I’m madder than Friar Tuck two minutes after last call at the Sherwood Forest Publick House over the fact that some out there don’t believe in the big man upstairs, and when I say the big man, I don’t mean me (even though, in my dreams, I picture us looking alike).
Look, you all know that the ol’Screecher wasn’t necessarily ecstatic every Sunday morning when my sainted mother dragged me kicking and screaming to church back when the priests only spoke Latin, but I gotta tell you that some of those things those guys back in Little Italy said sunk in, especially the stuff about me being forgiven every week for eating a tinge too much, not to mention my double dipping of the wafer (listen, folks, some may say I’m a bit gluttonous, but to them I say that I am simply preserving the temple that God gave me).
Still, I’m not going to lie to you and say I get up early Sunday morning, take one of my patented bath-showers, and head off to the Church of the Most Precious Blood on Bay 46th Street to meet with my fellow parishoners for coffee and donuts and discussions about my own precious blood (and in case your wondering, my cholesterol is in check!).
But that doesn’t mean I don’t get upset when I can’t get inside the church of my youth because the handicap door is locked tight!
Of course, I’m at an age when the I head to church a lot, mostly because one of my old-time friends checked in to a new home in the sky.
And I don’t want no un-believer preaching to me that the only place I’ll go when the time comes is asleep forever, because I plan on meeting St. Peter, or whomever is on duty at the pearly gates when the time comes, and hearing them say “Carmine, it’s good to see you. Welcome. Your sainted mother is, as you expected, on Cloud Nine.”
But enough about the inevitable.
At one of my most recent funerals, I found out about the hard work of Ann Marie Messina-Walsh, the founder of Onora, the Italian Ministry of Most Precious Blood Church.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Carmine, we can’t even pronounce Onora, so what the heck are you talking about?
Well, it’s a parish-based ministry designed to reach out to the Italian community to celebrate our rich heritage of family, faith, culture, and to mobilize parishioners for community service. Its goal is to reinvigorate the Italian community in Brooklyn — the ones that didn’t make the mistake of moving to Staten Island — by sponsoring social activities, educational events, and outreach projects to help those in need.
So now I still know what you are thinking: “Carmine, I’m not Italian, not do I play one on television. And as stated before, I cannot pronounce that word. Can I get involved anyway?”
Of course you can! Onora is open to everyone who would like to learn about and celebrate the Italian influence on the Church and our world.
All you have to do is come to one of the meetings at the Faith Formation Center or, if you are interested and can’t make the meetings but really want to be involved, call Anna Maria. Send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll get you her info.
Here’s what Anna Marie and her cadre of angels put together:
• A 13-week novena in honor of St. Anthony on Tuesday evenings in English and Italian Rosary.
• The St. Anthony’s Dinner and Dance on June 7.
I was there with my old boss Bill Colton and his new chief of staff Susan Zhueng. The food was fantastic. There was a delicious surprising non-fattening dessert, and there was a special appearance by little 10-year-old Diana Paunetto, whose high notes and beautiful voice reverberated through the Father Termine Center, leaving everyone totally astonished at her talented voice that belongs performing at the Metropolitan Opera or LaScala.
All of this thanks to Anna Maria, so a Big Screecher thaks to you. You make the impossible happen!
Screech at you next week.