I thought today, Halloween, it would be a great thing to mention how this “holiday” began and what the meaning of it really is. I hope you find it interesting.
The day before All Saints is called Halloween in the secular world. The name is Christian however. Halloween means the Eve of All Hallows (All Hallows Eve), the Eve of All Saints, but that is the only Christian element in it. All the rest that accompanies Halloween is of pagan origin so it goes back to the time before Christianity. It was originally a pagan Celtic feast. They believed that after sunset on Samhain, which we now call Halloween, the spirits of the dead and evil spirits roamed the skies seeking to harm humans, especially if the dead had been harmed by them. To protect themselves people disguised themselves by dressing up in costumes and carried lights inside carved turnips (we now see carved pumpkins used). In order to turn a pagan feast into a Christian feast, the Church placed the feast of All Saints on November 1st, to coincide with the pagan celebration. Children have fun on Halloween now but it would be a pity if children did not know how Halloween began and, more importantly, the Christian feast of All Saints which follows it. So, if your children are celebrating Halloween and know little or nothing about All Saints, please explain a little of the history to them, direct them to this blog entry, and be sure to tell them about some of your favorite Saints and the stories of their lives. And, be sure to remind them as well that the “Saints” are not just those who have been formally “Canonized” by the Church. Saints are also our own loved ones and friends who lived good and holy lives while they were here on earth who have now gone before us and have taken their place in Heaven. This will help make the entire experience very meaningful and personal I believe!
HAPPY CELEBRATION OF “ALL SAINTS”!
This was part of a beautiful Halloween display in the lobby of our school. Congratulations to Mrs. Zagaglia, our faculty and all of our students who created some beautifully decorated pumpkins! You are all very creative and talented!
In an earlier post a couple of days ago I spelled the last name of David Gammon’s grandmother incorrectly. The correct spelling is Elsa Cepero. Her funeral Mass will be celebrated tomorrow morning (Saturday) at 9:30 AM at Immaculate Conception Church in Tuckahoe. My deepest apologies for this mistake. May she rest in peace and may the Lord give comfort to all family members and friends.
Also, in the next few days we will be adding dozens of photographs to our “photo gallery” page that will encompass much of the history of our parish. Recently I uncovered dozens of photos, both color and black and white, that span several decades of parish “happenings”. I am sure these will be of great interest to all of our parishioners. They are fun to look at and I am sure they will bring back many memories for everyone. Please be sure to check back soon to see these new additions!
See everyone at Mass this weekend!
You might notice in the title bar above that I put the word present in quotations. I did this because the young people of our parish – school age, teenagers and young adults – are not only the “present” of our parish in terms of time but also are a great “present” in terms of being a great gift to us. If you are a teenager or a young adult member of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish I want you to know how much we appreciate your presence in our church! We need your involvement and your interest to help us now and in the years to come to help to continue to make our parish strong and vibrant. If you have any ideas on how we can continue to make this happen please be sure to let me know any time. Having said that, let me update you on a couple of recent or soon to come youth happenings!
The past couple of weeks we have been celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the children of our Religious Education Program at Saint Anthony’s. As usual, the young people were well prepared and this is always a very special moment of grace in their lives and for the whole parish. I thank our very dedicated catechists who do such a great job instructing our young people in the faith. The work of a catechist is a very important ministry and we have some of the best I have ever seen here at Saint Anthony’s. Your dedication is very much appreciated! Sister Mary Shea, O.S.U., our Director of Religious Education, has fallen right into place in her new position and she has shared with me how happy she is here at Saint Anthony’s. She too has been very much impressed with the assistance she has received from those who help her in the office and from the catechists, parents and students.
This Friday night our Youth Group will be having a Halloween Party in the School Gym. The details are in this past weekend’s parish bulletin. I know it is going to be a great time for everyone. If you have the opportunity please stop by!
If you are a young person of our parish who is reading this blog or stopping by the parish web site once in a while could I ask you to do me a favor and send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know that you were here. And, give me your feedback. I hope this blog and the new web site will be visited often by the young people of our parish and that you will find it an engaging way to interact with me and with the parish.
God bless you all!
You will notice on our “Parish Events” page of the web site an advertisement for our annual Spaghetti Dinner sponsored by the Holy Rosary Society. The Holy Rosary Society members do a great job at this event every year. And, many parishioners and merchants from around town also help with donations of food, time and money to make it always a great success. I wanted to bring the details to your attention in the hopes that you will help spread the word and come enjoy a delicious spaghetti supper next Sunday. I will be there along with Father Peter and Father Pete and members of the Holy Rosary Society and many from our parish. So plan to come and enjoy delicious food and good fellowship.
The Spaghetti Dinner will be held Sunday November 7, 2010 from 1pm to 6pm in Saint Anthony of Padua School Auditorium. Cost is $12 for Adults and $6 for children under 12. Enjoyment – PRICELESS! See you there!!
This has been a rather sad weekend here at Saint Anthony’s. During the past few days several people special to this parish have passed away.
Father Robert Giuntini, who grew up at Saint Anthony’s and was an Altar Boy here back in the 1960′s passed away suddenly on Friday on Long Island where he had been residing for the last several years. Father Giuntini was back here at Saint Anthony’s just a few weeks ago for the funeral of his mother Elizabeth (“Betty”) Giuntini. Father Bob gave a most moving and impressive homily on that occasion and following her funeral I received a touching hand written note from him thanking me and the people of our parish for helping “send his mother off in grand style”. Father Bob was a deeply thoughtful man and a very fine and devoted priest who will be missed by all who knew him. His funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday morning at Saint Patrick’s Church in Bay Shore, Long Island by Bishop William Murphy (Bishop of Rockville Centre) with burial following at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla.
We also learned this weekend of the passing of Patricia Newman, the daughter of Mary Newman. The Newman family have been parishioners here at Saint Anthony’s for many many years. Trish passed away suddenly on Saturday and her family will be very grateful for prayers offered for Trish and for them at this difficult time.
May I also ask that you remember in your prayers relatives of two of our dedicated choir members who also passed away this weekend. First, the grandmother of David Gammon – Elsa Depero. Her funeral will be celebrated Saturday at Immaculate Conception Church in Tuckahoe. And, Robert Stilling, the father of Judy Kuhlmann who passed away this weekend in Chicago.
We wish to extend our prayers and our deepest sympathy to all of you at this time. And, we want you to know that in this time of sorrow that you are not alone! We walk with you and pledge to support you any way we can to help bring some peace and hope out of the sadness of this difficult moment in your lives.
Eternal rest grant unto them, Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. And may their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
Saturday evening I was invited to be at Saint Vito’s Church in Mamaroneck for a Reunion Mass and Dinner for Saint Vito’s School. The School has been closed for many years, however, this was an opportunity for former faculty and students to come together to remember some great years of not so long ago. Bob and Denise Serra (parishioners of Saint Anthony’s) are both graduates of Saint Vito’s School and assisted in planning the event. The Mass was celebrated by the Pastor, Monsignor James White and Father Alfred Pizzuto (who was stationed here at Saint Anthony’s for many years) was the homilist. Father Pizzuto gave a GREAT homily that was very meaningful to all who were there. Another familier face was in attendance as well – Bishop Dominick Lagonegro, or Father Dom or “Dondi” as many call him here at Saint Anthony’s. Bishop Dominick grew up here at Saint Anthony of Padua Church and we are very proud to claim him as our own. I was invited to be there not because I graduated from Saint Vito’s but rather because I was stationed with both Father Pizzuto and Bishop Lagonegro at Sacred Heart Church in Newburgh when I was a Seminarian. And, Monsignor White was the Rector of the Minor Seminary when I was a student there. So, it was a rather nice “reunion” for all of us to be together again too and enjoy one another’s company. Bishop Dom sends his love to everyone at Saint Anthony’s! I have included a couple of pictures here of the event along with a couple from the Halloween Party at Saint Anthony’s School on Friday night. Enjoy!
Bishop Lagonegro, Father Pizzuto and Monsignor White walk to the Church before Mass.
Me with Bishop Dom and Father Pizzuto – seems like old times! LOL
Bishop Dom offers grace before dinner. Monsignor White (at left) joins in the prayer.
Enjoying the Halloween Party at Saint Anthony’s School.
HI – 5!
We had a busy Friday evening. First, Father Pete G. and I went to Saint Anthony’s School to visit the students who were having a Halloween Party there. It was a lot of fun and students and faculty alike were regailed in some really fantastic costumes. Mrs. Zagaglia, the Principal was there (dressed as what else? a Catholic School Principal! LOL). Many families assisted in the arrangements (decorating, food, etc.) to make it work well. Everyone had a great time and there was a wonderful spirit of cooperation that made the Halloween Party very successful and enjoyable for our school and all who attended.
From there we headed down to Harrison to Saint Gregory the Great Church where they were holding a piano concert as part of the Centennial Celebration of the Parish. Saint Gregory the Great in Harrison is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year and they are having many special events as part of that special anniversary. The pianist was Maestro Pierluigi Sampietro, the Director of Music at Saint Gregory the Great for more than 50 years! Dr. Sampietro, who has obtained 4 Doctoral Degrees in music, is truly a gifted musical artist and it was a pleasure to listen to him play last evening. The program consisted of many works from Bach to Mozart to Chopin to Gershwin. My personal favorite is Chopin’s Opus 53 Appassionata (London Version). The concert ended with the choir and congregation joining together in a rousing chorus of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You”. Below I have included a couple of pictures from last night.
Professor Sampietro plays piano while his granddaughter who traveled from New Zealand to be here for the concert plays violin.
Professor Sampietro is congratulated by the former pastor Monsignor Daniel Flynn (far left) and Monsignor Frances McAree the current pastor of Saint Gregory the Great.
We were thrilled to have the University of Notre Dame Glee Club perform for us in Church on Wednesday Evening October 20, 2010 at 7:30 PM. This was the Glee Club’s SECOND visit to Saint Anthony’s in as many years. The last performance was on October 23, 2008. It was a great evening and I am sure that everyone who attended was well pleased. Thank you to everyone who helped in preparing the meal for the men, to parishioners who hosted them overnight in your homes, to everyone who purchased tickets, those who atteneded, those who spread the word near and far in the weeks before the concert and to everyone and anyone who had any part in making this event such a success for our parish and for the community. I am especially grateful to Harrison Police Department and Chief Anthony Marriccini for providing police coverage Wednesday evening and for giving the Glee Club a motorcycle escort on Thursday morning on their way to Staten Island. We have a great police force and they are always so helpful to us at Saint Anthony’s! Thank you one and all!!
University of Notre Dame Glee Club performs at Saint Anthony of Padua Church.
Above is Mark Wurzelbacher of West Harrison, INDIANA – a pleasant coincidence.
Making a few remarks and thanking everyone at the conclusion of the concert.
We presented Dan Stowe, the Director of the Glee Club, with a plaque to commemorate their visit to Saint Anthony’s as well as a beautiful image of Notre Dame – ”Our Lady”.
The statue of the Blessed Mother in our church the night of the concert.
Earlier this evening Father Peter S., Father Peter G. and I attended the annual Purchase Fire Department Inspection and Dinner. The Inspection was at the Purchase Fire House and we then proceeded to Century Country Club in Purchase for the Dinner. This is always an enjoyable and lively event! Father Peter Scaramuzzo serves as the Purchase Fire Department Chaplain and so he was on hand tonight to offer a prayer before the meal. I proudly serve as Chaplain for the West Harrison Fire Department and we will be having our Inspection Dinner on November 4. There is a great cooperation between these two departments that is a wonderful benefit to everyone in our community. As usual, Father Peter had a few funny words to say which were well received by everyone in attendance. We honor the men and women of our Fire Departments who daily put their lives on the line for us. They are often not thought of until that moment of emergency when we find ourselves in desperate need and then they are there in a flash to save our lives and disappear. How could we ever say thank you enough? Below I have included a few photos of the event. I hope you enjoy.
Fire Trucks lined up and ready to go outside the fire house.
Father Peter S. stands in front of a Fire Truck.
The firefighters line up for inspection. Everyone looks GREAT!
I was happy to see A.J. Conte and Michael Donnelly. I will be marrying A.J. and his fiance in January and Michael is going to be his best man. Looking forward to it!
Chief Pat Galluzzo of West Harrison Fire Department and Chief Joe Brefere of Purchase Fire Department. A job WELL DONE!
Chris and Eleanor Mytych. I married Chris and Eleanor 5 month ago today at Saint Anthony’s. Happy Anniversay!
Father Peter offers a prayer before the Dinner at Century Country Club.
Father Peter Scaramuzzo with John Caparelli. Father Peter married John and his wife 25 years ago at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Mount Vernon, NY. Later he baptized his two twin daughters as well as another daughter. And 15 years ago he renewed their wedding vows. Father Peter has been busy!
I hope to have pictures of the Notre Dame University Glee Club Concert from Wednesday Night up soon. Please check back again shortly for those. Until then, God bless!
Earlier today I was given this beautiful meditation that was found written on the wall in Blessed Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. I had seen this writing some years ago but was very happy to become acquainted with it again. I thought it was so beautiful that I would share it with everyone. Sometimes when we do certain things pertaining to our faith we can become discouraged and find ourselves giving up especially when we are criticized or made fun of for what we do or what we believe. I hope this will inspire you never to give in to discouragement and always to strive for the greatest spiritual good used at the service of God and neighbor. After all, this inspired a Saint!
THE FRUIT OF FAITH
“People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”