Pulse of the Parish: Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Mary Mooney

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

From the rosary beads hanging above the church’s front door to the fleur de lis in the chapel, there are symbols of Mary throughout Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Queens Village.

“Even non-Catholics will come and attend our Masses because of the Blessed Mother,” said Father Patrick Longalong, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. “And once they come in and they experience such a welcoming environment, they want to stay.”

Pastor Longalong said they’ve been coming since 1924. That’s when German and Irish immigrants built the original church, now called the chapel.

But after World War II, the area’s population grew. Since there wasn’t enough room to expand at the original location, they bought the land across the street, and in 1954, the current church was built. Seventy years later, this church is located in one of the most diverse zip codes in the country.

“We have a lot of Filipinos,” Father Longalong said. “We also have a growing Bangladeshi community, Sri Lankan community, big Hispanic community, but even the Hispanic community is a very diverse group.”

The one thing that brings this diverse group together is their faith.

Take Mary Mooney, who leads a close-knit group of women in the prayer shawl ministry.

“My faith has sustained me through immigration, loneliness, loss of a child, you name it, loss of my husband recently, and there was nothing that your faith can’t carry you through,” said Mary Mooney, a parishioner at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

Prayers of comfort and healing are woven into the fabric with each stitch. Mooney and her volunteers have spent countless hours knitting beautiful shawls, blankets, hats, and gloves for people battling an illness, grieving a loss, or facing a difficult time—anyone in need of a comforting embrace.

“We want that person to know that we’re sharing in whatever their struggle might be,” Mooney said. “It’s our pleasure to serve God in this way. I cry a lot because it gets very emotional sometimes.”

It’s a gift from their hearts and hands. They don’t expect anything in return, but they get a lot of thank you notes.

“Sincerest thanks to you and the shawl ministry for the most beautiful prayer shawl for our young niece,” Mooney said.

There’s a pattern of gratefulness.

“Words can’t express how I feel,” Mooney said. “Your generosity and prayers for me and my family remind me that I am not alone and that I will get through this.”

As long as one person out there might need to be wrapped in love, Mooney said she’ll continue her handiwork.

“By doing something very small, very simple, just give it quietly,” Mooney said. “It’s most touching that God gave you the ability to do something like that.”

Now you know Mary Mooney from Our Lady of Lourdes and how she makes up the pulse of the parish.