By Emily Drooby
Monsignor Thomas Machalski, who ministers in Queens, was surprised to receive this letter all the way from Eugene, Oregon.
The pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Bayside was amazed that a Catholic woman from across the country was watching his parish’s Masses online.
Monsignor Machalski explained, “she found us by chance on YouTube and she liked my homily on the Feast of Corpus Christi.”
The parish started posting their Masses to YouTube because of the pandemic. Mary Arendt found them while searching Google.
“I’m certainly not really conversant in computer things and I just was really lucky to stumble across Sacred Heart Parish in Bayside, NY,” said Arendt.
Mary’s church wasn’t online. Instead, she watched a Mass from California but it ended when the churches reopened. She went on the hunt for a new parish and discovered Monsignor Machalski talking about healing divisiveness and accepting diversity.
Arendt said, “It was just such a great message, and his sermon was so well put together, sometimes sermons go on and on and wonder all over the place, his does not.”
The next Sunday, Arendt went back to Sacred Heart of Jesus’s YouTube page and liked the homily about the pandemic delivered by the parochial vicar, Father Alex Lee.
Monsignor Machalski said, “You never know how the Holy Spirit is going to use what you say and it’s just what somebody else needs to hear. And in this case, it was somebody way on the other side of the country who found us through the modern wonders of technology.”
Mary was inspired to send a donation and write this letter. It was intended as a thank you, but it became much more.
Monsignor Machalski called it, “…a good morale booster,” adding, “What we are doing really makes a difference in people’s lives. As she said, ‘please know you reach people far across the country who are very grateful’.”
Monsignor Machalski wrote back to Arendt, and thanked her for watching.
Arendt said, “I did not expect to get really any type of acknowledgement and to get a hand-written one was incredible.”
Two letters leading to one beautiful new friendship and a Catholic connection spanning the country.