June 7, 2019
Seventh Sunday of Easter
COME HOLY SPIRIT!
Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother!
The days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday are among the most holy of the Church’s Year of Grace. They are the days which, in fact, constituted the first novena every prayed in the Church.
The Apostles gathered with our Blessed Mother, who is also Mother of the Church, from Ascension Day until Pentecost. Our Lady consoled them on the physical absence of our Risen Savior. At the end of the nine days the Holy Spirit was poured forth upon the earth to bring it to life with warmth and grace. The Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier and renews the face of the earth.
Francisca Javiera del Vale was a Mexican laywoman who died in Mexico City during the 1950’s. After her death, her profound and mystical writings were discovered. Speaking of the Holy Spirit, she wrote, You must make a firm resolution to beg the Holy Spirit to come into your soul and to live an interior life. Do not ask how much this will cost you, but rather ask how much it is worth. This has always been the case. What is worth a lot costs a lot. And what is the effort we put into knowing ourselves. When we compare it with the great benefit that we derive from it?
Beg the Holy Spirit to come into your souls and there remain forever. Grace is the very life of God in which we share. We speak of being in the state of grace. That means we are living as friends of God and have not snuffed out his life of grace through mortal sin. Grace obviously disposes us to receive even more graces. But it also has physical effects.
The great French missionary, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, did incomparable work in bringing the native peoples of Africa to the faith. He often remarked that when a village’s people had accepted baptism there was a completely different atmosphere. The village was cleaner, more serene, less noisy, and filled with peace and order. So it is also for individuals. The life of grace brings a calm, serenity, and health. It softens the features and makes one look radiant. That is why those hardened in sin appear so unhappy and coarse. In an area where large numbers of the unbaptized live, there is a coarseness and meanness in the atmosphere.
Come Holy Spirit, Creator, Come
From thy bright heavenly throne!
Come, take possession of our souls,
And make them all thine own!
SAVE THE DATE: Please save the date of Sunday, October 27, 2019. Bishop Barres will come to St. Paul’s to rededicate our newly renovated Church at the 11.00AM Mass. Interestingly, the Parish Church Dedication Dinner Dance was held October 27, 1967. Fifty-two years later we have a rededication. (With God there are no accidents). This will be the Sunday after our Annual Gala Casino Night.
So many parishioners have remarked about the beauty of the Church and many have come great distances to see it. Bishop Andrzej has said he has never seen such a beautiful renovation and many priests have remarked that St. Paul’s is now the most beautiful Church in the Diocese. Bishop Murphy has said that it is the most beautiful Church renovation undertaken during his many years as Bishop. As of this writing Bishop Barres has not seen the renovated Church but has had a very keen interest in its progress (one day he emailed me at 5.50AM about some architectural plans; he is an early riser). Our architects have been Acheson Doyle Associates, Inc. This is the firm which built St. Agnes Church on 43rd Street near Grand Central Station. They renovated St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street in Manhattan and they also renovated St. Joseph Co-Cathedral on Pacific Street in Brooklyn close to the Barclay Center.
Our General Contractor has been Mr. Tom Burns of the Artech Company. He is from a family that has been in church building for several centuries. He and his engineer Eric and the Clerk of the Works Mark have been a grace with which to collaborate to do something great for God. Interestingly, I knew Tom’s grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Adrian Hamers (Opa and Oma). Mr. Hamers designed and made the chalice that my parents gave me as an ordination gift. Inscribed on the bottom of the chalice are my parents’ names with the Latin phrase Deo Dederunt Sacerdotem. (They have given unto God a Priest).
We are still not finished with the renovation. The new lighting must be installed. The beautiful grate work must be done around the baptistery and shrines and two more statues -St. Jude and St. Francis-are being hand carved from wood in northern Italy. Our new baptismal font made of marble is also expected to be shipped from Italy in the next few weeks. On June 29th (the Feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul) our first bridal couple will be married in the newly renovated Church. Congratulations dear James and Kathryn! You have made history!
Deacon Raymond P. D’Alessio, our parish deacon, has been the unseen and unknown master of all the work. He has had great experience in Church building and renovation. Bishop Murphy’s last act as Bishop was to assign Deacon Ray to St. Paul’s. I always had a dream to renovate St. Paul’s. I wanted it to take on the countenance of one of my favorite churches in Rome, Santa Maria della Pace on the Via Bruno Buozzi, 63 (right near the Zoo). I prayed there every Thursday for the three years that I lived in Rome (1994-1997). It is Deacon Ray, in his professional competence and pastoral charity, who has made your Pastor’s dream a reality. And history will tell of how the Prince of Darkness so opposed this wonderful undertaking of light for the glory of God and the praise of the Immaculate Virgin and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. Any credit must be given to Deacon Ray. I have simply tried to stay out of the way. The Evil One has risen his ugly head to oppose this great endeavor but Our Lady of Fatima prophesied In the end my Immaculate heart will Triumph.
The Crucifix suspended above the altar has been hand carved by one of the most talented artists in Europe. He is German but lives in the North of Italy. He has named this Crucifix (of which there is none other in the world). His name for this masterpiece is Mission Accomplished. On Our Lord’s face is a serene countenance of peace. There is no agony. There is no suffering. There is only peace. It is the peace of one who has accomplished His mission, His life’s work. It is the peace that His Death has brought to the world. He has died so we all may live in the happiness of Heaven. Our Lord was condemned to death while Barabbas was freed. Barabbas means Son of the father. Our Lord died so we could all be free from sin and death – we who are all children of the Father. That is the spirit the crucifix tries to capture.
Already many pilgrims have come to our Church to pray at the Shrines of The Divine Mercy, the Blessed Virgin Mary of Fatima and the Virgin of Guadalupe (La Guadalupana). I will be writing of these shrines in the upcoming columns. How edified I have been by many who have walked on their knees to the Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe. (As many of you know, I have gone to the Shrine of the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe in Mexico fourteen (14) times. The Rector of the Shrine used to tell me that I was addicted to the Virgin of Guadalupe). When Our Lady appeared to the humble Aztec St. Juan Diego, (whose image is also in that side chapel) she said Am I not here who am your Mother? What do you need? It is for that reason that our book of intentions is now in the Guadalupe Chapel. She says to us as she did in 1531, What is it that you need?
The Gala Dinner Casino Night will be on the evening of Thursday October 24th. This is always a most enjoyable evening to which all our parishioners always look forward. Please make every effort to attend as this will be the celebration dinner for the Church rededication. As usual, the M&M Twins (my dear friends Michael and Marco) will provide the entertainment.
Our Parish Picnic will be on Sunday September 8, 2019. At the suggestion of the Pastoral Council we will have the picnic on a Sunday this year immediately after the 11.00AM Mass. This will allow for more time to be spent in one another’s company. Many have suggested this for several years and many other parishes have their picnic on a Sunday. It will not hurt for us to try it this year and we can make a judgement as to what is better for our parishioners, Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon.
CENTERSTAGE: For participation and additional information please call 516-528-0294 or email CenterStageMinistry@gmail.com
CONGRATULATIONS: We offer sincere congratulations to one of our own parishioners, Mr. Robert A. Perro (and his wife Janet), who was honored at the Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation Gala on May 22nd. This is a foundation to help Catholic education and Mr. Perro gave a very inspiring speech that evening. The Gala is one of the premier events for the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Bishop Barres was present as were the auxiliary Bishops and many leaders of our community. As usual, Bernadette Castro showed her great talent as the auctioneer.
Last year the honoree was again one of our own parishioners, Mr. Michael Sapraicone. He and his wife the Honorable Eileen Daly Sapraicone (who is the president of the Marian Guild), like the Perro’s, are dear parishioners of our St. Paul Family. As pastor and father of the parish it is my fervent hope that next year another of our parishioners will be honored.
We also offer sincere congratulations to our own Deacon Ray D’Alessio. On June 13th Deacon Ray will receive the Extraordinary Mission Service Award. This award is presented to one individual each year by the Bishop at St. Agnes Cathedral. Deacon Ray is receiving this well-deserved honor and award for his extraordinary service and dedication to the Mission in the Dominican Republic and in all the parishes he has served as well as various diocesan positions. Congratulations Deacon Ray!
FIELD OF HONOR: I was so pleased that our Knights of Columbus and Squires placed the Field of Honor on our Church property. It was blessed and dedicated on May 18th which is Armed Services Day and will remain until Flag Day, June 14th. There are the flags of the four branches of the military and the Coast Guard. There are over sixty flags donated by our parishioners in honor of those who served in the Armed Forces of our nation and in honor of those who serve and protect us in the Police and Fire Departments, the EMT’s and First Responders. I can assure you that we should all be proud of our Knights and Squires who undertook this great endeavor (which required a great deal of physical effort). But we should be most proud of our parishioners who have given their lives for the nation and for our protection.
Please God, we shall do the same at Veterans Day.
In Jesus and Mary,
Monsignor James F. Pereda