Sacred Heart Parish, North Merrick Honors Sisters

Since their founding in 1650, the mission of the CSJs has been to live and work so that all may be one.  Still today they meet the varied needs of the dear neighbor through their tradition to divide the city, seek the greatest ills and cure them.”

Sacred Heart has had CSJs in ministry and resident since the parish’s foundation.  In 1970, the pastor, Fr. Casola invited S. Edward Joseph Murphy, csj, to Sacred Heart to identify and seek ways of attending to the unmet needs of parishioners.

S. Edward Joseph spent time with Fr.Casola and many parishioners and leaned of many elderly homebound parishioners who were no longer able to be actively involved in parish life.  She also discovered many parishioners who were calling and visiting some of the homebound.  S.Edward Joseph organized the women and coordinated a formal outreach ministry to the homebound parishioners.

Fr. Casola funded the new endeavor with $30 and provided a parish car for S. Edward Joseph’s use to meet he needs of the homebound parishioners. Through the generosity of the parishioners of Sacred Heart, S. Edward Joseph never had occasion to ask Father Casola  for any  more money.

Before having any office space, S. Edward Joseph worked from the convent.  So parishioners would know where to find her, Father Casola offered to place a sign on the convent reading , “Services to the Elderly.”  The Sisters in residence graciously declined this offer.

After 20 years in ministry at Sacred Heart, as S. Edward Joseph was preparing to retire, the diocese was developing Parish Social Ministry for all parishes.  Then administrator, Father Tom Gallagher, brought S. Patricia Sweeney, CSJ, on staff to take the Outreach program S. Edward Joseph had established and incorporate the ideas coming from the Diocese.  Much of S. Pat’s time was spent working with the Dioces learning what this new ministry could be and discerning what the greatest needs in Sacred Heart were.  Very soon after joining the staff, S. Pat Sweeney was elected to leadership in her congregation and stepped down from Sacred heart.  Father Gallagher invited S. Patricia Turley, CSJ, to join the staff.

S. Pat Turley picked up from S. Pat Sweeney and began learning about the needs of the parish and Parish Social Ministry.  The ministry to the homebound continued now with an office in the school.  While maintaining the ministry, S. Pat became aware of people of all ages coming more frequently with different needs.  She found many of the “dear neighbors” struggling even to keep enough food in the house. S. Pat found a small storage room in the school not being used and set up a small food pantry.

When the parish offices moved from the rectory to what was then the convent, S. Pat expressed a need for a larger pantry for the outreach.  While the other offices were already up and running in the new Parish Center,  S Pat and her volunteers were busy cleaning out the sisters’ “trunk room” and building an extension to house the new Food Pantry.

Over the next 20 years, S. Pat continued to “divide the city,” seek the greatest ills and cure them.” What S. Edward Joseph had begun in 1970 as an outreach to the homebound has grown to include a food pantry, additional help at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, the Advent Giving Tree, consolation ministries, bereavement ministries, and continuing to minister to the homebound  including cards, visits, communion calls, medical transportation and of course phone calls where it all began.

Today, Nov. 7, 2013, we dedicate the Sister  Edward Joseph, CSJ Parish Outreach and the Sister Patricia Turley, CSJ Food Pantry as we look to continue ministering to those of our community most vulnerable.

Read the story in the LI Catholic

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