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Excerpt from Joe Gibbons' Letter to parishioners, supporters, volunteers and staff members.....February 16, 2021
Wyandanch has been hit hard with both a very high Covid infection rate and economic damage as most of our clients who are in the service industry have lost their jobs and their sole source of income for their families.
However, on Friday, February 12th, we successfully hosted a vaccination pop up site for this hard hit community where 400 plus people were vaccinated. After days of negotiation with the Governor's Office, Stony Brook Hospital and the Diocese including site survey visits, the Outreach Center was selected and approved as a community based Covid vaccination Pop Up Site. This was a vital step towards protecting this vulnerable community as most of our client base and senior citizens do not have access to technology for obtaining vaccine appointments. Once selected, we had only a few days to contact our clients, OLMM parishioners, Noelle's network of churches of all faiths, the Senior Center, some local organizations, and then complete the registration process.
Once News Channel 12 and other local media announced the pop up site, we were besieged with requests from the tri-state area but kept our focus on registering local residents and a few outreach volunteers. The demographics of the vaccinated population fully represented the demographics of the community; this also included many seniors in their 80's and 90's, even one who was 101 years old. Although it was cold outside, registrants patiently waited outside to avoid overcrowding inside and this allowed for a very organized and peaceful event. One example was where a young woman with her 101 year old great grandmother in her car came to me so I told her to pull up. As she did, I yelled to the people waiting on the line that she is 101 and she gets preference for the front of the line, at 101 you get a buy; everyone cheered and clapped for her and that encapsulated the spirit of the day! The Outreach is used to organizing large events like this as we support similar size crowds for the Thanksgiving and Christmas distributions. One small bottleneck occurred where the vaccinated folks are required to sit for 15 minutes in an observation area to be monitored by the EMT team. Since this was the first time many seniors were able to see their friends in person for a quick chat, they were reluctant to leave; you could see them all smiling and talking as they felt relieved they got the vaccine and thrilled to see their friends.
We also distributed 450 10-pack masks and over 500 bottles of hand sanitizer to everyone; special thanks to Felix at Berenstein Textiles and Bob Crossan for their generous mask and sanitizer donations respectively.
Special thanks to Father Bob and Tom Fiorini for standing with me in the 25 degree cold weather for 5 hours as we checked ID's, scheduled appointment times and made sure that each person had their vaccine ticket confirmation.
This initiative started back on December 28th when I contacted Rich Schaffer and Tony Martinez to see how I could get the Outreach Staff vaccinated and they provided a contact in the governor's office; the rest is now history so thank you Rich and Tony!
Back to regular business; the Outreach is open for food, winter coats, and blanket distribution.
Pope francis pens new
Brief synopsis of first 2 chapters
Cover the World
In the first of eight chapters, which is entitled “Dark Clouds over a Closed World”, the document reflects on the many distortions of the contemporary era: the manipulation and deformation of concepts such as democracy, freedom, justice; the loss of the meaning of the social community and history; selfishness and indifference toward the common good; the prevalence of a market logic based on profit and the culture of waste; unemployment, racism, poverty; the disparity of rights and its aberrations such as slavery, trafficking, women subjugated and then forced to abort, organ trafficking (see Par 10-24). It deals with global problems that call for global actions, emphasizes the Pope, also sounding the alarm against a “culture of walls” that favours the proliferation of organized crime, fuelled by fear and loneliness (see Par 27-28).
To continue reading, go to
VATICAN NEWS article from October
Strangers on the Road
To many shadows, however, the Encyclical responds with a luminous example, a herald of hope: the Good Samaritan. The second chapter, “A stranger on the road”, is dedicated to this figure. In it, the Pope emphasizes that, in an unhealthy society that turns its back on suffering and that is “illiterate” in caring for the frail and vulnerable (see Par 64-65), we are all called – just like the Good Samaritan – to become neighbours to others (see Par 81), overcoming prejudices, personal interests, historic and cultural barriers. We all, in fact, are co-responsible in creating a society that is able to include, integrate and lift up those who have fallen or are suffering (see Par 77). Love builds bridges and “we were made for love” (Par 88), the Pope adds, particularly exhorting Christians to recognize Christ in the face of every excluded person (see Par 85).