Gail De Falcon’s story is a story of Family, Forgiveness and Faith. Here is her story …
I made a lot of mistakes in my past … none more painful than those with my family and with my faith. My choices and mistakes caused me at one time to be an outsider in my journey as a Catholic. While I still prayed and went to mass I could not receive the Eucharist. Not receiving communion was the most painful. But it was these mistakes that led me to my “family” at Holy Family and allowed me to find and get closer to Jesus in my journey.
We should bloom where we are planted. We are born into our situations but God always gives us what we need to grow and go forward from our situation. We just need to learn to use what he gives us.
I grew up in Jersey City and came from a family with an alcoholic father and my parents became separated because of that. Through it all, my mother kept me in the Catholic faith. My morality, which is so important to me as a person and in my work as a nurse, was formed early in my life by Catholic education and the nuns who taught me. I was a part of St. Boniface Parish when I was growing up. This is where I went to school at St. Boniface School then on to St. Dominic Academy. Catholic School Foundation has served me all my life. They allowed me to be taught by phenomenal nuns and teachers. My eyes and my world opened up because of the nuns. From there I went to St. Vincent’s Nursing School in New York and I became a nurse in 1968. Being a nurse and able to enter people’s lives when they are most vulnerable is a grace and blessing.
I love Holy Family because it really is a family. With everything I’ve gone through I never felt abandoned by God. Holy Family was part of that healing and still is. There were a couple of special moments I would like to share. One day back in 1989, I had been in church praying and crying because of all pain and suffering in my life at the time. Gina Tamburri was cleaning the church that day. She saw me crying and came by to give me some comfort. What really touched me was that she offered to pray with me. I had been coming to Holy Family during the late ‘80s because it reminded me of my church in Jersey City. I had enjoyed the worship and novenas, the old world Catholicism I experienced at Holy Family but that day with Gina was the day I really became part of Holy Family.
The other special moment was on a Holy Thursday when a young priest at the time, Fr. Jim Chroma, as part of the washing of the feet also washed the hands of everyone at mass. When my hands were washed that night felt my sins were washed away and it made me believe in forgiveness.
While going through some of my difficult times I was able to talk with Fr. Dante about suffering. He gave me great comfort and healing when he explained how we can understand the suffering of Jesus when we unite our suffering to the suffering of Jesus. I am still learning and trying to understand suffering because as a nurse, along with God’s grace, I try to ease the suffering of others.
As time passed and my life started to heal I had been going to Msgr. Zaccardo for confession. Each time I went, however, I kept re-telling the same story of my past mistakes that kept me from receiving the Eucharist. When one day I went to confession and told the same story to Msgr. Zaccardo asking again for the same forgiveness he said to me, “you either believe in the Sacraments [in this case the Sacrament of Reconciliation] or you don’t.” I finally believed I had been forgiven and that forgiveness from Jesus is real. After this I started receiving the Eucharist again.
I have found peace through the help of Cursillo, Msgr. Paul and many priests. My Cursillo helped me see Jesus in everything. When I do my work now as a nurse I am not afraid to wear my cross with Jesus openly when I am ministering to the sick. I’ve learned not to be lukewarm about my faith. Wherever I am and whatever I do, I do my best to bring people to Jesus. My favorite prayer is the Magnificat.
I became more involved in ministry because of Roseanne Vasquez. I had taught CCD in Jersey City, Bayonne and Nutley because I love children and this had been my longest ministry, that is, until Roseanne invited me and asked me to think about and be a part of other ministries. I had become a part of Holy Family mainly because of the people. That changed when Msgr. Paul came to Holy Family. With Msgr. Paul, the priest and the ministries are phenomenal.
Being a Eucharistic Minister and bringing the Eucharist to the homebound is the most wonderful experience. While I bring just one thing, the Eucharist, with me when I visit they give me back a thousand fold with their loving words, encouragement and appreciation.
Stewardship for me is that I just want to keep giving and do more because no matter how much I give it’s small compared to what God’s gives. He’s given me so much.