The announcement of the transfer to another parish of the priest lovingly known as "Father Angel" stirred a peaceful protest across from on Saturday.
For about an hour on the sunny afternoon, as a Bishop met inside with church officials to confirm the move of Father Gilberto Angel-Neri to another parish in the Bronx, about 200 people gathered outside on his behalf.
They sought permission beforehand from the Sleepy Hollow Board to do so, and police had erected barricades for them on a portion of the Beekman Avenue sidewalk. People waved signs and chanted a bit, but, said Lieutenant Frank Hrotko, were well-behaved and "dispersed when they were supposed to."
Angel-Neri had only been with the church a few years, said church staff member Yubelkys Gaveras, but he made a big impact in his short time there. "He touched so many people in different ways," she said. "He was there for everyone."
Gaveras said she couldn't offer many details about the transfer, or what's to come. "All I know is people in this community wish he would come back," she said. "We don't know anything about it."
Gaveras did say that masses will go on as usual, Saturdays and Sunday in English and Spanish, and that there is a church meeting on the matter on Tuesday at 8 p.m.