The Diocese of Brooklyn commissioned 61 new lay leaders from 37 parishes at a bilingual Mass at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, Prospect Heights. The lay ministers completed a three-year program in preparation to coordinate new or existing parish ministries.
They join 825 others who have successfully completed the Lay Ministry Program since 2001. The ministers took theology courses, attended workshops and engaged in ministry projects as part of the program, which is offered in both English and Spanish.
“I always felt called to do more. I wanted to dive deeper in my faith,” said Nick Sisto, parishioner of Holy Name of Jesus parish, Windsor Terrace. “(The program) was a great opportunity to learn how to really absorb the Bible.”
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio was the main celebrant at the Mass. He was joined by Bishop-elect James Massa, Vicar for Evangelization, and dozens of priests.
In his homily, Bishop DiMarzio highlighted Peter’s words from the first reading. “He (Peter) said we are commissioned to preach that Good News to the world. Truly that is our purpose tonight. You have applied yourself, made a lot of sacrifice to be here and tried to communicate to those who want to learn and some who don’t want to learn. You made yourself available to be a witness to the Good News.”
At the Mass, the Diocese also honored more than 450 catechists for their service and dedication. Theodore Musco, the School of Evangelization’s executive director, told the congregation that, altogether, the group represented more than 300,100 years of service to the Church.
After Communion, Bishop DiMarzio commissioned the new lay leaders and shook their hands as they came to the altar one-by-one.
“We are all baptized by the one Spirit into one Body, and given gifts for various ministries for the common good,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “Your call to holiness and ministry is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Your response is a gift to the Church and the world.”
Gerald Tortorella, director of the Pastoral Institute, presented certificates and pins to the new graduates at a reception following the Mass.
“I’m in awe of them and today I’m proud of their accomplishment and commitment,” he said.
The goal of the program was to broaden the participants’ theological knowledge, deepen their spirituality, and enhance their skills so that they will be effective in their service to others.
Veronique Marcello, parishioner of Sacred Heart parish, Cambria Heights, said that the program helped her to continue helping people as she did when living in her native Haiti.
“To me it is very important to serve others; my ministry is to care for the sick parishioners,” she said.
Marcello has been helping in this ministry for more than 30 years. She brings Communion to the homebound, reads them the Gospel and makes sure they go to Confession twice a year.
Sisto, who will help in the formation of lectors and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist, remembered a class with Father James King, spiritual director of the Douglaston Seminary of the Immaculate Conception and director of the House of Discernment.
“Father King told us this phrase that I never forgot: ‘We gather but we also are sent,’” Sisto said. “It is taking the message and going out, spreading God’s word every place you go.”
The newly installed lay ministers and their parishes are:
Abraham House, the Bronx – Lynda C. DeFilippi
Blessed Sacrament, Jackson Heights – Iris Bracero-Newsum, Maria Eugenia Buitrago, Teresa L. González and Ramona A. Rodriguez
Christ the King, Springfield Gardens – Celeste Bright
Holy Child Jesus, Richmond Hill – Hilda Terrero
Holy Cross, Flatbush – Ángela Domínguez-Newball, Deysi Muñoz and Rubén Santiago Muñoz
Holy Name of Jesus, Windsor Terrace – Alayne R. Cox and Nick Sisto
Holy Trinity, Whitestone – Andrea M. Albisano
Most Holy Trinity-St. Mary, Williamsburg – Luis M. Rodriguez
Our Lady of Fatima, East Elmhurst – Maria I. Diaz-Faro
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Astoria – Eulalia Balbuena
Our Lady of Refuge, Flatbush – Ángela Mercedes
Our Lady of Solace Shrine, Coney Island – Daisy Graciano
Our Lady of the Angelus, Rego Park – Gilda Mejia and Mercedes Santisteban
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Bayside – Marisa C. Avallone
Our Lady of the Cenacle, Richmond Hill – Tania A. Tavares
Our Lady of the Presentation-Our Lady of Mercy, Brownsville – Nancy I. Prunes
Sacred Heart, Cambria Heights – Veronique J. Marcello, and Gloria Miller
St. Andrew Avellino, Flushing – Robert McGann
St. Augustine, Park Slope – Norma M. Félix
St. Barbara, Bushwick – Angie-Lee Vazquez
St. Benedict Joseph Labre, Richmond Hill – Cándida Diaz, Rosalynn Fernandez-Ferreira, Magaly Sanchez-Coello and Celina Tineo
St. John the Evangelist-St. Rocco, Park Slope – Eliana Bermeo
St. John Vianney, Flushing – Eddie Wen-Yen Shih
St. Margaret, Middle Village – Kathryn Burger, Jeanne Perry and Hazel Scanlon
St. Mary, L.I.C. – Mary Ann Tobon
St. Mary Magdalene, Springfield Gardens – Cara S. Bloncourt, Nanncy M. Goldman and Marie-Yves René
St. Mary Mother of Jesus, Bensonhurst – Carmen Leone
St. Matthias, Ridgewood – Milagros B. Robles Gamero
St. Nicholas of Tolentine, Jamaica – Jenny Contreras
St. Rita, East New York – Yazmin Antonio, Ma. Lidia Cielo, Genaro A. Cobar, Marbel Martínez and Ana Maria Zarate de Cobar
St. Rose of Lima, Rockaway Beach – Annette F. Clark
St. Sebastian, Woodside – Anthony Foti
St. Sylvester, City Line – Dinorah A. Milian-Suazo
St. Teresa, Woodside – Ricardo J. Heras and Gerardo H. Lozano
St. Teresa of Avila, Prospect Heights – Brenda Donald
St. Therese of Lisieux, East Flatbush – Simon August, Peter A. Boyke, Carla Forbes and Edna T. Haywood
St. Thomas Aquinas, Park Slope – Marie Clodette Jean-Louis
St. Thomas the Apostle, Woodhaven – Claribel Vera