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BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Jaime DeJesus
BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Jaime DeJesus
Maimonides Medical Center hosts annual Celebration of Light ceremony.

Oh, Christmas tree!

Maimonides Medical Center kicked off its 23rd Celebration of Light on Wednesday, November 8 as over 38 parishes, staff and others gathered in the board room of the Eisenstadt Administration Building for the presentation of checks for Christmas decor at churches across the borough.

Attendees discussed the significance of the day that signifies the beginning of the holiday season and presents the schedule of church tree lightings across the borough.

“It’s always a great time of the year to celebrate our faith and to bring people together,” said Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello. “This kicks off the holiday season for us and Maimonides helps us to do that, but for me personally it’s reminiscent because I was around for the first tree lighting. I’ve been around for the last 23 years and I look at all the pictures and see all of the different parishes that I have brought the lights to like St. Patrick’s, Mary Queen of Heaven, Saint Bernard’s and now Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I’m glad to see the tradition continues and even grows.”

“It means we have a hospital in our community that cares deeply about the well-being of everyone and in the spirit of the holidays is reconnecting all of us to continue to strengthen the bridges that we’ve built together,” added Reverend Khader El-Yateem. “There’s just a beautiful spirit about it. It’s an amazing event.”

Frank Naccarato, a Maimonides trustee, gave the event’s welcoming remarks. “It is amazing, over the time I’ve been involved with this organization and hospital, to see the attendance grow year after year,” he said. “It’s a wonderful thing. Any time we can build that bridge and reach across the community to the different organizations is a wonderful thing. In life it’s always better to build bridges than fences.”

“In America, hospitals didn’t start as secular institutions and the church played the role of building hospitals,” explained President and CEO of Maimonides Kenneth Gibbs. “They started that in Brooklyn in the 19th century. In a way, the Jewish community was responding to what the churches had become when Maimonides was founded and the thing that is so important and that we carry forward is that the health of everybody is in the fullness of who they are. It is in their faith, community, and every aspect of who they are as human beings. That’s the pledge we try to live up to. That’s why the fabric of our relationship with you is so important because we will not take care of people unless we treat them for who they are. In that spirit, it’s wonderful for us to host this event and invite new members as we expand our circle.”

Cassato also discussed the inception of the Celebration of Light, which began in 1995, honoring a late creator of the event, Larry Morrish, who partnered with Brian Long to get it started. “Larry passed away a little over a year ago and I think we should take a moment of silence for his great work and his leadership in this community,” said Cassato. “May he rest in peace.”

Thursday, November 30

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

Friday, December 1

St. Edmund Church, 2450 Ocean Avenue, at 6 p.m.
Fort Hamilton Army Base Chapel, 219 Grimes Road, at 5 p.m.

Saturday, December 2

St. Gregory the Great Church, 224 Brooklyn Avenue, at 6 p.m.
Good Shepherd Church, 1950 Batchelder Street, at 6 p.m.
Our Lady of Angels Church, 7302 Fourth Avenue, at 6 p.m.
St. Anselm Church, 356 82nd Street, at 6 p.m.
St. Patrick’s Church, 9511 Fourth Avenue, at 6 p.m.
St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church, 2001 Bay Ridge Parkway, at 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, December 3

Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, 2530 Church Avenue, at 5 p.m.
St. Mark’s Church, 2609 East 19th Street, at 5 p.m.
Visitation Monastery, 8902 Ridge Boulevard, at 6:30 p.m.
St. Agatha’s Church, 702 48th Street, at 7 p.m.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 275 North Eighth Street, at 7 p.m.

Friday, December 8

Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 6917 Fourth Avenue, at 7 p.m.
St. Mary Mother of Jesus Church, 2326 84th Street, at 8-8:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 9

St. Andrew the Apostle Church, 6713 Ridge Boulevard, at 5:45 p.m.
Regina Pacis Church, 1258 65th Street, at 6 p.m.
St. Bernard ‘s Church, 2055 East 69th Street, at 6 p.m.
St. Ephrem Church, 929 Bay Ridge Parkway, at 6 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 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 10

Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, 414, 80th Street, at 12 p.m.
Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 414 80th Street, at 12:30 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas, 249 Ninth Street, at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, December 12

St. Frances De Sales Church, 129-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Belle Harbor, at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, December 13

Redeemer St. John Lutheran Church, 939 83rd Street, at 11:30 a.m.
St. Bernadette Church, 8201 13th Avenue, at 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 16

St. Athanasius Church, 2154 61st Street, at 6:30 p.m.
St. Finbar Church, 138 Bay 20th Street, at 6:30 p.m.
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, 1072 80th Street at 7 p.m.

Sunday, December 17

St. Brendan’s Church, 1525 East 12th Street, at 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 20

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 2805 Fort Hamilton Parkway, at 7 p.m.

Dates to be determined: Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Holy Name Church, St. Catharine of Alexandria Church, St. Cecilia’s Church, Holy Innocents Church

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