On Saturday, April 12, 2008, members of Queensboro UNICO, as part of UNICO National Community Service Day, began the process to restore a Catholic Church in Brooklyn.
St Lucy’s Cathedral, located at 802 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn, was settled by Sicilian immigrants in the early 1900’s. Today, the Church remains in the unique position of being under the jurisdiction of Byzantine rules and is not part of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Members of Queensboro UNICO, in their continuing commitment to preserving the Italian American culture, donated their time and professional services to begin the task of cleaning, fixing and otherwise rejuvenating this magnificent Church.
The idea of preserving this Church was spearheaded by Salvatore Mendolia, a Past President of Queensboro Unico & Past District Governor of the UNICO New York District. One day, Mendolia received a call from Father Lou Milazzo of St Lucy’s because Fr. Lou needed some glass repaired. That phone conversation lead to Mendolia donating his time and resources of labor and materials in beginning the restoration process of this landmark church. Mendolia, always a generous member of Queensboro Unico, encouraged members to get involved in this worthy cause. Despite the threat of rain and bad weather, the day began with cleaning the church property of thousands of pounds of debris and coordinating with the NYC Dept of Sanitation to remove the debris. Others began sanding the beautiful wood church doors which have graced the entrance of St Lucy’s since it was built. Some members landscaped the flower beds. The iron fence, which was erected during later years to protect the Church from neighborhood vandalism, was scraped by hand so it could be repainted. And 30’ high scaffolding was erected inside the Church and plasterers restored some gaping holes in the Church ceiling.
Special recognition goes out to the following Queensboro UNICO members (in alphabetical order), for their help:
Joseph Corsini – Joseph Lock & Alarm
Frank Fabrico – Fabrico Enterprises
Phil Joseph – Myrtle General Contracting
Vinny LaPuma – Grand Insurance Agency
Frank Macchio – Construction Services
Salvatore Mendolia – Sam the Glazier
Mike Mucaria – Prymus General Contracting
Tony Nunziato – Enchanted Florist
Joe Pipitone – Tiles Unlimited
Joseph Vessio – Nulite Fuel Oil
The New York City Department of Sanitation
St. Lucy’s Cathedral still faces many challenges that threaten its further existence. Lack of parishioners, little or no funding and changing demographics of the neighborhood have made
donations, like the ones provided by members of Queensboro UNICO, as the only way to save this Church from further decay. In addition, St. Lucy’s Cathedral also faces the barrage of predatory real estate developers that would like to demolish the property in favor of a high rise building.
There is still a long list of work to be done to restore this Church to its natural beauty, such as general painting, artistic painting, electrical, heating, brickwork, floor & marble restoration and general housecleaning.
Members of Queensboro UNICO are actively seeking contractors who are willing to donate their time and services to helping in this restoration project. Anyone interested in helping out should contact us.