Photo by Scott Umstattd on Unsplash

Photo by Scott Umstattd on Unsplash
“The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace.” –St. Theresa of Calcutta

By: Department of Adult Faith Formation, Diocese of Brooklyn

Silence is a word that we often find contrary to our society. It is perhaps no longer something that we would define as doing as much as being. How do we accomplish this in a world that is so technologically “noisy”? We are bombarded by texts, social media notifications, and emails at the very least. Yet during this new era of social distancing, a group of parishioners was moved to have a virtual retreat mostly filled with silence. They began the day with a song and followed that with a talk based on the passage of Jesus walking on water from Matthew’s gospel (Mt 14:22-33).

At the beginning of the scriptural text, we know that Jesus “went up into the hills to pray” alone. This is in fact what a retreat does for us – it draws us away from the cares of this world and into the silence of being alone with God. It is an opportunity to be rejuvenated in our relationship with Christ so that we can listen to him speak to each one of us in a still small voice.

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

In his book on The Power of Silence, Cardinal Sarah reminds us that “In silence, not in the turmoil and noise, God enters into the innermost depths of our being.” (pg. 59) Indeed, how necessary it is for us to spend time with the Lord recollected in silent prayer. The parishioners from Blessed Sacrament Parish in Queens set apart an entire day to accompany one another, support one another and be in prayerful silence together. The pandemic has made some individuals feel confused, depressed, unable to pray, feeling distracted in prayer or simply not feeling anything at all. For others, it has given birth to the creativity in using social media and meeting platforms to reach out to one another. For these parishioners this retreat was born out of the sheer necessity to have an encounter with Christ, to renew the calling for each one of us to love and serve the Lord, and to discern how one can grow in intimacy with Christ.

St. Theresa of Calcutta once said that the “fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, and the fruit of service is peace.” Thus, everything stems forth from being silent and spending time with God. As we honor the Blessed Virgin Mary in this month of August, let us remember her example to each of us, she who “ponder(ed) all these things in her heart” (Lk 2:51).  May we, through her intercession, continue on our spiritual journey with an increased desire to accompany Jesus ‘up into the hills’ in prayer.

Spotlight: Bridge to Life

The Bridge to Life is a nonprofit that depends on donations. It is trying to help save the lives of the unborn.

As the Coronavirus swept through the world, our country stood still in fear and anxiety. The outbreak hit New York City with such force, declaring Queens as the epicenter. People were quarantined, businesses shut down. Yet, The Bridge to Life, a pregnancy crisis center located in Flushing Queens, stood firm in considering our operations as an essential service. And it continued helping families in need. The center persevered and implemented a continuance of operations plans without disruption. Bridge to Life would meet with families by appointment only. Families would receive baby clothes and supplies through curbside pick-up.  The center has helped pregnant women and new moms in an effort to help women avoid abortion and keep their babies. It provides counseling and referrals for medical services like sonograms as well as clothes and baby supplies — all for free.


Francesca Yellico, Bridge to Life’s executive director, said “Three babies are alive today because we were opened during this time!” She pointed out that, from March 16, 2020, to the present day, Bridge to Life helped approximately 500 mothers and children as they faced many unprecedented difficulties during the pandemic.” With major stores closed during the pandemic, women could not get the basic needs for their babies. Francesca noticed the looks of appreciation and gratitude from the women (even though a facemask). “We are here for anyone who needs our help. This is truly a ministry to the people in need.” This ministry has helped alleviate some of the stress, fears, burdens, and financial difficulties brought on by this unexpected outbreak.


The Bridge to Life is a nonprofit that depends on donations. It is trying to help save the lives of the unborn

If you wish to donate by visiting our website: Or sending their donation to:

The Bridge to Life

147-32 Sanford Ave. 2nd Floor

Flushing, NY 11355



Keeping Teens Connected to Christ During a Pandemic

Many youth ministers use several resources to transition to online gatherings with their young people. Tailoring them to our Brooklyn and Queens teens and using Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube to keep their connection alive

Youth ministry is known for its fun, interactive gatherings for our young people. Each youth ministry program provides a safe space for teens to explore their relationship with Christ, while also building friendships. Youth ministers find joy in planning, preparing, and hosting gatherings that include ice breakers, games, bible lessons, and questions/discussions to guide our youth in learning their faith. Then in March, our world was placed on pause.

The pandemic affected the lives of millions and changed the way we all interact. From work to family gatherings, everything halted. This also impacted our church greatly. While pastors and DRE’s tried to figure out their next step, youth ministers also faced a challenge: How are they supposed to support their teens while in the middle of a pandemic?

Youth ministers faced personal challenges and their own fears of COVID-19, yet many managed to put this to the side in order to support their teens and continue to keep this as their priority as we slowly find a way to reunite.

Organizations such as the National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), Project YM, ODB Films, and many others provided webinars and resources for youth ministers to transition to online gatherings with their young people. Our local youth ministers took these resources and figured out how to tailor them to our Brooklyn and Queens teens. Many youth ministers turned to Zoom, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube to keep their connection alive. Initially, the youth ministers were encouraged to simply provide a safe space for teens to express their fears, anxiety, questions, and pray together. The goal was to connect teens together even if it was virtually. Slowly, more and more youth ministers began to plan their virtual gatherings around in-person models such as praying the rosary together, reflections on the week’s Gospel, group sharing, games, and even fitness time.

The youth ministers of Brooklyn and Queens displayed their faith and resilience during a time of pain and fear by placing teens first and ensuring they had the time and space to connect with their friends and most importantly with God.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio Urges Special Collection in Brooklyn and Queens Churches to Assist the People of Lebanon



Adriana Rodriguez

John Quaglione 

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio Urges Special Collection in Brooklyn and Queens Churches to Assist the People of Lebanon

The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, is announcing his request for a special voluntary collection to take place starting this weekend, August 29 and 30, at parishes throughout the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens for victims of the recent explosion in the port in Beirut, Lebanon.

“We have all seen the painful images of devastation and heard of the deaths caused by the explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. Our hearts and prayers go out to all those affected by this terrible disaster, especially the Christian community which has been struggling,” said Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.

The August 4th explosion killed 180 people, injured thousands, and has displaced more than 300,000 people from their homes. The money collected will be sent by the Diocese of Brooklyn for distribution and direct assistance to the Christian community of Lebanon.

Checks to support this collection should be made payable to the Compostela Fund and mailed to: Compostela Fund c/o Diocesan Finance Office, 310 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, NY 11215. Please write Lebanon in the check’s memo section.






Adriana Rodriguez

John Quaglione 



The Diocese of Brooklyn is announcing each of its 66 Catholic Academies and Parish Schools have submitted their 2020-2021 Reopening Plans to the New York State Department of Education. The majority of proposals call for the reopening of Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens with five day a week, 100% in-class instruction.

“We are pleased with the Governor’s recent announcement regarding the re-opening of schools.  This is a great first step in the right direction to helping our children safely return to the classroom,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Ed. D., Superintendent of Schools.

The plans submitted by each school/academy to New York State presented one of the following three options:

Plan A – 100% In-Person Model with the following requirements:

  • Social Distancing in the classrooms and throughout the school building
  • Mandatory Face Coverings while in school with mask breaks
  • Hand and Respiratory Hygiene guidance and enforcement
  • Signage throughout building promoting hygiene, illness, mask and distance requirement
  • Daily health screening of all who enter building per NYS guidelines, including temperature checks
  • Procedures in place if positive COVID case detected
  • Testing and Tracing policies in place per Department of Health guidelines

Plan B – Hybrid Model with the following requirements:

  • Same requirements noted above for in-school instruction
  • Hybrid model could be 3/2 – three days in school and two days of remote learning from home. Hybrid models vary by school
  • Remote learning with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous with instruction sessions led by teachers of the students’ Catholic Academy or Parish School

Plan C – 100% Distance Learning – Saint Thomas Aquinas Distance Learning Catholic Program

A new Diocesan-wide distance learning program created with a faculty focused exclusively on the development of an academically rigorous, Christ-centered remote learning program. This is an additional option to ensure instructional equity for those who choose 100% remote learning.

Of the plans submitted, a majority of the 66 Diocesan schools and academies aim to open for instruction under Plan A, with the flexibility to adopt Plan B or Plan C quickly if COVID-19 cases arise.

“Our Principals, teachers, Boards and administrators have been hard at work to ensure all the health and safety protocols will be met at all our Catholic Academies and Parish Schools.  We are prepared and excited for a full reopening in September.  This may be slightly different school by school given the building footprint and student population.  Some schools will need to use a hybrid model if they cannot meet the social distancing standards,” added Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Schools.

The health of the students, faculty and staff, remains the top priority, so enhanced cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing protocols will be in place at all school buildings.

The Re-Opening Plans for each school can be found on the individual school website. Additionally, parent meetings will take place this week, via ZOOM, to review and discuss the Re-Opening Plans.







Adriana Rodriguez

John Quaglione 


            The Diocese of Brooklyn is announcing that Father Christopher Heanue, Administrator at Holy Child Jesus Roman Catholic Church, last week completed the “100 Miles of Hope” fundraiser to support the parish food pantry. The bike ride from the church in Richmond Hill, Queens to East Hampton, Long Island, has raised over $20,000.


Father Heanue was joined by two parishioners on the journey, Paul Cerni and Tom Chiafolo. The day started with a special 5 a.m. Mass celebrated by Father Heanue. The total bike time for the journey was 7 hours and 45 minutes, and the entire trip was completed over the course of more than 10 hours.


“The prayers and generous support of all helped to motivate and make our “100 miles of Hope” a true success.  If this served as an inspiration for any, then all glory be to God. This is needed now, more than ever. With this help, we can continue the good work of our food pantry and other initiatives,” said Father Heanue.


Donations are still being accepted through the Go Fund Me Page at or by texting ‘miles’ to 718-550-6525.


Photos attached.


Photo #1- Tom Chiafolo, Father Chis Heanue, and Paul Cerni met in advance of the bike ride for this photo.


Photo #2 – Father Chris Heanue, Tom Chiafolo, and Paul Cerni, outside of Holy Child Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Queens, prior to the start of the of their “100 Miles for Hope” bike ride.


Photo #3-Father Chris Heanue is greeted upon his arrival at Most Holy Trinity Church in East Hampton, Long Island.


Photo #4 – Tom Chiafolo, Paul Cerni, and Father Chris Heanue posed for a photo upon their arrival in East Hampton.



A Letter to the faith community of Saint Pancras – Aug 1 & 2, 2020


Office of the Bishop
Diocese of Brooklyn

310 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn, New York 11215



August 1 and 2, 2020

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,


I have asked Bishop Paul Sanchez and Monsignor Joseph Calise to read this letter to you on my behalf at the close of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is with profound regret that I must advise you that this letter contains information that will trouble you as members of the faith community of Saint Pancras. You are undoubtedly aware of the deep suffering and hurt that surround any instance of inappropriate behavior, especially when allegations involve a member of the clergy. It can damage, often irreparably, the innocence, the trust and the reputations of all who are in any way affected by it.

Unfortunately, I write to you about such incidents involving the Pastor of Saint Pancras. As many of you may know, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020, Father Francis Hughes was arrested by the federal authorities due to allegations of inappropriate behavior with minors. In keeping with our Diocesan Policy and the 2002 Bishops Charter and Norms for the Protection of Children and Youth, he has been removed as Pastor of Saint Pancras, and from all priestly ministry. I have assigned Father Wladyslaw Kubrak as the Temporary Administrator in the interim.

I am aware that this news has been devastating to many. With this in my mind, the Victim Assistance Coordinator, Jasmine Salazar, LMSW, has arranged to make virtual and telephone meetings available for different groups in your parish, to provide you with pastoral care, information and clarification where needed. Often just having a place to speak about such matters are the beginning steps to addressing the strong impact such news can have.

Once again, I encourage each of us in our resolve to protect our children and youth from all forms of abuse. I invite anyone who is the victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy to inform the Diocese of Brooklyn. To facilitate making such a call, when I arrived in the Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens in 2003, I established the toll-free number of 888-634-4499. A specially trained and caring layperson, who is not affiliated in any way with the Diocese, will treat you with courtesy and respect. This number will be published in the bulletin and also appears on the posters in the back of the Church.

With an assurance of my continued remembrance of you in prayer, and asking for your prayers for all victims and survivors of abuse, I am

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D. Bishop of Brooklyn

Letter to the faith community of St. Pancras Aug.2020




Adriana Rodriguez

John Quaglione 


The Diocese of Brooklyn is announcing that a church collection box was robbed late yesterday afternoon inside of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church located in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. The incident, which is under investigation by the NYPD, was discovered around 4 p.m. Friday, by a Franciscan Nun who was sanitizing the church pews.

Surveillance video shows the suspect cutting open one of the wooden collection boxes and removing an unknown amount of money before leaving the church. Camera footage shows the perpetrator was in the church for a while, appearing to be praying, however, it is now evident he was waiting to be alone in the church to commit the robbery.

“I am saddened by what happened inside our beautiful church yesterday, but I am grateful to God that no one was injured. I understand in these unprecedented times, many people have lost their jobs and need assistance, but this not how you turn to the church for help. My message to those in need is to ring our doorbell, don’t vandalize and steal, and let us help you,” said Father Willy Kingsley Ndi, Administrator of St. Thomas Aquinas Church.

St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Church is located at 249-9th Street in Brooklyn. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the NYPD’s 78th Precinct at (718) 636-6411 or NYPD Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-8477.

A copy of the surveillance footage can be found here: