Parishioners Vow to Rebuild Saint Pius X After Two-Alarm Fire

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Faith, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

Heartbroken parishioners have been stopping by all day to see the damage that’s left after a two-alarm fire at Saint Pius X in Rosedale.

Genevieve Ashon has attended the church for over 25 years. Yesterday she watched it burn.

“I feel lost, no but like this is like a home,” said Ashon. “I was taking a nap when my neighbor woke me up and said, ‘Genny your church is burning,’ and I’m like, ‘Are you kidding?’ I didn’t know what to do.”

The fire ripped through the Rosedale, Queens staple early Sunday evening. There were no injuries, but the damage is extensive.

Burnt pieces of the ceiling littered the floor. The heat from the fire twisted windows and melted offering candles.

Parishioner Fiano Jackman said the damage was tough to see.

“It’s really sad for me to see this happening,” said Jackman. “The people are so warm, it’s just home so it became a part of me, my daily life. I come here every day.”

Parishioners have vowed to rebuild, and they’re not letting the fire damage their faith.

Less than 24 hours after the blaze, morning Mass was held in the rectory’s basement. It was celebrated by the church’s pastor, Father Jean-Miguel Auguste.

“I say to people, ‘we are a Church.’ We’re going to stick together, we’re going to pray together, and we are going to make it, we’re going to make it,” said Father Auguste.

Father Auguste was coming back from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with over 50 parishioners when he heard about the fire.  

“Somebody sent me a text saying, ‘your church was on fire’ this afternoon. I got quiet on the airplane and I started to pray,” Auguste said.

Father Auguste says his focus now is on continuing to offer services for his parishioners and on getting help from other priests in the diocese to make that happen.

“They came to support me. They came to cry with me. They came to cheer me up. They came to support me. They came to say, ‘hey brother, we are with you,’” he added.

Some even brought over items to ensure Father Auguste is able to continue to celebrate Mass.

Father Auguste says they will rebuild and they will stay strong, but right now they’re not yet sure if building can be salvaged or if it needs to be knocked down and built from scratch.

The church plans to celebrate weekday Mass in the rectory’s basement, and to celebrate weekend Mass in the basement of the school across the street while the cleanup process continues.