A street sign now honors the legacy of a leader in the local Catholic Church, and parishioners say he made a big impact on the community he served. NY1’s Shannan Ferry filed the following report.
Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan is now a permanent fixture in Middle Village. The late religious leader served for decades at Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church. Now, the corner of Eliot Avenue and 71st street bears his name in his honor.
"Everything was about meeting, listening, and making an effort to improve the world and he did that," said Frances Sullivan, who is Bishop Sullivan's sister.
Sullivan started working at Our Lady of Hope in 1960. Back then, he was known Father Joseph Sullivan. Even after becoming a Bishop, he would still come back to the parish every Sunday to celebrate mass.
The beloved Catholic leader died at 83 after being involved in a car accident in 2013.
When asked what Sullivan would say if he saw the street sign bearing his name, the late bishop’s brother, John Sullivan, joked, "Joe would say the sign isn't big enough!"
Dozens turned out for a ceremony hosted by City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley Saturday where his street sign was unveiled.
"Everyone has such fond memories of him, and many New Yorkers know of his work with Catholic Charities. He helped the poor," said Crowley.
Family and friends hope the street re-naming will carry on Bishop Sullivan's legacy for generations to come, and inspire them to learn about his work.
"And in particular the housing program which he started, today we have more 3,000 units of low and moderate income housing," said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who is the current Bishop of the Brooklyn Diocese, which also includes churches in Queens.
"You always felt there was something super, super special. You always felt you were so happy to see him, he had a wonderful glow about him," said John Sullivan, who is Bishop Sullivan's Nephew.
Now a street sign will shine in his memory, serving as a constant reminder of the thousands of lives he touched.