By Pat Dorfman
Rev. Brian Dowd, Pastor of Queen of Angels Church in Sunnyside, was named 2012 “Luke Adams Sunnysider of the Year” Monday night, receiving an engraved crystal plate and feted with a five-course meal and tributes at Sunnyside’s Dazies Restaurant.
The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce presented the award, in its second year.
The plate inscription read, “His vision of a better world includes all of us, and he opens not only his doors but his heart,” referring to Dowd’s considerable outreach to clerics of other churches– and the secular community — in his 3 1/2 years at the Roman Catholic Church on Skillman Avenue. The award is named after local community activist Luke Adams, who acted as Master of Ceremonies.
While the dinner was not the raucous roast of last year’s skewering of Adams, the gala had decidedly festive air. Below, were one table’s guests: Don McCallian of United Forties; Jimmy Van Bramer’s staffer Aycan Kaptaner; Rev. Sebastian, Rigoberto Cardoso of Pronto; Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Unity Stage’s Sofia Landon Geier.
A bouquet of two dozen yellow roses were bestowed on Dowd’s mother, Joan, a gift from Sunnyside Florist, and soprano Nicholle Bittingmeyer sang. Priest Ricardo Perez gave a blessing and Frances Schmidt led the pledge of allegiance to the flag.
Chamber President Swain Weiner opened the event, welcomed the crowd of 75 and thanked Father Dowd. “You have had a tremendous impact in a short time,” Weiner said.
Oguzhan Turan of the Turkish Cultural Center praised Dowd for inviting his Muslim group to the Queen of Angels 9/11 ceremony. Other testimonies came from Bishop Paul Sanchez of the Diocese, Assemblywoman Nolan, Council Van Bramer, and Conrado Gomez, a church leader and local psychotherapist, who praised Dowd for “enhancing unity in the community.”
Dowd’s contribution to the Skillman Avenue Holiday lights, sponsorship of various art fairs and the hosting of interfaith pubic events were also noted.
Dowd thanked Bishop DiMarzio for “giving me this assignment here,” and the people of his parish who “do all the work mentioned tonight.”
The award was given for” exceptional community service, without regard to fundraising, politics or faith” and is chosen by the Executive Board of the Chamber.