By Jessica Easthope
A priest was celebrating Mass alone inside Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal in Ridgewood, Queens when he witnessed an explosion of glass as the powerful winds brought in by Tropical Storm Isaias blew out a 12-foot stained glass window.
The window, which is nearly a century old, flew from its frame and crashed onto the pews, damaging eight of them. Shards of glass were left scattered across the sanctuary.
“The storm was raging, the winds were so, so strong,” said Father Anthony Sansone, the pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
Father Anthony says he was horrified by the damage left behind by the storm, he estimated the repairs will cost around $80,000.
“We have to try to restore this window, we have to fix what was destroyed inside the church in terms of benches and repainting the church where there was damage on the walls where the rain came in,” Fr. Anthony said.
He’s confident the community will show up for the church like it’s always done. Parishioners helped pay for a $150,000 renovation to the church completed in 2018. Now, as they’re finally returning to Mass, they say the damage is another test to their faith.
“This is our place, this is where we come to just say a prayer and for mass and it’s important for us to be here and that we can be here,” said Anna Krasowski, a parishioner of the church.
“That’s the neighborhood that we’re in, those are the people who come to this church, it’s a matter of everyone wanting to support what their home is,” said Rosanne, another parishioner.
Fr. Anthony says his parishioners’ financial support has helped sustain the church.
“I am confident this will be done and I’m so happy to know there are so many people who are so concerned, the parishioners are very supportive and the response from the community is very positive,” Father Anthony said.
Though the now predominantly Polish and Italian neighborhood has changed over the years, what remains is faith and the people’s love for their church.
“This is who we are, when it comes down to your faith, you come up to it, this is all we have,” said Roseann.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal was forced to close for a few days after the storm, but opened Thursday night to celebrate Mass for the Feast Day of the Transfiguration of the Lord.
To help Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal replace the window and repair the damages done by the storm, you can donate on GiveCentral at givecentral.org/olmmqueens