From Our Pastors
This year we celebrate All Saints Day on Sunday and All Souls on Monday. These feasts are an annual reminder that we are the heirs to a long and rich tradition of faith, hope and love. We have parishes because others built and sustained them. Even the most cursory of glances around our churches reminds us that the dedication, generosity and faith of many has given us beautiful spaces in which to worship and facilities where we can gather and do good work. We owe the generations of parishioners a debt of gratitude. But more importantly their gift calls us to recognize we are a “link in a chain” which means our efforts now not only benefit us but also provide a future for successive generations.
The pandemic has forced us to focus on what is important. The impact has been felt in our families, among our friends, at work and school, and has had equally significant impact on our parish communities.
The pandemic quickly took away the possibilities of sitting together in church on Sunday morning, shaking hands, hugs, close conversations, suspended coffee hour and most programming. We could no longer sit together and be uplifted by the choir or cantors or sing together. The lockdown meant we could no longer hold classes for our youth or engage in discussions, except remotely.
As soon as lockdown began the Brooklyn Oratory started to offer innovative ways to keep connected to our faith and its practices, and to God and to each other.
For months we have found ways to offer virtual masses and homilies, music, prayer, and other forms of care, assistance, inspiration and encouragement. In more recent times we have been successfully holding masses and celebrating other sacraments, with limited numbers and appropriate safeguards.
The Brooklyn Oratory parishes have been a spiritual home and source of inspiration for generations. We have been here for each other when you needed baptisms and weddings. And we have been here when those among us were ill or needed comfort, or when it came time to say goodbye to loved ones. We have accompanied each other in the raising of children. Week in and week out, the homilies have challenged and encouraged, our liturgies have comforted and inspired, and the music has nourished and uplifted. And together we have maintained a robust program of advocacy and practical care for the vulnerable, both locally and overseas.
We are hopeful that the New Year will bring about developments that will enable us to return to some version of normal. In order for us to continue to do our work and for us to be here for each other when the need arises, we will in the coming weeks ask you to renew your financial commitment to our parish communities. Whatever we provide is what we have to keep the lights on, pay the staff, cover insurance, and do maintenance, provide charity and care... and the ongoing multitude of bills that are needed every time we open the doors or run any programming. With your help we will continue to be here for you when you need us and with your help we will continue to not only survive but to grow.
In these uncertain times our commitment to each other keeps faith, hope, and love alive and active among us for years to come.
Fr. Mark Lane, C.O. and Fr. Michael Callaghan, C.O.