. It was found adjacent to the school at the corner of 61st Street and Bay Parkway, toppled and lying face down.
The crucifix was installed at the parish in 2010 in memory of Monsignor Cassato’s mother. The parish plans to repair and reinstall it in the same location.
“This was truly an act of hatred and today is the saddest day of my 20 years here at this parish,” said Cassato. “I went over and spoke to the students in the school about what happened, telling them that hate never wins.”
Over the weekend, a statue depicting the Blessed Virgin Mary holding Jesus was vandalized on the grounds of the Diocesan administrative offices at 310 Prospect Park West in Windsor Terrace. Jesus was decapitated.
The destruction was discovered by a facilities manager. The diocese is already working towards repairing the statue to its original form.
“We are definitely concerned that there is a pattern of hate crimes against Catholics,” said Monsignor Anthony Hernandez of the Diocese of Brooklyn. “The Diocese will be notifying our churches to be on alert, and we are asking the NYPD to increase patrols in and around the area of our churches.”
The NYPD is investigating both incidents as hate crimes. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

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