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Apostolate Notes - Jewish marriage law, Catholic migration services, and the annual dinner dance

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By Fr. Brendan Duggan

Marriage

The Bishop, Patrick Keating, and the DennehysSunday's Gospel is about Jewish marriage law. The Pharisees approached Jesus and asked him: "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" Jesus replied by asking another question: "What did Moses command you?" They answered that Moses allowed a man to divorce his wife in certain circumstances, such as for doing something indecent or disgraceful or scandalous, and he had to give her a writ of dismissal allowing her to marry again. But according to Jesus, God's plan from the beginning did not envisage divorce. God's intention was that marriage would be for life-- that man and woman would be so closely united in partnership and love that it would be proper to describe them as one flesh. Then Jesus states: "What God has joined together, no human being must separate".

So when two people get married in church, they are not just marrying in the church building or even the wider church community; they are marrying in the Lord. This means, their love mirrors the love of Christ for his Church. St. Paul states it:"Husbands should love their wives, just as Christ loved the Church". What characterized Christ's love for his people were generosity and fidelity, compassion and patience. So the tenderness, unselfishness, durability, fidelity and compassion which characterized Christ's love for his people are the qualities that the married couple should strive for as well.

So there is the ideal for you all re Christian marriage, but it can be difficult to practice. No marriage is easy and yet so many marriages are good marriages. There is probably no companionship like the companionship of a good marriage. There are so many women who would not dream of 'changing their man'- whatever about trying to improve him. When a lot of Irish American husbands refer to their wives as "herself or "the wife" or "the missus", it's not coldness or disdain, but often reserve and affection. It may be a reluctance to show underlying feeling, but that reserve has changed enormously for the better in recent years. "Herself" may not always know where to find "himself', but without her he would be 'completely lost'.

Some marriages can be very difficult for one or both partners, part of the time or very often. Others are so difficult or unendurable that despite the couple's best efforts there has to be separation. Some people stay married out of love or loyalty to their vows, or for the sake of the children. There can be a lot of heroism in a marriage relationship. Some marriages break down. Some people get their marriages annulled. This is a legal declaration that a marriage was flawed from the very beginning. A decree of nullity is not the same as a divorce, which states that a valid marriage is now being terminated. It is not easy for many married couples who get a decree of nullity that their marriage was not right from the very beginning. Marriage breakup is one of the great pastoral issues which priests have to face and unfortunately there are no easy solutions. As a priest myself who has to deal with these marriage issues, one has to display a lot of compassion and common sense, as often there are no easy solutions. So let's spare a thought and a prayer for couples who struggle with the difficult issues of marriage and marriage breakup. Let's pray for those who struggle with difficult marriages, and let's not forget those who having lost a married partner and find life unbearably lonely. If you are among the happily married let's be grateful for that and never take it for granted. Let's pray finally that we'll never lose sight of the Christian ideal and that the qualities of generosity and lifelong fidelity will characterize marriages in this and other countries for generations to come. Jesus tells us: "Love one another as I have loved you."

Catholic Migration Services

The history of the Catholic Migration Services of the Diocese of Brooklyn dates back to 1971 when the Most Reverend Francis J. Mugavero established it to serve the needs of immigrants and refugees living in Brooklyn and Queens. Since then, the agency has served immigrants from at least 167 countries, whom collectively speak more than 80 languages. From a small storefront office, Catholic Migration Services has grown to become one of the most respected and effective organizations in assisting immigrants in Brooklyn and Queens.

The first Apostolates were established in 1972 to meet the unique needs of the Italian, Haitian, Irish, Korean, Polish, Croatian and Hispanic communities in the Diocese. In response to the 1986 Immigration Act, Catholic Migration played a major role in developing the Diocesan legalization Program, through which over 20,000 immigrants from 68 countries are aided in applying for legal temporary protection. This program was recognized as one of the largest in the country. In the 1990's eleven additional Apostolates were established to meet the needs of the following immigrant communities: Brazilian, Filipino, Ghanaian, Indian, Indonesian, Nigerian, Pakistani, Romanian, Russian, Vietnamese, and West Indian.

The Health Education Program was added in 2004 to offer free multilingual information on immigrant rights to healthcare access and services. The next year, Catholic Migration Services established the Immigrant Tenant Advocacy Project (ITAP) to address housing abuses and provide free legal representation for immigrant tenants. In 2009 Catholic Migration services established "Linea Laboral" a toll free hotline and call center for immigrant workers to address unsafe working conditions as well as wage and hour violations. The dedicated staff of Catholic Migration services continues to assist and provide crucial services for immigrants, always respecting them as persons who should be welcomed.

At the "Shining Star Awards" Dinner on Friday September 28th, the 2012 Award for the Irish Apostolate was presented to Daniel and Siobhan Dennehy. Both these great people have done trojan work over many years for the Irish Immigrants in New York. Siobhan is Executive Director of the Woodside Emerald Isle Immigration Center, and Dan is the Irish Immigrant spokesman for the National AOH. They are well deserving of this great honor from the Diocese of Brooklyn. A photo is enclosed showing Dan and Siobhan getting the Shining Star Award from Bishop DiMarzio of Brooklyn assisted by Fr. Patrick Keating, Executive Director of the Migration Office.

Annual Dinner Dance

The Annual Dinner Dance for the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart will be held at Riccardo's, 2101 24th Ave. Astoria on October 21, with Mass at 5:30 followed by a meal and dancing to Pete Kelly and his band. Tickets cost $55 for adults and $20 for children under 12.
The honorees this year are John Houlihan (Dublin) and Terrence Reynolds (Longford).
For more details, please contact Mary Anne Muller (718-975-2744) or Michael)'Sullivan (914-237-1613).

The Holy Ghost Missions Dance is on Sat. Nov. 10 at St. Mary's Winfield. Tickets cost $45 for an evening of good food, drink and dancing, to "Rumor Has It. For more details please contact me at 917-226-8237

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