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Benefit Concert for a Hero from our Parish!
Jan 24th, 2016 by Father Chris
NYPD SUPERMAN Benefit Concert
Thursday February 25th
The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester

We encourage all parishioners to consider attending a special benefit concert for the family of parishioner Joseph Lemm who passed away on December 21, 2015 in Afghanistan while serving in the New York Air National Guard.  Many have asked, “what can we do for the family?”  One answer is here: The Benefit Concert presented by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation featuring The New York Tenors, Daniel Rodriguez, Clyde McPhatter’s Drifters and others.
Tickets start at $50 and can be ordered by calling 1-877-987-6487 or visit nypdsuperman.com
Jammin in the Gym 2015
Jan 24th, 2016 by Father Chris

Funeral Homily for Tech. Sgt., NYPD Detective Joseph Lemm at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Jan 23rd, 2016 by Father Chris

Homily

Father Christopher Monturo

Funeral of Joseph Lemm

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

December 30, 2015

Honorable Public Officials, Distinguished dignitaries, Members of the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, Members of the New York Police Department, dear friends in Christ.

Monsignor Ritchie, Your Eminence Cardinal Dolan, thank you for opening wide the doors of this cathedral for Joseph and his family and more, thank you for opening wider your own hearts in your care and love for all of us.  We are deeply grateful.

Dear Christine, Brooke, Ryan, Charles, Shirley, Brian and all of Joseph’s family – today we seek to comfort you, we wish to try as best we can to lift the heavy burden you must bear and we want to help dry your tears.

Two years ago on this very day my own father died.  That was a very difficult and painful time in my life.  And in the weeks following several people asked me what it was like to preside over his funeral Mass and burial.  At that time, I said to them for me it was two things.  It was, first, the most difficult thing I ever had to do and, second, the greatest privilege of my life.  I think that same answer applies today in this moment and not just for me but for all of us.  We are deeply saddened by the sudden, tragic and seemingly senseless way Joe has passed from us and it is difficult to let him go for a time.  Yes, we feel all of the normal human emotions that come to us when someone so close to us and whom we love so much dies.  But we are privileged to be able to gather together as his family and friends to pray for him and for ourselves and to offer this Eucharist (a word which means “Thanksgiving”).  Thanking God for the gift of the life of Joseph Lemm.

It is said that “the greatness of a man is not in how much wealth or material or fame he acquires in this life but in his integrity, faithfulness and his ability to give of himself completely and affect those around him positively.”  Joseph Gerard Lemm was such a man.

And, the readings chosen for this Mass of Christian Burial for Joe are instructive to us because they took root in his own life and it is Jesus Christ who transformed him into the gentle, loving, attractive “super” man we came to know and love as a dear friend, relative, fellow airman, soldier, police officer and parishioner.

The first reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes reminds us that to everything there is a purpose, a time and a place.  There is a proper season for everything and everyone – a time to be born and even a time to die.  This truth can be difficult for us to accept because often God’s plans do not coincide with our own and it can be hard for us, as in a moment like this, to trust.  Yet, the author of Ecclesiastes tells us that none of us can escape the Lord’s gaze.  We are never beyond His view, His grasp or His love.  Joe certainly knew that truth and he put those words and their wisdom into practice in his own life.

In his letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul gives us a beautiful catechesis on love.  This reading is one not often used at funerals but it seems a most appropriate reading for Joseph Lemm since his very being was so full of all of those virtues Saint Paul speaks of so eloquently.  Love, as you know, is never about taking it is always about giving.  Love is patient, love is kind Saint Paul says.  Love never fails.  And, for any Christian love is the indispensable ingredient which changes us into the person God has created us to be or not.  Love must be embraced and accepted and lived and also given away.  Joe did all of these things and completely and so another reason to be grateful and celebrate.

The Gospel reading from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount we know as the “Beatitudes” is such a perfect Gospel to reflect on as we remember Joe because those qualities Jesus mentions became a lived reality for him.  He was keenly aware of all of the blessings God had gifted him with and he was proud to share them with everyone he knew.  This knowledge and way of living made him, in turn, a blessing to everyone he encountered.  Joe was certainly poor in spirit, kind, merciful, clean of heart and, as his final heroic act would confirm, a peacemaker.  Saint Matthew tells us that if we live in this way we should rejoice and be glad because we will have a great reward in heaven.  What a consolation this is to us today.

Over the last several days we have all had time to reflect on Joe’s life, we have shared many memories, we have laughed and we have cried.  And December 21st will always remain for us our darkest day.  But there is also something quite ironic or maybe providential about the day of Joe’s passing since that day truly is the darkest day of the year.  December 21st has the least amount of sunlight but even God’s creation helps to console us since each passing day adds one more minute of sunlight until the days become longer and the warmth of spring and summer returns.  It is a subtle reminder of the truth we celebrate in this Christmas season that truly the Light of Christ has conquered the darkness of the world.  And, we can gather here today not in sorrow or despair but in hope and even joy – a joy which no one can take from us.

I think Joe was properly named because like his patron, Saint Joseph, he became a loving and devoted husband to you Christine and a proud father to you Brooke and Ryan.  And even the letters of his name tell us about him.  J for “Jokester”.  How Joe loved to give and receive a good practical joke.  When Joe was assigned to the Warrant Squad he was perfectly placed and found plenty of opportunity for such joking at appropriate times of course.  O for “overall loving person”.  Over the last several days when we have been together I have taken notice of how many conversations began.  So many of you his family have said of him – “he loved fishing, he loved basketball, he loved the Nebraska cornhuskers, he loved his wife, his children, his family and friends.  You may not have even noticed what you were saying but every sentence began with “he loved”.  And, in the end isn’t that all that matters.  Saint John of the Cross tells us that “in the evening of life we will be judged on love.”  If this is true, and it is, then Joe’s judgement must have been brief for his love was full and in the evening of his life, we could say, unconditional.  And finally the E – Joe was Extraordinary in every way.  At an early age everyone knew he would one day become something great because he excelled in everything he ever did and like few we have ever known he was given every gift but length of years.

The first time I met Joe Lemm I shook his hand and his completely enveloped mine, I looked up at him and at his enormous stature and his impressive physical build and I said to him, “Joe if I ever find myself in any trouble I would like you on my side”.  He looked back at me with that funny smile and said, “I’m always on your side Father Chris.” His co-workers in the NYPD called Joe “Superman” and rightly so.  Now we see how appropriate that name was and is.  They said he looked a little like Christopher Reeve but more importantly he possessed supernatural abilities which allowed him to do things few could.  I’d like to believe those abilities have only been strengthened now as this “super man” we knew and loved continues to be on all of our sides forever.

Joe’s life journey brought him from Dubuque, Iowa to the small town of Beemer, Nebraska to the big city of New York.  In each of those places until now some knew who Joe was and what he was all about, now all know of Joe’s spirit which cannot be contained by time or space or by any one place.  Now, God has made Joe’s life and love and his unselfish witness a gift to our entire nation and to the whole world.  We will never forget him or those who were with him last Monday – Major Adrianna Vorderbruggen, Staff Sergeant Louis Bonacasa, Staff Sgt. Chester McBride, Staff Sgt. Peter Taub and Staff Sgt. Michael Cinco.  And we could say today that their lives like everything they ever did are complete.

Many of you may not know that Joe attended EVERY Police Department funeral no matter where it was.  He never missed one.  How fitting and appropriate it is then that so many thousands are here from across the country to attend his funeral here in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.  Your presence and this Mass are a perfect punctuation to his beautiful life on this earth.

I would like to conclude my homily this morning with a prayer which is close to my heart which I would like to give to you today.  It was composed by Cardinal Terence Cooke whose earthly remains are entombed in the crypt beneath the Altar of this Cathedral.  It is a prayer I love and often pray on the occasion of the death of one who is close to me in thanksgiving to God for the gift of their life here and hereafter.  May these words of hope serve as a fond and collective farewell from all of us to Joe, our Superman, until we see him again:

We seem to give Joe back to you O God who first gave him to us, yet as you did not lose him in giving him to us so do we not lose him by his return to you.  For, not as the world gives do you give.  And, what you give you do not take away, for what is yours is ours also if we are yours.  And, life is eternal and love is immortal and death is only a horizon and a horizon is nothing except the limit of our sight.  So, lift us up strong Son of God that we may see further.  Remove the scales from our eyes that we may see more clearly, draw us ever closer to you that we may know ourselves to be nearer to Joe and all of our loved ones who are now with you.  And, while you prepare a place for us, prepare us also for that happy place that where you are we may also be forever.  Amen.

Blizzard 2016!
Jan 23rd, 2016 by Father Chris

Because of the blizzard that is currently upon our area I want to strongly encourage parishioners to use caution and common sense regarding leaving your homes even to attend Mass this evening.   I anticipate by tomorrow morning we will have been able to plow our campus and shovel the sidewalks and walkways around the church and it will be more sensible to try to attend Mass tomorrow.

Religious Education classes for Sunday morning are cancelled.  Please stay up to date via local media and our parish website and social media announcements regarding classes for Monday and Tuesday.

The most important thing to do under the circumstances is to heed the warnings of the proper civil authorities and the weather experts and stay home and stay safe!

Rest in Peace Timothy Broderick
Sep 28th, 2015 by Father Chris

Today we have been deeply saddened by the news of the death of Timothy Broderick, the father of our Director of Music and Organist, Laurence Broderick.  The prayers, support and love of all of us here at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish are extended to Linda, Laurence, Patrick and Eileen and all of the Broderick Family on this great loss.

As we become aware of the funeral arrangements we will make them available to everyone in the parish.  And, we pray that as many as possible will be able to pay their respects during this very difficult time.

New Upholstery
Aug 5th, 2015 by Father Chris

You will notice in the next few days that the furniture in the Sanctuary as well as in the sacristy has been reupholstered.  This is a project which has been long overdue since so many of the chairs and kneelers were thread bear.  We look forward to the completion of this work in the next few days.  And, I know this will make a big difference in the way the Sanctuary looks.  Stay tuned…more work to be done in the weeks to come!

Response to Planned Parenthood Videos
Aug 5th, 2015 by Father Chris

Response to Planned Parenthood Videos

The Center for Medical Progress has recently released several videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s use of fetal “tissue”, with the results of its investigation attracting growing national and international attention.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities released a brief statement about the videos.

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, cited Pope Francis’ teaching on abortion and said that the heart of the current public controversy should be that both abortion and the obtaining of fetal tissue through abortion are an attack on human dignity.

“Pope Francis has called abortion the product of a ‘widespread mentality of profit, the throwaway culture, which has today enslaved the hearts and minds of so many,’” the cardinal said.

“The recent news stories concerning Planned Parenthood direct our attention to two larger issues involving many institutions in our society,” he added. “The first is abortion itself: a direct attack on human life in its most vulnerable condition. The second is the now standard practice of obtaining fetal organs and tissues through abortion. Both actions fail to respect the humanity and dignity of human life. This fact should be the center of attention in the present public controversy.”

As well, Cardinal O’Malley reached out to those who might be experiencing “revived trauma” due to the videos, which show graphic conversations and images from abortion.

His statement says: “If the Planned Parenthood news coverage has caused anyone to experience revived trauma from their own involvement in abortion, be assured that any and all persons will be welcomed with compassion and assistance through the Church’s post-abortion healing ministry, Project Rachel. If you or someone you know would like confidential, nonjudgmental help, please visit www.projectrachel.com.”

I would also like to call to the attention of our parishioners the two audio presentations available on our parish website.  The late Cardinal John O’Connor and Monsignor William B. Smith speak with prophetic clarity about the truth of the dignity of human life and the evil which exists in the threats to life.  Please take time this week to listen to these presentations and encourage others to do the same.  The will help to form a correct understanding of these most important issues facing our nation today.

Additionally, I renew my commitment and the commitment of our parish to offer whatever resources are necessary for any woman or family facing an unplanned pregnancy so that the life of both child and mother might be preserved and life be given in all its beauty and fullness.

Father Chris

Construction delay
Jul 29th, 2015 by Father Chris

This weekend I announced at Masses that construction would begin THIS  Monday on the front plaza of the church as well as the removal of several trees and some new landscaping around the campus of the church and school.  This work is going to be pushed back about 4 weeks because of the necessary permits which need to be obtained as well as the procurement of certain materials.

Work is scheduled to begin the first week of September and I anticipate all of the work will be completed by the end of September.

Thank you for your patience as we proceed with this important and long overdue improvements to our parish facility.  Thank you also for your extraordinary generosity which makes the constant upkeep and maintenance of our entire parish campus possible.  God bless you!

MassTimes.org
Jul 16th, 2015 by Father Chris

If you will be traveling during the summer months please DO NOT forget to continue to go to Mass each weekend.  Be sure to take God with you on vacation wherever you may be traveling. Please go to www.MassTimes.org for information about parishes and Mass times in areas where you may be visiting.

Happy Independence Day!
Jul 4th, 2015 by Father Chris

Happy Independence Day!


Independence Day Prayer:

Almighty God, bless our nation and make it true to the ideas of freedom and justice and brotherhood for all who make it great. Guard us from war, from fire and wind, from comprise, fear and confusion.

Be close to our president and our statesmen, give them vision and courage, as they ponder decisions effecting peace and the future of our world. Make me more deeply aware of my heritage realizing not only my rights but also my duties and responsibilities as a citizen.

Make this great land and all its people know clearly your will, that they may fulfill the destiny ordained for us.

 

Call to Worship for Independence Day

L: We gather this morning appreciating our  freedom to worship God.
P: May God continue to bless the Church of Christ in this land.
L: We draw near to the God who rules over all nations
P: May God continue to bless our country and all the countries in the world.
L: We seek to live in harmony and peace together with all peoples on the earth.
P: May God continue to establish peace on earth and help us understand that it begins in our hearts.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord! 

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