A letter from Bishop DiMarzio regarding second allegation of misconduct

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I regret to inform you the Archdiocese of Newark has notified me that a second allegation has been leveled by an individual claiming misconduct dating back 40 years. The attorney in both of these matters is Mitchell Garabedian. He is seeking a total of $40 million in these two unsubstantiated allegations.

There is absolutely no truth to either of these allegations. I deny this outrageous and libelous claim. I am contemplating filing a lawsuit against those responsible for these statements, which have no basis in fact. I am ready, willing, and able to go to trial to defend myself.

I have hired Joseph Hayden, an experienced trial lawyer from New Jersey, who has been investigating these claims and has uncovered conclusive evidence of my innocence. We plan to challenge these allegations in court or in any other proceeding.  I will never agree to a settlement of these claims.

These false allegations are troubling.  They will not deter me from our continued ministry and our Gospel mission. The last 50 years of my life have been spent in service to the Church, ministering to the poor and marginalized. That work must continue, along with my commitment to protecting children and continued advocacy for the healing of, and justice for, all victim-survivors of sexual abuse.

These have been difficult days for all of us. Our Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens remains at the epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic and the center of civil unrest in our country. These untrue claims cannot distract from our efforts to continue bringing faith, hope, and charity into our parish communities during these unprecedented times.

I understand this is a grave matter. A Church investigation, called Vos Estis, is being conducted. The Archdiocese of New York has hired an outside law firm to oversee the process and they in turn hired the investigative agency run by the retired former director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, to conduct the investigation. I pledge my full cooperation to this independent investigation. As we go forward, I will keep you informed.

Asking you to keep the Diocese of Brooklyn in your prayers, and assuring you of my prayers for you, I am

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio
Bishop of Brooklyn

 

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Bishop DiMarzio is recognized as a leader in the fight against sexual abuse. Since arriving at the Diocese of Brooklyn in 2003, Bishop DiMarzio instituted changes to protect children that surpassed the mandates of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. They include an independent reporting line, where reports are automatically sent to the district attorney in Brooklyn or Queens. He meets with victim-survivors of clergy sexual abuse and started the annual Mass of Hope and Healing to pray for them.

Even before the mandates of the Dallas Charter, Bishop DiMarzio created protocols when he was the Bishop in the Diocese of Camden from 1999-2003 to ensure that children were protected and that victims received the care they need. Under his leadership, the Diocese of Camden was the first diocese in the country to offer victims a toll-free reporting line.

As a result of his exemplary record fighting sexual abuse, Pope Francis recently selected Bishop DiMarzio to conduct the investigation into the Diocese of Buffalo.

 

Gradual Re-Opening of Church

PLAN FOR THE REOPENING OF OUR CHURCHES
(Edited for the St. Matthew Community)

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is pleased to announce the Diocese of Brooklyn will slowly work towards going back to normal by opening the doors of the churches on May 26, 2020 for private prayer and devotion as well as for funerals and limited celebrations of baptisms and weddings. The following directives will apply in general and individual churches should prepare further directions which the faithful must adhere to when visiting a church.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE CHURCHES MAY OPEN THEIR DOORS ON MAY 26TH.

Stage 1:           Opening of Churches for private prayer and devotion, Funerals, Baptisms and Weddings (May 26th)

Stage 2:            Limited Celebrations of Daily Mass (No date has been set yet)

Stage 3:            Limited Celebrations of Sunday Mass (No date has been set yet)

Stage 4:            Celebration of First Holy Communion and Confirmation (No date has been set yet)

CHURCHES

  • After the churches reopen for private prayer and devotion, the full reopening of the churches for liturgical celebrations will begin after the order for reopening of large gatherings has been given. This is important because of the danger of gathered crowds and the possible spread of the virus.
  • The churches will be marked off with tape to show areas that adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • The elderly and all who are health-compromised ARE ADVISED to stay home. Also, In the past 14 days if you have you experienced: fever (temperature of 100.4), cough, shortness of breath, chills/repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, you ARE ASKED TO STAY HOME.  If you tested positive for COVID-19 or been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, YOU ARE ASKED TO STAY HOME.  This is for the safety of others in the community.
  • There will be NO holy water in the fonts.
  • Hymnals, missalettes and any other worship aids will be removed from the pews and stored away.
  • Bulletins are not distributed.
  • Parishioners must wear masks, which they will bring on their own from home. No one should be in church without a mask.
  • Parishioners are to be encouraged to bring hand sanitizer from home.
  • Restrooms are open and available but used by one person at a time.
  • For the foreseeable future, parishes may not schedule any events which will draw crowds and make social distancing difficult.

PRIVATE PRAYER AND DEVOTION

  • The church will be open 4 hours each day. These hours will not coincide with the time a Mass is celebrated in the church.
  • There is to be no congregating of people (e.g. gathering to say a rosary together). There should not be more than ten (10) people in the church and there cannot be a group gathered.
  • The faithful cannot touch statues or other devotional objects in the church.

FUNERALS

The directives indicated above apply for funerals as well.

Funeral services will be permitted but are to be strictly limited to 10 people. Holy Communion will not be distributed at these services.

Persons attending the funeral must be seated using social distancing norms (Six [6] feet apart) except for members of the same household and everyone must wear a mask or face covering.

BAPTISMS

Baptisms will take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and limited to 10 or fewer participants. Baptisms can be celebrated only with prior consolation with the Office of the Chancellor.

WEDDINGS

Weddings will take place with social distancing guidelines being enforced and, at first, limited to 10 or fewer participants. No Nuptial Masses will be celebrated at this time. Holy Communion should not be distributed at this time. Weddings can be celebrated only with prior consultation with the Office of the Chancellor.

OUTDOOR SERVICES

No gatherings of more than ten (10) persons is permitted. Outdoor services can only take place with the prior approval of the Vicar General of the Diocese of Brooklyn. 

ANOINTING OF THE SICK

Anointings will be celebrated with the usual safety measures in place. Priests will wear mask and gloves and the anointing will take place with the use of a cotton ball which is to be reverently disposed of after each anointing. Any guidelines that are in place in hospitals or other institutions must be respected. There are to be no celebrations of communal anointings in church.

CONFESSIONS

Confessions will take place with the priest and penitent both wearing masks and remaining at least six (6) feet distant from one another. A space other than a traditional confessional might need to be used. A larger space will be needed. Care must be taken to assure that no lines or groups form for confessions.

Food Distribution

LOCAL COVID-19 AND ANTIBODY TESTING

We have local COVID-19 and antibody testing at Bethany Baptist Church at 460 Marcus Garvey Blvd in Bed Stuy.  Testing began Wednesday, from 9 am – 5 pm and will continue through Sunday.

 

We are pushing for the site to be permanent and to add additional sites at other congregations but we need to prove to the state that individuals are interested in local testing. That’s why a big turnout is key.

 

If anyone you know is interested in testing for COVID-19 or antibodies, they should reach out to the call into the state line at 1-833-422-7369 to schedule an appointment. COVID-19 testing is slated for Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, beginning at 9 am – 5 pm. Antibody testing will be at Bethany Thursday or Saturday. You must tell the state that you want to be tested at Bethany Baptist in order to be scheduled for this location.

 

There may be limited availability for unscheduled drop in tests but we strongly recommend that everyone call the state in advance to schedule an appointment.

 

Testing is also at New Jerusalem Worship Center in Jamaica, and St. Paul Community Baptist Church in East New York next week.  Thank you to Rev. Adolphus Lacey, Bishop Calvin Rice and Rev. David Brawley for your leadership and opening up your congregations for this vital service.

 

Congregation-based testing was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Congressman Hakeem Jeffries following an intense effort by East Brooklyn Congregations-Metro IAF leaders over the past 8 weeks.  Gov. Cuomo’s public commitment during his press conference and recognition of Metro IAF (view the Governor’s Announcement here, he begins discussing the plan at around the 18 minute mark) was an incredible accomplishment, and we should feel very proud of it.

 

It is our hope that we can expand to more congregations and non-profits in other EBC neighborhoods in the weeks to come. Please call the state number to make an appointment and get to Bethany this week or St. Paul the next.

 

Food Bank Personal Shopper Home Delivery

We would like to share the following information regarding Food Banks.  Hopefully, this will be of assistance to you personally or perhaps you can share the information with someone you know is in need.

It is free, they do not ask for personal or financial information.

The local Food Banks and their contact phone numbers are as follows:

  • Bedford Stuyvesant Food Bank – 732-771-9663
  • Crown Heights Food Bank – 917-341-7675
  • Flatbush Food Bank – 718-732-7196

To find a Food Bank in an area other than those mentioned above, please contact the Main Food Bank of New York City at 212-566-7855.

The process is as follows:

  1. Contact the Food Bank in the Borough and area where you live.
  2. Leave your Name, Address, Cross Streets and Phone Number.
  3. Someone from the Food Bank will return the call and at that time you will need to provide a moderate list of essential groceries needed. (The MODERATE grocery list should be prepared ahead of time.)  The Representative from the Food Bank will also ask when would be a convenient time to make the delivery.

Looking for Help in Crown Heights

If anyone needs Tylenol, facemasks, gloves, and Hand Sanitizer to please reach out to me. Also if they are stuck in quarantine and they need help getting their medications or food shopping to also reach out to me.

Sincerely,

Shmuel(Sam)Russell
929-400-1873
Samrussell.harmony@gmail.com