Diocesan News

Local Catholics: ‘Let’s Give Trump a Chance’

Pollsters report that Donald J. Trump won the Catholic vote over Hillary Clinton, 52 to 45 percent. That was a reversal of party preference since President Barack Obama had garnered 51 percent of the Catholic vote in 2012 versus Mitt Romney’s 47 percent.

While many Catholics in the diocese expressed support for the new president-elect, some were disappointed but willing to give the next president a chance.

“Let’s give a chance to this gentleman Trump,” said Marina Vargas, a parishioner of SS. Simon and Jude, Gravesend.

She said unity is of utmost importance among all people in the United States during this interim time. Relying on faith, Vargas believes that God has a plan for the president-elect. Adding that, as with most things God-related, those plans may not yet be clear to anyone. She said prayer is important for the country and President-elect Trump.

“Our President (Barack Obama) did the best he could,” said Alex Parziale, a fellow parishioner. “I do wish Hillary well in her life, of course, but we needed change.”

He said he is feeling good about the election results because “life means a lot to me.”

Parziale said he believes Trump can stick to his pro-life stance because he knows people in his own life that have once been pro-abortion and have since become steadfast in their pro-life beliefs. Parziale said his own stance on the issue was ingrained from an experience with a young woman who had undergone an abortion. He remembers how devastated she was on what would have been her due date.

“I’m very happy because we wanted change,” said Anna Russo, also from SS. Simon and Jude. “Change for a better life” including better jobs, especially for young people.

Melanie Feliciano, a member of St. Dominic’s parish, Bensonhurst, said that she “found comfort in Obama’s speech and Hillary Clinton’s speech and knowing that the sun is going to rise in the morning.

“We just have to stick together, pray it out and know that no matter what goes on in the world, there are still good things happening and for that we pray. And all of the glory is His.”

Father Sean Suckiel, diocesan vocation director, said that, “No matter what the outcome was, we have to support who our president is. I think Donald Trump said it beautifully in his acceptance speech that we have to work together. We have to heal the division because if we remain divided, we’re only hurting ourselves.

“And so we need to come together, support each other, but also stand behind the president that we elected, that the United States elected.

“And also, we’re not voting for a person, we’re voting for a party too. So we have to understand that it’s much more than just a person who we’re voting for, we’re voting for the party, and we trust that the Holy Spirit will guide all of this.”

In regard to the protests against the election results that have been ongoing in the streets of some major cities, Father Suckiel said, “I was certainly upset because that’s not who we are. We’re America, so we’re one of the leading countries in the world and we need to really set the example, and also we’re a welcoming country and we’re built on immigrants and we’re built on our traditions and this is not who we are.

“So I hope that many people will come to understand that we need to support each other and support our president.”

“As military men, we follow protocol and obey the commander-in-chief,” said 1st Sgt. Sergio Gallardo, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “We change politicians. The military has always been the military.

“I’m proud of my country,” he said, because the people have a real way of expressing their beliefs and deciding on their leadership through the election. This, he said, cannot be said of many other countries. “I cast my vote.”

An Hispanic deacon in Queens said he voted for Clinton because “I listened to a lot of people who called me. They’re undocumented and they’re afraid. So, that influenced the way I voted.”


Contributing to this article were Marie Elena Giossi and Antonina Zielinska.