Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost
November 12, 2017
O MARTINE, PARS APOSTOLI!
Praised be Jesus Christ and Mary His Most Holy Mother!
As everyone knows, on Saturday November 11th we will celebrate Veterans’ Day. We all pray for the members of the armed forces of our nation and we pray for all those who have given their lives for our country, making the supreme sacrifice. Some parishioners may recall when the holiday was called Armistice Day. My father always referred to it by the former name until the day of his death. The origin of the holiday goes to the year 1918 (99 years ago) when at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the armistice was signed ending what we call today the First World War. But the day itself was sacred long before that, for it is the Feast of the great Soldier-Saint, St. Martin who is the only saint given the wondrous title Equal to the Apostles. (In Latin he is called Martinus, Pars-Apostoli!).
In 1918 November 11th was a Monday. The hostilities of the First World War had ceased on Friday November 8, 1918. The German Emperor fled to Holland on Saturday the 9th, and the last Austrian Emperor, the Blessed Karl of the House of Austria (beatified in 2004) and his family left Vienna on Sunday the 10th. But the warring parties made the solemn agreement that the armistice would wait to be signed until Monday, the Feast of the great St. Martin. For he is the Patron of all soldiers and the patron of both Germany and France. Who was this saint upon whom history waited and what is his story?
St. Martin lived at the end of the fourth century and was from the Roman province of Panomia (in present day Hungary). As a young man he enlisted in the Roman Army and was a centurion assigned to the province of Gaul (present day France) where there was fierce fighting. He was considered the bravest and most valiant soldier serving in the Imperial Army at that time.
Soon he heard of the preaching of the Faith and became a catechumen, one preparing for baptism. One day the great Martin entered a French village where he found an old man freezing in the cold. He immediately drew his sword and with one graceful swoop, cut his red military cloak in two, giving half of it to the shivering man. That night in a dream Our Lord appeared to Martin wearing the half cloak. And Our Lord said to him, “Martin whatever you have done for the least of my brethren, you have done for me. From now on you shall be a soldier in my army, marching beneath the Cross.” Martin was immediately baptized and began to live in the forest as a monk.
Soon his reputation for holiness became so great, that when the city of Tours needed a Bishop the townspeople came looking for him to be their Bishop. Rather than seeking this honor, he fled from them and actually hid in a barn under a bale of hay. When the people entered the barn in search of him, he almost eluded them until suddenly a flock of geese ran into the barn, making their characteristic honking noise near the bale of hay and betraying him. He was discovered and the people brought Martin back to Tours there to be made Bishop. He became the holiest Bishop in the world and was noted for his love for the poor and his desire for the priests to live exemplary lives. The bravest soldier of the Roman army now became the greatest bishop in the history of the Church.
There are several charming customs that have grown up around the figure of this great Saint. On his feastday, it is the custom in Germany, France and Austria that families gather in a similar way to our American Thanksgiving and one can guess what is served as the family feast? ROASTED GOOSE. (Some say it is to honor the geese for leading the faithful to Martin; others say it is a punishment for their treachery that they are eaten!)
On St. Martin’s Day in Italy the first of the new wine is drunk, wine that had been grapes on the vine just a few weeks earlier. There is an Italian Proverb that goes:
Nella festa di San Martino
Si beve il buon vino!
(On St. Martin’s Feast,
one drinks the good wine!)
Finally, St. Martin’s last gift to us is the unusual meteorological phenomenon that occurs each year in mid-November in the Northern Hemisphere. At that time there is a slight warming of the earth, almost two months into the autumn season. This is called St. Martin’s Summer.
O Glorious St. Martin, Equal to the Apostles, pray for us and save us. Watch over our armed forces and watch over our children! May You who gave your life to doing good, and still do so from heaven, bless and protect us. Warm the coldness of our hearts so we may love God as did You. Help us to see Our Lord in the poor and suffering as You did. O St. Martin bring peace to the nations of the world and save us who pray to You!
May I then on this Veterans’ Day extend the gratitude of the parish to all of our own parishioners serving in the armed forces and to all our (and my fellow) veterans. (I had the honor to serve in the USAF for eight years, separating from the USAF as a captain: 03).
PARISH FOUNDERS AND VOLUNTEERS: But today I also salute another category of parish veterans. Although some did indeed serve in the armed forces, the veterans of whom I write are our founding parishioners. How blessed we are that so many of them are here with us; they are our mothers and fathers in the faith. They saw the dream of a church arise here and their sacrifices have built our parish. How happy I always am, when standing in front of the Church, people approach me and say with true and justified pride, We were here at the beginning. You saw Monsignor Potterton (then Father) unearth the first shovel of dirt. We will ever be grateful for all you have done, dear Veterans of St. Paul the Apostle. May God bless and reward you! To that end, I would like to invite all of the founding parishioners of St. Paul to the 9.30 am Mass on Sunday November 26th, the Solemnity of Christ the King. To that Mass also I would like to invite all parish volunteers so that we may thank them on the Sunday after Thanksgiving and that they, too, may be blessed and recognized. After Mass refreshments will be served in Monsignor Costa Hall.
A GLORIOUS AUTUMN RENEWS OUR PARISH
This autumn has been a wondrous time of grace and renewal in our parish both in the natural and supernatural order.
On Saturday, September 9th we welcomed Bishop Andrzej to our parish. He came to bless the new shrine of Our Blessed Mother, the Mother of All Graces. And then we had a wonderful picnic attended by more than 300 parishioners. This year we had a special treat at the picnic. In addition to our usual hot dogs, hamburgers, corn, beans (which Jack Shannon always prepared) a whole pig was roasted (fresh, not frozen) for our enjoyment. It had been provided and prepared for us by the Markovina Family. And Viko roasted the
pig. (There is a photo of Viko and the Bishop on our Facebook page). The picnic was a great success and for that I am most grateful to the co-chairs Louise Shannon and Adriana Milana and all who helped them, including so many of our young boys and girls, the Squires and the Knights of Columbus. I AM ALSO GRATEFUL TO OUR FATHER AND LORD and St. Joseph who provided beautiful weather.
But something grace filled happened that evening. Our Lady was enshrined in our parish, in a garden…the Garden where (as the great poet T.S. Eliot writes) All Love Ends. Favors and graces began to pour into the parish in unprecedented ways. The following week we began our capital campaign and as we started we already had 40% of our goal (and just at the beginning).
On Sunday September 24th our new food pantry, given in loving memory of Angela Lucy Lostritto was dedicated. May God reward Joe and Linda Curro and all our St. Vincent de Paul Society and parish outreach. And may God bless the family of Angela.
On Monday October 9th 28 of our altar servers and squires were treated to a trip to Adventureland. Because of the bad weather that day our plans changed to an indoor activity and we went instead to Round-1. But the young people make their own fun and enjoyed a day of bowling, ice cream and lunch. It was a joy to be with them. It is very understandable that Our Lord said, “…unless you shall become as little children…”
On Sunday October 15th we were blessed with yet another visit of the Glenn Mohr Chorale who presented a beautiful musical production on Our Lady, called Memorare, Mary Remembers. The music was uplifting and inspiring. It was performed in the presence of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima which was in our sanctuary for the whole month of October. It was a grace for all the clients of Our Blessed Mother. That beautiful statue, which is usually in the Daily Mass Chapel, was a gift to our Church by the D’Costa Family and is from Portugal.
On Saturday October 21st a group of 25 pilgrims from our parish left the church at 7.00AM to go on a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Padre Pio in Barto, Pennsylvania. We retuned at 7.00PM, tired but nonetheless inspired, by our day of prayer in motion. Like the Magi of old we, too, returned a different way. Thanks to Mrs. Gina Cinelli who planned all the activities of the day. We prayed a Rosary on the way there; a Rosary at the shrine; and a Rosary on the way back. Our youngest pilgrim was Jonas, one of our new servers who is in the 5th grade, and our oldest was… (You can guess).
On Thursday October 26th was our annual Gala/Dinner/Dance/Casino night. It was a beautiful evening and a great success with 223 attending. I am most grateful to Mrs. Paula Maturo who chairs the Gala Committee and to Mrs. Avril D’Costa, Mrs. Tracey Lynch, and Mrs. Anne Maione who are on the Committee. It was a night I will never forget. It was our official welcome to Deacon Raymond D’Alessio, our first parish Deacon. Special thanks to my dear friends, the M&M Twins who supplied the entertainment and casino.
We were particularly honored at our Gala with the presence of many of our civil officials. Present were our dear parishioners the Honorable New York State Supreme Court Justice James P. McCormack and Mrs. Marie McCormack, Esq. The Justice and his family are long time parishioners here at St. Paul’s. He and Marie were married here at St. Paul’s by Monsignor Costa. Marie’s family are founding parishioners and are well known to many of us. Her parents, whom I know dearly, are Frank and Josephine Floccari. Also present was our parishioner the Honorable Family Court Judge Eileen Daly Sapraicone, who is the Vice President of the Marian Guild. We also welcomed Nassau County Legislator Laura Schaeffer, a dear parishioner, whose mother Laurel is in our parish choir. Also present was former Mayor of Mineola and State Senator Jack Martins. Mr. Martins is not a parishioner of St. Paul’s, but I have known him many years. As a young priest I was assigned to Corpus Christi in Mineola where I offered the Portuguese Mass and served the Portuguese Community. The Portuguese are very good Catholics. At that time Mr. Martins was an Altar Server at Corpus Christi and helper to the parish. I was very grateful that he remembered his former priest and we had many happy memories of the people we knew so many years ago.
But, most importantly, it was you the dear parishioners of St. Paul who were present and made the evening a great success. As is our custom, on the evening of the Gala we announced who our honorees will be at our Annual Golf and Tennis Outing and Awards Dinner which will be held at the Nassau Country Club in Glen Cove on Monday, May 7, 2018. Receiving the Monsignor Mario C. Costa Award for many years of dedicated service to St. Paul will be John and Joanne Schmitt. Receiving the Sr. Regina Kraft Award for dedicated service to the youth of our parish will be Brother Joseph Bellizzi, S.M. Although it is a long way off, please mark your calendars for another fun filled day and evening.
Then on Sunday October 29th we had a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for Deacon Ray’s assignment to St. Paul’s. The Mass was so uplifting with a lovely (and delicious) reception afterward. The delicious food was provided by a kind and faith filled family in the parish. A special treat was the Mr. Softee truck parked outside Msgr. Costa Hall, with unlimited ice cream for all the children and adults. This too was a gift of a parish family. Thank you Isabella for bringing me a vanilla swirl cone with chocolate sprinkles. It was such a happiness to see the children with “double cones” and having ice cream all over their faces. (One knows I am not a parent in the natural order but a spiritual father).
I am firmly convinced that none of this could have happened unless Our Lady of Grace was watching over us all. She has brought us untold graces and favors.
SAVE THE DATE:
On Sunday, November 26th all our parish volunteers and founding members will be recognized and blessed at the 9.30 Mass with a reception to follow. Please be sure to attend that Mass and receive a blessing. It is the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King.
On Friday Evening December 12th there will be a Solemn High Mass in the Traditional Roman Rite (the Extraordinary Form) to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This Mass will be sung in Latin and will have celebrant, deacon, and subdeacon and will include the traditional singing of the Spanish mañatitas in honor of Our Lady, Desde el Cielo de la mañana!
In Jesus and Mary
Monsignor James F. Pereda