Friday, March 6, 2009

Our Lady of Woodside

The building that currently serves as the parish church for the people of St. Sebastian in Woodside, New York was built in 1926 as the Lowe's Woodside Movie House. In the early 1950's because of an anti-trust decision it went on the market and was acquired by St. Sebastian parish and wonderfully renovated into a magnificent worship space seating approximately 1,800 people. It was completely redecorated in the early 1990's and is an even more beautiful place for the community of believers of St. Sebastian Parish.

When I came to St. Sebastian in June 2002 I found this incredibly prescient stained glass window. It represents Our Lady of Woodside with the newly canonized Pope Saint Pius X and Asians, Africans, Europeans, and Native Americans all united under her mantle. In 1955 when the church opened, only the European Immigrants would have been in the mind of any artist other than one guided by the Holy Spirit. Today, the images on the glass depict the Woodside community and the parish of St. Sebastian.

I believe that, especially during Lent, we need to be attuned to the Holy Spirit and the directions he lays out for us. So often we miss the signs of His presence and are the less for it. It's too easy to keep our eyes fixed on this world; He invites us to left our gaze heavenward and open ourselves to His plan for our salvation!