SJC Long Island hosted its annual Mass on the Grass Monday, Sept. 13, during common hour, welcoming students, faculty and staff to a new academic year as they gathered outside on the campus quad.
Father Francis “Frank” Pizzarelli, S.M.M., DCSW, who led the sermon and reflection, noted that the event was held in honor of Frieda Englberger, a local community member who, upon her passing in November 2020, gifted the College over $2 million to establish scholarships for physically disabled students.
We pray for an end to hatred, violence and discrimination. Pray that we will have the courage to stand up and be counted for what we believe.” –Father Francis Pizzarelli, S.M.M., DCSW
Time to ‘Stand up and Move Beyond’
“We live in a polarized time, where really as so-called believers we have to stand up and move beyond the complicity of our silence and speak to the issues of social justice and human rights,” Fr. Frank said. “And we don’t need to march in protest, just advocate compassion and kindness, like the way we treat each other, the way we speak to one another — simple things that seem to have gotten so lost.
“Recognize that there are people in our midsts who struggle,” he continued. “And they don’t need to be criticized or slandered or put down; they need compassion and support and encouragement. And this College community, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph, is really built on all of that.”
Additional readings were done by Bryan Gill, executive director of Student Involvement, Leadership and Intercultural Engagement, and Dominique Brutus, a senior biology major.
Fr. Frank closed the event with a powerful prayer.
“We pray for an end to hatred, violence and discrimination,” he said. “Pray that we will have the courage to stand up and be counted for what we believe. Let us remember all those who are afflicted with the virus. Pray for all of our healthcare community who are caring for the people that are sick. Let us pray for all those who battle addiction, especially those who have lost their way.”