Friday, February 14, 2014

Building Collapses at Don Bosco Retreat Center

Building Collapses
at Don Bosco Retreat Center

There was a weather-related disaster this morning at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw, N.Y.  We're grateful to God that there was no one using the youth center at the time, or the disaster might have been a tragedy.

Fr. Dennis Donovan, the province treasurer, hastened to the scene from New Rochelle, and this evening sent out this message and the photos shown above:
The boys dorm attached to the gymnasium at the Marian Shrine/Don Bosco Retreat Center collapsed this morning around 9:00 a.m. under the weight of about 2-3 feet of now.  Nobody was in that wing at the time.  This is the section close to the picnic area near the swimming pool.  The county fire marshal has ordered the entire building closed, including the chapel, gym and other sections until further notice. An engineer will survey the structural integrity of the rest of the facility tomorrow. This will have an impact on many activities that have been scheduled for that facility.

Anyone with reservations for a youth retreat or other function using the gym building for the immediate future, should call the retreat office for further information on how the group may be accommodated.
The number to call is 845-947-2200, ext. 313.

The collapsed wing of the youth center was used as dorm space during youth overnite retreats and similar programs. The building itself dates from the early 1950s, when it was built to house Salesian high school seminarians at what was then known as Don Bosco Juniorate.

1 comment:

Fr Mike said...

Received by e-mail 2/21/14 from a former aspirant, Harold Kimble:

Back in 1954-1955 the now-collapsed dorm was where I slept. The next year I was moved to the other wing. We could look across the road to the trees and rhododendrons for a winter weather report. The colder it was, the tighter the curl and downward droop of the rhododendron leaves.
Frank Twardzik [now a Salesian priest in Minersville, Pa.] or I would be given the high sign to go to the infirmary in the present residence to serve Fr. [John] Drozda's Byzantine Ruthenian Rite Mass.
The PIP police would "gift" us with many a deer carcass which would be strung up down at the farm and butchered by [Bro.] Andy LaCombe. After a while we forgot what beef tasted like. At the farm were [Bro.] Andy, [Bro. Nicholas] Ronteltap, [Bro. John] Versaggi and Fr. (now Msgr.) Mario Stortz [retired priest of Amarillo Diocese]. I would work at the farm on Wednesday afternoons until the powers that be thought I liked it too much. [Fr.] Attilio [Giovannini]'s term of endearment was "you, good for less than nothing." He also informed me that Harold was a Scandinavian king, revered by his people for no good reason.
Clerics wore cassocks for everything, including sports and digging ditches. Many interesting colors appeared on these garments after exposure to the sun. [Bro.]Tom Fisher's was rust colored, his brother [Bro.] Bill's was green. Who knew what chemies were used to dye things black.
Week after week [Bro.] John Chiabai washed our laundry. Frs [Fred] Johnson and [John] Lomagno washed our souls as confessors. [Fr.] Joe Herzog told about his escape from detention camp [in Czechoslovakia], but then wished he hadn't when he was assigned as our prefect of studies.
My only Italian uncle came with a crane to hoist the dome onto the DB outdoor altar not far from the fallen dorm. The shrine chapel did not yet exist, and when built was open air. Fr. [Renato] Ziggiotti, then Rector Major, came to visit and tour the new Rosary Way. We also had Bishop [Stephen] Ferrando from Assam and a priest from that area who had been clawed by a tiger.
Mostly good memories from that time.