Total Trust Leads to the Hermitage of Peace
“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
Gilbert K. Chesterton
My mission, to try Christianity!
On 21 May 2019 I celebrate 25 years of Ordained Life and to commemorate this important milestone in my life I sit here reviewing key points of my journey that has led me to the Hermitage of Peace.
However, the question remains: why did I stay with a corrupt political structure? My experience as a Catholic Priest revealed to me leaders who are not Christ Followers in their actions. I have experienced the evil of Clericalism, that is, that the Priest is more important than those whom he serves. The answer, I believe, is to use our abilities to create a blueprint that may be used by people who choose love as their aim in order to bring Heaven to Earth, the desire of Jesus in His Prayer ( Mt. 6: 10). For those who desire to put the Gospel Truth in Action, I offer my experiences and advice in Building the Kingdom of God in Concrete Ways.
Bible and Basketball Ministry:
In my assignment to St. Rose of Lima Parish I saw that the Parish Catholic Youth Organization’s Basketball Program needed help. The majority of these young men were in danger of failure. The Housing Development, “Hammels,” was not an easy place for its young men to survive. By offering study of the Sacred Scriptures, I intended to give these individuals an alternative to the negativity that is prevalent in poverty. I wanted to assist these young people and their families to improve their lives. I used their desire to play basketball to get these young men into Bible Study. In order for them to use the School Gym, they had to come to Bible Study. I am a teacher hence I was able to involve these young people in discussions of their lives and relate it to God’s plan for them.
“The words of the Gospel are miraculous!” said the Venerable Madeleine Delbrêl. This is exactly what we experienced in the lives of these young people and in ourselves who served them.
The use of the gym was more than just for basketball. The gym became a place for the young ladies of the community and volunteer parents from the Parish to gather, so it was a family experience. A former student teacher from LaGuardia High School of Music and Arts and the Performing Arts, where I was the Assistant Chairperson in Social Studies, and his fiancée coordinated the evenings in the gym. The Eternal One provided two Board of Education Certified Teachers who worked with the young men and women and the other volunteers without charge. These same wonderful people came to my aid many years after this ministry, when the Diocese had ended my salary. This couple made sure I had food. I am always thankful for the love they showed me even to this day.
Financing this ministry in the Hammel Housing Development was challenging. I used my salary and my savings. At first, I did not ask anyone for financial help. The St. Rose of Lima Parish Office did not fund this program, but had provided the physical spaces needed for the program. I struggled in silence, but I finally shared this with a friend and she offered me a job as an instructor of Psychology at Kingsborough Community College. I went back to teaching on my days off from my Parish obligations. The work at Kingsborough lasted five years and the Salary was to be used for the Program. My very good education provided the means to answer the call to save lives. My concept is to build Spiritual Cathedrals wherever I am placed. I believe that Jesus wants me to live His concern for building the Living Temples! I work to build these Temples (Cathedrals) where Jesus Reigns. I give everything I have in Total Trust that the Eternal One would provide. The Eternal One has never failed me!
The Manager of The Hammel Housing Development was informed about the ministry and wanted to help. I was hired as a consultant for the youth in the Housing Development. Because of all of these opportunities, we were fully financed.
This special experience had to come to an end because my time at St. Rose has come to an end. However, it left a mark on the lives of many. One young man came up to me at a Subway Station in Queens and asked me was I the Minister who served him and his friends with Bible Study and Basketball. I said yes. He thanked me, his experience in our Program inspired him to do the same thing as a Baptist Minister.
One of the volunteer parents of the Program (a bank Vice President) told me recently that when she is walking home from the Subway Station to her Co-op Apartment on the Sea, she feels protected because those she encounters remember that she made a difference in their lives.