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Photo courtesy of Maria Flaim

When Ridgewood residents drive through the intersection of Bleecker Street and 60th Place and pass by Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church, they will see a permanent reminder of the contributions one deacon made to the parish for many decades.

On April 29, a third street sign was added to the intersection, forever labeling it as “Deacon Fabio Flaim Way.” Flaim, who became a deacon in 1984 and served the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and St. Aloysius Church parishes over the course of 33 years, was also celebrated for his contributions with a memorial mass that morning and a fundraiser benefit luncheon after the street re-naming.

Flaim passed away nearly a year prior on May 2, 2017, at the age of 87.

During the re-naming ceremony, one of Flaim’s six surviving children, Maria Flaim, spoke about what made her father’s commitment to the community so special.

“What is so extraordinary in my father’s devotion was giving us all a simple and straight forward message of love and forgiveness, because it is a message that this world, this city, this neighborhood needs,” Flaim said. “So, when we face adversity, when life seems so unfair, so unjust and unreasonable – we remember Deacon Fabio.”

Fabio was known for working directly with many Italian Catholic societies in Ridgewood and Glendale including La Madonna Del Balzo, Radio Maria, Santa Crocifiscio, Maria Delle Grazie, San Antonio, San Giuseppe, San Francisco De Padua, San Gandulfo, Alcamo Castellamare and Padre Pio. He was also a member of Club Trentino for more than 40 years.

Anthony J. Sansone, pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, gave permission for the re-naming of the street corner and wrote to the City Council that “Deacon Fabio, in the course of his service to the outreaches of Ridgewood, Maspeth, Glendale and the surrounding neighborhood proved that his spirituality in union with a humanistic approach won for him great respect, love and admiration from many.”

 The pastor of St. Aloysius, Rev. George Poltorak, spoke at the ceremony and added that “Deacon Fabio understood well what it means to be the branches and Jesus is the vine, as we heard in today’s Gospel, and this was the legacy of his life.”

Councilman Robert Holden and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, who have both been community advocates for decades themselves, also shared their thoughts about Deacon Flaim at the ceremony.

The luncheon after the ceremony took place at Villa Erasmos in Middle Village and was hosted by Tony Mule, Frank Alesci, Tony DiPiazza and Mr. DiAngelo of Seneca Chapels. Approximately 125 people attended the benefit and the proceeds will go toward the bell tower renovation project at St. Aloysius, where a bell will also be named in Deacon Flaim’s memory.

Maria Flaim contributed to this story.

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