QUEENS CATHOLIC SCHOOL AND PARISH WORK TOGETHER TO FEED THEIR NEIGHBORS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2021

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Adriana Rodriguez
646-241-9805
arodriguez@desalesmedia.org

John Quaglione 
718-576-9180
jquaglione@desalesmedia.org

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

QUEENS CATHOLIC SCHOOL AND PARISH WORK TOGETHER TO FEED THEIR NEIGHBORS

            Students from The Early Childhood Center at St. Mel’s Catholic Academy, have collected over 2,000 non-perishable items to be donated to a neighboring church food pantry tomorrow, Tuesday, March 30, 2021. The donated items will be loaded onto the St. John’s University campus ministry van starting at 9 a.m. outside the schools located at 152-24 26th Avenue in the Flushing/Whitestone area of Queens.

The van will then deliver the donated goods to St. Kevin’s Roman Catholic Church, located at 45-21 194th Street in Flushing, at approximately 10 a.m.

The parish pantry at St. Kevin’s is known as “The Market,” and serves an average of 50 families every Wednesday.  As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, donations to the pantry have declined. The parish has been purchasing food to meet the needs of those they regularly assist.

Tamar Chicavich, a mother of two students at St. Mel’s Catholic Academy, started the food drive as a Lenten service project. Amy Barron is the Principal at St. Mel’s Catholic Academy.

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CATHOLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS LEARN BRAILLE AS PART OF WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH PROJECT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2021

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Adriana Rodriguez
646-241-9805
arodriguez@desalesmedia.org

John Quaglione 
718-576-9180
jquaglione@desalesmedia.org

CATHOLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS LEARN BRAILLE AS PART OF WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH PROJECT

            This year, to mark Women’s History Month at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy in Gravesend, Brooklyn, the fourth-grade students focused on learning about the life and legacy of Helen Keller. To complete the educational experience, teacher Christine Latona introduced the Braille alphabet to the students. The 19 students were then assigned a project to write their first and last names in Braille using green pigeon peas.

“The objective of teaching students about Helen Keller was to highlight the challenges Helen Keller suffered because of her disabilities. The students learned how difficult it is to communicate and write in Braille. They also learned that no matter how difficult their life is, anything can be accomplished with hard work, dedication and perseverance,” said Ms. Latona.

In addition to the Braille name card projects, currently on display in the hallway outside of the classroom, students were asked to prepare reports “All About Helen Keller.” Through their research, students had to explain why Helen Keller is an important historical figure, the obstacles she faced, the impact she had on the world, and identify interesting facts and characteristic traits about her.

“When my teacher told me we were going to learn about Helen Keller, I became very excited and interested. Her life was fascinating. I couldn’t imagine being like her. We learned that Helen used Braille to read and write, so when we did a project on Braille, it gave me a little experience of what it was like. Helen Keller is an inspiration and interesting person to learn about,” said fourth-grader Isabella Vizcarrondo.

Members of the media are invited to visit Our Lady of Grace Catholic Academy to view the student work and for interviews. Attached is a photo of the Helen Keller bulletin board displaying the students’ Braille projects. On-site and virtual interviews can be arranged.

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St. Joseph in the Shadow of the Cross

In previous years, the Secretariat’s Lenten reflection would be a coming together in prayer and fellowship. With so many restrictions in place, and I will add for a good reason, this Lenten season, like all other moments in our lives this past year, had to be different. We hoped when we did our Virtual Advent Reflection in December 2020 that by Lent, we would be able to gather. Not wanting to leave anyone out, we went the route of virtual.

On Friday, March 19, 2021, Our Lenten Reflection premiered on our YouTube channel.  Being that this is the Year of St. Joseph and we purposefully premiered on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, and our theme was “St. Joseph In the Shadow of the Cross.”

Very little is mentioned of St. Joseph in the bible, but no one can deny how important he is and what an important role he played in the life of Jesus Christ. He was a religious and humble man, who like Mary, did not question God’s will, and accept Mary as his wife. With that acceptance, he became a husband and a father. A father to no ordinary child, but a child who would bring salvation to the world.

With the thought of the different languages in our diocese, the stations of the cross and the reflections were a snapshot of our diversity. Bishop Raymond Chappetto’s reflection was in English, Bishop Octavio Cisneros in Spanish, Bishop Witold Mroziewski in Polish, Fr. Peter Bai in Chinese Mandarin, Fr. Cosmas Nzeabalu in Igbo, and Msgr. Joseph Malagreca in Haitian Creole.

Bishop Gregor Mansour’s reflection was in English, but he gave another layer of perspective from the Marion Rite. We hope that you take the opportunity to look into the Marion Rite and see how our similarities and difference still unite us.

Bishop Raymond reflects on the life of St. Joseph: Joseph was a happy man who loved Jesus and Mary so much. He loved with his whole heart. Joseph gives Jesus an example of fatherly love and compassion. Joseph speaks by his actions, not his words. Joseph teaches the church how to depend on God’s love and will.

Events at Our Lady of Angels Church

 

El Divino Niño

In efforts to engage our community to encounter Christ- we now have a Divino Niño statue at Our Lady of Angels Church. The Divino Niño is one of the most popular depictions of the Divine Child Jesus.

The devotion to the Divino Niño, originated in Colombia. The statue of the Child Jesus with His arms beckoning and wearing a traditional pink robe has an inscription “Yo reinaré” (“I will reign”) at its base. The statue will remind families of God’s love. His arms are stretched out, just like any child who wants to be picked up. He wants us to take Him and pick him up, pressing him close to our hearts.

On the Feast of the Presentation of The Lord, our pastor, Fr. Kevin Abels blessed and installed the Divino Niño statue. The statue was donated by one of our parish families. Many families brought their own Divino Niño statues to be blessed as tradition calls for on this day.

The images of Our Lady of Guadalupe, San Juan Diego, and the Divino Niño will give Hispanic families a sense of belonging and make them feel right at home. The image of the Child Jesus will inspire family devotion and prayer. Devotion to the Divino Niño is a family tradition that is passed down through generations.

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All is Calm, All is Bright! Our Lady of Angels engaging with Families 

Most of us did not expect to be social distancing for this amount of time, and we had high hopes that by the end of the year, we’d be able to spend time together in groups to celebrate. Especially, the days of the Christmas season which have so much meaning and are engraved in a child’s memory. Unfortunately, throughout the holidays we had to continue our safety precautions- but that didn’t damper the holiday spirit at Our Lady of Angels. A worldwide pandemic could not keep the Hispanic community at Our Lady of Angels from celebrating their yearly traditions of Las Posadas and Three Kings Day.

Las Posadas, a well-loved Mexican Christmas celebration, reminds us how Mary and Joseph searched for a place to stay where Mary could give birth to the Baby Jesus. In Spanish, the word “posada” means shelter or inn. In the not so distant, past, our community would gather and celebrate for nine days before Christmas. We ate tamales, sang the traditional Posada song as well as other villancicos-Christmas carols, broke piñatas, and ended the day with candy treats for the children.

 

Although our community is growing, we don’t yet exceed our church capacity limits, which enabled us to hold the Posadas after Mass each night. We were all socially distanced, and although we did not have the traditional food and piñatas, we had the heart of the celebration -the song reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s struggle. Traditionally, a group sings outside, while another group remains indoors, but in this case, we sang from opposite pews. This went on for nine nights. Our children got the chance to engage with their community in an adapted version of a faith-inspiring tradition.

El Dia de Reyes, Three Kings’ Day is another one of our beloved holidays. We didn’t think we could do it, but again we are blessed with a large auditorium and a strong sense of community. Once again, all social distancing efforts were put in place. Our usual donor, a local bakery, prepared an individually wrapped traditional pastry “Rosca de Reyes” for each parishioner. Although we didn’t have our usual Three Kings Day skit, piñatas, and food, the heart of the celebration was maintained- each child was acknowledged with a gift and a wonderful memory.

Our pastor, Fr. Kevin Abels introduced another event that we hope will become a tradition. The lights were dimmed at the conclusion of Christmas Day Mass allowing the holiday lighting to illuminate the church. As we sat in awe, contemplating the Nativity and the real meaning of Christmas, Noche de Paz- Silent Night- played in the background. We were all reminded that all is calm- Christ our Savior is born.

At Our Lady of Angels, families were engaged in celebrating faith, love and hope in times of a pandemic. We kept in mind that with God all things are possible. Although we were socially distanced, we came together to keep the spirit of Christmas alive for our community. The Hispanic Community Advisory Committee is already at task planning how to bring the community together in Christ for the rest of the year!

Homeschool program for Religious education

Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach has offered a homeschool program for Religious education for the past several years, so we were ready when faced with COVID restrictions! The whole program is based on the homeschool model this year, and our parents have really embraced the role of catechist for their children. This has become such a special time for families to deepen their faith while teaching their children about the life of Jesus and His love. Quiet time is set aside for these teachable moments, away from the pressure of remote learning and Google classrooms.

Our pastor, Fr. Marc Swartvagher, invites parents to virtual meetings every week so that we may “see” each other. Parents have this opportunity to ask questions about how the material should be presented, and Fr. Marc is happy to answer them. He also hosts a meeting with a prayer for both parents and children, and those have been wonderful! We’ve prayed the Rosary together in October, talked about and showed our favorite saints in November, and discovered the meaning behind the well-known Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in December. We are looking forward to our upcoming Lenten prayer service in February.

Our 2nd graders are preparing for First Holy Communion and spent special time with Jesus at Holy Hour. They had the option to attend in person or watch the live stream at home to learn more about the Eucharist and adoration. Fr. Marc explained it so beautifully for those attending for the first time. We are hoping to have more of these experiences with the rest of our families!

 

For more information contact us at our website.

St. Joseph’s Table

The St. Joseph’s Table altar at the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles.

 

While looking into how a family can celebrate The Year of St. Joseph at home, I stumbled upon, “St. Joseph’s Table”. I found this to be interesting mostly because I never heard of it. The feast day of St. Joseph is March 19th. This falls in the middle of Lent. As I continued to read I understood why the “table” was mostly pastries and bread. There is no meat at the table because it falls during Lent. 

Tradition comes from medieval times in Sicily. The story goes that there had been a great drought and famine on the island. The people prayed to St. Joseph for his intercession. When the sky opened, and rain finally came the people knew St. Joseph had answered their pleas. Their crops grew. After the harvest to show gratitude to St. Joseph and to honor him for answering their prayers they celebrated. The celebration included everyone. A table was prepared with special foods in honor of St. Joseph. The food was also shared with all the people, especially the poor and hungry. 

The tradition has changed in many ways, usually if celebrated at church, the celebration would be after mass. Some parishes were known to have actors dress as Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. They would bring offerings during mass and at the celebration, they would sit at the table. With Covid, sharing with others and gathering has made it difficult. That does not mean that you can’t celebrate at home. You can continue a tradition if this is done in your family or adopt the tradition if this is your first time. 

Involve your children or teens and anyone in your household. What a better way to tell the story of St. Joseph the foster father of our Savior chosen to protect Mary and Jesus. He was chosen to witness the birth of the Christ child. While very little is spoken of Joseph in the bible he plays an important role. He is another example to our children to have faith in God’s divine plan. This is the perfect family project. Teaching your children through tradition and symbolism. The quality of family time together is also great. 

There are 3 main points to this tradition: 

Veneration—special recognition of St. Joseph. Honoring the silent foster father of our Lord Jesus. He protected our Mother Mary and our Saviour. 

The Table—an altar and a communal celebration for gathering 

The Poor—The purpose of the foods is to help those in need. 

 

St. Joseph’s Table at home 

 

The create the table/altar at home you will need a three-tiered display. This can be made out of boxes and cover with a white linen tablecloth or sheet. The three tiers represent the Holy Trinity. A statue or picture of St. Joseph is placed on the top tier. The other can have flowers (especially Lilies). You buy them or make flowers out of tissue paper with your children. The other two tiers also have candles, pastries, and bread. Some people add wine symbolizing the wedding feast at Cana; pineapple symbolizing hospitality; and other fruits. 

You can make pastries with your children, and decorate the table together. How simple or ornate your “table/alter” is totally up to you. 

The items below are traditionally made from bread, but they can be made from cookie dough or even small pictures. How you display each symbol is completely up to you and your family. 

A Cross: The ultimate symbol of our Lord’s suffering and salvation. 

Breadcrumbs: Represents sawdust, since St. Joseph was a carpenter. 

Fava Beans: They can be served in a frittata or garlic sauce. If you have dry beans, they can be roasted and blessed. It became very popular as the “lucky bean.” Legend has it that you will never be broke if you carry one. Some people believe that if you keep one in the pantry, there will always be food in the kitchen. 

Baby Jesus: The baby Jesus to whom St. Joseph was the foster father. It can be a statue or a picture, even a drawing/coloring page that your younger children worked on. 

St. Joseph’s Staff: Legend has it that St. Joseph’s staff blossomed into a lily, a symbol both of life and death. 

St. Joseph’s Purse: This symbol is a reminder to give alms to the poor during Lent. A small pouch with coins for symbolism or even a jar where spare change can be collected and given to your parish at the end of Lent. 

A Sheaf of Wheat: Wheat is a reminder that when a single grain of wheat falls into the ground it bears much more food at harvest time. 

St. Joseph himself: He is always represented in profile and hunched over with a cane, symbolizing that he was (according to tradition) an old man, while Mary was a much younger woman. 

St. Joseph’s Beard: Is the sheaf of Wheat turned upside down, it is another reminder of Joseph’s wisdom and old age. 

Heart: A symbol of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

The Crown of Thorns: This is in remembrance of Christ’s passion and a reminder of the day’s feasting among Lent’s fasting, Lent is still a season of sorrow—and hope. 

In a time when we need to church, and we want to continue to pass our faith to our children the “Table” is a wonderful place to start. 

Happy Feast of St. Joseph! 

Total Consecration to St. Joseph

From the Office of Marriage, Family Life and Respect Life Education 

Just as Jesus and Mary entrusted themselves entirely to the care and protection of St. Joseph as the head of the Holy Family, so too can we follow their example. “Jesus, living under the roof of St. Joseph and being his Son, gave us a personal example of total entrustment to St. Joseph” (Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC). 

Why Consecration to St. Joseph? When one makes an act of consecration to a saint, it is made ultimately to God through the help of the saint. We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter, betrothed to Mary, a just man, ever ready to carry out God’s will. Blessed Pius IX declared St. Joseph “Patron of the Catholic Church.” Venerable Pius XII proposed him as “Patron of Workers.” Saint John Paul II called him “Guardian of the Redeemer.” St. Joseph is universally invoked as the “Patron of a Happy Death.” After Mary, the Mother of God, no saint is mentioned more frequently in the papal magisterium than Joseph, her spouse. (Pope Francis, Patris Corde). 

Ideally, families and groups could organize themselves to make the consecration together. Fr. Calloway’s book includes material for six weeks of group meetings leading up to the consecration. On the final day, a simple ceremony could be planned where the group recites the consecration prayer together led by their pastor or parochial vicar following the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. 

To make a 33-day consecration, we recommend that you use the new book Consecration to St. Joseph: The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. 

 

PRAYER OF CONSECRATION TO ST. JOSEPH 

O Glorious Patriarch and Patron of the Church! O Virgin Spouse of the Virgin Mother of God! O Guardian and Virginal Father of the Word Incarnate! In the presence of Jesus and Mary, I choose you this day to be my father, my guardian, and my protector. 

O great St. Joseph, whom God has made the Head of the Holy Family, accept me, I beseech you, though utterly unworthy, to be a member of your “Holy House.” Present me to your Immaculate Spouse; ask her also to adopt me as her child. With her, pray that I may constantly think of Jesus, and serve him faithfully to the end of my life. O Terror of Demons, increase in me virtue, protect me from the evil one, and help me not to offend God in any way. 

O my Spiritual Father, I hereby consecrate myself to you. In faithful imitation of Jesus and Mary, I place myself and all my concerns under your care and protection. To you, after Jesus and Mary, I consecrate my body and soul, with all their faculties, my spiritual growth, my home, and all my affairs and undertakings. 

Forsake me not, but adopt me as a servant and child of the Holy Family. Watch over me at all times, but especially at the hour of my death. Console and strengthen me with the presence of Jesus and Mary so that, with you, I may praise and adore the Holy Trinity for all eternity. Amen. 

BROOKLYN CATHOLIC SCHOOL TO HOST BLACK HISTORY MONTH ORATORICAL COMPETITION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2021

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Adriana Rodriguez
646-241-9805
arodriguez@desalesmedia.org

John Quaglione 
718-576-9180
jquaglione@desalesmedia.org

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

BROOKLYN CATHOLIC SCHOOL TO HOST BLACK HISTORY MONTH ORATORICAL COMPETITION

 

St. Francis Assisi Catholic Academy in Brooklyn will host the 4th grade Black History Month Oratorical Competition finals tomorrow, Friday, February 26, 2021, at 10 a.m. in the school auditorium and shared via Zoom with all academy classrooms.

As part of the school’s celebration of Black History Month, each day this week students competed in grade-specific final rounds, concluding tomorrow with the fourth grade. The overall Black History Month Oratorical Competition school winner will also be chosen tomorrow.

Seven fourth graders have advanced to their grade-level finals and will present from memory a famous speech made by an African-American. The speeches selected include: “A More Perfect Union” by President Barack Obama, “What to a slave is The Fourth of July” by Frederick Douglas, the speeches given by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis at the 1963 March on Washington, and the speech given by Rosa Parks at the 1965 Alabama Freedom March.

St. Francis Assisi Catholic Academy is located at 400 Lincoln Road in Brooklyn. Lorraine Pierre is the Principal.

Members of the media interested in attending are asked to send an email to John Quaglione at jquaglione@desalesmedia.org.

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BROOKLYN CATHOLIC STUDENTS TO CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH THROUGH LEARNING

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 23, 2021

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Adriana Rodriguez
646-241-9805
arodriguez@desalesmedia.org

John Quaglione 
718-576-9180
jquaglione@desalesmedia.org

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

CATHOLIC STUDENTS TO CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH THROUGH LEARNING

Students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy in Brooklyn will make presentations on the lives of prominent Black figures, recognized as champions in areas of social justice, sports, aviation, politics, and the arts, at an event tomorrow, Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 10 a.m., as part of the school’s celebration of Black History Month.

Muhammad Ali, Charles H. Alston, Maya Angelou, Ella Baker, Bessie Coleman, Nelson Mandela, Michelle Obama, and Jesse Owens are among those to be highlighted by students of Grades 5 through 8.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help is located at 5902-6th Avenue in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. Members of the media are welcome and should send an e-mail to John Quaglione at jquaglione@desalesmedia.org if planning on attending.

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VIRTUAL FLYING CLASSROOM, LED BY FIRST BLACK MAN TO FLY SOLO AROUND THE WORLD, LANDS AT BROOKLYN CATHOLIC SCHOOL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 10, 2021

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Adriana Rodriguez
646-241-9805
arodriguez@desalesmedia.org

John Quaglione 
718-576-9180
jquaglione@desalesmedia.org

VIRTUAL FLYING CLASSROOM, LED BY FIRST BLACK MAN TO FLY SOLO AROUND THE WORLD, LANDS AT BROOKLYN CATHOLIC SCHOOL

Students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, this morning participated in a virtual journey around the world thanks to a “Flying Classroom” as part of their celebration of Catholic Schools Week and Black History Month. All students participated with some seated socially distanced in the auditorium, and others from their classrooms.

The “Flying Classroom” lesson was led by Captain Barrington Irving, who in 2007 became the first Black man and youngest person ever to fly solo around the world. Captain Irving traveled 30,000 miles over 97 days, making 27 stops in 13 countries, in a single-engine plane known as “Inspiration.” Prior to his achievement, the youngest person to have flown around the world solo was 37 years of age. Captain Irving completed this at the age of 23.

Launched in 2014, the “Flying Classroom” is a K-8 STEM+ digital curriculum that challenges students to design innovative solutions to the problems he investigates. The lessons will be incorporated into the Diocesan school and academy curriculum as a component of the 2021 Year of Renewal for Catholic Education.  “I am encouraged by today’s presentation and believe this program will get the students

to really love science and math and it will greatly enhance our STEM program at our school. I hope by listening to Captain Irving’s life story, my students will see the value of perseverance because there is so much to learn in this world,” said Margaret Tyndall, Principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy.

The theme of Catholic Schools Week this year is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.”

Members of the media can request interviews with Principal Margaret Tyndall and/or Captain Barrington Irving, and additionally can request the recording of the Zoom presentation by sending an e-mail to jquaglione@desalesmedia.org.

Photo attached: Captain Barrington Irving speaks with the students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy in Brooklyn including this Kindergarten class.

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