Tag Archives: Pope

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.


Cardinal Bergoglio of Argentina elected as first pope from South America

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Aibdescalzo


The papal conclave elected Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, the first South American and Jesuit pope, after one of the shortest conclaves in history. He selected the papal name Francis I.

The decision came just a day after the voting began on Tuesday, March 12, following the official end of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s reign at the end of February.

“Let us begin this journey together, this journey for the Roman Catholic Church,” said Pope Francis to a packed-tight crowd in St. Peter’s Square. “It’s a journey of friendship, of love, of trust and faith.”

Pope Francis, 76, was born in Buenos Aires, and was Archbishop of his native city from 1998 until last year. His career, thus far, has been spent solely in Argentina. He is the 266th pope and the first non-European choice in over 1,000 years.

“He’s a very holy and humble man,” said Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello of the Archdiocese of Brooklyn, which also serves Queens. “I think he’s a man who can bring a lot of trust back to the papalcy.”

In Catholic history, St. Francis was a man who came to serve the poor, and there has also never been a pope named Francis.

“It could mean that he’s not looking towards other papacies as inspiration,” said John Heyer, also of the Archdiocese.

Pamela Shea-Byrnes, head of Campus Ministry at St. John’s, said she was impressed by the new pontiff’s name choice – inspired by St. Francis of Assisi.

A champion of helping the poor, the new pope understood the message of Francis, which calls for those who can help to aid those in need, Shea-Byrnes said.

Much like St. Francis, Shea-Brynes said she believes the new pontiff will reinvigorate the church and help rebuild it.

During his first address as Pope, he requested that his followers “always pray for one another,” and asked for the crowd’s blessing, which evolved into a moment of silence throughout the previously rambunctious square.

As a Latin American, he represents nearly half of the world’s Catholic population, according to Heyer. Also as a Jesuit, Pope Francis could possibly bring a new open-mindedness to the church, as Jesuits are seen to be.

“[Jesuits] realize we live in a multifaceted, multicultural world,” said Heyer, who hopes Pope Francis can apply these attributes to the Catholic world.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Pope Francis is against same-sex marriage, use of contraception and premarital sex. He has been, however, against clerical privilege, and criticized priests who refused to baptize children out of wedlock.

“The church needs to reconcile in many places and build back bridges,” said Heyer. “The Christian message is about love. If that’s the direction we can go in, then I think we’re going towards a good place.”



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 39 with a windchill as low as 19. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 15 to 20 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 23. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 15 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Northern Boulevard in the Footsteps of Gatsby at the Greater Astoria Historical Society

Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann is wrapping up the latest remake of The Great Gatsby starting Leonardo DiCaprio. Set in NYC during the 1920s Jazz Age, this is the first serious drama attempting to render a major city in 3-D. The evening’s lecture starts with a brief history of Northern Boulevard and pictures from the time that the fictional Gatsby would have seen as he took his legendary drive through the borough. The program’s second half shows the film’s interpretation of locations based on the actual images sent to the production team. (The Greater Astoria Historical Society is credited as historical adviser to the movie production.) Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Body discovered near Forest Park

A man walking his dog near Forest Park found a man unconscious and unresponsive. Read more: Queens Courier

Mayor Bloomberg booed at St. Patrick’s Day parade through the Rockaways

Mayor Bloomberg was dogged by jeers as he marched in a St. Patrick’s Day parade through the Rockaways, booed by some residents frustrated with the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Read more: New York Daily News

United Way donating $5M to Sandy communities

The United Way of New York City is distributing $5 million in aid to communities affected by Superstorm Sandy. Read more: Fox New York/AP

MTA tries new sterilization method to control rat population: report

Transit officials are ready to try a new sterilization method to limit the amount of rodents infesting New York City’s subways, according to a published report. Read more: NBC New York

Grieving mother still waiting for change five years after son was killed on Queens Blvd.

Lizi Rahman still visits the white “ghost” bike on Queens Blvd. to occasionally swap out fresh flowers at the memorial for her son, Asif. Read more: New York Daily News

Cardinals begin pre-conclave meetings amid scandal

Cardinals from around the world gathered Monday inside the Vatican for their first round of meetings before the conclave to elect the next pope, amid scandals inside and out of the Vatican and the continued reverberations of Benedict XVI’s decision to retire. Read more: AP

Knife terror aboard N train

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Knife terror aboard N train

A crazed subway panhandler pulled a knife and threatened a straphanger on a crowded train yesterday before being subdued by a good Samaritan and held until cops arrived, authorities and witnesses said. The 35-year-old woman boarded the Manhattan-bound N train at around 6:40 p.m. at Queensboro Plaza and began asking for money. Another woman, 52, began mocking her, unleashing the vagrant’s anger. Read More: New York Post


‘Witness-tamper’ hit vs. Espada

The feds claim former New York Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. coached a woman to lie before a federal grand jury investigating corruption allegations against him, The Post has learned. Although witness tampering is a crime, Brooklyn federal prosecutors are not charging Espada with new counts stemming from the incident — but they want the jury in his upcoming corruption trial to hear about the alleged misconduct. Read More: New York Post


Soaring Gas Prices Fuel Concerns Among City Drivers

Drivers in the city and across the nation are being hit with record high prices at the pump. Gas prices are the highest ever for this time of year and experts say they will only continue to rise. The national average for a gallon of regular hit $3.57 cents, up more than a quarter since January 1. Prices in New York are even higher. The current average in the city is $3.96, up 15 percent from a year ago. Read More: NY1


Dolan’s mother meets Pope Benedict

Capping a whirlwind nine-day trip with a final visit to the Vatican, Timothy Cardinal Dolan introduced his 84-year-old mom to Pope Benedict XVI yesterday — then jokingly asked the pontiff if he could make her “the first lady of the College of Cardinals.” Amid cheers and applause, Dolan walked his mom, Shirley, up to the stage to greet his boss during a papal audience before an enthusiastic crowd inside the Paul VI Hall. “Holy Father, here is my mom!” Dolan said he told the pope. Read More: New York Post


Rivera’s early arrival could signal end of Yankees career

The chair was occupied, and — in its own way — that was perhaps the first clue it would not be for much longer. When the clubhouse door opened to the media early yesterday morning, there was Mariano Rivera sitting at his locker. On the surface, so what? But there are Mo Rules in spring, and one is that he will not report on time. No one around the Yankees cares. He is Mariano Rivera, and his history is he shows up in great shape, pinpointing pitches and needing six to eight innings in all to be ready for Opening Day. Read More: New York Post

JetBlue sign ordeal

JetBlue wants to light up the New York skyline with its iconic blue logo — but it must first clear layers of city red tape before taking off. The airline, which will move its corporate headquarters to Long Island City next month, plans to erect a 40-foot lighted sign on the rooftop of its new building at 27-01 Queens Plaza North. “When complete, it will be easily seen from the east side of Manhattan across the river,” JetBlue said. But JetBlue’s proposal must be reviewed and approved by two community boards, the borough president, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and mayor. Read More: New York Post