Hi, everyone, I’m Carol DeSantis. I have been a member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish for about 17 years. I know many you of from our various Ministries, the 9 AM Sunday Mass, and our Meet and Greets and look forward to knowing more of you. I am grateful for the many ways we are connecting as a Parish family and faith community during this time and hope you are able to participate in some way too. I find St. Charles Borromeo to be a welcoming community united in faith, hope, and love.
If anyone told me a year ago that “Zoom” would be one of the most used words in my vocabulary today and that I would be participating in meetings, tutoring, doing homework help, playing Family Feud, having an Easter egg hunt and… praying, and, last and certainly not least, attending Mass via Zoom, I doubt that I would really, truly have believed them. During this time, I am reminded that we humans may not be perfect but we sure are flexible and strong, and change and hardship bring out creativity and the best in most.
Fr. Bill’s message and comments on the second Reading below resound of hope, love, and faith, which is a message we certainly need today, as did the converts around 70 AD. We too are going through a period of conversion and I wonder how will we be transformed in the process. The converts were told “to conduct [themselves] with reference during the time of [their] sojourning.” Further, even “Jesus got his hands dirty.” I truly appreciate hearing this as I see it describes our lives as they are now. As many lives have been lost and as so many people, all of us, are experiencing those losses, as well as fear, anxiety, and suffering due to the pandemic, I see hope and so much love springing forth when I see people “getting their hands dirty,” so to speak, as they go beyond whatever one could imagine they would and could do for others.
With that said, please remember that members of your parish are ready to pick up your groceries and medications and to run errands for you. We are just a phone call or email away if you need assistance. Many people even like to get their hands dirty, and you may be helping them by letting them help you.
I am grateful for the many ways we connect on Zoom at St. Charles during this time of sheltering in place. Our church building being temporarily closed reminds me that a church is the faith community. I want to take this opportunity to thank Msgr. Al, Fr. Bill, and Fr. John for all that has been put in place to keep us connected. There are so many lay people using their God-given skills to assist with the functioning of our parish’s faith community that I won’t include anyone’s name for fear of forgetting someone. Nevertheless: thank you.
It is in these times of conversion and getting our hands dirty that people need our prayers and love through those prayer even more. I find solace and peace in prayer and meditation. To me praying the Rosary with others is truly one of the greatest gifts that has come to me during this time of sheltering in place. I experience praying the Rosary as a way to acknowledge and honor our Blessed Mother and to seek her intercession in time of need – especially in time of our greatest need. There seems to me no better time to pray the Rosary and to pray it together as Christ told us to pray when He said: “for when two or three gather in my name, there am I…” than now. Mary was a woman of faith who said “yes.” To me she was an incredible listener and observer and she impresses me as a woman who never missed a trick. Likewise, she had amazing insight and was quite unselfish. Our Blessed Mother is there for us and I believe waits patiently to hear from us. Remember we at St. Charles come together via Zoom on Mondays at 5 PM and on Wednesdays at Noon to pray the Rosary together. Please Zoom in for the Rosary or for a decade or two.
On a different note, more like a musical one, many songs come into my head even when I don’t have music playing. Hymns come on their own for days and then go; Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi comes playing through reminding me of change and some say progress. Since earlier this month when we lost Bill Withers, his song “Lean on Me” has been coming through; then all feels hopeful again because we are in this together.
Let us remember those we have lost and those who have lost their loved ones. Let us keep them and those who are helping us stay on track and keeping it going for us in our prayers. To name a few, let’s remember to pray for New York City’s and State’s employees, medical professionals and all hospital workers, caretakers, respiratory therapists, radiology technicians, security guards, cleaning staff, restaurant workers and delivery personnel, taxi drivers, grocers, pharmacists, our clergy and every one of you.
Yours in the Faith, Hope, and Love of the Lord,
Carol DeSantis on behalf of the Parish Pastoral Council