Diocesan News

Bag of Gifts: Young Faithful Prepared Keepsakes for Diocesan Eucharistic Revival  

The student volunteers worked fast, filling the bags with items laid on tables. By the end of the day, they had filled more than 6,000 bags. (Photos: Paula Katinas)

MILL BASIN — As the old saying goes, “many hands make light work.” 

More than 60 students lived up to those words when they came to St. Bernard Catholic Academy in Mill Basin on Thursday, Sept. 28, to do their part to ensure that the Diocesan Eucharistic Revival is a success.

The young people, who hailed from St. Bernard of Clairvaux Parish and other churches in the area, worked diligently in the gym filling thousands of gift bags to be distributed at the revival at Maimonides Park in Coney Island on Saturday, Oct. 7.

The students formed themselves into assembly lines and walked along a series of tables set up in the gym to pick up items from each table and place them inside blue cloth bags emblazoned with the revival logo. Each bag will contain a prayer book, a commemorative pin, information cards in English and Spanish, among other keepsakes.

Thousands of people are expected to gather for the revival that will include Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Brennan, a Eucharistic procession, music, prayer, guest speakers and the opportunity to renew their faith. 

The revival starts at 8 a.m. and goes on until 3 p.m. NET-TV will provide live coverage of the Mass at 9:45 a.m. The Tablet will provide full coverage of the revival.

Laleshka Alvarez, an eighth grader at St. Mark’s Catholic Academy and an altar server at church, helped out at St. Bernard’s and will volunteer at the revival. 

“I volunteered today to do this because I thought it would be a good way to help out with other parishes in the community, and it would be a good way to get to know about other Catholic churches,” she said.

She is looking forward to Oct. 7 and has thought a great deal about the meaning of the revival. “It is a good thing to make people be closer to the church and closer to God in order to live a good life and maybe find common interests with one another,” she added.

The students, who ranged in age from 13 to 16, came from churches such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux; Mary, Queen of Heaven; St. Edmund; Resurrection; St. Mark; and St. Thomas Aquinas — parishes within the diocese’s B11 Deanery. Deaneries are groups of churches located in the same general area.

The bag-filling project was a deanery-wide endeavor, said Melissa Wagner, director of faith formation at St. Bernard of Clairvaux who organized the volunteers. The workstations not only brought young people from different churches together, but it added to their excitement and anticipation for the revival, she explained.

“There’s been a lot of talking about it. So now as it gets closer, doing something like this has really made it come alive,” she explained.

Father Michael Tedone, parochial vicar for St. Bernard of Clairvaux, noted that many of the student volunteers are confirmation candidates. “They’re preparing for confirmation to be disciples. And part of being a disciple is serving other people,” he explained.