The Masjid Ebun Abass Mosque on the corner of Alexander and Third avenues was damaged by BB pellet shootings during the holy period of Ramadan. The police have classified the acts of vandalism as hate crimes and the mosque is now being guarded around the clock by officers from the 40th Precinct.
The idea for a center began when Sister Mary Ann came to Mott Haven to serve as a pastoral associate at St. Pius V in the mid-’80s. She provided counseling services for mothers and children, sensing a need for unity among the women.
Needle exchange programs were illegal in the United States at the time, despite their documented success by both the Government Accountability Office and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
As three churches share the ground floor space of a 100-year-old building on a rotating schedule, their arrangement allows each congregation to operate within budget and toward long-term goals.
H.A.N.D.S. opened in 2008, as a result of the efforts of St. Jerome’s late pastor, Father John Grange, and the Sisters of St. Jerome congregation. The center serves as a safe space for hundreds of immigrant families from the neighborhood.
The Archdiocese’s decree states that the church would remain “open for public worship,” but that “Masses and other sacraments will not be celebrated on a regular basis at the church of Saint Roch.”
Father Skelly and the Archdiocese of New York are completely against landmark designation, feeling that the financial burden of maintaining the church to historic standards will be too much for a congregation whose median income is $25,000.