November 10, 2019
Thirtieth Second Sunday in Ordinary Time - Twenty Second Sunday After Pentecost
DEDICATION: As we all know, our beautifully renovated Church was rededicated by Bishop Barres just two weeks ago. Although it was a rainy day, it did not prevent more than 600 parishioners from attending the Mass and reception. My friend Gregory A. Shemitz was present as the photographer and he took beautiful pictures of the occasion. Greg is the photographer from the Long Island Catholic Newspaper and has been a friend for many years. It was he who photographed the Mass in which Bishop Murphy bestowed Papal Honors from Pope Benedict XVI upon me in 2007 (i.e., made me a Monsignor). Many of the photos of the rededication can be seen by going to the website of the Long Island Catholic Newspaper and clicking on the links. It is a day we will never forget. So many of our kind parishioners have congratulated me on the (near) completion of this great endeavor for which we have all worked for the greater glory of God. But this has been solely the work of God and the never-failing intercession of the Blessed Mother and the untiring love and selfless dedication of our pastoral associate, Deacon Raymond P. D’Alessio. I have simply just tried to stay out of the way.
One kind gentleman said to me today that he thought such an undertaking would never be finished. (And at times I thought the same). The Evil One reared his ugly head many times to try to stop this great enterprise, but Our Lady has crushed the head of the serpent, the ancient enemy of our race. The Devil did not want a Church to be built in which Our Lord Jesus Christ is at the center of everything. He did not want a Church to be built which has a Shrine of Divine Mercy, because he is hatred itself. He did not want a Church with statues of the saints who show us the way to heaven; he did not want a Church with a Shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe who stopped the open and audacious worship of the Devil and human sacrifice in the Americas. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the patroness of the unborn. In fact, she is depicted as with child. Sadly, the human sacrifice continues in our own day through the sin and horror of abortion which in our state is celebrated with joy. He did not want a Church to be built with a chapel of Our Lady of Fatima who came to save us from the fires of Hell. He did not want a Church to be built with a statue of our father St. Joseph in which the words of the Pharaoh are inscribed Go to Joseph.
I so well remember just a little over three years ago when this great endeavor was proposed to our parish. How happy I was that after our feasibility study, 98% of our parishioners responded that they were in favor of such a project. Interestingly, this occurred just a few days after my mother’s death. Even though she had never been to St. Paul’s (save for her own Requiem Mass), I believe she was helping us all. She and I often attended St. Agnes Church on 43rd street.
With God there are no coincidences. In 1991 there was a devastating fire that burned St. Agnes on 43rd street to the ground. The architectural firm of Acheson/Doyle was secured by the Archdiocese of New York to rebuild the Church which they did in a splendid fashion. Interestingly, through the good offices of our parishioner, Mr. Eric Anderson (himself a professor of architecture), I was introduced to that fine firm. They have also done the renovation of St. Joseph, Pacific Street in Brooklyn and St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street in New York. One of our own parishioners and former parish trustee Mr. Joseph Palumbo, grew up in St. Joseph Parish, Pacific Street, and served the 6.30 AM Mass there every day from Grammar School until he was 22 years old. Mr. Palumbo was of invaluable assistance in the renovation of his former parish, now called St. Joseph Co-Cathedral, Pacific Street, Brooklyn, and for that work was created a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope Francis in 2016. Mr. Palumbo has served as the chairman of our Capital Campaign and has been of invaluable assistance to St. Paul’s and to me. (Joe, may I let the cat out of the bag and tell the children that you are truly Mr. Softee!) As soon as I met Mr. Michael Doyle and Mr. James Black of that company there was an immediate bonding. We were all on the same page. And so, should you visit St. Agnes 43rd St. you will see trace memories of the renovated St. Paul’s. Should you visit St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral you will be put in mind of St. Paul’s, particularly with the Crucifix and Baptismal Font. On Saturday, November 2nd, a beautiful baby girl named Gabriella Francesca became the first baby to be baptized at the new font. Her parents have just moved into our parish from Middle Village and had been featured on that television show on HG network about house hunting. Perhaps one day Baby Gabriella will bring her own baby to be baptized at the font.
This great endeavor has been accomplished through the generosity of parishioners and benefactors. Nothing has been taken from our parish reserves which belong to the future. Nothing has been taken from our Sunday collections which see to the day to day operating of our parish. (In addition to our two major fundraisers throughout the year: Casino/Dinner Night and Golf Outing). And I must thank you for your generosity in this regard. Thanks be to God and yourselves, our parish operates in the black and we pay all our bills. The Church is not a for-profit organization. That we are not in debt and can pay our bills is all we ask.
There are still many memorials left to be donated and I would encourage anyone who has not made a pledge to carefully and prayerfully consider doing so. No donation is too small (as in the case with me). I will be contacting individuals who at one time seemed to express interest in this endeavor.
KNIGHTS AND SQUIRES: Last Sunday our Knights and Squires hosted and prepared a pancake breakfast in honor of our parish veterans (among whom I may be unworthily counted; if only I could still fit into my USAF Captain uniform). It was a great success. Thank you, Grand Knight Mr. Cavanaugh, and thank you knights and squires for such a delightful repast on a beautiful Sunday morning. Our Squire Circle is one of the most active in New York State and Bishop Barres has been most supportive of this youth group. Thank you, Chief Squire Christian, Counselor, Mr. Peter Boyle, and all our squires and their adult counselors. I was so happy to see so many of our parishioners at the breakfast.
MARIAN GUILD: Our own dear Marian Guild is selling their chances after all the Masses this weekend. Please participate in this worthwhile endeavor. The drawing is on December 8th. Two years ago I won a prize so there is hope for everyone.
OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST THE KING: On Sunday, November 24th we celebrate the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year of Grace, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King. We are so pleased that our beloved Bishop Andrzej will come on Saturday Evening to celebrate the Saturday Evening Mass at 5.00PM. The Bishop, who has been most supportive of our renovations, will add his own blessing to our parish Church. Please make every effort to attend this Mass. Bishop Andrzej has been a most faithful friend to our little parish. He honors us with his presence. That Saturday will also mark the last time the Saturday afternoon Mass will be offered at 5.00PM.
Beginning Saturday November 30th, the Saturday afternoon Mass will be offered at 4.00PM and confessions will be at 3.00PM. This has been done in many of our neighboring parishes and has always been met with greater participation. Obviously, this is not to everyone’s convenience, especially for those few who may work even on Saturday. But we must remember we are a small parish with only one priest. We cannot offer the amount of service we did when there were four priests who were assigned here.
CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING: On Friday evening December 6th (First Friday and Feast of St. Nicholas) the Knights and Squires will be having their Christmas Pot/Luck Supper and Christmas Celebration. On that evening we will have a prayer and lighting of the outside trees and interior trees.
OUR LADY, SEAT OF WISDOM: Some may have noticed the new shrine that has been built at the entrance to Monsignor Costa Hall. It is the gift of the Repoli Family and will stand there to welcome all to the lower hall for years to come. It is the depiction of the Virgin Mary holding the Holy Infant Jesus. The name of this statue is Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom (in Latin Sedes Sapientiae). It is under this title that Our Lady is Patroness of the Montfort Missionaries and Daughters of Wisdom. She is also Patroness of the Society of St. Sulpice whose seminary (Theological College) in Washington, D.C., both Bishop Barres and I attended. Please sit at the soon to be installed benches and there look lovingly at Our Lady. See yourself as being in her arms, and all troubles will pass away.
In Jesus and Mary,