Expanding our Table – Donna Whiteford

Happy August to all those in the St Charles Parish Family and to all of our Friends. I hope that everyone has been able to enjoy the summer and get in some relaxation, wherever you may be.

Matthew’s Gospel on Sunday recounts the miracle of the loaves and fishes. I can’t exactly explain why, but this Gospel passage has always been a favorite of mine. Perhaps it is the demonstrated faith of the apostles that after Christ blessed the meager food supplies which they had collected and then began to share, that He would expand the table and enable all of those present to be fed. Or I sometimes see in it a metaphor for the boundless love that Christ has for us, his brothers and sisters, and his willingness to share that love with us in whatever way we may need. Other times for me it symbolizes how Christ, and the church and our parish community, is the table at which we are able to nourish our spiritual hunger and renew and sustain our faith. And, as you will hear from Fr. Bill on Sunday, it can be seen to prefigure the Last Supper and our own Eucharist, which celebrates and renews our relationship with God.

Today I am also struck by how relevant this passage is to St. Charles during these turbulent times and how we have lived it. Where many may have seen only a sudden inability to attend mass and a loss of our ability to participate in the spiritual life of the church and our faith, our parishioners, together with Fr. Bill, Fr. John, and Msgr. Al, have shared their faith and many talents and expanded the reach of St Charles using technology to bring St. Charles into our homes so that we might continue to feed our spiritual hunger. Parishioners volunteered to help prepare bags of food each week at Catholic Charities for distribution to the growing number of those in need. Other parishioners have volunteered to serve as Ushers at the Sunday and Wednesday Masses to ensure that we are able to safely serve those that want to participate in-person. And our Religious Ed teachers continued to teach and mentor our young parishioners on-line through the spring. The expansion of our table to nourish all those in need was indeed wonderful!

But now we need to look to the future. As St. Charles looks ahead to the new normal, we have an opportunity to renew our relationship with both the Lord and our community and to decide what we want our community to be. Supported by our faith in the Lord, it is up to us, the disciples of Christ working together here at St. Charles Borromeo in Brooklyn to set a path to expand our community to ensure we are nourishing and sustaining the faith of all as we celebrate the Kingdom of God on earth. So I ask each of us to prayerfully consider what we want the St. Charles faith community to be and how we each might play a part in bringing that community to life to continue to expand our table. The Parish Pastoral Council wants to hear from you.

Your Sister in Christ,
Donna Whiteford