TRADITION!! An old Christmas tradition has been brought back by a new pastor. Monsignor Guy Massie, who replaced Reverend Anthony J. Sansone as pastor of Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary/St. Stephen’s Church this past summer, has restored the Christmas star on the steeple of the church. The star lighting took place on Saturday, December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The ceremony featured music by the Arcadia Brass Quintet and the church choir, “Reflections on the Star,” a gospel reading, and a blessing by Monsignor Massie. The star will shine over Summit and Hicks Streets and will be be visible from the New York harbor just as it had in days of old.
Monsignor Massie came to SHSS from his former parish of St. Andrew the Apostle in Bay Ridge. Along with his pastoral duties, he is also the Chairperson for the Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Commission for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn A native of Williamsburg, Monsignor Massie has a keen interest in history and interfaith dialogue. He received a master’s degree in Judaic Studies from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.
Parishioners of SHSS have been made well aware of Monsignor’s love of history. He is quite the “rabbi” in his homilies, not just preaching a sermon but teaching us about the history which surrounds us. While I am a lifelong parishioner of SHSS, I must admit I did not know the identities of all the saints who line the church, both in statuary and in stained glass form. Well, that has changed with Monsignor Massie who often counts down the windows to point out to us which saint he is talking about. And with the eye-opening history lesson, he manages to incorporate a refreshing, modern-day relevance.
Monsignor Massie is a congenial person who has reached out to our neighbors, including St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, with whom we celebrated the Blessing of the Animals (another restored tradition) to commemorate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi in October. He also gave the okay to parishioners who launched a Sandy relief effort in the lower church and parking lot and collected loads of food and clothing for our friends in Red Hook and the Rockaways. When Cobble Hill’s Christ Church was badly damaged by a lightning strike, Monsignor welcomed their pre-school the temporary use of Cabrini Hall. Both Christ Church and St. Paul’s are thanking SHSS with an Advent Christmas Concert to be held on December 15th at SHSS.
Whatever your religious affiliation, if you would like to broaden your mind, hear an inspirational sermon, witness a blending of new and old, and meet an interesting, outgoing man of faith, I encourage you to stop by SHSS. And remember, whether you are walking or driving by, be sure to look up at the star shining high on our steeple. It is a welcome sign of hope and tradition.