The Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Roberto Gonzalez, visited the Bronx in early February. He came to Saint Raymond’s church in the Bronx to celebrate Mass. But this Mass was different – it was the Mass of Solidarity with Puerto Rico.
Why did The Archbishop of San Juan come to the Bronx?
Catholic New York reported: “I have come here today as a deep sign of Christian and episcopal solidarity between the Catholic Church in Puerto Rico and the Catholic Church in New York,” said Archbishop Gonzalez in his homily. “I am here to thank your archdiocese for your generosity toward Puerto Rico…and to pray for your intentions. I am also here to pray with you for the people of Puerto Rico.”
After the earthquakes of January 2020, where much damage was done to Puerto Rico, Catholic Charities of New York and a special collection throughout the Archdiocese of New York sent $80,000 to help Puerto Rico. In addition, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of CCNY, Talia Lockspeiser, associate executive director of CCNY, and Beatriz Diaz Taveras, executive director of Catholic Charities Community Services all visited Puerto Rico to make first hand assessments of the need on the ground.
While in Puerto Rico, Monsignor Sullivan met with the Bishop of Ponce, Antonia Gonzalez Medina. Together, they visited towns in the area and spoke with citizens and aid workers. Meanwhile back in New York, CCNY helped to relocate approximately 20 families who had lost their homes, to the New York City area. Emergency funds (funds that YOU made possible, readers) were used to help displaced families in the hardest hit parts of the island.
The Mass of Solidarity
Regional coordinator of Catholic Charities in the Bronx, Father Eric Cruz, said at the Mass of Solidarity, “God calls us to speak openly and emotionally with Him, to experience His love and consolation. In one voice we will express our hope and our faith in Him that the ‘Isla del Encanto’ (‘Island of Enchantment’) will rise. Prayer, serenity, solidarity and charity are important. We are one family!”
Solidarity and family are more than just catch words. Solidarity is a kind of holistic unity that is nurtured through cooperation and unity of spirit, much like exists in a family. As a living example this, the efforts to help Puerto Rico were supported by the Archdiocese of NY, Catholic Charities of New York, and Caritas de Puerto Rico (Catholic Charities of Puerto Rico) as well as the Puerto Rican community of New York – Puerto Ricans flourish in parishes, schools, and communities throughout the New York State. And the Mass itself was also celebrated by Monsignor Sullivan, Father Cruz, Bishops Gerald Walsh and Peter Byrne of New York, Father Lorenzo Ato of the archdiocesan Hispanic Ministry, and Father James Cruz, pastor of Saint Raymond Parish.
Together, the hearts, prayers and efforts of many are bent towards Puerto Rico in its time of need. The Archbishop’s visit and Mass were a spiritual reminder of that solid familial bond. Support for Puerto Rico is ongoing. If you wish to contribute, you may do so HERE.