A Local Connection to the Notre Dame Cathedral

What connection does Ditmas Park have to France’s Notre Dame Cathedral? Turns out Father Michael Perry, who leads the congregation at Our Lady of Refuge on Ocean Avenue, has spent every summer for nearly two decades serving at the historic cathedral, as well.

Father Perry discusses what he does there in a great segment on the history of the cathedral that appeared on CBS Sunday Morning.

“The priest that brought me here 17 years ago,” he explained, “when I asked him what the rules were, he said, ‘To help people leave in better shape than when they arrived.'”

He goes on to show some of the architectural highlights, including a very cool system of gargoyle drainpipes, of which he does an excellent impression. Of course, they also cover Victor Hugo’s hunchback.

Our Lady of Refuge might not have as lengthy a background, but it’s also quite an impressive church. Built in 1933-34, it has a 1,000-seat sanctuary and a Kilgen pipe organ that’s just as old as the building, and which is currently being restored. You can check out more of its history here, and you can learn more about (and donate to) the pipe organ here.

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