It was a year of contrasts. You might say there was the good, the bad and the ugly.
Locally, we rejoiced in May when we learned that Pope Benedict XVI had named two priests of our diocese as auxiliary bishops. The ordinations of Bishops Raymond Chappetto and Paul Sanchez took place on July 11 at Our Lady of Angels Church in Bay Ridge amidst much celebration.
Much of the year was consumed by the presidential election in which President Barack Obama overcame the stiff challenge of Mitt Romney. At times, it seemed as if the campaigns would never end. When the president was re-elected, there was happiness and despair, depending on your political preference.
Our spirits were crushed in late November when Superstorm (or Hurricane) Sandy blasted our shoreline. In the Rockaways, Coney Island, Red Hook, among many others, neighborhoods were thrashed by a violent storm, the likes of which we’ve never before experienced. We continue to dig out and attempt to rebuild as the calendar year comes to a grinding halt.
And this month, the bottom fell out of our national psyche when we heard about a mass shooting of pre-teen children in an idyllic Connecticut town that could very well serve as the snowy backdrop for a Christmas card.
2012 has been a roller-coaster ride with highs and lows that rattled our spirits.
In our special pullout section this week, we have tried to present a wrap-up of the year in photos. It’s always a challenge to choose the events that characterize a particular period of time. But this year’s highlights seemed obvious by their power and force.
We lost several prominent Catholics over the past 12 months. Brooklyn-born Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who served here as an auxiliary bishop and then went on to shepherd the Diocese of Pittsburgh and Archdiocese of Philadelphia, died after a long illness. In his latter years, his reputation was tarnished by alleged links to scandal in Philadelphia. We prefer to remember him for his trailblazing and tireless work on behalf of immigrants to our country. As founder of Brooklyn’s Diocesan Migration Office 40 years ago, he never forgot his own immigrant roots and crusaded for improving the rights of all in America.
Nellie Gray, the courageous founder of the March for Life, which pays tribute to the unborn every Jan. 22, also passed to her reward. This year’s March, which has been moved to Jan. 25 because of Inauguration Day, will be a fitting tribute to this great lady.
Locally, when Msgr. James King died on Aug. 1, some might not have remembered his name. He was 91 and retired for many years since serving the diocese so well as chancellor and vicar general.
Last week, a final tribute was paid to Catholic lay leader Dr. Frank Macchiarola when his funeral Mass was celebrated by Bishop DiMarzio at St. James Cathedral. In addition to being honored by Pope Benedict XVI as Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory, Dr. Mac, as the students at St. Francis College called him, formerly served the city and state in myriad ways, including being chancellor of the City Board of Education. A fervent member of the Church, he represented us well in the public forum.
What 2013 has in wait for us is anyone’s guess. We can only hold our breath in anticipation. Let’s hope the road is less rocky, and the new year is filled with the peace and calm which we all desire.