Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Can We Help with a Bright Christmas Grant?

Bright_Christmas_logoNext weekend, The Tablet will officially launch its annual Bright Christmas Campaign to assist the poor and the needy in our diocese that takes in the boroughs of Kings and Queens. Every year for more than 40 years, The Tablet has collected funds that are passed on to parishes and church leaders in order to brighten Christmas for those in need.

Last year, readers of The Tablet responded by sending us more than $125,000. Some sent in hundreds of dollars; others made $3, $5 or $10 donations. It all added up and enabled us to lend a helping hand to those in need at this most wonderful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of the Savior.

In order to properly identify needs and distribute the money, we ask priests, religious and lay leaders for their requests. Tell us how you plan to use the Bright Christmas funds, and we will evaluate it and respond. Unfortunately, we only accept requests from parish groups and diocesan agencies, not from individuals.

Some requests have already been received. Father Bony Monastere, pastor of St. Laurence parish in East New York, writes about his parish where “there is a high percentage of Spanish, a mixture of African-Americans, Caribbean and Haitian-Creole who are in need.”

“We are aware that it can be difficult for immigrant parents who are working for minimum wages to have the extra money to make their children happy this Christmas,” says Father Monastere.

Last year, we helped that Brooklyn parish purchase gifts for the young people at Christmas. This year, we will do so again.

Father Claudio Antecini, pastor of Visitation parish in Red Hook, tells us that some of his parishioners are still reeling from the effects of Superstorm Sandy. “The loss for some of our parishioners can be seen in the eyes of the children who suffered the most,” he explains. “Our church gave out over a thousand bags of clothes, food and other staples. We will gladly use the money for the many families of Red Hook who are in great need.”

From Long Island City at St. Rita’s parish, we heard from Father Jose Carlos da Silva, pastor. He tells us that without Bright Christmas funds, the children in his parish “would not have the opportunity to enjoy such wonderful pleasures. I am sure their little eyes would light up for the entire Christmas season.”

Last year, Father da Silva threw a Christmas party and had goodies for about 300 children. We’ll make sure he can do that again.

The needs are as varied as they are great for some people in Brooklyn and Queens. In the next few weeks, we will continue to tell you about some of the requests as they arrive and also about some of the donors who often send along little notes.

Maybe you’re doing all right this year. If so, please consider a donation to The Tablet’s Bright Christmas Campaign. Simply send your check to The Tablet’s Bright Christmas at 1712 Tenth Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215.