I need your help. Our Annual Catholic Appeal’s network of services has had to be flexible in this unprecedented time, and we anticipate we will need to maintain this response to meet the growing demand for support. Your partnership is critical as we navigate this situation.
Our mission remains the same, but COVID-19 has had a significant impact on our annual needs.
- We now serve over 100,00 meals daily across our Diocese in response to the 300% increase in demand.
- Over 120 parishes offer daily livestream coverage of Mass and 144 parishes communicate daily with parishioners using social media.
- Our educators were required to quickly implement innovative distance learning They remain committed to forming the hearts and minds of our Catholic youth.
- We have 30 hospital chaplains currently deployed across our boroughs consoling the sick and most vulnerable.
- And of course, our devoted clergy, who remain at the frontlines of this pandemic. They continue to enrich our lives spiritually and have partnered with our network of support services to address the local needs developing across our Diocese.
As a committed parishioner, friend, and Catholic, we need your support to uphold our mission. I am grateful to all the parishioners who have made a generous commitment to the 2020 Annual Catholic Appeal. This unwavering support has allowed us to reach $24,422.00 of our Parish 2020 Goal of $37,261.00 goal. We are only $12,839.00 away from our goal.
If you have not made a pledge this year and are able to do so, I ask that you join me in demonstrating that WE ARE THE CHURCH, TOGETHER by considering a gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal.
You may make your gift online at annualcatholicappeal.org or text ACA to 917-336-1255
or call 718-965-7375 ext. 1602 and have a pledge card mailed to your home.
We thank you in advance for making a gift commensurate with your means and circumstances!
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’
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
St. Johns University
BA in Psychology
Riverton Street Charter School
Middle School Graduate
Benjamin N. Cardozo H.S- Senior Graduation Date: June 2020
Syracuse University- Fall 2020
Major: Broadcasting and digital Journalism
Meadow Elementary School, Baldwin NY:
5th Grade Elementary School. Graduating to Middle School.
Lehman College with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology
St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy
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.
1 Peter 4:13-16
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.
Acts: 8:5-8, 14-17
1 Peter 3:15-18
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.