Tag Archives: Pope Francis

PHOTOS: Pope Francis receives a hero’s welcome from faithful at JFK Airport

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Robert Pozarycki

His stop in Queens was brief but the passion and reverence from the faithful was tremendous.

Pope Francis arrived on a chartered American Airlines jet at John F. Kennedy Airport at 5:10 p.m. Thursday afternoon, beginning the second leg of his journey to the United States.

Fresh off a visit to Washington—where he delivered an address before a joint session of Congress that morning—the pontiff received an ovation by a group of 200 people, which included local Catholic school students, charity volunteers, clergy members and homeless people.

Francis’ arrival culminated a spiritual celebration near the JFK runway among those lucky enough to participate. Before the plane landed, tenor Daniel Rodriguez sang hymns and various members of the clergy led the gathering in reciting prayers of the rosary.

Once the moment arrived, the Xaverian High School marching band played “New York, New York” as Francis descended the staircase and met Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio on the tarmac.

Francis also received gifts from a group of five children from schools within the diocese—two of whom hail from Queens—who were on hand to greet the pope. They presented him with “spiritual bouquets,” bundles of flowers containing handwritten prayers for the Holy Father, as Msgr. Kieran Harrington—vicar of communications for the Diocese of Brooklyn—told reporters.

One of the presenters, Raymond Rico of Little Neck’s Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy, was excited to greet the pontiff and shake his hand.

“He said, ‘Mucho gusto,'” Rico said, prompting the youngster to reply back with the same comment.

Betty McLoughlin of Bayside, a member of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church and the Irish Apostolates, was thrilled to just touch the pope’s cloak.

“It was just so wonderful,” she said.

Brother James McVeigh of St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows thought the experience was “a wonderful celebration of our faith,” and that he hoped Francis’ humble nature and message of mercy would resonate among Catholics of every generation.

“We need him to bring about change in people’s hearts,” he said. “His humble way is a wonderful way of reaching the people.”

Francis’ arrival at JFK wasn’t considered his official welcome to New York, Harrington noted. The official greeting took place a short time later, when Francis—whisked from JFK by helicopter—arrived in Manhattan and was met by dignitaries including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

A motorcade then brought the pontiff to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for a prayer service, then to the Vatican consulate, where he spent the night ahead of a busy Friday in the Big Apple.

The Holy Father will address the United Nations General Assembly on Friday morning, then participate on a multi-denominational prayer service at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan. From there, he will head to an East Harlem Catholic school to meet students, including a Ridgewood girl attending Cardinal Hayes High School.

On Friday afternoon, some 80,000 New Yorkers are expected to get a glimpse of Pope Francis as his motorcade travels through Central Park en route to Madison Square Garden, where the pontiff will celebrate Mass before a congregation of 20,000.

Francis will then return to JFK on Saturday morning for a short flight to Philadelphia, where he will attend the World Meeting of Families.


Pope Francis arriving at JFK this afternoon for New York City visit

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@HouseFloor

In a few hours, Pope Francis will arrive at John F. Kennedy Airport to begin the second leg of his journey to the United States: a visit to New York City.

Francis’ arrival comes following a two-day visit to Washington, D.C., which included addressing a joint session of Congress Thursday morning on Capitol Hill. During his speech, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church called for the abolition of the death penalty and for Americans to follow the “Golden Rule” in helping those less fortunate.

The pope is slated to arrive at JFK at 5 p.m., where he will be greeted by Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio, leader of the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, among other dignitaries. Francis will then be whisked via helicopter to Manhattan for an evening vigil at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

On Friday, Pope Francis will address the United Nations General Assembly, participate in a prayer service at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan and visit schoolchildren in East Harlem. Later that day, some 80,000 New Yorkers will view his motorcade as it passes through Central Park en route to Madison Square Garden, where Francis will celebrate Mass in the evening.

The pontiff will then return to JFK on Saturday morning for a short flight to Philadelphia, where he will attend the World Meeting of Families.

Security is tight across the city in advance of the pontiff’s arrival. The NYPD reportedly has more than 6,000 officers working for the duration of the pope’s visit. Frozen zones will be established around Manhattan on Friday while the pope is in transit through the island.

Check back later on The Courier’s website for updates.


Two Queens children to help greet Pope Francis at JFK Airport

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

HOME REPORTER/Photo by Jaime DeJesus


It’s the special meet-and-greet of a lifetime.

Out of more than 30,000 children attending 86 Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens, five were chosen to welcome Pope Francis during his first visit to New York on Thursday.

The children and their parents were congratulated by Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, director of the office of parish giving and vicar of development for the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens, outside of Holy Name Church on Monday, Sept. 21.

Two Queens children are among this special group: Brianna Wood of Rockaway Point, who attends St. Rose of Lima Catholic Academy, and Raymond Rico of Little Neck, who attends Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy.

“Today, we celebrate the children greeting the Holy Father when he comes off the plane as he steps for the first time in New York,” said Gigantiello as he explained what was on the agenda for the historic day. “The children will be presenting him with a spiritual bouquet, which are prayers and acts of kindness for the intentions for him and the success of his visit and also a gift from the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.”

The children were chosen by the diocese, which asked principals from various schools to submit names of children that they felt would be suited to represent the diocese as well as greet the pope.

DiMarzio expressed his excitement for the children to be among the first to greet the pope.

“He loves children. I’m so happy we can have them there to greet him with smiling faces,” DiMarzio said. “My advice would be not to be nervous. For the children, it’s a memorable life moment they’ll never forget.”

The kids discussed what the rare opportunity meant to them. “It feels exciting and joyful,” said Wood, a fourth-grader. “He’s close to God and can make this world a better place. I’m a little nervous but excited too.”

Gigantiello also expressed the significance of Pope Francis’s visit.

“This is an exciting time. This is our fifth Holy Father to visit so it’s a great time for our diocese and it’s a time to celebrate our faith and to celebrate our Holy Father’s visit by celebrating Mass with him and listening to him pray,” he said.


Ridgewood high school senior set to meet Pope Francis

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

One high school senior from Ridgewood will get the chance of a lifetime next week after being selected to meet with Pope Francis during his visit to New York.

Danielle Armato, 17, who has lived in Ridgewood for most of her life, was chosen as one of 12 Catholic high school seniors from across the city to be on hand when the Holy Father makes an appearance at Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem on Sept. 25.

“I got a letter from my school one week before school started and I wasn’t sure what it was about,” Armato said. “When I opened it and saw that I had been chosen to meet the pope I actually screamed. I jumped up and down. I was very excited.”

Armato is a senior at Cathedral High School in Manhattan where she is involved in various religious activities. She has been an altar server since the fourth grade and is currently the president of the campus ministry at Cathedral. She is also a parishioner, altar server and member of the Young Adult Leaders group at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Ridgewood.

Armato said that members from the Diocese visited schools looking for eligible seniors to be at the elementary school when Pope Francis drops in.

“My principal selected me because of my good grades and my participation in the church,” Armato said. “I am the president of the campus ministry. As president of the campus ministry I’m always helping to collect food and clothing, especially with the holidays coming up. I help set up our in-school retreats and I am responsible for planning our out-of-school senior retreat. I love being a part of the campus ministry because I’ve met many amazing people.”

Armato said that she and the 11 other high school students will be responsible for walking Pope Francis out of Our Lady Queen of Angels School when he is finished speaking with the elementary school students.

“I would say, ‘Thank you for everything that you have done,’” Armato said she would tell the pope. “I want to ask the pope to bless my grandmother for her 75th birthday. When I told [my grandmother] that, she cried of happiness.”

“The fact that he’s coming here shows that there is hope for New York, especially with all the bad things happening in the news, it shows that there is still hope,” she added. “I am personally shocked and humbled that I was chosen.”


Star of Queens: Bishop Witold Mroziewski, auxiliary bishop-elect, Diocese of Brooklyn

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

BACKGROUND: Auxiliary Bishop-elect Witold Mroziewski was born in Augustow, Poland, on March 25, 1966. Mroziewski graduated from his seminary with a master’s degree in theology and was ordained on June 29, 1991. The following year, he was sent to the Diocese of Brooklyn to continue his parish duties as an associate to the pastor at Our Lady of Czestochowa. He was named pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa in 2000 and worked there until he was transferred to Holy Cross Church in Maspeth in 2013. He will be ordained an auxiliary bishop on July 20.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Mroziewski and his parish have an active relationship with the 104th Precinct. “They are doing outstanding work and protecting all our events when we celebrate parish events and occasions,” Mroziewski said. He has also worked with the City Council to help rename 56th Road, the block of Holy Cross Church, Pope John Paul II Way. “The cooperation with them has been outstanding,” Mroziewski said of the City Council.

FEELINGS ON BEING APPOINTED AN AUXILIARY BISHOP: “I got a phone call from the Nuncio who actually announced that Pope Francis appointed me auxiliary bishop. It was absolutely unexpected. It overwhelmed me and I was deeply touched because I never expected that honor, never. It’s a great responsibility, not only for Catholics, but for all people locally in the diocese and also in the universal church.”

CHALLENGES IN NEW POSITION: “From now on I will be more involved in public work. As a parish priest, I was recognized in the parish on a local level and sometimes in the community where that parish was located. Now, they will know me more often with my work and relation to the people of this diocese.

PERSONAL LIFE: “From childhood, I did like to be a sportsman. I was a good runner and I like to bike and to ski. Another hobby is contact with the people. I like having discussions and meetings with them to teach them and answer their questions. I enjoy talking to the children and the youth because they are the future of the nation, of the church and the local communities.”



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Cloudy with light rain developing this afternoon. High 58. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Friday night: Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. Low 43. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: An Evening with Groucho

Award-winning actor Frank Ferrante recreates his highly acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx at Queens Theatre. The two-act comedy consists of the best Groucho one-liners, anecdotes and songs, such as “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady.” March 29 shows at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., March 30 show at 3 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Two fatally shot inside Ridgewood home

A man and a woman were shot to death inside a Ridgewood home Thursday night, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

MTA bus crashes into dump truck

An MTA bus driver rear-ended a dump truck on the 59th Street Ed Koch Bridge Thursday, tying up traffic during rush hour, authorities said. Read more: New York Post

Longer 911 response times bring dismay to pols at City Council

City ambulances are taking nine and a half minutes to get to the scene of life-threatening emergencies, new data show. Read more: New York Daily News

Sources: State lawmakers reach deal with demands on city for charter schools

The battle between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over charter schools has led to a tentative deal on a reform package from state lawmakers, sources told CBS 2 News. Read more: CBS New York

Poll: More Catholics say church is in touch since Pope Francis

Catholics appear to be feeling more of a connection to the church since the beginning of Pope Francis’ papacy, according to a new CBS News poll. Read more: CBS New York

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Tuesday: Rain. High 46. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph. Rainfall around a quarter of an inch. Tuesday night: Cloudy and damp with rain early…then becoming partly cloudy. Low around 35. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

Check out the winners of the 2013 annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, including the first prize-winning image Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom) by freelance photographer Wim van Egmond of The Netherlands at the New York Hall of Science. Through Feb. 23.

De Blasio, Dolan want Pope Francis to visit

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York’s Cardinal, Timothy Dolan, are joining forces to ask Pope Francis to visit the nation’s largest city. Read more: AP

Elderly wrong-way driver forces brief shutdown of Long Island Parkway

An elderly Queens man caused a brief scare on a Long Island parkway Sunday when he drove the wrong way, forcing police to block off a portion of the road as they tried to stop him, according to authorities. Read more: NBC New York

Mayor’s team mum on lavish transition spending

Mayor de Blasio’s office refuses to explain several lavish expenses incurred during his transition. Read more: New York Post

Legislators cite flaws in New York Health Exchange

Lost insurance coverage, higher premiums and confusion were among the problems New Yorkers have faced in trying to sign up for health care under the new federal law, state lawmakers said Monday. Read more: CBS New York/AP

“Seinfeld” comes to life: Jerry, George Spotted outside Tom’s

“Seinfeld” came to life again Monday in Manhattan, where Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander were spotted outside Tom’s Restaurant, their characters’ beloved hangout on the show. Read more: NBC New York

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Friday: Clear. High of 77. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 64. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Viva la Comida!

Viva la Comida!, an outdoor festival in Jackson Heights from 4 to 10 p.m., combines the best food trucks in the city, live music, interactive art, dancing, a market and more. Free to attend. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

EMTs stole $320,000 from ambulance nonprofit: prosecutors

Three volunteer EMTs pumped more than $320,000 from a nonprofit Queens ambulance corps into their own bank accounts, prosecutors say. Read more: NBC New York

Cops: Ga.-to-NYC gun scheme used pie tins, mail

Packing guns in pie tins and socks, a Georgia man supplied more than a dozen illegal weapons for sale in New York simply by sending them via express mail, police and prosecutors said Thursday. Read more: AP

City councilman proposes measure to halt ‘crazy’ cost of runoff elections

A New York City Councilman has proposed doing away with pricey runoff elections. Read more: CBS New York

Sources: Shootings up in New York City since stop-and-frisk ruling

There has been a spike in shootings across New York City since a federal judge ruled against the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, according to new crime statistics. Read more: CBS New York

Pope: Obsession with gays, abortion hurting church

Pope Francis has warned that the Catholic Church’s moral structure might “fall like a house of cards” if it doesn’t balance its divisive rules about abortion, gays and contraception with the greater need to make it a merciful, more welcoming place for all. Read more: NBC New York



Queens Argentinians proud of new pope

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy The New York Daily News


The world has been watching Pope Francis, from the moment he was chosen to head the Catholic Church, to his first Sunday mass and the day of his first tweet.

“Popes not only head the church, but they are a moral compass for the world at large,” said Dr. Patrick McNamara from the American Catholic League. “They are the blanket moral leader of the world. People of all religions recognize that.”

When the papal conclave chose Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Latin Americans around the world rejoiced. Latin America represents roughly half of the world’s Catholic population, and Queens residents hope that he can bring a new leadership to the church.

“I speak with my Argentinian heart when I say that God has blessed the whole world with Pope Francis, a being of light and so necessary for these difficult times the world is going through,” said Ivonne Sigaud, a Buenos Aires native living in College Point.

Many hope that Pope Francis can bring trust back to a church long plagued by scandal, while being a progressive leader that can conform with the modern times.

“I long for an urgent change in the [church], we need it in order to continue believing in it,” said Monica Insaurralde of Corona, also a Buenos Aires native. “I believe, hope, that this pope is the change.”

Also the first Jesuit pope, the Catholic community is wondering whether he will bring Jesuit attributes to his papacy. Typically seen as educators, Jesuits are known for open-mindedness when approaching everyday life.

“Jesuits were supposed to serve the pope, they weren’t supposed to become the pope,” said McNamara.“For a long time, [they] were seen as somewhat liberal. But I think he combines the best elements of progressive and traditional.”

Also the first pope of his name, Catholics around the world speculate he will draw inspiration from Francis of Assisi, a simple man known to empathize with and help the poor.

“[Pope Francis] was always a person who kept a low profile, a good man who was always on the side of humble,” said Hector Alberto Andrada from Buenos Aires, now living in College Point. “He walked the streets of Buenos Aires just like another citizen.”

Pope Francis reportedly never lived like the other Cardinals in Buenos Aires, but instead resided in his own apartment, took public transportation and actively worked with the people of Argentina.

“We are happy to know that they have trusted such a large mission to a simple man, recognized for his spirit of service,” said Fatima San Martin, a native of Misiones, Argentina. “They have put their eyes on South America, and specifically our Argentina.”

-With additional reporting by Anthony O’Reilly



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Friday: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the WSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Friday night: Mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the evening, then overcast with a chance of snow. Low of 32. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 30% .

EVENT OF THE DAY: Wreck-It Ralph in 3-D at NYSCI

From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping journey in 3-D. Wreck-It Ralph longs to be a hero. So when a new game arrives, he sneaks into it with a plan to win a medal, but soon wrecks everything, and accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens every game in the arcade. Playing at the New York Hall of Science Friday, March 15 and Friday, March 22 at 5 p.m. $9 adults/$7 children, seniors and students with ID. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man charged in Queens murders, brush fire due in court

A Brooklyn man is due in court Friday in the murders of two men whose bodies were found in a burning brush fire in Queens. Read more: AP/ABC New York

Census records show more people are moving to NYC

The entrances to the Big Apple are now busier than the exits. For the first time in half a century, more people are moving into the city than moving out, helping to swell the population to a record of 8,336,697, according to Census data released yesterday. Read more: New York Post

Former New York Gov. Pataki endorses John Catsimatidis for NYC mayor

Billionaire mayoral hopeful John Catsimatidis on Thursday picked up his biggest endorsement yet: former Gov. George Pataki. Read more: New York Daily News

David Wright wants to rejoin U.S. Lineup; sore ribs a concern for Mets

David Wright was scratched from the World Baseball Classic game Thursday against the Dominican Republic because of sore ribs, and U.S. manager Joe Torre isn’t expecting him to rejoin the lineup. Read more: CBS New York

Critics wave knives and hockey stick at U.S. air safety hearing

The top U.S. transportation security official on Thursday defended his controversial move to allow small knives to be carried onto airplanes, despite protests from flight attendants and lawmakers who say it will endanger the flying public. Read more: Reuters

How will Pope Francis deal with church sex abuse scandal?

The election of a new pope could help heal the wounds left by a Roman Catholic sex abuse crisis that has savaged the church’s reputation worldwide. For alleged victims, much depends on whether Pope Francis disciplines the priests and the hierarchy that protected them. Read more: AP/ABC New York


Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Thursday: Partly cloudy. High of 41. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 15 to 25 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 27 with a windchill as low as 16. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Totem by Cirque du Soleil

Totem by Cirque du Soleil traces the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage with an international cast of 52 from 19 different countries. At Citi Field from March 14 to April 7. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man arrested in Queens stun gun sex assault case

A Greek man has been arrested on charges he used a stun gun to subdue his ex-girlfriend and sexually assault her in her Queens apartment. Read more: NBC New York

Fake community board website stirs up touchy issues in western Queens

A website masquerading as a Queens community board’s online page is dredging up touchy topics among Astoria residents. Read more: New York Daily News

Parks Department finds new operator for Patrizia’s of Bayside

Patrizia’s of Bayside, the former site of Caffe on the Green and Valentino’s on the Green, has found a new operator, according to Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. Read more: The Queens Courier

New York City’s appeal of soda ban ruling to be heard in June

The legal battle over New York City’s ban of large sugary drinks is set to continue in early June, after a New York appellate court agreed on Wednesday to hear the city’s appeal of a ruling that struck down the new law. Read more: Reuters

Argentinians in New York proud of new pope

Latin America is bursting with pride over the announcement that one of their own is now pope, and so are Argentinians in New York City. Read more: ABC New York

Pope Francis’ humility: stops by hotel to get bags

Pope Francis put his humility on display during his first day as pontiff Thursday, stopping by his hotel to pick up his luggage and praying like a pilgrim before a beloved shrine in a decidedly different style for the papacy usually ensconced inside the frescoed halls of the Vatican. Read more: AP