Eucharistic Congress Is Sunday At St. Rose
This Sunday, June 6, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, approximately 2,000 members of the eight Catholic parishes which make up the Rockaway cluster—St. Camillus, St. Francis deSales, St. Genevieve, St. Gertrude, St. Mary Star of the Sea, St. Rose of Lima, St. Thomas More-St. Edmund, St. Virgilius—are expected to gather at the Eucharistic Congress of the Rockaways and Broad Channel on and around the grounds of St. Rose of Lima parish on Beach 84 street. It will be a day of prayer and discussion focusing on the relevance of the Eucharist in daily life.
The main theme of the day will be: unity. Because of the multicultural mix in the parishes and with more than 52 nationalities living together on the Rockaway peninsula, the organizers decided to celebrate unity as one body in Christ as well as the rich cultural heritage and diversity of this community by the sea.
Father Alfred LoPinto, assistant pastor of St. Camillus Church in Rockaway Park noted that this regional Eucharistic Congress is the first event of its kind in the history of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The idea for the Congress emerged from a
monthly meeting of cluster pastors who wanted to do something positive to combat racism.
Participants will start the day at 1:30 p.m. with a procession on the boardwalk from Beach 73 and Beach 94 streets to Beach 84 street where the Congress will open with a renewal of baptismal promises. This will be followed by a main conference at which Ralph Martin, author and evangelist, will be the guest speaker. Participants will then break into workshops which focus on various aspects of the Eucharist --- in the world, in politics, in the arts, in salvation history, families and Eucharist, and spiritual and charismatic movements. There will be a special mini Youth Day '94 experience for young people in grades 8-12 which will include a rally in the auditorium, presentations from Youth 2000, Violence in the Media '94 Diocesan Youth Council, and a music group from Our Lady of the Cenacle parish in Richmond Hill. To accommodate those for whom English is not their first language, the main conference and the homily at the Mass will be translated into Polish and Spanish via headsets which will be available. There will also be sign language interpretation of both of these events. In addition, two of the day\'92s workshops will be given in Polish and Spanish. At 5:30PM, the Eucharistic Congress Choir of almost 80 members from cluster parishes will present a concert and sing-a-long of eucharistic and devotional hymns. The day will conclude with Mass at 6:30PM at which Bishop Thomas V. Daily, Bishop of Brooklyn will be the celebrant. Auxiliary Bishop Ignatius A. Catanello, the regional bishop of Queens South will concelebrate, and the homilist will be Monsignor Otto L. Garcia, Vicar General and Chancellor of the Diocese.
Special arrangements have been made for parking on Beach 73rd, 94th, 95th and 96th Streets, and shuttle transportation will be available along Shore Front Parkway throughout the event for those unable to walk to and from Beach 84th Street. Handicapped parking will be available, and anyone interested should contact their parish for a permit. Participants may bring a brown bag lunch, but food vendors are expected to be set up along Shore Front Parkway. Childcare services (Pre-K ages and up) will be available in the Saint Rose of Lima rectory basement.
Participants will also have the opportunity during the day for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament which will be in the church, and priests will be available for the sacrament of penance. Arrangements have also been made for the sale of Congress t-shirts, spiritual books and religious articles. To involve the young people of the Rockaway community, essay and art contests were held in conjunction with the Congress. The artwork will be on display in the church during the day, and the presentation of awards to the winners will take place at the end of the Mass. As mentioned earlier, the focus of the day will be on unity while at the same time respecting our diversity.
As Father Peter Gillen, pastor of Saint Rose of Lima remarked, 92’s a very important event because it 92’s also an attempt on the part of the churches ... to remind people of faith that our religious faith gives us a responsibility to and for each other. What we '92re hoping will happen here, and starting with our own Catholic community because we recognize there '92s a need for healing, is bringing together all of our people to have them experience the fact that we in our faith have a God-given source of unity. It\'92s something we have to discover and live. We all hope that participants will walk away with a new awareness and respect for the Eucharist as well as a new awareness and respect for diversity. Diversity isn’t a threat! It is a gift. It’s a better way of life! Anyone interested in participating in the Eucharistic Congress should contact their parish rectory.