Tomorrow will be a year to the day when Father Jorge Ortiz-Garay sent me a letter asking for a grant from the Bright Christmas Campaign. This is what he wrote:
“I would like to request your help for the children of my parish [of St. Brigid], which is mostly Ecuadorian and Mexican, so that we can organize for them a beautiful and bright Christmas. There are a great number of families with only one parent, the mother, is so sad how many of these children do not know the figure of the father. With your help, I hope that they can discover the gift of the Heavenly Father that is so close to them.”
Father Jorge died of COVID-19 less than four months later, on March 27. I was thinking about him this week because today is December 12, the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. He was the driving force behind the huge celebration the Mexican Apostolate organizes every year when thousands of Our Lady of Guadalupe devotees come to St. Joseph Co-Cathedral and then walk back to their parishes through the streets of Brooklyn and Queens.
This year, they won’t have the processions and the Mass will be by invitation only. The same pandemic that took Father Jorge from us has also changed the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
December 12 was Father Jorge’s happiest day of the year. His message was always clear and consistent. Father Jorge would tell the overflowing crowd at the co-cathedral that Our Lady doesn’t want a huge celebration one day per year; she wants you to follow her Son every day of the year. The essence of the message he sent me last year was the same. It was not just about celebrating a big Christmas party or giving children a gift. The real purpose was evangelization: “I hope that they can discover the gift of the Heavenly Father that is so close to them.”
Father Jorge, I am sure, has now received the crown St. Paul refers to when he writes to Timothy because he could say, like the apostle, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
But his work is not finished. St. Brigid and other parishes and organizations in the diocese still need our help. There are more families and children this year in need of your help to celebrate Christmas.
To send your donation, simply make out a check to The Tablet’s Bright Christmas and mail it to:
The Tablet’s Bright Christmas
1712 10th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215
You can also make donations online by visiting thetablet.org and clicking on the Bright Christmas link on our homepage. If you are a pastor, parish associate, or director of a diocesan group and you need assistance this Christmas to help children in your area, you should contact me immediately so The Tablet can help. We grant funds only to parish groups and others associated with the Diocese in Brooklyn that ask us for help.
If you have a request, send it directly to:
Editor-in-Chief Jorge Domínguez
c/o The Tablet’s Bright Christmas
1712 10th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215
You can also send your request to TabletBrightChristmas@desalesmedia.org.
This is not a toy collection drive and we don’t accept clothing or other material goods for distribution. You send us the money and we put it into the hands of someone who is working directly with people in our neighborhoods. In turn, they use the funds in the most effective ways for those in their charge. Some buy and wrap presents. Others conduct a group party. Some share a meal with their parish families. The sooner you send the money, the quicker we can share your love with someone who needs it this Christmas.