June 27, 2020 Staff Report
An online service honoring approximately 70 western Queens residents who have died from COVID-19 will take place Sunday.
The event, titled Remembering Locals Lost to COVID-19, will take place via the video-conferencing application Zoom on June 28 at 2 p.m. It will last a little over an hour.
The service seeks to honor fallen victims of COVID-19, particularly those whose loved ones were unable to put on proper funeral services when there was a state-wide ban on large public gatherings.
The coronavirus has killed tmore than 20,000 New York City residents, according to the Health Department data, many of whom were laid to rest without having a public ceremony.
Civic leader Patricia Dorfman came up with the concept for the event following the death of Deodoro Monge Gutierrez, the owner of Bliss 46 Bistro in Sunnyside, who passed away from COVID-19 on April 21.
She said she wanted to create a platform for families and friends to remember the victims.
“People could not even offer a group toast at a local pub due to the shutdown,” she said.
The event will be hosted by Judy Zangwill, Executive Director of Sunnyside Community Services. The non-profit organization lost 54 clients across their programs to COVID-19.
Carmen Melissa Monge, the daughter Gutierrez, will do the honors of reading the names of the deceased.
Prayers will be shared of different faiths, with a varied musical program.
There will also be a prepared video put together by local composer and musician David Shenton that features all the names of those who passed. The names will be accompanied by soprano Erin Shield singing, “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
Local clerics appearing will be Imam Muhammet Sonmez Bayraktar of Sinan Mimar Mosque, Rabbi Ron Wittenstein of Young Israel, and Pastor Neil Margetson of Sunnyside Reformed.
The three priests from Queen of Angels Roman Catholic Church, Pastor Brian Dowd, Msgr. Jonas Achacoso, and Rev. Mintu Razario will offer prayers for the dead in English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Bengali.
Jerome Job Nathanial will offer secular spiritual remarks.
The service will start at 2 pm. However, the event will open up at 1:30 pm. There are a limited number of viewers for the live event so organizers suggest people sign in shortly after 1:30 p.m.
Additional details will be available in the Remembering Locals Lost event Facebook page.
If you cannot watch live, a recording of the service will be posted online in a week.