2018: A Year in Review Across the Archdiocese


•  Bronx Catholics came out in droves to assist with a community-wide clothing and food drive for survivors of a Dec. 28 apartment fire that claimed the lives of 12 people in the neighborhood, the deadliest in New York City in nearly three decades. The Dec. 30 drive was at St. Martin of Tours parish, the Bronx. An abundance of donations necessitated a second collection site at nearby Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Bronx.

• A hand-carved wooden statue of Our Lady of China that graces the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in lower Manhattan stands as a reminder that people from foreign lands have been, and continue to be, welcome on these shores. Auxiliary Bishop John O’Hara blessed the news statue at the conclusion of a Chinese-English-Latin Mass he offered Jan. 7, the Epiphany of the Lord.

• The New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade Foundation has established Cardinal Dolan Scholarships to be awarded to Catholic school students in the Archdiocese of New York.

• Archbishop Octavio Ruiz Arenas, secretary of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization, told Hispanic ministry leaders at the Archdiocese of New York’s V Encuentro they must first have a sincere “personal encounter with Jesus” before they can truly help others in their spiritual journeys. Cardinal Dolan offered the closing Mass at the gathering of some 650 Hispanic ministry leaders and parishioners from throughout the archdiocese. The Spanish-language event was held Feb. 24 in the gymnasium of the College of Mount St. Vincent, the Bronx.

• The Archives of the Archdiocese of New York launched a digital database of historical sacramental records dating back to the earliest documented Catholic baptisms and marriages in the archdiocese. “We know that accessing the records of the Catholic Church in New York has long been a goal of those who study their family’s history,” Cardinal Dolan said in a March 2 letter to the archdiocesan faithful.

• The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 was dedicated to Catholic education and the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Dr. Timothy J. McNiff, superintendent of schools in the archdiocese, was among the aides to the grand marshal, philanthropist Loretta Brennan Glucksman.
n Firefighters lined Fifth Avenue in Manhattan before the Funeral Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dolan at St. Patrick’s Cathedral March 27 to pay tribute to Lt. Michael R. Davidson who died battling a fire in Harlem March 23.

• More than 1,000 were baptized into the faith and received confirmation and First Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil March 31 in parishes across the archdiocese.

• Seeking for all to realize the urgency of the moment, top officials with New York state and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York announced the launch of a pro bono legal network to expand services for immigrants throughout the state.

• Daniel J. “Rusty” Staub, the beloved former New York Mets outfielder of the 1970s and 1980s who later worked with archdiocesan Catholic Charities to help feed millions of New Yorkers, died March 29, the opening day of the baseball season. He was 73.

• Cardinal Dolan and the bishops of the Catholic dioceses of New York state have come forward to help New Yorkers in need by announcing the formation of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation May 8. With $3.2 billion, the foundation will be one of the largest in the United States and the largest solely focused in New York. The foundation will give $150 million annually in grants to assist low-income New Yorkers. The funds are coming from the sale of Fidelis Care to Centene Corp.

• “In the Catholic Imagination,” said Cardinal Dolan May 7 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s press preview for the exhibit “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” “the true, the good and the beautiful are so personal, are so real that they have a name, Jesus Christ, who revealed Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

• Catholic Charities of Staten Island is again stepping up to address the borough’s drug epidemic by acquiring Carl’s House, changing the name to Carl’s Recovery Center and moving it to the grounds of Mount Loretto. Catholic Charities of Staten Island took ownership of Carl’s House Feb. 5, and a press conference was held April 30 to announce the center’s launch.

• Cardinal Dolan ordained nine new priests at a May 26 Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

• The archdiocesan Office of the Superintendent of Schools launched a three-year strategic planning process, Pathways to Excellence II, to evaluate the progress made throughout the past eight years since Pathways I, and to consider new strategies and to build upon that success.

• The trustees of St. Patrick’s Cathedral believe the recent court case concerning the earthly remains of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen was incorrectly decided, and will seek an appeal of that decision. On June 18, the appellate division granted a motion made on behalf of the Trustees for a stay on moving the archbishop’s remains from the cathedral while the appellate court considers the case.

• An icon depicting the Blessed Mother dressed in the traditional garb of an Iraqi bride graces St. Michael Church in Manhattan. Father George Rutler, pastor of St. Michael’s, blessed the icon and dedicated the parish’s Shrine for Persecuted Christians June 12.

• The 96-degree temperature did not keep 103-year-old Justa Rodriguz or her 76-year-old son, Emilio Rodriguez, from attending the street Mass outside St. Cecilia and Holy Agony Church in Manhattan on July 1 that drew more than 400 on a searing Sunday.

• Pope Francis accepted the resignation of New York Auxiliary Bishop Dominick J. Lagonegro, who submitted his resignation on his 75th birthday March 6, as retired by canon law. His retirement was announced July 2.

• Cardinal Dolan visited with attorneys, staff, immigrants and children separated from their parents on a tour of the Catholic Charities Immigration Services in lower Manhattan before meeting the media June 28.

• An allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, D.C., has been found credible and substantiated. The allegation, which dates back over 45 years, came during Cardinal McCarrick’s tenure as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, Cardinal Dolan said in a statement released on the archdiocesan website June 20.

• Cardinal Dolan ordained 10 men to the sacred order of deacon at a June 23 Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

• Two fathers and two sons from Guatemala and Honduras were able to stay together July 10-12 at a Catholic Charities agency in the Bronx through a family reunification program.

• Father Kevin Mundackal made history in May as the first American-born Syro-Malabar priest ordained in the United States. Ordained for the St Thomas Syro-Malabar Catholic diocese of Chicago May 5, the 26-year-old Thornwood native offered his First Holy Qurbana May 6 at his home parish, St. Thomas Syro-Malabar in the Bronx.

• Ryan and Elizabeth Young and their seven children, parishioners of St. Martin de Porres in Poughkeepsie, were named the International Family of the Year at the Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention in Baltimore Aug. 8.

• Eight Sisters of Life professed final vows Aug. 6, the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, at a Mass at the Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in Stamford, Conn.

• Sister Joan Curtin, C.N.D., director of the archdiocesan Catechetical Office, has been selected to lead a group discussion at the Second International Congress on Catechesis held at the Vatican in September.

• Barbara S. Jones, a former judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, has been appointed the archdiocese’s special counsel and independent reviewer to study how the archdiocese deals with any accusation about an alleged abuse of a young person by a priest, deacon or bishop.

• Father Joseph LaMorte, a longtime pastor of parishes in Garnerville and Poughkeepsie, was named vicar general and chancellor of the archdiocese, the Cardinal’s Office announced. In both positions, Father LaMorte will succeed Msgr. Gregory Mustaciuolo, who will serve as CEO of the new Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

• Catholic New York began publishing a monthly section of eight to 12 pages in Spanish as part of its regular newspaper edition. The pullout section, Católico de Nueva York, the first of which appeared in the Sept. 27 edition, is planned to run in the second issue of each month.

• The Dominican Sisters of Hope have agreed to a conservation easement that will preserve 34 of their 61 acres of land along the Hudson River in Ossining from future development. The sisters made the announcement at a Sept. 28 press conference.

• Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, was the keynote speaker at the 73rd annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner Oct. 18 at the New York Hilton Midtown in Manhattan. Comedian Jim Gaffigan, who belongs to the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in lower Manhattan, was master of ceremonies.

• Cardinal Dolan, in a show of solidarity alongside Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis, and other civic and religious of New York, participated in a press conference Oct. 28 outside a Jewish house of worship, Temple Emanu-El, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the day after a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

• An allegation of abuse made against Auxiliary Bishop John Jenik has been found credible and substantiated by the independent Lay Review Board. The bishop has denied the “allegation of inappropriate behavior” made by a single victim based on alleged incidents that took place decades ago. Bishop Jenik, 74, who has served as pastor of Our Lady of Refuge parish in the Bronx since 1985, has stepped aside from public ministry and may not function as a bishop or a priest while the Holy See reviews the case.

• Retired Auxiliary Bishop Robert A. Brucato, who served as vicar general and chancellor of the archdiocese, was pastor of three parishes and a military chaplain, died Nov. 7. He was 87.

• Dr. Timothy J. McNiff is retiring as superintendent of schools of the archdiocese in April after having served in that capacity for the past decade.

• Humanae Vitae (“Of Human Life”), Pope St. Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on married life and procreation, is winning a new audience among young people who strive to live the Catholic vision of family life in an ever-changing world. Speakers and participants at a daylong conference Dec. 1 at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, examined the encyclical’s message 50 years after it was promulgated.


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