Each of the 15 annual services for families of murder victims held in Brooklyn, N.Y., has followed a similar pattern. Each has been marked by a uniquely memorable event.
Grace on the Margins: Things might be hard in the Northeast after Superstorm Sandy, but things are far worse for many around the globe.
Perspective: New Yorkers met the challenges of Hurricane Sandy with typical grit, grace and fortitude; however, they made the city feel different.
The executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York said people need food, shelter, clothing and more after Hurricane Sandy.
About three months ago, we were trying to decide where we were going to take a one-week vacation. I somehow managed to decide on a week at Virginia Beach during Hurricane Sandy. I think such careful planning requires special talent.
Astoria is a section of the New York City borough of Queens that has been traditionally middle-class Greek and Italian, though it is an area becoming increasingly diverse with Middle East and Latino residents, as well as young, white "hipsters. "
Almost all are without power in Bergen County, New Jersey's largest county of 1.1 million, which is about 28 percent Catholic. People are still assessing their damage, but there is much tree destruction, even some houses split in two -- one reportedly had adults sleeping on one side, children on the other of where a tree fell. All are safe.
At 7:30 a.m. Mass on Tuesday, Carmelite Fr. Hilary Milton, pastor of St. Cecilia's parish in Englewood, N.J., said he always has a prayer for such disasters, but could not remember it or find it in the wake of this mishap.
Pope Benedict XVI expressed his concern for everyone affected by Hurricane Sandy and encouraged all those working to rebuild from the disaster.
"Conscious of the devastation caused by the hurricane which recently struck the East Coast of the United States of America, I offer my prayers for the victims and express my solidarity with all those engaged in the work of rebuilding," he said Wednesday at the end of his weekly general audience.
A week ago, before Hurricane Sandy was forecasted, my cousin Marie confided to her brother in Florida that she wasn't afraid of dying, but of living. Marie, in her mid 60s, has been confined to a wheelchair and dependent on oxygen since heart surgery six years ago.
On Monday, Sandy took out her power and poured five feet of water into her basement apartment. She and her husband were able to escape to the upstairs apartment, where their daughter's family lives. It's crowded, but the children love their grandparents.
Catholic charities have set up relief services in the areas hit hardest, which are highly developed and have a high poverty rate.