Parish says thank you to those who helped keep faith alive

It was a difficult three-and-a-half months away from our Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament Parish family.

No Mass. No First Communion or Confirmation. No Faith Formation classes. No social gatherings.

Being away from church, however, didn’t stop a group of individual who worked tirelessly to help the rest of us strengthen our faith and feel close to one another virtually while we were apart.

Music Ministry Director Peter Elacqua conceived the idea for our website’s “Liturgy in Focus” carousel at the top of the home page. He compiled, composed and collected everything you see weekly. There are prayers, scriptures, contemplations, music videos and other materials for adults and children to help us maintain and increase our faith. He also composed all the pandemic prayers and offerings. When we started recording Sunday Mass, Peter took the leadership role in planning liturgy weekly. He has been steadfast in his faith and shared it with all of us. The “Liturgy in Focus” material still continues today.

Anne Elacqua, Faith Formation coordinator for our junior-senior high school students, supplied our website with lots of materials to help our parish family, especially our teenagers, keep their faith alive. She and Chris Gray led the effort to bake cookies for our essential workers in the area. And when the time came, she voluntarily took the leadership role in getting our church open. Following the guidelines and mandates from the diocese and state, she wrote the protocols needed to open our church safely. Those are just a few of the important tasks Anne took on.

Terri Panuccio, Faith Formation coordinator for the elementary school students, also played a vital role. She kept in contact with her students, organizing videos of the Stations of the Cross, “Sharing the Love” and an occasional video “Fireside Chat” with Father Jim. Also, she volunteered to help run our Parish Office where she has been instrumental in keeping the business end of the parish afloat.

David Elacqua, Anne’s son and Colgate University student, played a major role in our online weekly Masses. He recorded each Mass, went home and spent hours editing them and coming up with what we all watched weekly via our website and YouTube. He also worked on our video rosary and our online novena.

John Reale Jr. is the head of the Liturgy Committee and has been so helpful as we change the decor for our weekly Mass tapings. Our team works tirelessly and John will do whatever he needs to do. Whether it is carrying a statue, climbing up on the back altar to drape material or changing altar linens, John helps to make our church look beautiful for Mass each week as well as all of the holidays.  

John also is a lector and cantor, and he trains our altar servers. He gives of himself tirelessly to our parish.

Fran Perritano works his magic each week to place all the information that is given to him, as well as all that he gathers, writes and edits, to put the countless amounts of information and articles on our parish website. Fran also is the editor of “More Good News” and he recently started to publish our online bulletin as well as the paper version that we recently started again. He also has collected more than 160 parishioner email addresses and keeps everyone advised of important parish news.

Fran is a lector, coordinates the altar server schedules and helps Father Jim at daily Mass as well as our online mass. 

We also would like to thank numerous members of the Music Ministry and lectors for participating in our video Masses.

These individuals show what a difference a few people can make — and we thank them for their hard work and dedication.