Calling it a chance to reflect on the year since Hurricane Sandy hit, Cardinal Timothy Dolan celebrated a special Sunday mass on Staten Island. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.
Hurricane Sandy claimed 23 lives on Staten Island - and for the families of those left behind - moving on hasn't been easy. Patricia Dresch narrowly survived the storm but her daughter, Angela, and husband, George, did not.
"In a flash, my family was gone," Dresch said.
And that's why Dresch - and hundreds more affected by the storm - turned out for a special Hurricane Sandy mass of remembrance at Our Lady Star of the Sea Sunday. Cardinal Timothy Dolan celebrated the mass attended by island clergy and elected officials, as well as pews of island residents. Dolan delivered a homily that was both mindful of the lives and homes lost in the storm but also thankful for the community support that's helped the island recover.
"We'll never forget that death and destruction, ever, ever, ever. And that's what Hurricane Sandy kind of literally means. But we also know it means a community coming together, it also means people pitching in and helping each other out," Dolan said.
Some who attended the mass say they came to catch a glimpse of Cardinal Dolan. Still, many others say they came because they're still struggling with the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.
The Spagnuolo family lost their mother, Beatrice, a Midland Beach resident who decided not to leave her home when the storm hit. Her children and grandchildren attended the mass because they say she would have wanted them to be there.
"Very quiet, on my husband's part, and for my children. We do. We miss her dearly. But this was very, very special today; she's shining down. She would be very proud," said Bonnie Spagnuolo, a relative.
"It's like yesterday. I still can't get over it. It's very sad," said Vinnie Spagnuolo, a relative.
Dolan urged residents to focus on the steady progress of rebuilding and encouraged those still suffering to give back to the community as a way to remember what they still have.