Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor Week of March 26, 2022

Special Needs Ministry

Dear Editor: Responding to the letter by Deacon John F. DiBiase (“The Need for Special Needs Ministry,” March 19) gives us a great opportunity to advertise to everyone in the diocese that since October 2021, St. Gregory the Great in Bellerose has provided a Special Needs Mass at 12:30 on the first Sunday of each month.

At each of these monthly Masses, an American Sign Language interpreter is present and interprets the Mass in sign language.

St. Gregory the Great is wheelchair/handicapped accessible and hospitality and fellowship follow the Mass.

The next Special Needs Mass will be offered on April 3rd at 12:30 p.m. All are welcome. We look forward to worshiping together.

Catherine Crimmins and Susan O’Keeffe

St. Gregory the Great


Editor’s note: A special needs Mass is also celebrated monthly at Holy Trinity Parish in Whitestone, Queens.

A Reflection

Dear Editor:  It was a successful hour of birding at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge one mid-March morning. I had seen my sought-after, FOY (first-of-the-year) osprey, also known as ‘fish hawk’. It had very recently arrived from its wintering home down south.

Now I sat in my car, waiting in a long line to make a left turn off Woodhaven Boulevard onto Myrtle Avenue. Up ahead on the median walked a poorly dressed, bearded young man carrying a hand-written cardboard sign. He was seeking handouts from the drivers as he walked down the row of cars waiting for the left turn signal to change to green.

What could I offer him? I was reluctant to give money, hesitant for not knowing if it would be spent in inappropriate or perhaps unhealthy ways. Then it occurred to me — I had bought a case of bottled water for the rectory. It lay on the floor of the car.

I reached behind my driver’s seat and pulled two bottles out of the plastic wrapping. Opening my window, I signaled to him to approach. He briskly walked to my car before I proceeded forward in the line. Thanking me, he took the bottles back to the corner where he had first started. Only then did I notice the bedraggled dog seated there patiently awaiting him. Reaching the dog, the man bent down and, opening one of the bottles, poured water into the dog’s bowl. The water was immediately lapped up. The man then put the other unopened bottle in his bag.

How remarkable, I thought, that his first concern was not for himself, but for his faithful canine friend. I made my turn, reflecting on the words of Jesus, “whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of these lowly ones.” (Matthew 10:42).

Once again, a Lenten reminder for me of the outpouring of God’s goodness that is meant for all God’s creatures, great and small.

Msgr. Steven A. Ferrari

Pastor of St. Teresa


Msgr. Quinn’s Role

Dear Editor: In the March 5 edition of the Tablet the caption of Bishop Robert Brennan’s visit to St. Peter Claver Church — where he celebrated the 11:30 a.m. Mass and blessed the refurbished church organ, the statue of St. Therese of Lisieux, and choir pews — did not mention that the reason for his visit was the centennial of the dedication of St. Peter Claver Church where Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn, the founding pastor, brought the parish community into being, the first of its kind for blacks in the Brooklyn diocese.

Also, puzzling to me, was that on Sunday, February 22, the Brooklyn and Rockville Centre diocesan Black History Month Mass, where Cardinal Wilton Gregory was the celebrant, there was no acknowledgment during the liturgy of Msgr. Quinn’s role in starting a pastoral ministry to black Catholics of Long Island, inclusive of his orphanage at Wading River.

Very significantly, he was hailed for being a “Champion of Negro Rights” in the obituaries of the New York Times and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on April 8, 1940, yet it seemed at the Mass that he never existed.

Hopefully, as the cause for his canonization builds up momentum, he will be more greatly appreciated for his life-giving, sacrificial priestly service to blacks, as well as his embrace of white Catholics who sought his spiritual, pastoral counsel and the intercession of St. Therese on their behalf by the tens of thousands.

Msgr. Paul Jervis

St. Francis of Assisi-St. Blaise Parish

Prospect Lefferts Gardens

Editor’s note: The Tablet has extensively reported on the history regarding Msgr. Quinn in the diocese and continues to follow his cause for sainthood. Stories can be found in the archives at TheTablet.org.

In Agreement With Weigel

Dear Editor: Never have I agreed so fully with an outstanding commentator as George Weigel.

We should examine with sharp clarity the policies of prelates such as Russian Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church who walks hand in hand with Putin, the uncontrolled terrorist of Ukraine.

He blemishes the role that Christianity symbolizes and the Vatican must suspend interaction with him. I am saddened for the Russian people who are consistently duped, and for the Ukrainians who are gallantly fighting for their survival.

Prayers are indeed needed for all.

Helen Mele