Clockwise from above: Mary Help of Christians Church was packed for the final Mass on Sunday; an emotional moment between congregants; a statue of the Virgin Mary was carried from the church to lead a procession around the block.
Archdiocese didnt help Mary Help of Christians in the end
By Jefferson Siegel
The final Mass at Mary Help of Christians Church on E. 12th St. at Avenue A was celebrated before a standing-room only crowd on Sunday. Hundreds listened to the bilingual service and heard farewells from church officials.
It strikes me that our work here was founded over a hundred years ago, Father James Heuser, provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco for the Eastern United States, told the crowd.
At 1:30 p.m., as the church bells pealed, a statue of Mary was carried from the church to lead a procession around the block. Marchers then filled the church schoolyard for an afternoon of barbecue, fun and games for the children and reminiscing.
The Catholic Archdiocese has said Mary Help of Christians from now on will function as a mission church to Immaculate Conception Church at E. 14th St. and First Ave., with priests from Immaculate Conception coming to serve Mass.