In Memoriam: Julianna P. O’Brien

Julianna P. O’Brien

September 25, 1950 – January 14, 2018

Dear St. Charles Parish Family and Friends,

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Julianna O’Brien.

A Viewing will take place on Wednesday, January 17, 5 – 8 PM, at the Scotto Funeral Home, 106 1st Place, Brooklyn.

There will be a Mass of Christian Burial at St. Charles Borromeo Church on Thursday, January 18 at 10:30 AM.  The church will open at 9:30 AM for any that would like to pay their respects.

Julianna was a long-time member of St. Charles Borromeo.  She was born in Silvermines, County Tipperary, Ireland.  She lived and worked in Toronto, Canada before moving to NYC in 1986.

Julianna was a faithful and devoted parishioner of St. Charles where she served as a Eucharistic Minister, on the Pastoral Council, on the Monday Counting Team, taught in the Religious Education program, co-chaired the Activities Committee, and chaired the Parish Security Committee.

In lieu of flowers, Julianna’s family asks that donations be made to St. Charles Borromeo Church.

Know Each Other Better

Last week I mentioned that I would be asking the members of the parish to know each other better. I have found no better way to do this than relational (one-on-one) meetings and have had almost 70 of them with members of the Parish. Through them I feel that I have been able to know you not just know about you far more than merely chatting after Mass or at parish Meetings. I think this is a very common experience and I have asked some people with whom I have met these past few months to have relational meetings with other Parishioners.

These are not interviews, nor are we asking for money nor, at least immediately, for participation in any parish function or ministry. They are a somewhat structured means of contacting each other person to person. Those of you who have had one with me have heard my story and I have heard yours. It is constantly amazing to me how this can reveal so many areas of common interest and concern that would have been otherwise closed. This is most surprising with people who have “seen” each other for years but never really knew one another.

Nothing is for everyone. There will be people who will read this and look forward an individual meeting with great enthusiasm. There will be others who would prefer a root canal. No one should feel in anyway forced. To those who are intrigued but unconvinced I would ask that if a fellow parishioner requests a meeting I ask you to consider it very seriously. It can be at a coffee shop, at home or in the rectory. When the greeting space is created in the rear of the church there will be an area set aside for them as well.

Many programs and projects will, no doubt, come from these meetings and that is good and to be encouraged and praised but the most important thing will be a sense of our community. It is a basic experience and belief of Catholic Christians that belonging comes before believing. By belonging we affirm our belief that it is the risen Lord that creates and sustains us against all things for all time.

Buildings Update


What you will see: You can now see the unpainted brick around the whole church.  As you can see from the areas of the church that are visible the paint removal was very successful, and the brick and mortar below are in very good condition for the most part.  A few isolated areas may still have some paint residue.  The paint has been mostly removed however a few areas of touchup remain to be completed once the weather warms.

We are now at the stage where the architect is finalizing the work to be done as he can fully inspect the brick and brownstone that was previously covered.  For the next two or three weeks you may see our intrepid architect Yves on the scaffolding creating a map of the broken brick and decayed mortar. This was intended to happen a few weeks ago but the weather was not very cooperative. This will be given to the company which will repair the façade and to the Landmarks commission.  You will likely see some investigation going on around the church including the windows.  This is to accurately express our restoration goals to Landmarks and the contractor. For security reasons alarms will be installed on the scaffolding itself.

What you can expect: Once the investigation from the architect is complete we will contract a very large and reputable construction company to repair the brick and restore the church facade. They will begin when weather permits and have a most impressive record for completing projects on time. Thus, I firmly expect the scaffolding to be down by July 4,, 2018 and the job itself completed by Labor Day.



Phone Service, Intercom, Fire, Smoke and Carbon monoxide alarms: These are all connected as they require wiring to be done behind the walls and we will only open them once.  The plans with proper architectural drawings for the fire alarm have been submitted to the Fire Department. This can take up to 3 months to process. Once these have been approved the work can be completed quite quickly.

I once more apologize for any difficulties in contacting the Rectory. We have resorted to a number of work arounds and, despite whatever message may sometimes be found on the system, the general voicemail does work and your calls will be returned. The bell for the office (rectory first floor) is also functioning.

October Update

Catholic Appeal:

It has been well said that a budget is a moral document. Mission statements are fine in their way but show me where you are spending your money and I will show you what your beliefs really are. For the last few weeks we have been looking at the activities and ministries sustained by the Annual Catholic Appeal. This is the real mission statement of the Diocese. I ask you to look at the pie chart in the insert to today’s parish bulletin. It shows a range of concerns and the values that the Diocese of Brooklyn truly hold. They extend from the care of retired priests, some of whom have been ordained over 60 years, to maintinaing Catholic Schools for our youngest members. I have been most personally indebted to the hospital and nursing home chaplaincies supported by the campaign and professionally by “Faith Formation and Pastoral Life”. Others would pehaps have different priorities but they would all reveal a concern for the needs of the people of Brooklyn and Queens. Turning to the other side of the paper you can see how we can support the appeal and the wonderful work it does among us. I ask you to read and to reflect on both sides.

Recent collections:
September 3 – Catholic University Collection – $671.00
September 24 – Disaster relief Collection – $1,470.00

Liturgical Ministers:

There will be a training session for anyone who would like to be a Lector, Eucharistic minister or Minister of Hospitality for St Charles at:
2202 60th Street
Brooklyn New York 11204

On Dec 9, 2017 from 9:00AM to 3:30PM.
Travel time under 1 hour by subway, under 30 mins by car
If you are interested please call Fr Smith in the rectory,

All Souls Novena:

The All Souls novena will be conducted from Thursday, Nov 2nd to Saturday Nov 11th for deceased family and friends. The times for the Mass for each day will be in the bulletin the weeks of Oct 29th and Nov 5th. More than remembering our deceased loved ones this is an opportunity to join with them praising the Father in the communion of Saints. Envelopes will be available in the entrances to the Church.

Church and Rectory renovation updates 9/17/2017

St. Charles Borromeo is happy to announce that we will be working to restore our beloved facility to its original splendor. As you can likely tell from the scaffolding that has been installed around the entirety of our church, we have already begun the process. The following is a summary of work that will be taking place over the upcoming months:

  1. All paint will be removed from the exterior facade
  2.  All exterior masonry will be repaired, restored and cleaned.
  3. Gutters and roofing will be repaired and restored.
  4. Protective window coverings will be replaced to allow our spectacular stained glass windows to be appreciated.
  5. Fencing will be restored or replaced.

We anticipate that the scaffolding should be down by Independence Day and the whole project completed by Labor Day of next year. This assumes average cold and snowfall during the Winter. We appreciate the support our neighbors and community during this process and apologize for any

Church Windows
Due to the skill and hard work of Juliana O’Brien and Shumel Pearl we been awarded a grant of $75,000 for securing the Stained Glass windows of our Church. With this Grant we will have received $225,000.

Rectory/Parish Office
The rewiring and plastering will be completed by the end of September. The office and meeting rooms are, however, already in use. Full computer and phone service will be restored by late October. We thank you for your cooperation and patience.

Update on work to physical plant

Update: Current as of Sat. Aug.19thNew elements in italics.


Now: Scaffolding is virtually complete. There were some issues concerning how the platforms on which the workers would stand would be moved but they have been resolved and the scaffolding will be completed in plenty of time to begin the actual removal of the paint.

From Aug 15th


Power: A 100amp panel will be run from the church and attached to the scaffolding for use by the abatement company. It will be mostly out of sight and certainly out of reach.

Wash room: A  6’x20’ plastic wrapped shed for the workers to clean themselves and their  clothing. This will be placed along the fence in the garden, the flowers and other plants will need to be moved to the Rectory Garden by Aug. 19th. This shed will remain up for the abatement portion of the project.

Where the brick and brownstone has been painted: the scaffolding will be wrapped in netting all around to protect all areas from falling debris. Sections of the Church will be wrapped in plastic as abatement work progresses around. The paint will be removed, the brinks inspected and a scope of repairs finalized by the architect.

General Time Scheme for phase one:

  • Paint removal: 4wks, Wed, 8/23/17 to Tues 9/19/17
  • Exterior investigation: 3.4 wks, Mon 9/4 to Tuesday 9/26/17 (The bids have been received for this phase and some suggestions and questions made by the firms are being reviewed. The bids were about what was expected.)
  • File drawings with Landmarks: 4wks, Wed. 9/27/17 to Tues 10/24/17

Interior: Some work needs to be done in the Church Boiler room, this may cause some noise but will not interrupt Mass.


Now: The Priests are now able to use the rectory with limited use of the kitchen and dining room.

Overall plan: Having consulted with the electricians contracted for the job, Rocklyn realty (the Diocesan real estate group) and an independent electrical contracted retained by Rocklyn, it has been thought most prudent to completely rewire the rectory. There were three compelling reasons:

  • Scope of work: It has been difficult to determine what needs to be done. Whenever a new section is opened more problems are discovered. If we decided to proceed on our present knowledge we could very easily be so inundated by change orders that more money would be spent than if we did the system over. It is possible that some areas may be better than we thought and we would receive a rebate but I am not counting on it.
  • Previous water damage: The garden wall of the rectory leaked severely last winter and needed considerable repointing. The wall has since held but the wires were soaked. They may pass a test now but could deteriorate in the future. Fixing this now is a sensible option.
  • Ability to plan: Completely rewiring the rectory keeps the variables to a minimum.
    1. The workers will be contracted in advance and a timetable maintained. This would allow enough work to be completed that the Rectory (living areas for the Priests) would be able to fully function by Labor Day. The workers would not finish completely however until the end of September.
    2. We could begin the efforts to be reimbursed for these expenses. This will be a long process and it would be good to begin it as soon as possible with as clear a set of figures as we can develop.

Update: The work has been reviewed by Rocklyn’s engineer and found satisfactory. As expected several previously unknown issues have arisen. This was factored into the time frame and should not cause an overall delay. The engineer has explained to the contractor that the parish will need full use of the dining room, garden and parlor floor by Labor Day weekend. This is likely but the plastering and painting may not be completed. We also may not have air conditioning until the end of September.