The Online Etymological Dictionary informs that the word “gratitude comes from the Latin gratus(thankful, pleasing) and from the Proto-Indo-European gwere (to favor). Related terms include: agree, congratulations, graceful; gratis, gratuity, ingratiate. I agree that congratulations and even a gratuity should go to the internet for knowledge that comes gratis.

My father worked as a janitor for the MTA. He said, “You’ll never miss the money that you donate.” With four kids and a mortgage, that was saying a lot. My parents, Thomas and Henrietta, were supporters of our church. Mom turned miles of yarn into endless shawls and mittens and baked mountains of cookies for school fundraisers. Dad was an usher and a member of the Holy Name Society. Mom was the president of the Rosary Society. My parents also supported a Native American school in the Southwest and a parish priest in India. I was always excited to read the Par Avion letter—on light-stock blue paper—of abundant thanks from Fr. Varghese and to see in what ways Mom & Dad’s donations were helping.

When I was a boy I would stop in church for a visit and come out feeling great. Along the way, after raising three of our own and taking them to church, I lost the feeling. Thanks to Marble it’s back. I want to keep it, but I know I can’t do that remotely when I know I’m only a MetroCard ride away. When you support the spiritful work of the church in a corporal way, you will feel the impact of God in our world.

I was a lurker, going to Marble but not participating, always too busy. I was grateful to have a weekly place to go to, either in person or livestream, and getting a spiritual recharge. Finally, I made the decision to join, and it’s been nothing but good. I volunteered for the P.S. 30 tutoring program and already have met so many like-minded folks in Marble, full of positivity and joy and motivation to serve. I have tried negativity. I like this way better.

I appreciate Marble in many ways. Marble hasn’t changed me but has brought out more good and kept me on course. Not a road-to-Damascus conversion, it is a continuing nudge in the right direction. I’m thinking of the legendary sportswriter Red Smith, who came to be more churchly at a certain point of his life. He said that he found it easier coming to God when he was in a good position. Marble is the place for you to help out, get a little help, or even both. Live your faith. Donate what you can. Like Dad said, you won’t miss it. 

Brian Black


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