By Naeisha Rose
Our Lady of Lourdes, a Catholic church in Queens Village, will have a new pastor on June 18 when the Rev. Patrick Henry Longalong,38, is installed as the seventh religious leader.
Longalong is both ecstatic and anxious about being selected to take control of the more than 90-year-old church by the Archdiocese of Brooklyn. The diocese oversees 1.5 million parishioners in 250 Catholic churches, and schools in Brooklyn and Queens. It also helps run nine cemeteries in Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and Long Island, and the Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Center in the Garment District, according to the diocese’s website.
“I have to admit that I am a little bit nervous because of the amount of responsibility,” Longalong said.
As the new pastor he will be responsible for the diverse 2,700 families that belong to the parish at 92-96 220th Street,
“We do have a large Filipino community. We do have a large Latino community from different countries in Latin America. We have a lot of Asian groups, like Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, we have Indians and we also have people from European descent – a Polish community. We also have people from the Haitian community,” Longalong said.
Before becoming the new pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes, he served at St. Francis de Sales in Belle Harbor in the Rockaways for 2 1/2 years after Hurricane Sandy wrecked the peninsula as the Parochial Vicar and helped by meeting the community’s spiritual needs and aided in insurance claims with FEMA.
“I was assisting with the community to help it get back on its feet post Sandy,” said Longalong, who grew up Jamaica.
Longalong spent this past year working as an administrator at Lourdes to get the lay of the land of the Queens Village church before being promoted.
The transition was “to check out what could be done [at Lourdes] and to get to know the community – the movers and the shakers within it,” Longalong said.
Not only will he be in charge of the spiritual needs of members of the church, but he will have to take care of its facilities.
“Right now we are doing some repairs [of the facade] and some restoration efforts and the parish because the church is old,” Longaglong said. “The church needs a little bit of a face-lift to make sure that it will last for the next generation.”
The reverend wants to do an outreach program for teenagers and to create a young adult group.
Longalong knew he wanted to serve his community even when he was just a kid in the Philippines, but since 1993 he has called Queens home.
“Ever since I was a child there was a calling to serve my community, which means for me my neighborhood, Queens,” Longalong said. “That is why I decided to become a diocesan priest.”
Non-pastoral priests go on missions around the world, but for Longlalong being able to serve Queens Village is a “privilege.”
Vicar General Raymond Chappetto is scheduled to preside over the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass installation of Longalong June 18 at 3 p.m.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose