Syracuse Catholic Deaf Community
  June 2001 NEWS

Pauline Lewis (center) celebrates her birthday with her daughter Mary Testani (left) and granddaughter Valerie Allen


Front, left to right: Jane Long and Pauline Lewis
Back: Denise Rotunno, Mary Testani, Shirley Cleveland, Mary Alice Wilson

The Mass:
by Fr Pete Williams

The Feast of Corpus Christi (“Corpus Christi” is Latin for Body of Christ) is celebrated on a Sunday in June. This feast day reminds us all that God gives us a very precious gift whenever we share Holy Communion at Mass. For us Catholic people, we remember that Jesus is REALLY WITH US when we share Holy Communion. The bread is Jesus’ body shared with us. The cup of wine is Jesus’ blood poured out for us. 

That means Mass is a special time for us. People sometimes disagree on what is the right way to celebrate that special time together. Some people say this: “Mass is a special, HAPPY time. We are the people of God. We are the Body of Christ. When we are together to share Mass, it is wonderful. We should sing and rejoice together. We should be able to talk together and tell each other we are glad to be there, happy to see each other. We should be able to laugh together and share our life stories. Our faith is not a quiet, private faith. A church where people hang around and talk after Mass is a good place.”

Other people disagree somewhat: ”Mass is a special, HOLY time. When we hear the story of God proclaimed from the Bible, God is with us. We experience Jesus sharing life with us in his Body and Blood. Jesus gave up his life for us on the cross. Now, that sacrifice of the cross, and the glory of the resurrection are shared with us in Holy Communion. That is AWESOME. This means that in our hearts, we are saying ‘WOW! God loves us so much!’ “ Some people say “We need time at Mass to be quiet, to think about that wonderful miracle. Sometimes people talk too much at Mass. They forget that the awesome presence of God is shared with us there. People need to stop talking for a minute, be quiet, and THINK about the wonderful miracle that happens in church.”

Who is right? Is Mass supposed to be HAPPY, or is it supposed to be HOLY??? Which?

I am pleased to tell you that the Mass is BOTH!!! Mass is a happy time to be with each other. We cannot really be alone at church. We do church prayers together. Jesus is really with us, we can see Jesus in the other people sitting there. We should be happy to see each other in church. We should talk with each other, and say “good morning!” and “how are you?”

Mass is also a HOLY event. Yes, Jesus really is there in a special way at the altar.

During communion time, it is good for people to take a minute to say thanks to God for the miracle of God’s love. To be able to share in God’s life in Holy Communion is a really amazing gift! We should always show respect for that when we are at the Mass.

Often, at certain times in the Mass, hearing people are listening to hymns, or joining in the singing. Many deaf folks feel left out. Even with an interpreter, the songs are not always something they are interested in. If that is the case for you, when you are at a hearing church for Mass, why not use that quiet time in church to pray for other people? You can also think about what you learned from the Bible readings that day, or from the preacher. Maybe there are problems in your life and you need to ask God to help you. The quiet moments of Mass can be a good time to do that, and to show respect for the awesome presence of God.

So, you see-- Mass really is HAPPYHAPPY HAPPY as well as HOLY HOLY HOLY.
Both are important-- the people who are there are important because they are the Body of Christ, and the presence of Jesus in Holy Communion is important too. We are happy to see each other, and we are in awe, because God wants to be with us, too! Why not show both of those feelings next time YOU go to church?


 East Area:
Mary Margaret Van Damme attended the Pathways to Ministry banquet on June 11.  The banquet honored the teachers getting their catechetical certificates and Director of Religious Education  certifications. MM  was introduced to the crowd as the Director of the Deaf Ministry, so the office is getting some recognition.  She received her Religious Education Associate certificate.

Maria Capoccetta and Ralph Mingolelli were married in Rome on June 16th. Best wishes for a blessed marriage!

The rest of the news is in our printed newsletter, which you should get by June 20th or so.

First Communicants - Congratulations!

Salvatore and Elena Ciccarelli

Emma and Linda Van Voorhes

 People show God's love by being good friends.  How?  Just ask Joan Emerick. Joan is a member of the Catholic Deaf Community in the Southern Region.  For several years she was an officer of the Binghamton Chapter 67 of the ICDA.  
While she was an officer, she did many good things for other people.  When an earthquake did devestating damage to Kobe, Japan, she wanted to help the people there.  She encouraged the Chapter to make a donation to the Catholic 
Deaf group in Kobe.  When someone needed a ride or encouragement, Joan would be one of the first to volunteer.

Last year, Joan had a serious operation on her spine to remove a tumor.  The tumor was removed, but the surgery left her unable to walk.  She spent many weeks in the hospital in Syracuse.  Then she was transferred to a hospital in 
Binghamton.  Many weeks later, she was sent to a nursing home.   

Throughout all these weeks, there was one lady in Binghamton who remembered Joan by sending her a card or note EVERY week.  Joan said this woman, Mabel Edic, was like having a friend who is an angel.  Mabel has been part of our 
Deaf Community for many years.  Her grandson, Paul Syzmanski is deaf, and Mabel makes sure he comes to Church, even though she herself is a Methodist.  

Mabel would always be the first to volunteer to help at bake sales or help us cook our annual spaghetti dinner.  Mabel knew that Joan would do nice things for other people, and when Joan was sick, Mabel wanted her to know she was thinking about her.  Since Mabel does not drive, she did the next best thing.  She made sure Joan received a card each week.  

When Joan was in the nursing home in Vestal, a seminarian named Tom Servatius came to St. James.  One of his duties was to visit some of the people of St. James who could not come to the church for Mass.  Joan was on his list to visit.  Joan and Tom  had a lot in common.  Both had studied at Syracuse University for their Masters in Social Work.  Tom doesn't know much sign language, and Joan says she cannot lipread, but the two of them have a regular time together every Tuesday when Tom stops to visit Joan.  They seem to communicate pretty well, and always Tom bring Holy Communion for Joan and 
prays with her.  

At the end of June, Tom will leave St. James and go back to his seminary in Baltimore for his last year of studies.  In June 2002, Tom will be ordained a deacon, and in June 2003 he will be ordained a priest.  Joan plans to be there for those special events.  And thanks to computer email, Joan and Tom can still visit and share prayers together.  Joan will be praying for Tom's success in his studies, and Tom will be praying for Joan's recovery.

Friends like Joan, and Mabel, and Tom are a wonderful example of our Church Community in action.  Joan calls these two special friends:  her "angels".  

We can learn from the example of Mabel and Tom.  How have we been a friend for others?

From the Director:

Here we are heading into the REAL summer. Religious Education classes at NYSSD are done till the Fall. It was a good year with 7 students, my assistant Krista Chapple, and lots of Team Teaching with Rev Ginger Nagle during the Lenten and Easter Seasons. The children enjoyed the Seder Meal, and Krista as the angel in the tomb.

I was able to attend the NCCL (National Conference of Catechetical Leaders) Conference in Buffalo in early May. The theme was Evangelization, with many
workshops on multiculturalism. In the future I hope there will be many Deaf there also!!

ICDA 102 had a Spring Picnic. It was chilly outside, but warm inside. In the raffle, Jean Hebbard won 5 prizes!! Lucky day! 

Now we are looking forward to the big ICDA  Conference in Providence RI in July. Remember the summer of '95 when it was here? Smile.

Jane Long, Anne Parish, Jeanette Romanowski, and myself were able to attend the NY State pastoral Workers meeting in early June. It is always good to find out what is happening in other places. Save the dates for Pat Graybill's talk in September, and think about making a Cursillo in 2002!!!
The Barber Shop continues through the summer too. There are always surprise visitors. We've had Sr Linda Jean, Nellie Charma, Fr Peter, and Alice Johns. 

As I said to each child after Religion class: Have a nice  summer  and remember to pray! And remember Sunday Mass    
(Eucharist means Thanksgiving)- and thank God for all our gifts!

 Mary Margaret Van Damme