Realizing that everything they had and were, was a Gift from God to advance His Kingdom, 1,000 Catholics came together in East Flatbush to form a parish in 1911. Their first Mass was said in a private house on April 16, Easter Sunday, at 124 East 40th Street, by their First Pastor, Father Thomas J. Cloke.
The population was mostly Irish and Italian who swiftly formed two societies for their youth, and three for adults: 176 in the Holy Name Society, 106 in the Rosary Society and 39 in the Altar Society.
Today our population is a complex mix of different cultures with a large percentage of Caribbean peoples. Statistics tell us that within our boundaries is not only KingsBrook Hospital calling out to us for help, but some 25,000 Catholics. Of these many do come for and expect an attentive ear and aid from our present Core staff of two Priests.
St. Paul writes: “The body is one and has many members, but all the members, many though they are, are one body, and so it is with Christ. It was in one Spirit that all of us, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, were baptized into one body…if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy. You then, are the Body of Christ. Everyone of you is a member of it” (1 Corinthians 12: 12-27).
And so our Parish Anthem aptly declares, that St. Catherine of Genoa Church “Reflects the many lands and races that have made us a special people, joined by faith, hope, and love.” It has a place in her small and overcrowded facilities for everyone. There are two Prayer groups: English and Haitian, which are a very vibrant and vital force in our Parish. They live the words of Our Lord who said, “Ask, and you will receive! Seek, and you will find! Knock, and it will be opened to you!” (Matthew 7:7)
Not only do we celebrate the same Rosary Society established in 1911, but also, they attract new members. For our Senior Citizens, we have the Golden Age Society, and for any soldier, the St. Catherine of Genoa Catholic War Veterans post 1599. There are also the Ambassadeurs Du Christ, and La Legion De Marie.
Tomorrow – The Challenges of Hopes, Dreams, and Aspirations
” Then I saw new heavens and a new earth. The former heavens and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer. I also saw a New Jerusalem, the Holy City, coming down out of Heaven from God, beautiful as a bride prepared to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne cry out: “This is God’s dwelling among men. He shall dwell with them, He shall wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain, for the former world has passed away.” (Revelations 21: 1-4)
Before this blessed event, it is the privilege of our Christian condition to hope, and change, and better prepare. The greatest desire expressed, has been for Unity. However, like our universal church in the modern world, Unity in our parish can never come from uniformity. It must be found in our diversity.
“Go and announce that the kingdom of heaven is at hand…freely have you received, freely give…” (Matthew 10: 7-8)”