The Link
The newsletter for The Brooklyn Oratory Parishes

"I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons."
-St. John Henry Cardinal Newman, C.O.
 The Brooklyn Oratory Parishes
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Boniface
March 2, 2021
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From Our Pastors

What we say matters. The words we choose to utter or to withhold have an impact on others, and, to a large extent, form us into the type of person we are.

In his message for this Lent, Pope Francis, quoting from his 2020 Encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, reminds us to be concerned with what we say. “In Lent, may we be increasingly concerned with speaking words of comfort, strength, consolation and encouragement, and not words that demean, sadden, anger or show scorn’. In order to give hope to others, it is sometimes enough simply to be kind, to be ‘willing to set everything else aside in order to show interest, to give the gift of a smile, to speak a word of encouragement, to listen amid general indifference’.”

As we embark on another season of preparation for Easter, perhaps we could focus a little more closely on our words. Who among us has not been stung by the cruel words of another? And who has not felt the power of kind and generous words?

Here is a challenge for your consideration: a Lenten penance paying attention to my words, built around the traditional acts of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Perhaps I could practice “fasting” from mean and biting words to others. Especially if I tend to rationalize them under the guise of humor or in “just telling the truth”. To fast from insisting on making my point, enforcing my opinions, and advancing my argument. There are legitimate times for debate, and rhetoric certainly has its place, but rarely are they life-threateningly important around the dinner table, on the sofa, or in blogs, posts and emails.

Maybe I could “give alms” by trying to listen before I speak; in how I ask questions and make enquiries that allow others to share. Might I refrain from negative gossip, and, instead spread charity and promote understanding. Perhaps I could presume the best in others rather than finding fault. Could I suspend judgment for a time and seek to correct and improve no one but myself during this Lent?

Could I consider for my Lenten discipline this year making time for a prayer-time that examines myself more closely? What do my words reveal about my attitudes? How does what I say influence the person I am becoming/have become? Are my words revelatory of jealousy and envy? Am I threatened or superior? Defensive or callous? Is this the person God wants me to be? I would be honoring a time-honored Lenten discipline if my personal examination brought me to confession in the sacrament of reconciliation.

At the very beginning of revelation, we read in the Book of Genesis that God spoke and thus made all of creation. God’s word is creative. It does not destroy but brings life, light, and love. In the words of St John’s Gospel:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... What came to be through him was life, and the life was light to the human race; the light shines in darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn 1: 1, 3b & 4)

May I be attentive to the words I speak this Lent. May my words create life and shine light in darkness. What I say matters.

Fr. Mark Lane, c.o. and Fr. Michael Callaghan, c.o.
The Vigil Mass from last Saturday at Assumption; our catechumens, candidates, and sponsors.
Update from the Provost

I am writing to update the community on the status of Father Joel. As you know, he has been on a leave of absence for the last eighteen months as he discerned his vocation as an Oratorian priest. As he comes to an end to this period of reflection, Joel has decided that he does not wish to return to the Oratory nor does he desire to return to priestly ministry in another context. With the help and support of us at the Oratory, he has now initiated the formal process which the Church provides for a priest to return to the lay state. During this past leave of absence, Joel had worked as a college instructor and as a healthcare ethics consultant and plans to continue doing both locally. While we will miss him very much, we are most grateful for Joel’s many years of pastoral service and leadership at the Oratory and wish him good health and many blessings in the future. If you would like to be in touch with Joel, he can be reached at
Novena to St. Joseph
St. Joseph is the patron of the Universal Church, of migrants and travelers, of workers and fathers, of countries and families. In this Year of St. Joseph, we ask his intercession for our Church, our Oratory Parishes and our families and personal needs. If you have intentions you would like to include you may place them in the basket on the St. Joseph altar at Assumption or email them to us and we can place them there for you.

Each day there is a reflection, followed by the intercessory prayer to St. Joseph. The intercessory prayer and the first three days of the Novena are below.

Intercessory Prayer
All: Good St. Joseph, your care has extended to many during your life on earth and from your place in heaven. We turn to you as one whom our God trusted to guard and form Jesus, the Word made Flesh and to accompany Mary in daily life. When you were in perplexity, you trusted the messages sent by God to you and courageously made a way forward. Receive the prayers we offer through you and by your love for Christ and the Church, intercede for us in our needs: (here recall the intentions you have silently). Help us to trust the Word of God as you did and to follow the promptings for the Spirit courageously in our lives that we may one day come through a happy death to eternal glory in Christ our Lord. Amen.

Day One, Mar. 3, Joseph the Faithful
Leader: St. Joseph appears in the gospel of Matthew and Luke, in the Nativity narratives and in the finding of Jesus in the Temple. In the gospel of John, there is a brief reference to Joseph as the father of Jesus. In these instances, no words of Joseph are recorded but his actions and the fruit thereof bear witness to his faithfulness. Joseph was faithful to the God of the Covenant, the God of Israel. He was faithful to Mary, despite the circumstances of her being with child. He was faithful in his care for Jesus. How are we faithful to the call of God in our lives? How do we live in faithfulness to spouses or family; to responsibilities and challenges entrusted to our care? Let us pray that St. Joseph will help us keep faith even when there are obstacles and uncertainties beyond our control, especially when we are most tempted to give up.
All: St. Joseph, ever faithful, pray for us.

Day 2, Mar. 5, Joseph the Obedient
Obedience occurs when we submit ourselves to the will or rightful authority of another. As a faithful Jew, Joseph lived his life under the authority of the one, true God. He obeyed God’s law and observed the prescribed offerings at the temple. He was obedient to the observance of the Sabbath and the small things that shaped each day. He was obedient in the face of crisis and fear. Obedience grew out of the depths of his practiced faith. In our contemporary world, obedience is not often valued. We want to be heard, to be right, to hold sway and influence in areas of discourse. At the same time, we often find it difficult to place ourselves under the will or rightful authority of another. Where do we struggle with obedience, with discerning and embracing the will of another, the will of God in our lives? Let us ask St. Joseph to help us learn obedience, even when we cannot see the outcome of our situations.
All: St. Joseph, ever faithful, pray for us.

Day 3, Mar. 6, Joseph the Listener
St. Joseph was a listener. He listed to the angel who told him not to be afraid of taking Mary into his home. He listened when he heard the warning to flee into Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus. He Listened to Simeon and Anna as they prophesied about the Child and how he would be the hope for redemption of the people of Israel. He listened to Mary recount her day, and to Jesus as he spoke and questioned and learned the life of the covenant people. In a world with so much noise, so many voices battling to be heard, where listening is esteemed reaction is more often the norm, what might Joseph the great listener teach us? Might he show us greater interiority, a more reflective approach to others and help us ponder the words we hear so we might clearly discern the voice of the Lord?
All: St. Joseph, sincere listener, pray for us.
Social Justice Action presents:
The Plastic Problem
Video Presentation + Panel Discussion

Have you thought about reducing your use of plastics during Lent? Join us for a video presentation of PBS's THE PLASTIC PROBLEM. A panel discussion will follow lead by Senator Brian Kavanagh, of the NYS Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, and Tom Outerbridge of Sims Municipal Recycling on the pending "Producer Responsibility for Packaging and Paper" Bill in Albany. Informational materials on recycling will also be provided.

Meeting ID: 825 8495 2192
Passcode: 862768

For more information, please contact Connie Tempel at

Thursday, March 11 at 7pm
Mass Intentions
If you would like to request a mass for someone living or deceased, mass intentions are available. Email The offering is $20. Please pay by using Pushpay or by mailing a check to 64 Middagh St. Brooklyn, NY 11201.
Mass Times and Church Hours
St. Boniface

Weekday hours:  11:30am-1:00pm

Weekday Mass: 12:10pm

Sunday Masses:  10:00am, 11:15am and 6:00pm
Sunday hours:  9:30am-12:30 pm & 5:30pm-7:00pm

Confessions during Eucharistic Adoration: Wednesdays, 12:30-1:00pm and before Mass on Sunday 5:15pm -5:45pm
Mass Times and Church Hours
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Weekday hours:  8:30am-12:00 noon Tuesday through Friday

Weekday Mass:  9:00am Tuesday through Friday

Weekend Masses:  5:00pm Saturday and 10:00am Sunday
The church is closed on Mondays.

Confessions Saturday: 4:15pm-4:45pm at the St. Joseph’s Altar

First Saturday of the month, Mass at Assumption 9:00am with Exposition and Novena to St. Joseph.

Stations of the Cross at Assumption will be on Fridays of Lent, in the church, following the 9:00am morning Mass and in the evening at 6pm.
Please be sure to send all mail to 64 Middagh Street. The Post Office is no longer forwarding  our mail. Thank you!

The Brooklyn Oratory Parishes 
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St Boniface
Roman Catholic Communities in
Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights
Both parishes operate from one office:

64 Middagh Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201