Friday, November 23, 2012

Providence Community News

During the month of October St. Mary’s Church on Broadway had a Ministry Fair. Each ministry of the Church had a booth in the basement of the school decorated with informational posters of their ministry such as CCD, Eucharistic Ministers, Home Care, Bread and Blessings.
 The parishioners were invited to the Ministry Fair and were encouraged to join one or more if they were able to do so. Everyone marveled at the great number of ministries in the parish. It was a great success.
Pastoral Care Week is celebrated once a year during the month of October at Marian Manor. This year’s celebration was from October 22cnd to October 26th. The Theme for this year was “Giving Voice”. Giving voice refers to words that must be voiced to empower, words that have been empowered. They may be words of hope and love and care, of respect that reveal the value and potential of others. During Pastoral Care Week at Marian Manor, different activities were organized to show appreciation for the work of the volunteers and staff and to recognize their “Special Kind of Caring” for the residents of Marian Manor. Some of the events were a Mass, blessing of the hands, and a tea party. Mayor Thomas Haye was invited to the tea party and gladly attended. Everyone enjoyed this time of afternoon relaxation with tea and delicious pastries.

Lastly, we cannot forget Halloween. Witches flying, bats screeching, ghosts moaning announced that Halloween had arrived. In Dighton, Halloween arrived a little early.

On October 27th we had our annual Halloween Party just in time before the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. The conference room in Dighton was decorated with witches, ghosts, skeletons, cats, and bats.
Most of the Sisters came dressed for the occasion. We all had fun looking at each one’s costume and Sr. Vimala took photos of all of us. After the excitement of seeing everyone, we enjoyed Halloween goodies. This was followed by some games. Everyone had a great time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Feast of the Presentation of Blessed Virgin Mary

Deep in November - a month known at times as  bleak and bone- chilling,  the church calendar shows a special day. The Feast of the Presentation of Mary.  Just before the secular celebration of Thanksgiving arrives, the church gives us a day to reflect on the life of the little girl who would become our Blessed Mother.  

According to some ancient traditions and ancient sources, the much loved daughter of Joachim and Anna was brought to the Temple and dedicated to God.  It was a custom at that time that some little girls were given to the priests of the temple to be taught the holy traditions and beliefs of the Hebrew people.  A further investigation suggests that the little Mary (Miriam in Hebrew) was beheld by none other than a younger Simeon and a younger Anna.  They would greet the newborn Jesus perhaps  as little as twelve years later and would burst with joy at the precious Savior that  Mary placed into their arms.  How thankful were they?  I leave that to your holy imaginations.
     So it is fitting then that we celebrate this day as Sisters and Lay Associates of the Presentation of Mary with a sense of gentle, warm wonder.   There was Mary with her beloved steadfast Joseph.  They would soon withdraw from the pages of the New Testament until Jesus begins his public ministry.  We can only guess at the simple but happy family life they enjoyed.  Mary laughing at her Son's antics and Joseph's twinkling eyes as he wondered about this little Charge of his.
     Let us ask Mary as this special day approaches to look upon the Sisters and their lay associates with a loving smile as once again they renew vows and promises.    

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Changing Neighborhood in Washington, DC

We see Washington DC changing in many ways and every day we see new development in our neighborhood.
Looking at the history of this small part of  Ward 5, with about 75,000 people living in it, we find our area of that was once called “little Rome” because of the many Catholic Institutions clustered around Catholic University.
For most of the 19th Century the area was farmland owned by the prominent Middleton (not the same as Kate) and Queen families.
Later, in 1906, the Baltimore and Ohio railroad connected this portion of Washington to downtown and Colonel Jehiel Brooks built the Greek Revival called later the Brooks Mansion (now the site of DCTV).
After the Civil War, the population increased and the former Brooks family estate became a housing tract called “Brookland”
Public transportation improved when the Brookland-CUA Metro station was inaugurated on February 3, 1978 with connections to many bus lines. This attracted many more people to the area since they were connected to the whole Metropolitan Area.
The Catholic University of America
The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
The Franciscan monastery
Ukranian Catholic National Shrine
United State Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Army Retirement Home and Lincoln’s Cottage
Dominican House of Studies.

(It is difficult to see many of these landmarks now because of all the construction going on around us.)

Community Diversity
The community starting to settle in Brookland was mainly Caucasian. Although there was some hostility towards the early black integration in the neighborhood, in the middle of the twentieth century Brookland developed into a neighborhood fairly integrated among economic classes and races.
Brookland was never Washington’s most fashionable address but it attracted many middle class families eager for its shady streets and single-family houses.

Now, in the beginning of the twenty first century, the face of the area has been changing:
According to the census of 2010 the ward 5 has 74.308 people with three main races represented:
White 16.5 %
Black 76% (9.9% less from the 2000 census)
Hispanics population went from 2.6% to 6.3%

New Projects in the neighborhood.

Chancellor’s Row
.  On 4th street and Jackson with 237 four level townhomes. They are taking most of the grounds from Paulist College and surrounding grounds.  All the trees of the area disappeared,. There are no play grounds.  Children have to play in very narrow houses going up and down the stairs.  The streets are very narrow, even to enter the garages, and the lowest price is $600.000. 

Monroe Street Market. A $200 Million project. (Monroe St.
According to their advertising it is “A new mixed-use development proposed to be completed in multiple phases. It will change the once desolate Brookland neighborhood into a pedestrian friendly destination.”
As of right now, three blocks have already been demolished and /or are starting to build some floors. (See  pictures). A new place near the Metro rail is also starting to have the foundations layed. One more block will be demolished next month
Until now the project is for 700 apartments, 45 townhomes and a large space dedicated to working artists.
The ground floor will be for small shops, dining places, a business center and a gym.
These apartments will be more expensive than Chancellor’s Row and for now they are offering “shopping and dining” for students in the area since they know that the prices won’t be affordable for them. The prices have not been announced but leasing  will begin in January 2013
It is difficult to know what the neighborhood will look like as we have to wait and see the people that will buy properties  in these projects.
Rosary House. As you can imagine, we have been following the evolution of a project that does not seem to stop there. Their ambitions include most of ward 5.
The residents that we are receiving in our house are more and more women under 30 years old that have to study and work. Many of them also look for a religious community where they can live their Christian life and a place where young people are interested in forming community. 
Only God knows the future of this house that has been serving the area for more than 60 years but as for us, we are willing to keep helping those that cannot afford expensive housing.