My name is Sr. Lynne Jacoby, RSHM. I am a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary (i.e. RSHM) About a year ago I relocated to our Religious Community here on 93rd St. in Manhattan and began looking for a parish that would nourish my spirituality. It did not take me long to find a home at St. Francis de Sales. I have worked as a Pastoral Associate in a number of parishes for the greater part of my Religious life. One of the goals for all the different parishes where I worked was to form one united parish out of many diverse cultures and language groups represented there.
When I was a young sister teaching high school in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, we adopted a new biology text book. The title was Unity out of Diversity. That concept has always been a motivational force for me. I felt that reality here at St. Francis from the beginning at Liturgy, with the children and their families in the Religious Education "Discipleship Program" and in the warm welcoming spirit expressed by everyone I encountered here.
The concept really hit home when I heard Fr. Phil speak in one of his recent homilies of our reality here where we are physically located on 96th St. between Lexington Ave. and Park Ave. The economic and cultural realities of the geographic location are "a natural" for making a concrete reality of the goal of Unity out of Diversity: the notion of "both/and rather than either or."
This reality was brought home to me even more strongly by an experience that I had recently. It was re-enforced in a conversation I had with Sr. Maryellen shortly after. We each went out to visit families of the parish and we both had similar experiences. We were impressed by the striking differences and yet the strong similarities we found in the various visits. For me the experience highlighted St. Paul's claim that: "It is through faith that you are God's sons [and daughters] in union with Christ Jesus. You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed, so to speak, with the life of Christ himself. So that there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles, between slaves and free, between men and women (between Latinos and Asians, Whites and Blacks, rich and poor or any other differences that we can invent); you are all one in union with Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are the descendants of Abraham and will receive what God has promised." Ga. 3:26-29.