NYPD, MTA Working to Ensure Safe Pilgrimage to Diocese of Brooklyn’s Eucharistic Revival

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

Matthew McKeon-Slattery is part of a team coordinating every step of the journey to a once-in-a-lifetime faith experience. They’re driving every street and walking every set of subway stairs, all to ensure that thousands of people arrive safely at the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Eucharistic Revival.

“We put together a map, we gave it to the pastors,” said McKeon-Slattery, Deputy Director of External Affairs for DeSales Media Group, the communications and technology arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn that operates NET-TV. “But we just want to make sure and go through it ourselves to see if there’s anything that could be dangerous along the way; even though it’s been approved by the NYPD, we have to see it for ourselves.”

“If everything goes the way that we want it to, they won’t even know that we were there or had anything to do with it at all because that’s the point of doing logistics like this,” McKeon-Slattery said. “It’s to make sure everything goes smoothly on the day of the actual event.”

DeSales’ External Affairs team, along with the NYPD and MTA, is responsible for the logistics of thousands of people on two different pilgrimages.

Pilgrims from Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Leo’s Parishes in Corona and St. Michael’s Church in Flushing will walk to Louis Armstrong Stadium. Meanwhile, thousands of others will take the 7 train. Bishop Robert Brennan will ride the rails, too, getting on at Court Square and ending at Citi Field, the stadium stop. Parishioners are encouraged to join him at any of these five stops.

“We looked at all of the subway stations in Queens and figured out which were the ones that most people could access,” McKeon-Slattery said. “We’re going to have some of our staff so the parishioners, congregations who are wanting to do it this way will know where to go. We’ll know where to stand, and they’ll make sure they get on the same seven train as Bishop Brennan.”

Wil Vega, DeSales Media’s police liaison, says keeping the crowd together and separate from the public is essential for a safe and accessible pilgrimage.

“Every place has a police precinct, which has a community affairs office, and this is who we coordinate with just to get a feel of what the neighborhood is, who the people are,” Vega said. “Also, we know what their needs are and how to move forward to help.”

Though there are many moving parts, there’s only one goal: to bring the faithful together to encounter Christ.

“It’s been truly an honor, just to serve as a Catholic myself, the church, in its capacity on how it helps different communities and people and just the fact that knowing that we’re just helping people, in general, is something that I hold dear to my heart,” Vega said.

The team’s preparation has been months in the making. They say that come April 20th, they’ll be prepared for anything.