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New Staten Island ferry boat named after Catholic social activist Dorothy Day

A new Staten Island ferry boat will be named after Dorothy Day, a long-time resident, social activist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. 

The boat is the third in a trio of new ferries currently scheduled to hit the water in Florida– where they are being constructed–and set to arrive in New York harbor in early 2022. The two other forthcoming ferry boats are named the Staff Sgt Michael H. Ollis, arriving in June, and the Sandy Ground, arriving in December, which will begin transporting passengers in November and early 2022 respectively. 

“Dorothy Day lived a life of tremendous selflessness and service. I can think of no greater way to honor her beloved legacy than by having her name on this new ferry boat connecting Manhattan and Staten Island,” said de Blasio. “Day loved Staten Island, and this naming will allow others to learn of her inspiring work as a brave activist and journalist.”

Day founded the Catholic Worker Movement, whose members are best known for feeding and housing the homeless, during the Great Depression along with French Catholic activist Peter Maurin. The pair first joined forces to start a newspaper, dubbed the Catholic Worker newspaper, to shine a light on Church teachings on social justice. 

“How providential that the ferry from lower Manhattan to Staten Island should be named after a brave, loving woman who cherished both those areas of our city and the people who live there,” said Archbishop of New York  Timothy Cardinal Dolan about Day who could one day be named a saint by the church. “How appropriate that a ferry transporting people would honor a believing apostle of peace, justice, and charity who devoted her life to moving people from war to peace, from emptiness to fullness, from isolation to belonging.”

The three new 4,500 passenger ferries are the first new boats to be added to the city’s fleet since 2006 and were part of a $300 million investment from the mayor’s office in 2014 to upgrade the service and connect lower Manhattan and St. George, Staten Island. 

Jim Reagan, Catholic Worker and associate editor of the Catholic Worker newspaper,  said fellow members were “flattered” by “the great tribute” but wanted to remind the city that the best way to honor Day is to continue her life’s work of taking care of the poor, the homeless and fight for racial justice. 

 

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