By Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello, diocesan vicar for development
With Block 2 well underway in the Diocese of Brooklyn for the Generations of Faith capital campaign, I would like to highlight an incredibly successful parish from Block 1. Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jamaica, far surpassed its goal of $490,000 with over $1,325,000 raised.
Spearheaded by Father Manuel de Jesus Rodriguez, pastor since July 2014, the parish plans to use the money raised to repair the church tower and bells. In addition, parishioners at Presentation are excited to be supporting the diocesan efforts of the campaign.
“I knew this would take time, as it is a big undertaking. To tell you the truth, I didn’t really have many doubts because I knew people would come aboard,” Father Rodriguez said. “What I didn’t know was that the answer would be so positive. We started humbly, visiting people at their homes with the help of volunteers and the campaign committee. It was surprising to all of us to realize how generous our people are and how happy they are to be part of this experience.
“It is truly amazing how committed (the parishioners) are to all of our projects and initiatives, mainly because of the commitment and love to the community, parish and church. Every step we take, we are always supported because of this great love that our parishioners have for the church.”
Father Rodriguez, along with his volunteer team, found it gratifying to visit people in their homes.
“When you visit people in their homes,” he said, “you visit for the campaign but at the same time, you get to know them and their environment more – the history of the family, where they came from, how many children they have, how many people live in the household – it gets to the heart of the family and that was one of the best parts of this whole process.
“It gives them a better opportunity to get to know you. Usually, we don’t have time to do this unless someone is sick, or for a bad reason. This allowed us the chance to visit families in their homes for a positive reason!”
Father Rodriguez thinks Generations of Faith “is already having a tremendously positive impact across the diocese, and I wish to personally thank Bishop DiMarzio because that speaks positively to him as a leader. We are very lucky in the Diocese to have a bishop like Bishop DiMarzio. He is thinking about the future of the parish – he is leaving the diocese in a healthy condition for a new Bishop later down the road. This is tremendously important for the success of our diocese.”
Father Rodriguez is grateful for the opportunity and experience of being involved with the Generations of Faith campaign with Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.