Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Remnants of Benedict's Homeland, in Yorkville

Yet another good piece on St. Joseph's in Yorkville, from the New Jersey Star-Ledger: On Upper East Side, a piece of pope's homeland" April 9, 2008:

St. Joseph's, located in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, is the only Catholic church in New York City that celebrates a regularly scheduled German-language Mass.

Winter was born in northern Bavaria and has been a parishioner at this Upper East Side church since she started first grade at the grammar school next door. She also is the steward of St. Joseph's German Committee, a post she has held for nearly four decades. But with fewer than 90 people attending the monthly German Mass, Winter finds herself part of an ever-diminishing Old World immigrant community.

When Pope Benedict XVI stops here next week during his visit to the city, he will find instead a multicultural, middle-class community with a solid German core.

"In the 1940s, the whole congregation knew all the German hymns, even the Hungarians knew them," said Winter. "A lot of the (Germans) have died or moved out. The neighborhood today is very mobile."

The parishioners have a special affection for Benedict -- "the first German pope in a thousand years":
"I really admire him. He radiates kindness," said [parishioner Rosemarie] Fisher. "My mother in Germany listened to Father Ratzinger years and years ago, and when I visited her, she would tell me about him, because she would listen to him on the radio. I wish I could talk to her now, she would be so excited."