All Youth and Families are welcomed to the BCYD 2020

The Youth Ministry Committee of the Secretariat of Evangelization and Catechesis would like to encourage all students to make a short video that will be transmitted on the upcoming Brooklyn & Queens Catholic Youth Day on November 21, 2020.

There are 2 theme options, (you are encouraged to do both if preferred):

  1. A 30 to 60-second video max where they say the phrase “I am a child of God” and “I am a daughter/son of God”. There needs to be a 3-5 second gap in between each phrase.
  2. A video where you show your talent/gifts such as reciting poetry, dance, playing an instrument, etc.

To send the videos or form more questions please email Lucia Morales at







Click the image to download the flyer of the event.

My Daddy Is Going To Change The World

On March 15th, 2020, my world changed when the pastor of our parish announced that it was our last Mass, and that all church programs and activities were suspended indefinitely.  One could see the concern on his face. It felt like a tsunami wave had just rolled over us. Did Father just say that the church would be closing? Not the church! This is God’s House; this is where we come when bad things are happening so we can be assured that everything is going to be all right. This is our port in a storm. “September 11” immediately came to mind.  The church is where everyone ran to, but this was different. The church was shutting us out. Then, an overwhelming feeling of fear, emptiness, and sadness came over me. The pandemic (COVID-19) had come to our doors and shut us down. It seems like I was in a time warp something out of the movie “Star Trek.”  What followed was one nightmare after another.

There was a quietness in this City that was haunting. Then came a wave of haunting sounds, screaming ambulance sirens, one after another; nonstop; all day, and all night. There were so many it was heartbreaking. This got to me; I could feel death. At one point, I began to count them, but I lost track; and instead, I would whisper a prayer; “Dear God let that one makes it”.

Our lives changed forever. All the things we took for granted were taken away in one day. New York came to a stop. We were told to shelter in place-stay indoors.  The images coming from our television sets were mind-boggling. Death had surrounded us and taken over our City. The numbers each day were unbelievable.  This was a war zone. The fight the first responders put up was incredible. There was so much anxiety in the voices of our Governor and our Mayor as they tried to reassure and guide the residents of New York through this unmatchable monster, COVID-19.

Then, out of nowhere another wave hit us, May 25th. This time it was the entire country that was under siege. This wave had a name of hate and it came to the forefront in the tragic event of the death of George Floyd. The whole world was watching. I could not believe what I was seeing then the tears began to flow. Within days, all the “monsters” were loose and there were no superheroes to save us. What followed was paralyzing; the ugly demon of hate took its stand and this country, and others across the world, were ablaze. There was so much pain, properties were burning, there were looting, and hundreds of thousands of angry people in the streets marching for justice. A little girl on her dad’s shoulder saying, “My daddy is going to change the world”, was shown over and over again on television and seen around the world.  Little did she know how powerful those words were.

The week before our lives were turned upside down, the sixth season of “Why Catholic?” ended. Since our next season would not begin until October 4th, 2020, almost seven months, the group suggested that we find a spiritual bridge to tide us over until then. The closing of the church and the events of the past few days left us downhearted. We needed something to lift us up as our faith was being tested. In times of doubt, fear, and uncertainty, where do we go? For me it is to the foot of the Cross; you see, there is where our Father Changed the World.   The Spirit led me to call our Parish coordinator, who suggested that we explore the book “Rediscover the Saints” by Matthew Kelly from Dynamic Catholic.

The first Saint of which I knew nothing about, left me most humbled after reading the prologue. His story was a heartbreaker. Abandoned and left to fend for himself when he was only five years old; Dismas turned to a life of crime, stealing, breaking the law, and hurting people.  He never liked doing these things, but that was the only way he could live. Even when he was old enough to work, no one would hire him.  Meeting Jesus’ eyes he felt love and compassion such as he had never felt before from any human being, and there on that hill, on the cross, Jesus Changed His WorldYou see he was the thief that was granted forgiveness, and a place in God’s Kingdom, Saint Dismas, Amazing Possibilities!

Rediscovering the Saints had several other amazing stories that helped us to realize that saints are ordinary people too.  I always thought them to be mysterious, pious, and godly. After reading with the group and all the discussions that went on, I do believe that there are many saints still to be discovered. We will continue to read about the saints and hopefully, on our journey recognize and discover some saints in our community.

Submitted by: Daisy Frankson, Kevin & Debbie Williams, Collin & Bernice Retemeyer, Patrick and Cynthia Bernadine, Jean Morris, Joan Williams (Parish of St Vincent Ferrer)

A Call to Personal Accompaniment in the Family Through the Lens of Catechesis

by Christian Rada

The theme of pastoral accompaniment has been extensively discussed in the life of the church for several years. In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis points out to the personal accompaniment in the process of growth. He writes, “ordained ministers and other pastoral workers can make present the fragrance of Christ’s closeness and his personal gaze. The Church will have to initiate everyone – priests, religious and laity – into this “art of accompaniment” which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5). The pace of this accompaniment must be steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness and our compassionate gaze which also heals, liberates, and encourages growth in the Christian life.” (EG 169) What does this mean to the family life and how does this accompaniment play out in the family’s daily life?

The COVID pandemic has affected many families in a unique way like never before. Families have learned to navigate technology and distance learning.  They have also been relying on technology, including video chatting, to stay connected with grandparents and friends. This has directed families to become more creative in their ways of sharing and teaching the gospel message. We have seen many families develop new ways and activities to foster a dynamic approach to family formation and catechesis. Nevertheless, their focus has never changed. These creative ways of view at the center of the family is Christ himself.

By way of catechesis, the family has turned from viewing catechesis as not just passing on information, but as formation which leads to transformation. The aim of family catechesis is that parents become so strong in their own faith and knowledge that they naturally shared it with their children. In other words, parents and guardians become not just teachers of the faith but more importantly witnesses of the faith.

How does becoming a witness of the faith lead us to personal accompaniment? The premise of religious education for a child, especially in the home, is to know that the child is loved by God and is part of the family. The child experiences that love through the actions that are expressed by the family as a whole. It is the responsibility of the family to be examples of authentic love that a child will see and experience.

What are some ways that families can develop and foster a personal family catechesis? First, understanding your roles as parents and guardians in the faith. Parents need to know the faith in order to share. How can a person give what they do not first have? How are you help your family members “meet Jesus”? How are they growing in “grace and wisdom” (Lk. 2:52) during the years you have them under your roof? Do your children see you taking the time to pray and grow in your faith? The habits and attitudes you model are the most important ones in your child’s life and make the most impact especially in matters of religion. Second, what is your attitude to faith? Your attitude can make a world of difference to your children. Weekly class attendance, family discussions about what was covered in class, and general attitudes on going to Mass, praying together, and involvement in the parish have an effect on your child. Third, pray daily for holiness in your family and for the spiritual needs of your parish community. Intercessory prayer is a lost tradition in the family life. Making time to intentionally praying for one other as a family can provide key moments of encountering Christ at a personal level and at a familial level.

A Night to Remember

RENEW International invite you to join them on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2020 at 7 PM to their 21st Annual Gala, an online Gala program. It will be a night to remember

“At this year’s annual gala, we will honor four dedicated Catholics who live their faith in their homes, parishes, and workplaces,” said Sr. Terry Rickard, O.P., RENEW International’s president and executive director. “Each of our honorees—Jeanette Walton and John Clark Walton; Bobby Gregory, and Theodore Musco—are models of Catholic values in their personal and professional lives.”

The President’s Award will be given to John Clark Walton and his wife, Jeanette Walton. They are champions of Catholic education who support schools and students affected by poverty and volunteer their expertise and finance skills with the inner-city Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Newark and the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Bobby Gregory will receive the Spirit of RENEW Award. He is a faithful Catholic, an avid citizen, and a supporter of community life. The president of New Jersey Tin and Galvanizing, he has generously shared his leadership skills, supporting youth activities and sports teams, and serves as a board member of several nonprofits.

RENEW will present the Msgr. Thomas Kleissler Award to Theodore Musco. Ted is a lifelong professional lay minister, a leader in Catholic education, and evangelization. He is secretary for evangelization and catechesis in the Diocese of Brooklyn. Working in one of the most diverse areas of the country, Ted has used digital-learning technology to provide contemporary adult education and formation for teachers and catechists.  

RENEW International’s gala raises funds each year to support the organization’s mission of renewing personal faith and revitalizing parishes through small-group faith sharing.


Visit for all the details on how to: Register/ Sponsor /Donate; Bid on auction Items, and Purchase Super 50/50 tickets

For more information contact Mary Beth Howath at 908.769.5400 x114


Catechetical Sunday

Each year in September, Catholics all over the United States gather to celebrate “Catechetical Sunday”. Many may ask what is this all about? The answer is very simple: the Word of God! The ministry of the Word is the major element of evangelization through all its stages because it involves the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the eternal Word of God: “The word of God nourishes both evangelizers and those who are being evangelized so that each one may continue to grow in his or her Christian life” (National Directory for Catechesis). So Catechetical Sunday recognizes those volunteer Evangelizers who proclaim the Word of God to children, teens, young adults, and adults in all of our parish faith formation programs.

This yearly celebration began in 1935 when the Vatican published On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education, a document that asks every country to acknowledge the importance of the Church’s teaching ministry and to honor those who serve the Christian community as catechists. Many Catholics have used the word “catechism” for years, and they know it has something to do with the Church’s teachings. The root word, “catechesis,” is from a Greek word meaning “to echo or resound.” Catechesis is the act of resounding or bringing the Church’s teachings to the world. A catechist is one who teaches in the name of the Church. It is an extremely important ministry in today’s world.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life . . . her inner growth and correspondence with God’s plan depend essentially on catechesis” (no. 7). This ministry of teaching in the name of the Church has a profound dignity, which is why catechists are formally commissioned by the Church. It is only fitting that we set aside a day to highlight this ministry and invite the entire parish community to think about our responsibility to share our faith with others. Faith sharing is crucial to the continued growth of par-ish life. All members of the parish, from the youngest to the oldest, must use words to express the deepest longing of our hearts: knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. This celebration also gives us the opportunity to highlight the domestic church.

Parents and guardians are truly the primary catechists of their children. They prepare the soil and plant the first seeds of faith. On Catechetical Sunday, we not only highlight the work of catechists in parishes and schools, but we also commend parents and guardians and encourage them to take seriously their role of making their Catholic households a place where faith is passed on to the next generation. This is why the rite of blessing of catechists used on Catechetical Sunday includes a blessing of parents and guardians. Pope Francis, at the latest World Meeting of Families, said: “That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith.” The 2020 Catechetical Sunday theme is taken from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, “I received from the Lord what I also Handed on to You.” The theme focuses on the primary substance of catechesis, which is an invitation to a whole new life given by Christ Himself. It emphasizes that living faith necessitates movement, inspiring all those who hear the Word to share it as witnesses of the true and living God.

Throughout this week as we begin our religious education year, let us pray for our Catechists: Loving God, Creator of all things, you call us to be in relationship with you and others. Thank you for calling our parish catechists, for the opportunity to share with others what you have them. May all those with whom they share the gift of faith discover how you are present in all things. May they come to know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. May the grace of the Holy Spirit guide their hearts and lips, so that they may remain constant in loving and praising you. May they be witnesses to the Gospel and a minister of your truth. May all their words and actions reflect your love. Amen.

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.

The Office of Adult Faith Formation

In the midst of a pandemic, virtual Rosaries, Lectio Divina, RCIA, among others faith formation and catechesis channels, are migrating to digital platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Go-to-Meeting and Zoom.

“Flatten the curve,” three words that became the norm for each of us to hear during these unprecedented times. For us in the Secretariat of Evangelization & Catechesis, it meant “hit the ground running.” Maintaining a real presence in the midst of a pandemic was an opportunity and a challenge, and posed innumerable questions:  What does this mean for our ministry? Where do we go from here? How do we continue to evangelize? How does one run a Zoom meeting after being only a participant? We found ourselves meeting as a staff every week as well as meeting with our catechetical leaders on a weekly basis to offer resources and assistance where needed. We often heard the phrase; “we are all in this together” and these words echoed throughout our universal Church. We were not simply in an isolated situation rather we shared in solidarity with all of humanity as we navigate through this turbulent storm of Covid-19. Yet, in all the uncertainty one thing was certain that is faith. “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We could no longer meet “in person” yet this did not prevent us from meeting virtually and going forth like the Israelites crossing the Dead Sea into the unknown.

Microsoft Teams, Go-to-Meeting, and Zoom became platforms that we used to connect with others, to offer faith formation, guidance for catechesis, and moments of prayer. We have learned that many in our parishes began to do the same: virtual rosaries, Lectio Divina, RCIA and so much more. This pandemic has taught us that we can and must continue to reach out to one another. The year 2020 will not be forgotten in history and we are a part of that history. A year in which all Catholics had to give up the “source and summit of the Christian life” namely, the Eucharist, and the sacraments during lent and for longer than that. Watching the daily Mass offered by Pope Francis, Eucharistic Adoration and other forms of prayer became the new normal for many. But it also became an opportunity to worship together as a family, not rushing out of the “church” at the end of Mass, taking the time to sit with the Word of God and like Our Blessed Mother, to ponder the words in our hearts. For some who participate in the Holy Spirit Institute Volunteer Track in Spanish, the opportunity to complete their last course and seminar was life-giving. It not only gave them an opportunity to gather virtually but also enabled them to go deeper in their relationship with God and with one another. As more than one student remarked, “I look forward to the meeting so that I can be in community with others.” Another shared how the formation he had received and the pandemic gave him “new eyes” to see the needs of others and as an essential worker to not turn a “blind eye”, rather help strangers he never would have thought of helping before.

Throughout these several months, I have been a witness to the gratitude and generosity of others. Those catechetical leaders who were grateful for a call, an email, or just knowing that someone was present in case they had a need. In being that witness, I want to reiterate to you even in this time of enforced solitude the interconnectedness of our parish, our ministries, and indeed, our Catholic community through prayer. “In these difficult times, may He allow us to discover the communion that binds us and the unity which is always greater than any division” (Pope Francis, Homily 4/14/2020).

Marriage Preparation Go Digital During COVID-19 Pandemic 

The online Pre-Cana class platform was a blessing to Patricia Gianatiempo & Salvatore Musso. They were better prepared to commit to one another and staying true to one another.


In the midst of the global coronavirus crisis, the Office of Marriage, Family Formation, and Respect Life Education have consistently sought to protect the health, safety, and overall well-being of our Pre-Cana engaged couples and host couples. With so much uncertainty about the impact and scope of COVID-19, the office made both short- and long-term decisions that are believed to be in the best interest of the Pre-Cana program and the broader community. Since March 2020, All in-person Pre-Cana classes have been canceled.

In order for engaged couples to have their Pre-Cana class and meet the diocesan requirement, the office has developed an online and on-demand Pre-Cana experience. It’s a major change, as the marriage preparation for Catholics has always been done in person. In this new experience, couples will have the same content and material as a live Pre-Cana class.  The topics introduced in the online Pre-Cana include Communication and Problem-Solving Skills, Self-Awareness, Morality in Marriage, Living the Sacrament of Matrimony, Intimacy and Sexuality, Natural Family Planning, and Wedding Liturgy Planning. Once the couple finishes the course, they receive a Certificate of Completion that they can download, print, and email it to the clergyman who is preparing them for the sacrament.

This new online platform was a blessing to Patricia Gianatiempo & Salvatore Musso. They both intended on getting married in June and were worried about how they would finish their marriage preparation before their wedding. Patricia told the office that, “we were relieved to have that option to be able to do it online.” “We are better prepared because [pre-cana] shed more light on how important it is to commit to one another,” Salvatore told us that, “We learned that staying true to one another is going to be most helpful in our marriage.”

The office believes that this new online platform will be very beneficial now during these uncertain times. But it will be an option moving forward into the future.

Couples have also taken advantage of the Pre-Marriage Inventory provided by FOCCUS. The Inventory is designed to help engaged couples appreciate their unique relationship, learn more about themselves, and discuss topics important to their lifelong marriage. Taking the inventory results in a personalized Couple Report that helps target discussion topics important to marital success. While FOCCUS is not a test and is not used to label couples or predict marital outcomes, the report is used by clergy and lay leaders to help couples celebrate their relationship strengths and talk to each other about topics warranting further attention. “After taking the inventory, we believe that we are ready to walk down the aisle. We are more open with our feelings and have better communication skills”, said Lindsey Gossan. With videoconferencing platforms, couples and facilitators have been able to meet safely to discuss the results of their inventory.

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