***MEDIA ADVISORY***BISHOP NICHOLAS DIMARZIO TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS MASS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 24, 2020

MEDIA CONTACTS:

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

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

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

BISHOP NICHOLAS DIMARZIO TO CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS MASS

            The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, will celebrate Christmas Mass tomorrow, Friday, December 25, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph located at 856 Pacific Street in the Prospect Heights section of Brooklyn.

The Mass will be broadcast live on NET-TV, the Diocese of Brooklyn’s cable channel.  NET-TV, New York’s Catholic Station, can be seen on Channel 97 on Spectrum, Channel 30 on Optimum, and on Channel 548 on Verizon by Fios.

Members of the media are invited to attend. Media outlets planning to attend are asked to e-mail jquaglione@desalesmedia.org.

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CHURCH COMMUNITY UNITES TO REPLACE STATUE DAMAGED BY ACT OF VANDALISM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 12, 2020

MEDIA CONTACTS:

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

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

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

CHURCH COMMUNITY UNITES TO REPLACE STATUE DAMAGED BY ACT OF VANDALISM

            The Diocese of Brooklyn is announcing that through the generous support of the Knights of Columbus and parishioners, a new statue honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe will be dedicated in the Grotto of the Shrine Church of Our Lady of Solace in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn tonight, Saturday, December 12, 2020, at 5 p.m.

The statue was damaged on September 11 and the vandalism was caught on camera. The New York City Police Department, soon after releasing the surveillance video, made an arrest.  Today is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Our Lady of Solace is located at 2866 West 17th Street (Corner of West 17th Street and Mermaid Avenue).  Members of the media are invited to attend. To RSVP, please e-mail John Quaglione at jquaglione@desalesmedia.org

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Small Faith Sharing

Photo: Courtesy of RENEW INTERNATIONAL.

 

RENEW INTERNATIONAL has helped many parishes establish small faith-sharing groups in many of the parishes in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens. Single or married sharing your faith with others is another way to stay connected during this pandemic time. Many parishes are encouraging reaching out to groups in order to stay connected to the community at large while expanding your knowledge.

If you are interested in belonging to a group or even what to start a group. Register for the webinar and then speak to your pastor. All formation sessions are online. Learn how to stay virtually connected with the goal in mind is sharing your faith.

 

Winter Formation Workshop I: WHAT ARE WE CELEBRATING?

 

The Formation Workshop:

  • Offers an overview of Sessions 1-6 in Celebrate in preparations for Lent 2021 small groups. Provides an overview of liturgy and the liturgical seasons.
  • Draws participants into an understanding of sacraments as doors to the sacred, events to be celebrated, and living encounters with Christ in the Church community.
  • Provides an overview of the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation)

 

Audience:

Why Catholic? parish team, small community leaders and their community members, and all interested adults.

 

Formation Sessions are Online! Download the Schedule and Zoom Channels.

 

For questions:

English Sessions: Sr. Janet Schaeffler, RENEW representative, janets@renewintl.org

Spanish Sessions: Sr. Ruth Bolarte, RENEW representative, ruthb@renewintl.org

 

Or for more information, please contact:

Christine Georgi at cgeorgi@diobrook.org or (718) 281-9544

Young Adults Unite for Youth

November is known as the month of coming together with family and friends to break bread and give thanks. It provides the opportunity to pause and remember all that we are grateful for. For the youth of Brooklyn and Queens, November also brought along Virtual Fall Youth Day.

The first Virtual Brooklyn Queens Catholic Youth Day (BQCYD) took place in May 2020 amidst the pandemic NYC is all too familiar with. It was such a success the young adults who created it for the youth decided to hold a Fall one. Lucia Morales, the Catholic Youth Ministry Specialist, created a committee of youth ministers from Brooklyn and Queens to help this new tradition stay alive. The committee consisted of Brandon Morel, youth minister at St. Michael-St. Malachy (Brooklyn), Lauren Gentry, youth minister at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Queens), Joseph Fortunat, youth minister at St. John Vianney (Queens), German Medina, youth minister at St. Laurence-Holy Family (Brooklyn), & Angelica Taveras, youth minister at St. Laurence (Queens.)

While contemplating on themes for the Fall 2020 BCQYD, the committee looked at the current state of not only the city but the world. It seemed there were lots of division within the political world, the health world, and even amongst Catholics. The committee turned to prayer and scripture as they sought guidance and came across John 17:11 “That they may be one just as we are.” The committee decided to focus on unity and oneness for the teens. They enlisted Fr. Joseph Espaillat as the keynote speaker, Si7 for worship and music, Fr. James Kuroly to bring adoration to all watching. To help run the show, Brandon and Lauren from the committee were the co-hosts. The remaining committee members controlled the YouTube Chat, making sure to engage teens through YouTube and answer any questions they may have throughout the event.

All the young adults involved in the Youth Event have an already packed schedule, filled with schoolwork, family, parenthood, ministry, and of course, their own spiritual lives. Yet, despite the challenges, time constraints, busy schedules, they each said yes to the calling God placed in front of them in order to ensure the teens of Brooklyn and Queens were not left alone as NYC faced yet another potential lock-down.

As we prepare for Advent and the birth of our Savior, may we keep in mind our mission of bringing Jesus to those around us the same way these young adults did.

Read The Tablet coverage here.

Advent Reflection 2020

Photo on the right: Jacob Bentzinger, Unsplash.

In past years we had our Annual Advent Reflection that was held in person. The small event of 100 people per session, would consist of an evening prayer often led by one of our auxiliary Bishops, a presentation, a dinner, and then a repeat for a second group. This always “sold out” quickly. This event drew catechetical leaders, teachers, catechists, and even diocesan employees. Dinner was a great way to share a meal, socialize with others that we knew or just met. There was no “work” involved, it was a way to bring the participants a moment of reflection and fellowship. If the Covid-19 pandemic had not sent us all into social distancing, restrictions on the number of those gathering, and mask-wearing, we would have had our Advent Reflection as normal, but these are not normal times.

Being led by the Vicar for the Secretariat for Evangelization and Catechesis, the Very Rev. Joseph Gibino called us all to re-think, re-imagine, and re-shape the Advent Reflection. We started with keeping the previously planned date of December 1, 2020. While the youths of our diocese can make videos, conference, and stitch together videos into something seamless, this was a challenge for us. We wanted something that would attract young adults, older adults, and people of various languages.

We started with the things we could do and decided on the languages we wanted to blend into this event. English, Spanish, Creole, Polish, and Chinese are the languages that were chosen. The locations for shooting the various parts were chosen and we were on our way.
The celebrant for the Mass will be Very Rev. Joseph Gibino.

Photo below: James Coleman, Unsplash.

We are blessed to have the homilies given by Deacon Chris Wagner (English), Deacon Jorge Gonzalez (Spanish), Deacon Emmanuel Coty (Creole), Deacon Andrzej Lewandowski (Polish), and Deacon Stanley Tam (Chinese).

The presentations will be given by Sr. Maryann Seton Lopiccolo (English), Ana Taveras (Spanish), Fr. Hugues Berrette (Creole), Fr. Janusz Dymek (Polish) and Fr. Vincentius Do (Chinese).
The Holy Hour celebrant will be Rev. Elias Gil and we will pray an international rosary reciting the decades in the same languages of English, Spanish, Creole, Polish and Chinese offered for the homilies.

The event is pre-recorded, and we pray that it will have a memorable effect on all those that see it. We look forward to events in the future that we will work towards making them live-stream in multiple languages as well.

The video will be posted on our YouTube Channel: Sec Evangelization Catechesis on December 1, 2020, at 4:00 PM. We would love to hear your thoughts. Remember to subscribe and post your comments.

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 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 renewgala2020.givesmart.com 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 gala@renewintl.org

www.renewintl.org

 

Silence

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.

St. Pancras: Parish Life During the Pandemic

By Juan Perez, Director of Faith Formation, St. Pancras Church

As the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic increased in great numbers, the State of New York set restrictions for the health and safety of the public. It became apparent that this was going to affect our Parish life. Reverend Francis J. Hughes, Pastor of St. Pancras Roman Catholic Church, and I, as Director of Faith Formation, needed to come up with a plan for completing the rest of the year’s program. The schools were closed, the church was closed, and our program was suspended until further notice.

For us, faith formation is a very important piece in the life of the Church. After meeting with Father Hughes, we spoke about many ideas. As a result, we came to the conclusion that we needed to have the catechists, the parents, and the students involved as much as we could. Our idea was to create PDF remote lessons for the students, and this is how we did it. First, we contacted the 11 catechists, who teach 1st through 8th grades, and explained our ideas. Then, we sent an email to the parents, explaining the procedure for the rest of the school year.

  • Each catechist was asked to send me an assessment for each chapter, for a total of eight weeks.
  • Next, I converted the lessons into fill-in PDF forms.
  • The PDF forms were sent to each catechist with the names of the students and respective emails.
  • Every week, the catechists sent the remote lessons to the parents with the directions and due dates.
  • It was suggested that the parents work with their children to read chapters and complete the lessons. Upon completion, the parents were asked to send the completed lessons to their catechist.
  • After the catechists received the completed lessons from the parents, they recorded the students as present on the attendance sheet.
  • Every week, I kept in contact with the catechists and my pastor to review how the process was going.

At the conclusion of the school year, we promoted all of those students who were involved in the program. Father Hughes and I met to review the procedures we followed during the pandemic.  We agreed that our plan of having the catechists, the parents, and the children involved with the remote lessons was very successful, and we were pleased with the outcome. In addition, Father and I spoke about registration for the next school year.  Father suggested that we should try implementing online registrations and payments, which are already in motion.

After receiving my Master’s Degree in Systematic Theology in 2015, I wanted to do more for the Church and explore new ways to evangelize by taking advantage of the new technology. As a result, I have been using Facebook Live to preach the Gospel of the Lord in a different way. Thanks to this, about 40,000 people follow my Bible teachings and reflections on my Facebook page, Comunidad Catolica Fuego de Dios, translated in English, Catholic Community of God’s Fire.

In response to the request of many Latinos within the Diocese of Brooklyn and surrounding communities, my online teaching sessions increased enormously. When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, I had to reinvent myself by transforming my bedroom into a mini-stream studio in order to be able to teach online through Zoom and Facebook rooms. To make the lessons more interesting, I incorporated Power Point presentations and prayers. The sessions also include live music with ministers from God’s Fire International Music Ministry, who connected with me through Zoom and Facebook Live. The viewers are given the opportunity to interact and make prayer requests. As a result, each presentation has between 8,000 and 20,000 viewers with very positive feedback.

The online presentations have opened other doors for me. Members of the Latino communities expressed an interest in having me prepare and offer retreats all over the United States, and including some other countries. These retreats are offered to young people, men, women, and families. This experience has changed my life because I see the pain, the suffering, and the desire to have a real and sincere relationship with God.

For years, I have written and produced music and videos for our Catholic community, based in the teachings and the Doctrine of the Church, which have had a very positive impact in the communities I have served. I am also in the process of releasing my new album, We Are Israel, and my upcoming book, Rise Up with Power.

Check me up on Facebook, on Instagram: @juancofgod, and YouTube – Camilo Perez.

To the Faithful of the Diocese in Brooklyn & Queens on the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

 

May 1, 2020
St. Joseph the Worker

To the Faithful of the Diocese in Brooklyn & Queens:

As you read this letter, we are in the midst of the Easter Season. We rejoice in the risen Jesus and in what that Resurrection means for us who are members of His Body. By His Cross and Resurrection, Christ has set us free.

Yet, as much as we believe and rejoice in that Paschal mystery, we are celebrating in a very difficult and challenging time. Our observance of Lent this year was marked by unexpected and unwelcome penances for which we did not ask. Easter is marred by the same. We always trust in Jesus and His promise to be with us always and His command to us not to fear.

The pandemic we are experiencing has done many things. It has, first of all, taken from us some of our loved ones. Many of us have experienced the suffering of so many sick people.

At the same time we have also seen the strength and resilience of many of our first responders, doctors, nurses and other medical personnel, and so many more who are considered to be essential workers. This has moved us to feel and express a gratitude which we perhaps should have expressed previously. So we mourn our beloved dead, we continue to pray for the sick among us and we thank those who help bravely.

Our spiritual lives have changed, too. We have experienced the closure of our churches. How painful this is to us, who feel that the Church is a “second home” in so many ways. We have been unable to receive the sacraments. I am thinking most especially of the Sacrament of Penance and Eucharist.

Please allow me to reflect on that for a moment. The sacraments are indeed the way that Jesus chose to remain in our lives and the way that we continue to experience His presence and work among us. Nothing can replace that for us. It is most especially true in the Eucharist where Jesus is truly and substantially present to us that we experience Him in a unique and irreplaceable way. However, this experience has also taught us that Jesus cannot be limited.

He cannot be contained. We can and do experience Him in many different ways. A sincere Act of Contrition and a Spiritual Communion, while not replacements for the sacraments, are ways to allow Jesus into our lives. We have even been unable to mourn our dead in the ways we are accustomed to doing. While this is heart breaking, we know that God’s mercy is overwhelming and we can pray for our loved ones at all times.

The closing of our churches has been unavoidable, as Brooklyn and Queens has had nearly 60% of all cases of Covid-19 in New York City. Though there are many who doubt and even publicly speak out against the decisions made to close churches and maintain social distancing, please know that decisions like these have not been taken lightly, especially in this Diocese where Brooklyn and Queens are literally at the epicenter of the crisis in New York City, which is the epicenter of the United States. We have had to resort to these desperate measures to prevent the further loss of life and spread of disease. Life is God’s great gift and we must protect it.

That is why our churches will remain closed until it is safe to reopen them, a decision that will be made by Diocese of Brooklyn with the assistance of Mr. Joseph Esposito (former Commissioner of the Office of Emergency Management for New York City) in conjunction with public health authorities. When our churches do reopen, unfortunately, we will not be able to resume church life as we enjoyed it before. There will be changes to keep everyone healthy and safe. We will respond as always, as faithful People of God, to the challenges placed before us. I ask that we all strive to understand, to adapt and to rise up to these challenges. I want to thank our priests and deacons who have learned new ways to minister to you: for streamed Masses and retreats, homilies and talks, and various other engaging events on line which all help us remain close as the parish families we are and keep our spirits lifted as joy- filled Christians.

We continue to pray for our beloved dead, may they rest in peace; and we pray for the sick that they will experience the presence of Christ the Healer; for our governmental leaders; for our dedicated first responders, doctors, nurses, medical personnel, funeral directors, and essential workers; for the clergy and religious of our Diocese and for us all. May the Lord, who is Mercy Itself, lead us out of this difficult time and into a time of good health and new life.

The month of May is dedicated in a particular way to our Blessed Mother. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has asked us to pray the Rosary most fervently this month for an end to this pandemic. We place our trust in the intercession of Mary and of her blessed spouse St. Joseph whose feast we celebrate today, May 1st. Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us! St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us!

With an assurance of my continued remembrance of you in prayer, I am Sincerely in Christ,

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

 

1 de mayo de 2020
San José el Trabajador

A los fieles de la Diócesis en Brooklyn y Queens:

El leer esta carta, nosotros estamos en medio de la celebración de la Pascua. Nos regocijamos en Jesús resucitado y en lo que esa resurrección significa para nosotros quienes somos miembros de su cuerpo.

Por su cruz y resurrección, Cristo nos ha liberado. Sin embargo, por mucho que creamos y nos regocijemos en ese misterio pascual, estamos celebrando en un momento muy difícil y desafiante. Nuestra observación de la Cuaresma este año estuvo marcada por penitencias inesperadas y desagradables que no solicitamos. La Pascua se ve empañada de la misma forma. Siempre confiamos en Jesús y en su promesa de estar con nosotros siempre y en su mandato a nosotros de no temer.

La pandemia que estamos experimentando ha hecho muchas cosas. En primer lugar, nos ha quitado algunos de nuestros seres queridos. Muchos de nosotros hemos experimentado el sufrimiento de tantas personas enfermas. Al mismo tiempo, también hemos visto la fuerza y la resistencia de muchos de nuestros equipos de primeros auxilios, médicos, enfermeras y otro personal médico, y muchos más que consideramos trabajadores esenciales. Esto nos ha llevado a sentir y expresar una gratitud que quizás deberíamos haber expresado previamente. Lloramos a nuestros seres queridos, seguimos rezando por los enfermos entre nosotros y agradecemos a quienes nos ayudan con valentía.

Nuestras vidas espirituales también han cambiado. Hemos experimentado el cierre de nuestras iglesias. Qué doloroso es esto para nosotros, que sentimos que la Iglesia es un “segundo hogar” en muchos sentidos. No hemos podido recibir los sacramentos. Estoy pensando especialmente en el Sacramento de la Penitencia y la Eucaristía.

Permítame reflexionar sobre esto por un momento. Los sacramentos son, de hecho, la forma en la cual Jesús eligió permanecer en nuestras vidas y la forma como continuamos experimentando su presencia y su trabajo entre nosotros. Nada puede reemplazar eso para nosotros. Esto es especialmente cierto en la Eucaristía, donde Jesús está presente de manera real y sustancial para
nosotros, lo experimentamos de una manera única e insustituible. Sin embargo, esta experiencia también nos ha enseñado que Jesús no puede ser limitado. No puede ser contenido. Podemos y lo experimentamos de muchas maneras diferentes. Un acto de contrición sincero y una comunión espiritual, aunque no reemplazan a los Sacramentos, son formas de permitir que Jesús entre en nuestras vidas. Incluso no hemos podido llorar a nuestros difuntos de la forma en que estamos acostumbrados a hacerlo. Si bien esto es desgarrador, sabemos que la misericordia de Dios es contundente y podemos orar por nuestros seres queridos en todo momento.

El cierre de nuestras Iglesias ha sido inevitable, ya que Brooklyn y Queens han tenido cerca del 60% de todos los casos en la ciudad de Nueva York. Aunque hay muchos que dudan e incluso hablan públicamente en contra de las decisiones tomadas para cerrar Iglesias y mantener el distanciamiento social, sepan que decisiones como estas no se han tomado a la ligera, especialmente en esta Diócesis donde Brooklyn y Queens están literalmente en el epicentro de la crisis en la ciudad de Nueva York,
que es el epicentro de los Estados Unidos. Hemos tenido que recurrir a estas medidas desesperadas para evitar una mayor pérdida de vidas y la propagación de enfermedades. La vida es el gran regalo de Dios y debemos protegerla.

Esta es la razón por la cual nuestras iglesias permanecerán cerradas hasta que sea seguro reabrirlas, una decisión que será tomada por la Diócesis de Brooklyn, con la ayuda del señor Joseph Esposito (ex comisionado de la Oficina de Emergencias de la ciudad de Nueva York) y junto con las autoridades de salud pública. Cuando nuestras iglesias vuelvan a abrir, en el futuro cercano, desafortunadamente no podremos reanudar la vida de la Iglesia como la vivíamos antes. Habrá cambios para mantener a todos saludables y protegidos. Responderemos como siempre, como pueblo fiel de Dios, a los desafíos que se nos presenten. Pido que todos nos esforcemos por comprender, adaptarnos y hacer frente a estos desafíos. Quiero agradecer a nuestros sacerdotes y diáconos que han aprendido nuevas formas de servirle a ustedes: con Misas y retiros, homilías y charlas, y varios otros eventos interesantes transmitidos en las redes, que nos ayudan a permanecer unidos como familias parroquiales y mantener nuestros espíritus levantados como cristianos llenos de alegría.

Continuamos orando por nuestros seres queridos que han fallecido y le pedimos a Dios que descansen en su eterna gloria; por nuestra familia, amigos, sacerdotes, diáconos y religiosos y por los enfermos para que experimenten la presencia de Cristo el Sanador; por nuestros trabajadores esenciales y líderes gubernamentales; por nuestros líderes religiosos y por todos nosotros. Que el Señor, quien es la misericordia misma, nos guíe fuera de este momento difícil y hacia un tiempo de buena salud y vida
nueva.

El mes de mayo está dedicado de manera particular a nuestra Santísima Madre. Nuestro Santo Padre, el Papa Francisco, nos ha pedido rezar el Rosario más fervientemente este mes para poner fin a esta pandemia. Confiamos en la intercesión de María y de su bendito esposo San José, cuya fiesta celebramos hoy, 1 de mayo. María, Madre de la Iglesia, ruega por nosotros. San José, Patrono de la Iglesia Universal, ¡ruega por nosotros!

Con la promesa de mi continuo recuerdo de ustedes en oración,

Sinceramente en Cristo

Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio,
Obispo de Brooklyn