We recently heard from Father Mark Lane, a CFCA preacher, who lives in the Brooklyn area and witnessed the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. He provides us this update from the road, as well as pictures of the storm’s damage taken by Gerri Hernandez, who gave us permission to share them. (You can see more pictures at this Facebook photo album.)
Two weeks out from Sandy I was at St. Rosalie Parish in Hampton Bays, Long Island, New York.
I was initially a little apprehensive about the appeal, given all that the area has been through with Superstorm Sandy.
Some people were still without power. The parish was a center for aid and relief for the diocese, and there were two appeals for detailed aid during each of the Masses.
I took courage, though, from the pastor ñ a newly ordained ex-IBM marketing executive who was hospitable and supportive ñ and from the first Scripture reading. Elijah asked the widow for food despite knowing that she and her son had only enough for a last meal.
Why? Because he is oblivious to her situation? Egocentric?
I think the key is in the Gospel where Jesus points out the difference between the scribes and rich who give from their surplus and the widow who gives all she has to live on.
The giving Jesus commends to his disciples (and which he will himself live) is total. The more we give, the more we create space to receive. The more we pour ourselves out, the more the Spirit flows in.
It is this spirituality that makes me bold enough, like Elijah, to ask even the poor to help each other ñ or even those who have just suffered through Sandy to help our children and aging friends who live the realities of loss and deprivation, not as exceptions, but as everyday realities.
Like love, generosity is not exhausted in the giving, but renewed. The needs created by Sandy and the needs of CFCA are not in competition, but in fact are complementary calls to that richer and deeper life of practical charity. The parish responded well to both appeals.
NOTE: Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this massive storm. If you are a sponsor affected by Superstorm Sandy or interested in helping sponsors affected, we invite you to consider the CFCA Sponsorship Assistance Fund. The fund was created after Hurricane Katrina to help sponsors in times of crisis continue their sponsorships.