Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother! Today is a grace-filled day in the history of the parish of St. Paul the Apostle. Today our parish hall (the Lower hall) will be dedicated to the memory of a beloved former pastor of our parish, Monsignor Mario C. Costa. Our parish was founded 52 years ago, and we are so blessed that many of our founding parishioners are among us still. As was the case last year, we will recognize them and honor them on the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King, on November 23rd. And for 27 years of the 52 years of our parish’s existence, Monsignor Costa was our pastor.
It is therefore most fitting that his tireless zeal, love and dedication to the parishioners and families of St. Paul be recognized and acknowledged in this special way. Our Lower hall will now be known as Monsignor Mario C. Costa Hall. It is my fond hope that this dedication will help us all remember the wise advice of this good priest (printed on the back of today’s program). It is the advice that we are a parish family with all that entails. We choose our friends not our family once quipped Napoleon III, the Emperor of the French. And he was right. Our family is chosen for us by God. And so it is with our parish. It is God Our Lord who has put us all together. The most important aspect then of our parish life, is not the many projects we have been working on together. The most important thing about our parish family is our love for God and His Most Holy Mother, and our love and service to one another. May Monsignor Costa’s love for us all be a constant inspiration as we go forward as a parish family.
May I express sincere gratitude to Joe and Linda Curro, Tom and Marlene Fitzsimmons, and Toni Poolin who worked as a little committee on this project. In anticipation of this happy day Monsignor Costa Hall was completely repainted, new doors installed, mold remediated, and floors restored. May God bless everyone who worked so hard for this day and Mrs. Ursula Coughlin for organizing the reception. Please be sure to take the memorial cards of this happy event, designed by Jean Marie Urban. We welcome the Costa family in the charity of Christ.
Today we also pray for and acknowledge all of our previous pastors: Monsignor Potterton and Father Galloway who have both gone home to God, and Monsignor Eugene Murphy and Monsignor Robert Clerkin, who still labor in the vineyard of the Lord. Please also pray for me that I may ever be a priest according to the Heart of Christ.
As we know, today is an historical day for other reasons also. Today would have been Monsignor Costa’s 88th birthday and it is Columbus Day (hence Monsignor’s middle name). It marks the beginning of the evangelization of the New World. It was not accidental that the New World was discovered on the Feast of Our Lady of Pillar
According to an ancient and venerated tradition, the Virgin Mary appeared in the company of angles to the Apostle St. James along the banks of the Rio Ebro in Zaragoza. The holy angles brought with them a pillar as a symbol of Our Lady’s presence. The Blessed mother comforted St. James, the Apostle of Spain, during the apparition by promising her maternal assistance in the evangelization of the country entrusted to him. I am ever grateful to God that on June 2, 1987, I celebrated Holy Mass at this great shrine for the opening of the Marian Year of 1987-1988. Christopher Columbus often visited the shrine of Our Lady of Pillar and many millions have prayed there throughout the centuries. The founder of the Marianists, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, was divinely inspired to found the Congregation of the Marianists while praying at this shrine. HOLY WATER FONTS: Yon will notice our lovely new holy water fonts at the front doors of the Church. Holy Water is a very powerful sacramental in the Church and allows us to be purified for the worship of God. The poor boxes (with attached holy water fonts) have been sent out to be refurbished, and will soon be back in our Church (I am told two more weeks). For those who may wish to give alms to the poor while the poor boxes are absent, please put you offering in the collection basket in a small envelope marked Poor Box or simply place a check in the basket made out to St. Vincent de Paul. Anyone who would like to give a new Holy Water Font in memory of a loved one should call the Parish Office. Anyone who would like to memorialize the cleansing and refurbishing of the poor boxes should do the same. There is a Holy Water receptacle near the confessional. Please take Holy Water to your homes and use it. Parents should bless their children with holy water and it should be sprinkled throughout the house to invoke God’s blessing and to dispel evil and discord.
RETREAT DATES: Please save the dates for our annual Autumn Parish Mission. It will be on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, October 27th, 28th, and 29th. The Mission will be given by the Augustinian Canons who staff the parishes in Glen Cove. Make every effort to attend the Mission and to good to your soul. Confessions will be available all three nights. The Mission will be from 7.00pm until 8.00pm each evening. It is not too early to mark your calendar for our Advent Evening of Recollection which will be on Thursday evening December 11th at 7.30pm. Our Advent preacher will be Father Gregory Rannazzisi, S.T.L. Father Rannazzisi is the Vice-Rector of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception. Father will present a beautiful evening of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
May God bless and reward each and every one of you.
May God bless you and May the Virgin Mary bless us with her Divine Child. Nos cum prole pia, Benedicat Virgo Maria!
Monsignor James F. Pereda