Called to Act – Lauren Lee Pettiette Schewel

Next week, I will be able to wish my Daddy a “Happy Father’s Day.”  At the same time, in Minneapolis, a young six-year-old girl named Gianna will not.  Gianna’s father was George Floyd, the Black man cruelly, callously murdered by white cops just a few weeks ago.  I have been struck by the action that has risen in the wake of his death—the discussions, the protests, the riots, the call for change.  As Gianna observed, her “Daddy changed the world.”  And we should all pray that her observation rings true.

When I watched the video of George Floyd’s death, I saw the humanity taken away from him.  He called out for “Mama”; he called out for “water”; he called out for breath.  He called out for the gifts that God grants us as His people—but still, George Floyd died from the oppressive power of the law in this country.  I pray to God every time I see the video replay that He will bless George with a different outcome—that this father will be able to get up and see his children.  Instead, Gianna and her siblings—and all of us—must relive what happened for the rest of our lives.  We are forced to see what white complacency, fragility, supremacy, and inaction do to Black people. Continue reading “Called to Act – Lauren Lee Pettiette Schewel”

Reflections from Our Confirmation Class

Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash

The Confirmation Class of 2020 has continued their preparation for the sacrament throughout the lockdown. Today we are sharing some of their reflections on how being unable to participate in the Mass has affected them:

Although we are not able to attend Mass during these times, which makes me feel disconnected from God and my faith, I feel very close to my family and I am spreading my love through them.
– Nicholas N. Continue reading “Reflections from Our Confirmation Class”

Walking Before We Fly, (Pt. II) – Joe Genova

In Part I of Walking Before We Fly, I focused on Faith Formation, and on what I should have called Faith Maturation. Children do not choose to be born into a Christian family. We want them to embrace and flourish in it, not be frightened either into it or away from it. That is a challenge, even with adults. In between, we have the teens and young adults, like the girls’ volleyball team helping with food distribution at St. Finbar’s on May 29. Not only were they practicing their faith, but they were in a room full of adults doing the same thing. That reinforces the faith for them, as it did for the adults.

Following up, I agreed to comment on Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’ (On Care For Our Common Home). Father Bill said “it is not just recycling.” True, but recycling is like learning to ride the bike (see Part I) toward protecting Mother Earth. If we cannot be bothered recycling, how will we face the big issues—changing our own lifestyles, even if it is inconvenient, and becoming advocates for protecting the environment, even if it is politically unpopular? Continue reading “Walking Before We Fly, (Pt. II) – Joe Genova”

Walking Before We Fly (Pt. I) – Joe Genova

I was struck by the sharpness and zeal of what last week’s readings say about what Christians will face. As we end the Easter season and prepare to reenter Ordinary Time, I’d like to reflect on fostering spiritual growth and strength based upon my experience raising two sons here in Brooklyn Heights and in St. Charles Borromeo parish. Today, in what I have boldly called Part I, I want to talk about faith formation—the groundwork that creates Christians strong enough to face fires. Part II will be based on Laudato Si, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment. Continue reading “Walking Before We Fly (Pt. I) – Joe Genova”

The Power of Prayer – Maria Marti

Wash your hands…Wear a mask…Maintain six feet of distance…Avoid crowds…Watch daily updates by Governor Cuomo on the confirmed cases…Isolate…Quarantine…Lockdown… Zoom… Skype… Home school…Work from home…Closures of non-essential businesses.   Most of us cannot truly find the words to describe our new reality.

In the midst of all of this uncertainty, we have also witnessed the wonders and blessings of God.  We see how medical professionals attend to coronavirus patients.   Catholic charities provide emergency assistance and food.  We comfort our loved ones, neighbors, and parishioners by connecting and reaching out.   “I believe that I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13) Continue reading “The Power of Prayer – Maria Marti”

It Takes a Parish to Raise a Catholic…

While the old African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child is true, it is equally true that it takes a parish to raise a Catholic. You are probably picturing one of our many adorable little parishioners of St. Charles but I am speaking here of myself, Antonia Fusco, very well passed that adorable age. You may know me as a lector and Eucharistic minister at the nine o’clock Mass or as a catechist. And while I’m actively involved in the parish today, it wasn’t always so. In fact, I was only Confirmed in 2017, when I came to St. Charles in a highly vulnerable state. I was mourning the passing of my father, a practicing Catholic, who breathed his last in my arms.

I had been away from the church for many decades; the last Sacrament I had received was Holy Communion, so Catholicism felt very new to me in 2017. Over the course of these past three years, you, my fellow parishioners, alongside Fr. Bill, Fr. Anselmus, Monsignor LoPinto, and Fr. John, have helped raise this Catholic in ways you might not have known.  So in the spirit of gratitude, here’s what I have learned from you: Continue reading “It Takes a Parish to Raise a Catholic…”