The diocese honored teachers celebrating milestone anniversaries in the ministry of Catholic education at a special Mass June 8 at the Immaculate Conception Center, Douglaston.
The event was sponsored by the diocesan Office of the Superintendent, Catholic School Support Services.
Teachers were personally thanked by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio – some for five years working in Catholic schools and others for giving more than 40 years.
Bishop DiMarzio not only knows the sacrifices teachers must make, but also that they do it in love.
“Our school teachers need the recognition for the great work they do and the great sacrifices they make in educating our children,” he said.
“Today we show our appreciation. This is the feast of the Sacred Heart and we remember the heart of Christ is one that reaches out to the world. Teachers’ hearts reach out to the world and to all their students as they love all their children.”
Don Competello is an eighth-grade teacher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy in South Ozone Park. He celebrated 45 years in the diocese.
“I never regretted one second of it. I have loved every minute of teaching,” he said following the ceremony.
“I have worked at St. Rita’s in East New York then I taught at St. Thomas the Apostle, Woodhaven, and then Our Lady of Perpetual Help and each school was so rewarding and wonderful and I have no regrets.”
Frances Harris is retiring after 47 years at SS. Joachim and Anne School, Queens Village. “I thought it was just going to be a stepping stone. The plan was to start there and eventually move on to public schools. However, it didn’t work out that way and I am just as happy,” she said.
The community at SS. Joachim and Anne has “become my family,” she added. “I am going to miss everybody, but it is time (to retire).”
Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, diocesan superintendent of schools, said the Mass was a chance “to recognize the countless contributions that teachers have made and continue to make to Catholic education within the Diocese of Brooklyn. …
“Their dedication for their many years of service to teaching demonstrates their vocation to the ministry of Catholic education. As teachers within the Diocese of Brooklyn, they provide all students with a balance of the spiritual, educational social and physical attributes of educating the whole child,” he said.
“Our teachers are essential to the success of Catholic education within the Diocese of Brooklyn and we thank them for the sacrifices they make and most importantly, for the difference they make.”