Maimonides kicks off Celebration of Light during emotional ceremony

Let there be light!

Maimonides Medical Center once again  kicked off its annual Celebration of Light.

Now in its 21st year, the event saw staff, representatives of local parishes and dignitaries gather for the presentation of checks for Christmas decor at churches across Brooklyn on Wednesday, November 18.

“What impresses me about this community is how it comes and works together,” said Maimonides Executive Vice President Dominick Stanzione. “It’s a privilege for us to contribute a small way to the Celebration of Light because it’s that light of community that works together.”

The program began at Visitation Academy in 1995, when Brian Long, of Long and DeLosa Construction, helped fund what was to turn into the growing tradition. This year, 34 parishes, including one in Queens, are participating in the celebration.

This year’s celebration was a special one. President and CEO of Maimonides, Pam Brier, is retiring at the beginning of next year, making this her last year heading up the celebration. “This is something special about this hospital, with a reputation of being a Jewish hospital, that it would go out of its way to celebrate with as many parishes in the area as we can,” she said. “While I’m not going to be here, you can be sure that the spirit of this thing is going to go on.”

Chairperson of the Board Kenneth Gibbs, who will succeed Brier, was given a trophy in the shape of a Christmas tree that once belonged to Brier. She inscribed the back of the trophy with wishes of good luck and success in his new position.

“This was given to me in 2009 for my continuous encouragement of the Celebration of Light,” she said. “I have kept this in my office for a very long time. I decided, as I’ve been cleaning my office, it was too nice to take with me.”

Gibbs is looking forward to the challenge. “I look forward to working with all of you and continuing a growing tradition because it has meaning for all of us,” he said. Gibbs presented a similar trophy to Brier for her hard work.

This year also marked the return of Monsignor David Cassato to the kick-off. Cassato couldn’t attend last year’s event due to an illness. “I can only tell you that I can stand here today, healthy, to celebrate the Celebration of Light because of the wonderful care and the great nursing and everything that went into getting me better,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to be here. The crowd has certainly grown tremendously over the last 20 years.”

“It’s important to see so many of our community reps here across Brooklyn,” added State Senator Marty Golden. “It’s encouraging the great work Maimonides does.”

Attendees during 2015 Celebration of Lights Ceremony.
Attendees during 2015 Celebration of Lights Ceremony.

Saturday, November 28

St. Gregory the Great Church, 224 Brooklyn Avenue, at 5 p.m.

Good Shepherd Church, 1950 Batchelder Street, at 6 p.m.

Sunday, November 29

Holy Innocents Church, 279 E 17th Street, 4 p.m.

Tuesday, December 1

Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 526 59th Street, at 7 p.m.

Thursday, December 3

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 440 Ovington Avenue, at 10 a.m.

Saturday, December 5

St. Bernard ‘s Church, 2055 East 69th Street, at 6 p.m.

Our Lady of Angels Church, 7302 Fourth Avenue, at 6 p.m.

St. Mark’s Church, 2609 East 19th Street, at 6 p.m.

St. Anselm Church, 356 82nd Street, at 6:15 p.m.

Sunday, December 6

Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, 2530 Church Avenue, at 5 p.m.

Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, 8401 Ridge Boulevard, at 6 p.m.

St. Agatha’s Church, 702 48th Street, at 6 p.m.

Redeemer St. John Lutheran Church, 939 83rd Street, at 6:30 p.m.

Visitation Monastery, 8902 Ridge Boulevard, at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 8

St. Andrew the Apostle Church, 6713 Ridge Boulevard, at 7:30 p.m.

St. Mary Mother of Jesus Church, 2326 84th Street, at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 12

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 2805 Fort Hamilton Parkway, at 6 p.m.

Regina Pacis Church, 1258 65th Street, at 6 p.m.

St. Ephrem Church, 929 Bay Ridge Parkway, at 6 p.m.

St. Finbar Church, 138 Bay 20th Street, at 6:15 p.m.

St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church, 2001 Bay Ridge Parkway, at 6:30 p.m.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 7201 15th Avenue, at 6:30 p.m.

Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Church, 108 Carroll Street, at 6:45 p.m.

St. Frances De Sales Church, 129-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Belle Harbor, time to be determined

Sunday, December 13

St. Brendan Church, 1525 East 12th Street, at 5 p.m.

St. Patrick’s Church, 9511 Fourth Avenue, at 5 p.m.

St. Athanasius Church, 2154 61st Street, at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 16

St. Bernadette Church, 8201 13th Avenue, at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 20

Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, 414 80th St, at 12 p.m.

Dates to be determined: St. Cecilia’s Church, Fort Hamilton Army Base Chapel, St. Catharine of Alexandria Church, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church and Holy Name Church.

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