St. Lucy’s Church of Newark Becomes 100th Supporting Organization
to Endorse the Essex-Hudson Greenway Project
Newark’s Largest Catholic Parish Joins a Long List of Agencies, Organizations and Corporations to Support this Once-in-a-Generation Green Space Opportunity
Northern New Jersey – June 22, 2021 – Open Space Institute, along with the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition and September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance, today announced that St. Lucy’s Church of Newark has become the 100th agency, organization or corporation to endorse the Essex Hudson Greenway Project. St. Lucy’s is Newark’s largest parish and home to the largest number of Spanish-speaking Catholics in the region.
For walkers, runners, cyclists, hikers and others, the proposed Essex-Hudson Greenway would create nearly nine miles of linear park, connecting Montclair, Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus, and Jersey City.
“Projects that serve the community inspire many citizens. The Essex-Hudson Greenway Project will benefit not only families and other citizens, but all living beings – big and small – with whom we share this piece of good earth – Mother Earth – who supports us and our joy of life. This project re-establishes some harmony between people and ecosystems already supporting this area,” said Father Paul Donohue, Pastor of Saint Lucy’s Church. “As Pope Francis suggested in his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Sí, we have a moral obligation to decipher the sacredness of the natural world, since we are part of nature. It is time to take action! As Laudato Sí mentions, there is an urgency to respect Mother Earth, our common home.”
“In Saint Lucy’s Church we are ready to act seriously in favor of Mother Earth. I am delighted to be part of this community and to address benefits that will enrich our neighborhoods through this project,” continued Father Donohue. “Saint Lucy’s Church supports the Greenway Project and I would like to encourage others to take action on behalf of our Mother Earth by promoting this project, which is mostly self-sustainable.”
The Encyclical Letter of the Holy Father Francis on Care for Our Common Home, also known as the Laudato Si’, is the 2015 encyclical and appeal from Pope Francis addressed to “every person living on this planet” to begin an inclusive dialogue about the future of our planet. Pope Francis calls the Church and the world to acknowledge the environmental challenges of the planet and work towards a new path. The encyclical is written with both hope and resolve, looking to our common environmental future with candor and humility. The encyclical is divided into six chapters, which together provide a thorough analysis of human life and its intertwined relationships – God, our neighbor, and the earth.
Since 1891, the community of St. Lucy’s Church has been transmitting the divine presence to the next generation. St. Lucy’s was the third Italian parish established in Newark. Incorporated in September 1891, the cornerstone was laid the following December on the Feast of Saint Lucy, hence the name, but the brick and stone church structure of today was not built until 1925-1926. The structure of St. Lucy is a Neo-Renaissance Church, which was inscribed on the State and National Registers of Historical Places in 1998.
Residents of communities all along the proposed length of the linear park have been campaigning for more than a decade to create a greenway that would serve as a “shared-use path” for people walking, riding a bicycle, running, rolling, or just relaxing along this corridor. In July 2020, the Open Space Institute (OSI) reached a preliminary purchase and sale agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company for property in Essex and Hudson Counties for the purpose of the Greenway. The purchase agreement has a sale deadline of January 2022.
Spanning an average of 100 feet or more in width throughout its route, an Essex-Hudson Greenway has the potential to offer significant benefits, especially in light of the current health and fiscal crises. The Open Space Institute and its partners have already begun investing in planning, surveying, environmental assessments, and more. The project offers the potential to reduce traffic and storm water runoff in towns along the rail line, improve transportation options for residents, and allow for improved infrastructure connectivity for things like broadband and emergency response.
About Open Space Institute
Founded more than four decades ago, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has partnered in the protection of 2.3 million acres across eastern North America from Quebec to Florida. Over the past 16 years, OSI has worked to protect more than 21,000 acres of New Jersey farms, forests, and local parkland within the Highlands, the Pinelands, the Bayshore, and the heavily developed northeastern suburbs. In addition to the Essex Hudson Greenway, OSI’s current projects include efforts to help protect land and improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin and provide public access to the 1,200-acre Jersey City Reservoir in Boonton and Parsippany.
About New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition
The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC) is the only statewide advocacy organization for bicyclists and pedestrians and provides a collective voice for everyone who believes that a more rideable and walkable New Jersey means a more livable, equitable, and sustainable New Jersey. NJBWC officially adopted the Essex Hudson Greenway Project in 2014 and has been a leader in building the advocacy campaign to make it a reality.
About the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance
The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that links the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The route serves as a symbol of national resiliency and character and as a tribute to the fallen heroes who perished on September 11, 2001, and the many heroes who have committed themselves to the response for their country.