The more we hear of the Church sex scandal, the worse it gets. As a practicing Catholic, along with many others in the parishes throughout the boroughs, I am astonished at the church vacillating in its leniency from no tolerance for pedophile priests to one more chance. Now, the suggestion to file bankruptcy, which appears to the average parishioner, an easy way of avoiding payment to the victims; there again avoiding responsibility leaving the victim to sink in quick sand without a show of compassion, a helping hand or any compensation.
True, this may be the only financial recourse the Church may have and, I am sure, the victims are not suing only for monetary compensation, which they certainly deserve. Money cannot cure the trauma and anxiety they went through, but, at least it sends a message that this dark, sinful, secretive practice must be stopped. If not, the offense will be costly. Many good practicing Catholics are outraged at the way these horrible crimes have been swept under the rug by so many for so long. Strong measures must be taken to prevent future occurrences.
You can become involved and offer your opinion by joining the "Voice of the Faithful," an organization founded by Mary Kierman. The first meetings started at St. Saviour’s Parish on East 13 St. in New York City. Marcciovello, who serves as a spokesperson for the Archdiocese, a past member of the Board of Directors of Breezy Point Co-op, and President of St. Francis College, has graciously offered to open St. Francis College’s doors to Voice of the Faithful, since the Bishops in all the boroughs have now denied each parish hall from welcoming this group to congregate and air their views. If you are a member of St. Francis de Sales, St. Camillus, St. Rose of Lima, St. Thomas More, or are a Catholic or non-Catholic interested in expressing your thoughts and suggestions in regard to this matter, by all means contact Rita Shea or Ann Heslin in Breezy Point or Ralph and Sue Calunitoni. It is open to all concerned. There is strength in numbers.
It is important to note that the majority of the priests in our Catholic churches throughout the United States, and around the world, are good, moral, kind, altruistic men who have performed many charitable acts for many of us. I have no doubt that they will continue to do so. Some of them have joined Voice of the Faithful.
There will be a meeting at the American Legion Hall (in Rockaway) in January. You may want to be there. The date will be announced in this column. In the meantime, you may want to read Donald Cozzen’s new book "Changing Faces of the Priesthood." He is also the author of "Sacred Silence," another good read.
My condolences to the family of Catherine Gallagher, who passed away last week. She was a beautiful, talented woman who danced her way through many musicals on the Broadway stage before she married Insurance agent, Frank Gallagher. She left the Broadway lights behind and settled in Belle Harbor to raise eight beautiful children, who all made her very proud. Her son, Frankie owns Snug Harbour, one of the finest restaurants in Rockaway. I dined there last Saturday with Tom Connors. Frankie’s brother, Drury, is one of the Knights of Malta, knighted in the United Kingdom a number of years ago. All the children and grandchildren are leading exemplary lives that should bring music to Catherine’s dancing feet in heaven. Her husband, Frank, passed away last year. May she waltz with him in the forever after to the music of their dreams. Peace to Catherine.
George Timmons, owner of the Sugar Bowl in Rockaway Point passed away last week after great suffering.
He was waked at O’Connor’s, where all of his family and friends gathered to bid him a fond farewell. He was interred at St. Charles Cemetery.
Congratulations to Barbara at Studio "J" on the happy delivery of her baby girl, Taryn.
Congratulations to Barney Cassidy, past President of the Rockaway Point Assn., and Frances O’bracciammento, who have been appointed Deputy Grand Marshals in the 2003 Rockaway St. Patrick’s Day parade.
J.O.B (Just One Break) held its 55th annual Red Feather Ball at the Starlight Room, and it was a smashing successful. The distinguished Shinning Star Award was presented to Ray Charles, who, at the age of five, was studying the piano and contracted Glaucoma, which caused his blindness. However, that did not stop him. He rose to unbelievable heights, and in the 50’s he merged rhythm and blues with gospel. His musical brilliance is legendary. Charles embraces the roles of singer, bandleader, keyboard player and arranger. He focused on his ability …….not his disability, which is the motto of JOB.
So many men and women with handicaps are capable of great things. All they need is a chance to show what they can do. They need "Just One Break." If you own a business, or you have an opportunity to employ one of these people, do so. You will find it most rewarding and beneficial to your company. If you don’t have the capability to do that, volunteer your time, your money, or attend one of their gala parties where you give and receive a good time in return.
Felicia Taylor, a former broadcast journalist for the "Weekend Today Show", was the Emcee, and she had quite a time juggling the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting with the JOB Red Feather Ball. A cocktail reception, sit down dinner, and a live and silent auction were all part of the event. You can even donate a prize, if you like. It was truly a beautiful evening.
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