Former church sees new life in wake of fire at St. Helena’s
It’s been one week, and the smell the smoke is still in the air from the fire at St Helena's Catholic Church on Olmstead Avenue in the Bronx – but repairs are currently underway.
Head priest Father David Powers is using the fire as an opportunity to turn turmoil into a way to bring parishioners together, while also keeping them safe during the pandemic.
The fiery blaze was captured via Citizen App video last Sunday around 8:30 p.m. It started due to an electrical issue. According to the FDNY, it took them about an hour to get the flames under control after they were notified by a parishioner.
Powers said it was important to him that no scheduled Masses be canceled. While the chapel is undergoing repairs, a temporary space has been created for Mass in the Green Building, which was being used as a library.
The new area allows parishioners to socially distance as Mass is celebrated in two rooms, which will help locals to continue worship while also staying safe.
According to Powers, the Green Building acted as the main church when it was first constructed in 1940. He calls it a full-circle moment in the eyes of God.