Our Lady of Light 2020 Graduates

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we would like to acknowledge and congratulate the members of our Parish family who are graduating from their present academic institution and moving on to the next chapter of their lives.

May our graduates know the where’re they go we are always lifting them up to the Lord to provide them with wisdom and counsel.

Fr. Jeffry 

Dear God,

Those whom you called to do great things for you were often tested first. You did so, not to frustrate them, but to bring out what you saw as the best in them. Joseph was raised from slavery to royalty, and you gave him grace to forgive when he’d been wronged. Solomon was raised from prince to king, and you granted him wisdom to govern his people. Jeremiah was raised from youth to prophet, and you gave him courage to proclaim your truth. Today begins a new chapter in the lives of these graduates.Give them the wisdom to make wise decisions, just as you gave your servants guidance in ages past. Amen.

Our Lady of Light 2020 Graduates

Abreana Jean-Aimee

St. Johns University

BA in Psychology

Jasmine Edwards

Riverton Street Charter School

Middle School Graduate

Julieanne Gilchrist 

Benjamin N. Cardozo H.S- Senior Graduation Date: June 2020

Syracuse University- Fall 2020

Major: Broadcasting and digital Journalism

Andrew Johnson

Meadow Elementary School, Baldwin NY:

5th Grade Elementary School. Graduating to Middle School.

OLYVIER MONTEAU
GRADUATE FROM BAYSIDE HIGH SCHOOL 

Sharolyn Ramdat

Lehman College with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology

GPA 3.8

Nicholas Ruffin 

St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy

8th grade

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – June 7th, 2020

Exodus: 34:4-6, 8-9
2 Cor. 13:11-13
John: 3:16-18

Every year the Sunday after the celebration of Pentecost is reserved for the celebration of the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.  At the heart of this celebration for Catholic Christians is the mystery that we believe in one God made up of three divine persons; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  In another way we believe in God the creator, God the redeemer and God the sustainer.  When we reflect on this mystery, that is totally beyond our ability to fully comprehend, we believe in a God who lives in community and is totally united with one another.

This concept is so very important as we find ourselves in a country where our communities are fractured and there appears to be very little unity among the various segments of our society.  We find the sin of racism, which is ever present in our communities, rearing it ugly head in very dramatic ways.

At the onset of the Covid-19  pandemic we realized that although all might be vulnerable, all were not equally vulnerable.  Blacks, Latinos and Native peoples are the vast majority of those infected and killed by this virus.  The contributing factors for this vulnerability have been documented for decades: lack of insurance, less access to healthcare, negligent treatment from and by healthcare professionals, overcrowded housing, unsafe and unsanitary working conditions.  All of this compounded by how the least paid and protected workers are considered “essential” and must be exposed to the virus’ hazards.

Then in the last four months we have witnessed the tragic deaths of Ahmaud Arbrey, shot on February 23rd; Breanna Taylor shot in her apartment by police on March 13th and George Floyd who was choked to death by police on May 25th.

These tragic deaths reinforce for us the reality of the sin of racism that seems to be a sad part of the fabric of our country and society.  It certainly is a desire and a hope that we could once and for all eliminate this evil from our midst, but from my experience ling on this earth, I have found that regardless of the work that we do today that racism will rear its ugly head again and again in the future.  I don’t say that because I am pessimistic or fatalistic but because that is the nature of evil.   I think of the experience of Jesus in the desert being tempted by the Devil.  At the end of the trials and tribulations it states that the Devil left him for a more opportune time.  Jesus was going to have to deal with evil over and over again throughout the course of his journey.  We also will have to deal with the reality of evil in our midst over and over during the course of our journey.

I am greatly impressed by the diversity of those who demonstrate and march in our City Streets.  They have witnessed terrible injustices and the brokenness of our criminal justice system.  But as opposed to only crying and complaining about what has occurred they are willing to put their lives on the line.  I know that some would be critical of the looters and rioters but these are a very small number of the overall group.  In reality the overwhelming majority are peaceful, responsible demonstrators looking to address an evil and make the necessary changes to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Today we celebrate the Unity and Community of a God we believe in.  May we pray that this Unity and Community is a part of our daily lives and when we are confronted by the evil of racism may we have the courage to name it and also the fortitude to address the injustice and do what is necessary to bring about good.

 

 

 

PLAN FOR THE REOPENING OF OUR CHURCHES
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is pleased to announce the Diocese of Brooklyn will slowly work towards going back to normal by opening the doors of the churches on May 26, 2020 for private prayer and devotion as well as for funerals and limited celebrations of baptisms and weddings. The following directives will apply in general and individual churches should prepare further directions which the faithful must adhere to when visiting a church.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CHURCHES MAY OPEN THEIR DOORS ON MAY 26TH.
Stage 1: Opening of Churches for private prayer and devotion, Funerals, Baptisms and Weddings (May 26th)
Stage 2: Limited Celebrations of Daily Mass (No date has been set yet)
Stage 3: Limited Celebrations of Sunday Mass (No date has been set yet)
Stage 4: Celebration of First Holy Communion and Confirmation (No date has been set yet)

CHURCHES
· After the churches reopen for private prayer and devotion, the full reopening of the churches for liturgical celebrations will begin after the order for reopening of large gatherings has been given. This is important because of the danger of gathered crowds and the possible spread of the virus.
· The churches will be marked off with tape to show areas that adhere to social distancing guidelines.
· The elderly and all who are health-compromised ARE ADVISED to stay home. Also, In the past 14 days if you have you experienced:  fever (temperature of 100.4), cough, shortness of breath, chills/repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, you ARE ASKED TO STAY HOME.  If you tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, YOU ARE ASKED TO STAY HOME.  This is for the safety of others in the community.
· There will be NO holy water in the fonts.
· Hymnals, missalettes and any other worship aids will be removed from the pews and stored away.
· Bulletins are not distributed.
· Parishioners must wear masks, which they will bring on their own from home. No one should be in church without a mask.
· Parishioners are to be encouraged to bring hand sanitizer from home.
· Restrooms are open and available but used by one person at a time.
· For the foreseeable future, parishes may not schedule any events which will draw crowds and make social distancing difficult.

PRIVATE PRAYER AND DEVOTION
· The church will be open 4 hours each day. These hours will not coincide with the time a Mass is celebrated in the church.
· There is to be no congregating of people (e.g. gathering to say a rosary together). There should not be more than ten (10) people in the church and there cannot be a group gathered.
· The faithful cannot touch statues or other devotional objects in the church.

FUNERALS
The directives indicated above apply for funerals as well.
Funeral services will be permitted but are to be strictly limited to 10 people. Holy Communion will not be distributed at these services.
Persons attending the funeral must be seated using social distancing norms (Six [6] feet apart) except for members of the same household and everyone must wear a mask or face covering.

BAPTISMS
Baptisms will take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and limited to 10 or fewer participants. Baptisms can be celebrated only with prior consolation with the Office of the Chancellor.

WEDDINGS
Weddings will take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and, at first, limited to 10 or fewer participants. No Nuptial Masses will be celebrated at this time. Holy Communion should not be distributed at this time. Weddings can be celebrated only with prior consultation with the Office of the Chancellor.

OUTDOOR SERVICES
No gatherings of more than ten (10) persons is permitted. Outdoor services can only take place with the prior approval of the Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn.

ANOINTING OF THE SICK
Anointings will be celebrated with the usual safety measures in place. Priests will wear mask and gloves and the anointing will take place with the use of a cotton ball which is to be reverently disposed of after each anointing. Any guidelines that are in place in hospitals or other institutions must be respected. There are to be no celebrations of communal anointings in church.

CONFESSIONS
Confessions will take place with the priest and penitent both wearing masks and remaining at least six (6) feet distant from one another. A space other than a traditional confessional might need to be used. A larger space will be needed. Care must be taken to assure that no lines or groups form for confessions.

Seventh Sunday of Easter – May 24th, 2020

Acts 1:12-14
1 Peter 4:13-16
John 17:1-11a

Under normal times there would be opportunities for people to attend commencement exercises and graduation ceremonies.  In the course of the celebration the institution or college would invite a guest speaker to address the graduates as they moved on to the next stage of their lives.

This past weekend we might have seen President Barack Obama speak to the High School graduates of 2020 or the Seniors of the Historical Black Colleges.  Generally when this is done it is an opportunity to reflect and highlight all that has been provided to graduates to ensure that they could achieve what they have accomplished.  Very often the speaker will highlight the sacrifices that others have made (parents or relatives) so that the graduates might be here to celebrate this milestone.  It might also be an opportunity to recognize the wisdom and instruction that the faculty has provided over the course of their academic career.

I think that is what we hear at the beginning of today’s Gospel reading from John chapter 17.  Jesus prays and gives glory to the Father for all that the Father has allowed him to accomplish.  He honors the fact that all that the apostles have received did not just magically appear and assimilate into their lives but they they are receiving what they have because of the sacrifices of others.  In this case specifically because of the sacrifices that Jesus made.  In essence he says: “I revealed your name to those that you gave me out of the world.”

Generally after this part of the presentation the commencement speaker addresses the graduates going forth into the unknown world.  They might challenge the young people to strive for excellence.  Encouraging them to not allow the obstacles or difficulties of life to discourage or limit the aspirations that are an essential part of their dreams.  As probably no other day on the journey of life the air is filled with hope and visions of grandeur.  They are challenged to reach mighty heights; they are challenged to achieve great things.  Jesus says I pray for them, not for the world but for the ones you have given me.

As we approach the celebration of Pentecost, the sending forth into the world those inspired by the Spirit of God you and I stand at the threshold of our going forth into the world.

As Jesus prayed for his disciples and apostles before their commissioning Jesus prays for us.  This becomes our graduation ceremony.  In a very short period of time you and I will be freed from our quarantine.  We will be offered the opportunity to go forth in the world.  We have a very real choice.  We can go back to the life that we lived before the limitations that were imposed on us or we can approach this graduation as a new opportunity to manifest the wisdom and knowledge that we have received.  We can go forth with a cavalier attitude and sense of entitlement or we can appreciate and give thanks for the many sacrifices other have made so that we can celebrate life free from fear.

The anticipation of Graduation is upon us.  Jesus has prayed for us.  May we seize this opportunity to celebrate all that the Lord has so graciously blessed and offered us so that we can go forth inspired by the Spirit of God to do great things.
Amen.

Sixth Sunday of Easter – May 17th, 2020

Acts: 8:5-8, 14-17
1 Peter 3:15-18
John 14:15-21

Parting of friends is never easy.  But some partings are harder than others.  The most painful parting of all happens when someone dies.  What makes this parting different from all others is the finality of it.

It was the night before Jesus’ death. For some time he had been giving the apostles hints of his death.  Now he talked to them openly about it.  Except he didn’t speak of death in the way we tend to do – in the sense of life ending.  H spoke of his death as a going away, ‘going to the Father’.  But all the apostles heard was the fact that he was leaving them.
He was indeed leaving them.  But there are degrees of leaving.

There is the leaving that implies abandonment.  Sadly, now and again we read in the newspapers about babies that are abandoned at birth.  To be abandoned is the most painful and damaging thing that can happen to anyone, particularly in the case of the very young and the elderly.  In the Gospel we are not dealing with this.  Jesus is not abandoning the apostles.

There is a leaving which implies rejection.  For instance, a girl had hopes of marriage but her fiance suddenly leaves her for someone else.  The girl feels rejected.  This can be extremely painful.  Here we are not dealing with that.  Jesus is not rejecting the apostles.

There is the leaving which is necessary because it is for the good of the one leaving.  For example, a person is leaving to return home or leaving to take up a better job somewhere else.  This is certainly true here.  Jesus’ leaving is for his own good.  He is returning to his Father.    To return to the Father is to go home.  It is to go to honor and glory.

Finally there is a leaving which is for the good not only of the one leaving but also of those left behind.  This is the full truth of what is happening here.  Jesus’ leaving is, or will be, good for the apostles too because he will send them the Spirit.  His departure will not leave them unsupported and unguided as they feared.  ‘I will ot leave you orphans’.

But there was another thing that would have been a great consolation to the apostles at this sad and painful hour.  Even as he spoke about leaving them, he spoke about coming back to them.  He would come to them through the Spirit, and he would come to them himself.  They did encounter him after the resurrection.  And even though after the ascension they would see him no more, he assured them that he would still be with them, yes, even to the end of time.

Jesus does not leave us orphans as he didn’t leave the apostles orphans.  By our faith we have the same access to his presence and to the help of the Holy Spirit as the first Christians had.  Jesus is not present as a vague memory of a person who lived long ago, but as a real, life-giving presence that transform us.

In light of the present circumstances that all of us have had to cope with I am going to begin a Bereavement Group in the Parish after the self quarantine is lifted.  I will announce it when it is more appropriate to have such a group meeting.