Look Back: Longtime Parishioner of St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral Remembers Earlier Days of Church

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

By Katie Vasquez

Lida Wickham is a fixture in Prospect Heights, a community she’s lived in for more than five decades. While the landscape has changed over the years, the one constant has been her church, the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph. 

She joined the church, which was known as St. Joseph Parish, in 1970. On September 4, 1971, she married her late husband Victor and watched her children make their sacraments here. 

“It’s always good to come home,” Wickham said. “And I love coming here because there’s a sense of peace. When I walk in the church, I feel that sense of peace.”

However, she admits it wasn’t always as beautiful as now. 

“You know, some of the windows were broken, a lot of pigeons in the choir loft,” Wickham said. “We never use that choir loft at all.”

Even the rectory was used for masses. 

“This used to be our old chapel because it’s a very big church, and the heater was very, very hard to heat it,” Wickham said. “And this is where we congregated for families on Sundays in the wintertime due to the cold.” 

The church is celebrating ten years as a cathedral after being dedicated on May 13, 2014. 

Father Christopher Heanue, the Co-Cathedral Rector, offers a space for parishioners across the diocese to celebrate.

“It’s really rewarding, you know, being able to witness the various cultural events that happen here, encountering people from all over the diocese and across the country and across the world has been a real joy for me,” Father Heanue said.

Father Heanue is keeping that momentum going with significant changes on the horizon. 

“We have ideas and plans for a new building that will connect the parish house to the Co-Cathedral Church, which will include handicapped accessibility to the church, to the basement, more bathrooms, and ramp access,” Father Heanue said. “So we’re excited about that.”

Meanwhile, Wickham is excited to see what’s in store for the future and hopes to pass the torch on to the next generation. 

“Everything was done for the best, you know. And we have opened up the doors for new parishioners to come in because, you know, we are getting older,” Wickham said. “We need the new ones and the younger ones to try to do what we used to do.”