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Christmas Pageant - Friday, Dec. 19th, 7:30pm

Faith In Brooklyn for Dec. 11

The children rehearse the blocking for the Nativity scene. Eagle Photo by Francesca Norsen Tate

The children rehearse the blocking for the Nativity scene. Eagle Photo by Francesca Norsen Tate

By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 11, 2014

Whole Neighborhood Shares a Role In Assumption Church’s Pageant

Church pageants give children the chance to present their creative take on the meaning of Christmas. What distinguishes the pageant at Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn Heights is that children from many of the neighborhood schools create the production together, from script through performance.

For the past 14 years, children from Church of the Assumption, on Cranberry Street, have produced the Annual Christmas Pageant. Parishioner Heather Leykam blocks out time from her hectic schedule as a school principal to direct this production each year. She devotes her time, energy and passion to “letting the kids be who they are,” as she told INBrooklyn.

The Assumption parish hall was teeming recently with children grabbing a quick snack of grapes before trying on costumes, as Leykam guided them during a stage blocking.

“It really started a few years ago, when [former pastor] Father Carrano had gotten the parish hall renovated. They wanted a place for the youth ministry to start in the neighborhood, so the kids had a place to come celebrate who they were. You can’t really sing ‘Silent Night’ in the public schools,” Leykam said.

Since then, the pageant has grown “to encompass all kids in the neighborhood, and kids who go to private school and public school — people who are in the religious ed program,” Leykam said. All told, about 40 children from area schools and churches, including Packer, P.S. 8, M.S. 8 and Plymouth Church, participate.

“And it was a beautiful way to come together as a community. The best part of it really is for the audience — their friends and neighbors — to be there for each other,” she added

One of the joyful aspects of Assumption’s tradition is that children of different ages play together.

“Our high school kids, who graduated from the CCD program, all come back. And they’re the ones who really make it magical,” Leykam said. “So, I have all the kids who graduate, who want to give back to all the little kids. They all come back to support each other. The script is written every year, and we write it with the kids. This year, it’s based on the story of Scrooge — the story of Christmas past, Christmas present, Christmas future. It’s how one little kid is going to find the meaning of Christmas, and about believing in things we can’t see.”

Leykam continued, “That’s what our Scrooge character finds out this year. It ends with a smash-bang production of the Nativity. We do upbeat versions of Christmas carols. We do a balletic version of ‘Silent Night.’ Everyone must come.”

Annmarie, a parent, said, “Heather’s passion for this particular project is relentless. It is a joy to see these children flourish under her direction. Their enthusiasm is infectious. It is obvious that the children get so much enjoyment from what they are doing. The kids range in age from 4 years to teenage. They begin rehearsal in October, putting in four hours a week and more towards the big night.”

Other parents volunteering with the pageant concur.

“The older kids really look out for the younger ones,” said one mother named Tara.

And Richard pointed out that his own children’s participation has brought him back to his Catholic faith.

This year’s pageant will be presented on Friday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The Assumption Parish Hall is in the undercroft of the church at 55 Cranberry St., between Hicks and Henry streets.

 


Obituary: Brooklyn Heights community mourns Jerry Slaski, 84

Jerry Slaski pictured at one of his favorite dining spots. Photo courtesy of Assumption Church-Brooklyn Heights

Jerry Slaski pictured at one of his favorite dining spots. Photo courtesy of Assumption Church-Brooklyn Heights

Assumption Parishioner Tended To Abandoned Babies at LICH

By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, November 21, 2014

Jerry Slaski may have been a member of Assumption Roman Catholic Church, but the whole neighborhood shared him.

Members of Assumption parish, his family, friends and neighbors filled the church last week for a Mass of the Resurrection. Slaski, 84, died earlier this month after a brief illness.

Concelebrating the Mass were Fathers Edward P. Doran, pastor/administrator of St. Charles Borromeo and Assumption parishes, Joseph Gaspar Hugo and James W. King. Fr. King, who served as pastor of Assumption for five years before being named as Spiritual Director at the Douglaston Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and Director of the House of Discernment there, returned to the Heights for this occasion. Also concelebrating the Mass with them was Fr. Kevin Abels, pastor of St. Sebastian Parish in Woodside.

A native of Saginaw, Michigan and graduate of Central Michigan University, Slaski moved to New York City as young man for a career in the performing arts. He soon adopted Brooklyn as his home. But a career and vocation are different from each other, even for laypeople. And Jerry discovered that his true calling was being a valued member of the Assumption family. His fellow parishioners say that he “gave of himself with open arms and an open heart. He worked tirelessly over the years at Assumption’s many fundraising events...His baked goods, his hard work and his cheery disposition were always in demand,” according to the printed service leaflet.

Slaski brought his theatrical experience to liturgy, as the daily lector, proclaiming the Scriptures at Assumption’s weekday 8 a.m. Mass. He also led theSaturday Rosary Prayer Group. He faithfully volunteered for and attended every church function—religious and social. And that social bonding stretched beyond the boundaries of the church sanctuary to local restaurants, where he and fellow parishioners regularly shared breakfast after Mass.

Slaski’s love for children inspired him to volunteer at Long Island College Hospital, where he helped care for the “boarder babies,” those who had been abandoned there without anyone to show them love.  In many cases, the newborns received their first feeding bottle from Jerry.

Slaski’s fellow parishioners, through a remembrance booklet, describe him as a good listener and gifted evangelist, especially in how he welcomed newcomers and made them feel at home. He was also a raconteur and opera lover.

Surviving him are his niece, Patricia Cody, her husband Patrick and daughter Julia; and several other nieces, nephews and grandnieces.

 

 


 

Interfaith clergy group leads Sept. 11 prayer service on Heights Promenade

Eagle photo by Francesca Norsen Tate

Eagle photo by Francesca Norsen Tate

By Francesca Norsen Tate, Religion Editor

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Father Joseph Hugo, parochial vicar at St. Charles Borromeo and Assumption Roman Catholic parishes, reads a prayer by the recently-canonized St. Pope John Paul II at the Brooklyn Heights Interfaith September 11 memorial service on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade. With him, left to right, are Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons of First Unitarian Church (in background, wearing green dress); and Monsignor James Root, rector of Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Cathedral (wearing black and magenta clericals). At foreground-right are Dr. Ahmad Jaber, and Imam Abdallah Allam, both representing the Dawood Mosque on State Street.

This 13th annual service, which began at dusk at the Montague St. entrance to the Promenade. was packed with members of several congregations and local neighbors. Participants in the 11th annual Children of Abraham Walk were also present. Many of the prayers that were chanted or read from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith traditions focused on the need to examine one’s heart and replace anger with love and unity.

The Rev. John E. Denaro, rector of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church and Deacon Kate Salisbury, Assistant Rector, read prayers from their faith tradition during the Brooklyn Heights Interfaith September 11 memorial service on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  In background left are Pastor Julie Sløk of the Danish Seamen’s Church (wearing black) and the Rev. Ana Levy-Lyons of First Unitarian Church (wearing green dress). This 13th annual service, which began at dusk at the Montague St. entrance to the Promenade, was packed with members of several congregations and local neighbors. Participants in the 11th annual Children of Abraham Walk were also present. Many of the prayers that were chanted or read from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith traditions focused on the need to examine one’s heart and replace anger with love and unity.


Transition News

May 3, 2014

Dear Friends,

As was previously announced the two Brooklyn Heights Catholic Parishes, St. Charles Borromeo and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are now working together to share resources in order to grow us as a unified Catholic Brooklyn Heights community.

Fr. Ed, currently the Pastor at St. Charles Borromeo will be the administrator of both parishes and responsible for overseeing both Pastoral and Sacramental duties. Fr. Jim, Pastor of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be moving on to his new assignment at the end of June. This collaboration between both parishes will result in changes in how we manage many aspects of this on-going effort. Both Churches will remain open. As members of the parish transition team we are committed to keeping each parish vibrant, active and growing.

This transition is being initiated as a result of the priest shortage that is well documented and the subject of much debate. During this process, volunteer members from both parish communities have been planning to ease this process and assisting Father in this challenging transition. We as members of the transition team are trying to balance the needs of both parishes and are faithful to keeping both locations viable and energized as a faith community.

Father will be given an additional priest to help cover the masses that are currently scheduled between the two parishes. Arrangements are being solidified to help Fr. Ed meet the necessities that each parish has come to expect. Once the final details are worked out, we will announce the priest who will be contributing to our community.

In order to continue to meet the spiritual needs for both locations there needs to be recognition that the realities of the available resources warrant changes. There are many questions and procedures as to how it will work out and we are seeking your input.

Next week we will ask you to participate in a survey regarding Mas schedules for both parishes. We are asking for your opinion so that you are involved in this collaboration. You will be able to participate in the survey either on-line or paper submission that will be collected at the end of the Masses.

Below are the proposed Mass Schedule changes involving both parishes that would be implemented beginning in September 2014. We are trying to make the necessary adjustments without having to be too inconvenient to you and your schedules.

St. Charles Borromeo  

Monday thru Friday weekly 12:10 Mass (no change)         
Sunday 8:30 am (currently 9 am)        
11:15 am (currently 10:30 am)            
7:00 pm (no change)

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Monday thru Saturday weekly 8:00 am (no change)  
            Sat 5:00 pm (no change)         
            Sun 10:00 am (no change)      
            (the 12:15 Mass will no longer be offered)

Once again, we want to reiterate that we as committee members are committed to the task of keeping both parishes open and actively seeking to increase the attendance and programs that we can offer to our members and others as a faith community.

Listed below are the members of the transition team. If you would like additional information, we welcome your input.

Sincerely yours,

The Transition Team

Tom Amon, Patricia Briggs, Bob Buckholz, Kerin Coughlin, Fr. Ed Doran, Alex Gallardo, Fr. Jim King, Chris Leykam, Mary Macchiarola, Philip Murray, John O’Malley, Maureen Pond, Michael Towers