By Tim Harfmann
One by one, Brooklyn’s Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio greeted over 200 Catholics on a day of honor for them. “I can’t tell you how much it means to me. I was very surprised,” said Joyce Jones, from Brooklyn’s Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. The honorees were recognized for extraordinary service to their churches. “It gives us an opportunity to say ‘thank you,’ which is important because people sacrifice a lot to help us, so we really need to have them thanked,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
The honorees have performed vital tasks in their home parishes, including being members of the choir, serving on finance committees and proclaiming God’s Word as lectors. “This is such a humbling honor for me. I’m like third or fourth generation of family members that have helped out in the Church. It’s a feeling I’m carrying on the family history,” said Geri Anne O’Beirne. She is from Saint Saviour Church in Park Slope and leads the parish’s ‘Martha’s Ministry,’ a group made up volunteers. Their many duties include getting the church ready for Easter with floral decorations, candles and holy water. “That’s what I was brought up to do. You help out at your church,” said O’Beirne.
Along with a handshake and smile from Bishop DiMarzio, the parishioners also received a holy medal during a service at the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph, Prospect Heights on Sunday, April 28th. On one side of the medal is an image of the Immaculate Conception. On the other, a cross and two landmarks located in the diocese — the Brooklyn Bridge and the Unisphere.
The large number of Catholics saluted for their service was inspirational. Glenda Harry of Brooklyn’s Saint Jude Church in Canarsie is a member of the choir, prayer group and finance committee. “It’s a way of saying, ‘Wow! What can I do more?’ I am the eyes, the ears, the feet of Jesus. So, I would like to do more to encourage people to do more to evangelize,” said Harry.
“To see so many people so active in their faith, even just sitting here listening to the people responding to the prayers and singing the hymns, it’s such a shot in the arm,” said O’Beirne.
Bishop DiMarzio will honor other parishioners next week. He’ll be at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church in Jamaica on Sunday, May 5th. The bishop plans to thank nearly 200 more Catholics for what they’ve done for their parishes in Queens.