Last night I had the pleasure of hosting a group of young people, all displaced from Haiti following last year’s devastating earthquake, who are now students and parishioners from Saints Joachim and Anne parish in Queens Village. The students were taking part in Hope Week, a marvelous program sponsored by the New York Yankees. The students, and their parents or guardians, were joined by a wonderful young priest from their parish, Father Jean M. Delva, and six members of the Yankees, players C.C. Sabathia, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, and Freddie Garcia, and coaches Tony Pena and Mike Harkey.
The Yankees had hosted the children at yesterday’s game, and then they all boarded a double- decker bus to visit the Empire State Building and Times Square, before coming for a visit to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Monsignor Ritchie, the Cathedral Rector, provided a history of the Cathedral, and told them the story of Pierre Toussaint, a former slave from Haiti, who was brought to New York and is now a candidate for sainthood! The young people visited Toussaint’s resting place in the crypt beneath the Cathedral’s high altar, lit a candle at the shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and then joined me in my residence for some ice cream cake and cookies!
It was a wonderful evening, and I was pleased that Saint Patrick’s Cathedral – such a vital part of the City of New York – was able to join together with the Yankees in doing something special for these young men and women. I was just as proud that a Catholic parish, Saints Joachim and Anne in the Diocese of Brooklyn, is having such a positive impact on the lives of these young people, victims of a terrible tragedy, who are being given the opportunity for a wonderful education.
Here are some pictures from last night!
Photos by Joseph Zwilling