By Sister Ann Berendes, Director of Parish Social Ministry
It was so good to see just how many people came out to participate in our Mission led by Friar Kevin Cronin, OFM! It gave me much to ponder and to examine in my life as a Catholic religious Sister. The first night, Friar Kevin spoke about love and not only our need for it but also the need for all people to be given love. Those who are denied love, especially as a child, are often the ones whose lives go astray in adulthood. How can we give what we have never had or ever experienced? Isn’t that why Jesus came to us and took on humanity TOTALLY? Jesus came to give us love and to show love—by giving our all to those whom God loves; and God loves everyone!
Jesus was all human except for sin; yes, he was tempted directly by Satan but Jesus told Satan off—“Get behind me Satan! . . .The Lord your God shall you worship and he alone shall you serve.” How often we step into the role that belongs to God alone! We think we have all the right answers only to find that we do not. We become judge and jury for all those who don’t think as we think. We are led aside by Satan thinking that with our limited intelligence, WE have all the right answers. Jesus said, “Judge not and you shall not be judged.”
What ever happened to our belief in the Holy Spirit? It is this Holy Spirit who is the love of the Father for the Son, and the love the Son for the Father? This is the circle of Love—there is neither beginning nor end in the love of God. How can we dare to judge another? To place a judgement on a person that Jesus died for weither we think that person is good or bad is giving in to the temptation of the devil. We make it worse by spreading that condemnation to others by maligning their good name. It is just wrong; it is sinful.
Friar Kevin prepared us for the reception of the Sacrament of Penance. He reviewed all Ten Commanments and reminded us that we commit more sins through our tongue than we realize. I had heard that as a student in school and I never forgot it. The Sisters often followed that remark by saying, “. . . and it is the same organ on which we place the precious Body of Christ!” O, how we should watch how we use our tongues!
The last night of the Mission was on healing. We all need healing whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual. My prayer is one that our good Friar said, “We are all sinners; therefore, we all need healing.” Didn’t Jesus forgive sin before healing people? This is why the Pharasees wanted to kill Jesus. They realized that only God can forgive sin and that is why they accused him of Blasphemy. Later, after the Resurrection, Jesus gave the Apostles the power to heal, to forgive sin, and as Bishops, to pass that gift on our priests.
Just a reminder: our newest ministry, the Ministry of Friendliness, will have a meeting on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm in The Barn. All who are interestied in helping to form this ministry, are invited to attend. It is very important to get your input. If you are truly interested but can not attend, please call Sr. Ann at 631-874-3617 ext. 119 and leave your full name and phone number.
Bereavement Support Group will begin April 4th at 4:00pm in The Barn and continue each Wednesday through April and May. Please call in advance so that the correct number of materials can be ordered. Thank you for all that you do for God and our parish. May God bless you always, in all ways!
Lent is flying by so quickly and I stopped to take inventory of the things I would do without as well as the things I would do. No, I didn’t get a perfect score! What about you? At least I know that I have a few more weeks to try to revamp and try to finish Lent with a better score. We all know that God is looking for a change of heart or a change of attitude in our endeavors to live our Lenten resolutions. Perhaps you didn’t make any resolutions; that’s OK but maybe you just might make one or two now—it is never too late to try to be better.
We have a group of women who have been coming twice a month to meetings called “Senior Wisdom.” A short time ago we began to talk about “wisdom” and we discovered that “wisdom” in the Old Testament, is translated “Sophia.” As a result, we started calling this group by the name “Sophia’s Circle” and liked the sound of it. So, Senior Wisdom is now Sophia’s Circle. It’s too bad that more men don’t join us. When our seminarian, Paul, is not otherwise occupied, he joins us. After all, he will be dealing with men and women of all ages so it is a good experience for him, too.
Several people have expressed an interest in forming a new ministry—the Ministry of Friendliness. I would like to meet with all those interested in The Barn, on Wednesday, March 14th, in order to set up some guidelines together. If you are interested but can’t come that day, please call me and leave your first and last name, and your phone number, so we can get back to you. This is for keeping in touch with those who are homebound, finding them, talking with them and/or visiting them. If a person is homebound and would like to be remembered occasionally, it is a good outreach of the parish. However, there are some guidelines that are necessary.
We still have a need for a Bereavement Group. I have arranged to start the next during the Months of April and May on Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the IHM Room of the Convent. (That is the room adjacent to the Seton Chapel.) Please, if you are having difficulty because of the loss of a loved one, come and participate in this group which runs from 8-9 weeks. Please call me and leave your first and last name, and your phone number. Someone will return your call to verify that we have your name. If you call me, S. Ann, use 631.874.3617 extension 119. Thank you.
Don’t you just love the maroon reuseable bags? Your generosity in returning one was/is overwhelming! God bless you and all that you do for others!
Happy Winter! It is necessary to have cold in the Winter to preserve the types of vegetation that grow in our area and also to appreciate the Spring and Summer as they come and go! That's the way we humans are, also. We go through the Spring and Summer in life; then we embrace the maturing years as our Fall, which comprises the most of our lives (usually.) Eventually, we enter the Winter of our lives -- those years when we are retiring or are retired and we do all the things we were looking forward to doing and still find that we have time on our hands.
The wonder of it all is that ( I don't have a percentage but it is quite high) most of our volunteers are well into their "senior" years. We could not do what we do if we didn't have them! However, there are people who can not, for whatever reason, volunteer to do many of the jobs that we do here. In speaking with our Pastor, Fr. John, we were wondering if we have some people who would like to begin a new ministry. It would involve stopping in to see people who can not get out, or if you can't get out yourself, making calls to people who live alone just to say "hello." It might be called the Ministry of Friendliness.
If you think you might be able to do something like this, please call me, S. Ann, at 631.878.0009 ext 119, and we can set up a time when all interested people can share ideas. We have Ministries for all ages except for the most experienced in life -- those of us who are "seniors." We currently have a group called Senior Wisdom , which usually meets the second and fourth Thursday morning at 10:00 a.m. in the Immaculate Heart of Mary room adjacent to Seton Chapel. You can join at any time to enjoy our lively discussions based on what we are reading. We would welcome more members! Just come and see us; you may like it! In early March we will begin another Bereavement Group. Anyone who has lost a loved one through death,divorce, or even lost a job; anyone who is still suffering from a great loss will benefit from this group. It usually runs for 9 weeks, based on the book that I have found very useful. Please consider this if you are having difficulty bearing a loss. I can arrange the time of day when I hear from you.
“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all you lands.” This first line of Psalm 96 from today’s Responsorial Psalm, echoes my thoughts from our choir. We have been singing at the 10:30 mass on Sundays and we hear wonderful sounds coming from the congregation! Your singing has certainly improved. Wouldn’t some of you men and women (especially men who can sing low (bass) and women who like to harmonize (alto) consider joining the choir! A choir is used to enhance the beauty of our congregational singing, NOT to replace it. Please consider joining us. Rehearsals are on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Hope to see some of you there.
Please spread the word that we are offering Bereavement Support as of October 20 in the convent on the first floor at 10 a.m. Spread the word; it is a program that is spiritual in concept and has really helped many, many people in the past. If you know someone who has lost a loved one by death, divorce, or anything that has been a source of loss and is finding it hard to accept, this program may be just what the person needs. No one ever has to talk; sometimes just listening can be a great help. If you work and cannot come on a morning, let me know and I can arrange to have an evening program.
Our Senior Wisdom group began on Thursday, October 20 and will meet twice a month. Although we will be using a book in the beginning, feel free to come and add your Wisdom to that of the group. It should be an interesting encounter!
In the words of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, “We give thanks to God always for all of you, remembering you in our prayers, unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ before our God and Father . . . how you were chosen.” Yes, my friends, you and I were chosen from all eternity to be where we are. Are we living up to God’s expectations?
We are still in need of people to be receptionists on the first floor of The Barn. All you have to do is to answer the phone, take messages, and/or make appointments. We have great security so no need to worry. Two hours in the morning or two hours in the afternoon. Several people who have been coming are now having medical problems so we really need people who can fill in time slots. Just remember that all volunteers have to have taken the Virtus (Protecting God’s Children) and fill in the background report. For more information about this, call Liz in the Faith Formation Office (631.874.3131).
As always, I am gratefully amazed at all that you do for God and the people of this area! God bless you.
Here are some important notices for you to consider,
1) On October 28, Exercise for Others: This program was launched last year quite successfully. Note that between 2007 and 2014 roughly 8% of all Long Island children live in poverty. In its first year, participants raised more than $30,000 for the needy of our community-- more than $12,000 was donated to Catholic Charities. This year the fund raiser will take place simultaneously at three popular LI gyms: Wanda's Weight Room is the closest to us. You can start or join a Spin Team or Zumba (Online registration and donation at exercise4others.org)
Donate to a team or a participant: each zumba dancer is required to raise a minimum of $100. Each spin team (1-4 members) is required to raise a minimum of $500.
I recently heard that our parish raised the most money of any participating group! Yay! Can we do the same or better this year? Ask your friends and relatives to sponsor you if you are spinning (riding the stationary bike). Let's show every one that St. John's can't be beat. AGAIN! THE DATE IS OCTOBER 28.. Exercise, have fun, and help others at the same time! Anyone want to sponsor Sister?
2) Healthy Sunday is coming to St. John's November 11. Catholic Health Services will be here to offer: Free flu shots, FREE blood pressure scanning, free Cancer Services (information). These will be available in the lobby of OLQA School. Please take advantage of all of these services. They will be given before the 5 p.m. Saturday Mass and run until 7:30 p.m. mass on November 11.
During the month of September our pantry provided food for 392 people, helped with rent for 4 families, helped with utilities for 12 families, gave some basic needs for 272 people, provided transportation to 6 people, provided a community meal for 21 individuals, helped the Homeless Initiative provide 205 people with needed provisions.
Please remember to consider participation in Bereavement Support Group and/or our new group, Senior Wisdom. Please call Sister Ann at 631-874-3617 for more details on these. Sometimes our losses do not really hit us for several months. GOD BLESS YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO FOR OTHERS!
In the Bulletin dated September 10, I mentioned two ways in which I would love to help others. One is to begin a group called Senior Wisdom; the other, Bereavement. I often wondered why children flock to grandparents so easily. So often when they have a problem, children and teens will seek the advice of grandparents before they will talk to parents. Is there some inner knowledge that a child has that makes him/her realize that there is something very special in a grandparent that they don’t recognize in their own parent? It is not a lack of love for one over the other; it is rather an acknowledgment that years of living have an understanding and patience that the parent and chief disciplinarian is still working to achieve. This, of course, is a generalization but very often true.
I grew up not knowing a grandparent. I was only five when my only living grandparent, my dad’s father, died. My mother’s parents both died before she was married, and my father’s mother died when he was about ten. It wasn’t until I got older that I realized that those of my friends who a grandparent had someone very special in their lives.
However, it isn’t only grandparents that seem to have this special Senior Wisdom; those who have experienced so many eras in life can often share great wisdom just from their life experiences. Now, I think, is a good time to look at and share some of life’s experiences with one another. Please consider joining me to study some great insights that have been written by others that we might enjoy sharing together.
I would love for this group to meet every other Thursday morning at 10 a.m. in the new IHM room on the first floor of the convent beginning on October 12. Please call me at 631.874.3617 and let me know if you’d like to join me. It should be a great time for both serious talks and a few good laughs! We will break so that anyone who would like to attend the noon mass may do so.
The other group I would like to restart is the one for Bereavement. This is a nine week journey which I have facilitated rather successfully for more than eight years. I have been assured that it has helped many people. We will begin that also in October on Friday mornings, from October 20th through November 17th. We will take a week off for Thanksgiving and resume December 1 through the 22. Often people who have lost a loved one find the holidays difficult. This program is geared to help us through the holidays. That loss can be through death, separation, divorce, any time a person has experienced a loss in his/her life. Often families do not understand the effect that grief can have on a person. Please call me at 631.874.3617 to register for this helpful program. (I can arrange an evening for those who may be working and cannot arrange for a morning group.) Sometimes just listening to others can be a help to know that you are not alone.
Please consider joining one of these groups. It is my chance to give back to this parish community for all the good that has happened to me while living here.
God bless all of you for all that you do for others.
The readings for this week, September 9 and 10, deal with relationships and the care we should take of the other. In the first reading, Ezekiel “cautions us not to give up on the wicked but rather warn them that their behavior is unacceptable.” (Marilyn Elphick in Let go and Let God, from Living with Christ, September ‘17)
Jesus gives us the example that we should first try to confront a person gently concerning his wrongdoing. If that doesn’t work, then take two or three people with you to try to help the person see his mistakes. If that fails, then consult the Assembly. To me, this is similar to trying to help a person by yourself, or with friends or family. When all that fails the person will probably have to be brought to trial and a judge or jury will try to correct the individual. In all this we do have to act as Jesus would—with gentleness and kindness. We can only do so much; there is a time when our efforts fall on stone and not fertile ground so we just have to “let go and let God.”
Paul reminds us that we should “Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” If we would only convince all people of this.
Two of the ways in which I would so love to help others to “love one another” is to offer two gatherings. I would like to have another Bereavement session, which runs for nine weeks. I suggest starting that on Friday mornings, September 15, 22, 29, October 6, 13, 20, 27, November 3, and 10. This will include how to cope with the holidays after having lost a loved one. Since we do use a Journal I would like to know how many to order. We had what appeared a successful session last Spring and since I have done this for many years prior to coming to St. John’s, I know it has helped many people.
The second way I would show love is to offer for what seems to me a very important group of people, those who are the Senior Set among us. This is the group of wonderful people Fr. John refers to as the Wisdom group. I have to find a place to meet; but if you are in that special group, please consider joining. Since we are approaching the season when darkness comes earlier each day, I’ll try to be considerate of those who want to come but don’t go out at night. For now, we’ll consider calling it Senior Wisdom Sharing (with a base in spirituality.) It is not a Bible study. Please call me to register for either or both (!) at the Outreach Office.
I give you a great big thank you for the outpouring of school supplies. We had more than ever this year and everyone who came expressed how very grateful they were. God bless all who were able to help us out. We are so humbled by your unceasing generosity.