During the Year of Faith the Residents of Queen of Peace have had the opportunity of making a pilgrimage to the church of their baptism, to the place where they had first received the faith. If this was not possible due to the consolidation of parishes or to distance, the possibility of visiting a parish that had been important in their life of faith was given. These visits have extended from Bay Ridge to Oyster Bay since all of Long Island comprised the Diocese of Brooklyn in the years when the Residents had been 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. We had called each parish prior to our visit as churches are often kept closed when Mass or devotions are not scheduled. The reception that our pilgrims received was very warm. Some of the priests and parish secretaries had prepared gifts for the Residents: statues of the parish patron, books about parish celebrations and anniversaries and copies of their baptismal certificates complete with the parish seal.
It was particularly moving to accompany Frank Herbert to the Church of St. Pancras in Glendale where Frank had been baptized 95 years ago! The baptismal font was the same although it had been moved to the sanctuary. With a lighted candle in his hand Frank renewed his baptismal promises in a strong voice and affirmed the faith that his godparents had asked for him nearly a century ago. Frank 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 the activities on the corner of 68th Street and Myrtle Avenue.
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. What a grace it is to witness such perseverance in the faith among the elderly for whom we are privileged to care!
Click here for Baptismal Vows
To view a photo slideshow of the pilgrimage, click here.