Bishop blesses statue
Monday, January 26, 2009
By LESLIE PALMA-SIMONCEK
ADVANCE STAFF WRITER
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Since last month, a 14-foot-tall statue of St. Paul has welcomed visitors to Alba House bookstore in Meiers Corners.
Yesterday, on the day celebrated as the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul in the Catholic church, members of the three religious orders on Staten Island dedicated to Paul's mission of evangelization watched as a bishop blessed the 2,000-pound bronze statue at its new home.
The statue stood for years outside the Daughters of St. Paul convent in St. George. When the sisters moved out of the convent, they hoped to find a home within the Pauline family for the imposing work of art that is one of just two like it in the world.
Both the Daughters of St. Paul and the priests and brothers from the Society of St. Paul are thrilled with the new location. "It's in the family," said Sister Nancy Usselman. "This is a tremendous treasure," said Brother Peter Lyne. At the Mass that preceded the dedication, Brother Peter thanked Eamon Shields, owner of Daggart Construction in West Brighton, for safely transporting the statue from point to point. When Shields first saw the statue, Brother Lyne said, "he was speechless and in awe. He turned to me and he said, 'I will move it.'"
Other companies, including Scara Mix, Grandview Structural Steel, Monumental Marble Co., Richmond Pre-Case and Walsh Electrical, were thanked for their help and contributions. Also thanked for their continuing support were the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Knights of Columbus and the Catholic War Veterans. Bishop Dennis Sullivan, the principal celebrant at the mass, called the statue "a great sign for all who pass this place" and noted that its high visibility on Victory Boulevard is felicitous, halfway through this year dedicated to St. Paul.
"This Pauline year will be long remembered in this place," the bishop said.
St. Paul was the inspiration for five religious orders and four secular institutes and the Pauline Cooperator Association founded by Blessed James Alberione in Italy in 1914. In addition to the Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul, the Island also is home to the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master in Willowbrook.