A lot of people think of New York City as a godless place. But I am going to demonstrate with solid evidence that New York City has a lot of holiness, from one end of town to the other. Because you can take any two days on the calendar and connect them with the holiness of New York City. Let’s take tomorrow and the next day. Ready?
Ok. Anyone Ukrainian? Anybody know any Ukrainians? Anybody know where Ukraine is?
Many Ukrainians migrated to the U.S. during the 20th century. On the Lower East Side of Manhattan Island, you can find a huge, beautiful Ukrainian Catholic church, on 7th Street. And there’s a school there, K-12. Down the street you can get some great pierogis.
Wait a minute. Ukrainian Catholic? Shcho tse? What is this?
St. Josaphat made Ukrainian Catholicism possible, by his heroic self-sacrifice. He loved Christ, the Pope, the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, and his country. As you may know, the Ukrainians have a beautiful way of life, and they have their own way of celebrating the Mass—a way that goes back to the most ancient times, like our way of doing it does.
St. Josaphat gave his life so that his people, with all their ancient Christian traditions, could be Catholic. He suffered martyrdom 390 years ago tomorrow. He didn’t think twice about risking his life for Christ, because he considered himself a humble servant of the Lord, simply doing his duty.
Now, speaking of humble servants of the Lord…We’ve got a connection between tomorrow and the holiness of New York, with St. Josaphat and the Ukrainian-Catholic school (like our own Roanoke Catholic School!) on the Lower East Side. But what about Wednesday?
No problem. I have two nephews who live on the other end of Manhattan Island, the northern tip of it. They live at 186th Street.
Anyone know what usually happens to the body of a saint after his or her life on earth? We build a beautiful chapel or church so that people can come and pray for special help from this particular saint.
Anyway, Mother Cabrini—anyone ever heard of her? A tireless missionary nun who came to America to help the Italian immigrants. St. Frances Xavier Cabrini was beatified 75 years ago Wednesday. And whenever I see my nephews, I see her, too, because her shrine is at 190th Street.