Nov 28th, 2010 by Father Chris

I wish I could tell you how many people have said to me this weekend…”where has the time gone?”  It is hard to believe that it is the Advent Season once again but it is!

This weekend, in my homily, I reflected on the theme “new beginnings”.  In a sense that is exactly what Advent is – a new beginning.  Liturgically, it is a new year of grace.  And, it is also a fresh start that the Lord gives to each one of us as we prepare for the celebration of Christmas. 

I pray that these next four weeks of Advent will be a blessed time for all of you and that it will truly be a period of renewal and of “new beginnings” for everyone! 

Nov 25th, 2010 by Father Chris


I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!  We have so much to be thankful for at this time of the year.  I hope that everyone today, as you sit down at the table to enjoy a delicious meal with family members and friends, will also take the opportunity to recall what things you are most thankful and grateful for.  Life changes when you live it with a grateful and thankful heart!  Life begins to take on a whole new perspective.  Life becomes more precious and more exciting when we live as grateful people!  Especially, let us all be thankful to God for His countless blessings to each of us!  I give thanks to Him for the blessings of each of you who make up our wonderful parish of Saint Anthony of Padua!  “Te Deum Laudamus”  Let us give thanks to the Lord for His mercy and love endure forever!  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Busy time
Nov 23rd, 2010 by Father Chris


Well, needless to say the last couple of weeks have been extremely busy with a great deal of activity on many fronts.  I have had little time to update my blog in recent days.  So sorry for the hiatus.  I guess a little break now and again is not such a bad thing!  I will be adding some new posts shortly.  Be sure to check back in.  Thanks and see you soon!

God Bless our Veterans! God bless the U.S.A.!!
Nov 12th, 2010 by Father Chris


Yesterday, November 11, we had a beautiful and very patriotic parade Veterans Day Parade in our Village of West Harrison.  We owe a great debt of thanks to all of our Veterans who during Wartime and Peacetime have sacrificed so much so that we may enjoy the freedom’s in this nation that too often we take for granted.  In one of the photos below you will see a sign that is so apropos – “All gave some, some gave all”.  That is so true!  God bless all of you, our Veterans and Thank You!

Everyone gets lined up for the parade.

Soldiers Past and Present! 

Ben DeFonce, one of the organizers of the parade speaks to the crowd.

This is the view from inside one of the Fire Trucks in the Parade route.  That’s where I was sitting!

Me and Firefighter Mike Pellegrino inside the Firetruck.

All Gave Some, Some Gave All!  So true!

This is a beautiful 9/11 Memorial in the town square near the West Harrison Honor Roll. 

Our own Father Peter gave the Benediction. 

Sad News Again
Nov 8th, 2010 by Father Chris


I am sure that many of you have already learned of the sudden death this morning of one of our parish’s most dedicated members, Rosemarie Balancia.  Rosemarie passed away suddenly this morning while visiting her son at his home in the Dominican Republic.  Around 10:30 this morning I was called by Rosemarie’s long-time friends Madeline and Emil Dominianni to tell me the sad news and I must say I was shocked and saddened beyond belief.  I also spoke briefly with Rosemarie’s daughter Teresa who lives in Katonah to assure her and all of her family of the prayers and support of everyone here at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish. 

Rosemarie was a very special part of this community for so many years along with her husband Charlie and their entire family.  We love her so much and we will miss her deeply.  May she rest in peace.

As we learn more information about the funeral arrangements for Rosemarie I will put the information on my blog here and we will also publicize the details throughout the parish. 

Please add a remembrance in your prayers today for Rosemarie and also for her family at this difficult time.

Buon Appetito!
Nov 7th, 2010 by Father Chris


Well, Father Peter, Father Pete and I just arrived back at the Rectory from the annual Spaghetti Dinner and boy are we stuffed!  Thanks to the members of the Holy Rosary Society, Michael Lanni (who made some amazingly delicious tomato sauce), our Confirmation Students who helped in the serving and many others who pitched in and volunteered, once again this year’s dinner was a great success! 

It was nice to hear parishioners who have been here for decades speak about how for so many years they have been coming to the annual Spaghetti Dinner.  And, there were many people who were here for the first time this year.  It’s just another one of those special traditions we have here at Saint Anthony’s!

Below I have included some of the various photos that I took earlier this afternoon.  I hope you enjoy!

The Spaghetti Dinner was held in the auditorium of our school.

This was my plate of spaghetti complete with all the “fixins”.  I start my diet tomorrow!!  By the way, that’s soda not wine!  LOL

Father Peter (left), Father Pete (right) and I really enjoyed our dinner!  If you look close, Father Peter seems to be having difficulty getting his jacket buttoned!! (that means the food was great)

Our Confirmation students helped serve and they did a great job!

The importance of “Church”!
Nov 6th, 2010 by Father Chris


This morning we celebrated a Funeral Mass for Patricia Newman.  We all knew her as “Trish” and she was a great inspiration to everyone who ever had the pleasure of meeting her.  Trish passed away two weeks ago today in a very tragic auto accident on the Palisades Parkway in Rockland County.  Her mother, Mary, is very active in our parish as a member of the Ave Maria Guild and she and her family are always so supportive of what we do here.  While we do not yet have answers to the many questions that still lurk in our minds and hearts, one thing is clear – what we did this morning was so important and so necessary! 

I was deeply moved as I looked out among the very large congregation assembled in church, listened to the music, prayed the prayers and watched as scores of people came along to embrace members of the family (who at times had tears streaming down their faces).  And, I said to myself – “this is what it’s all about, this is what it is to be a Church!”  We, the people who gather each day and each week in church, ARE the Body of Christ.  Yes, Christ is most present to us in the Eucharist, in His Word, in the Sacraments which He gave us as a gift.  But, we experience God’s love concretely in the celebration of the Sacraments in the community of the faithful, the assembly of believers we call “the Church”. 

I often hear people, especially young people today, say things like…”I don’t need the church, I don’t need God, I don’t believe in “organized religion”, etc. etc. etc.  I have one respone – HOGWASH!!  Stop the protest!  We ALL need God!  We ALL need the Church especially in moments of tragedy and confusion and sorrow.  And, no matter who we are we will all face those times at one point or another in our lives.  Some of us faced that this morning.  If not we will face it sooner or later.  And in the midst of the sorrow and the tears and the questions and, yes, even the doubts Christ was and is with us.  In the darkest hours, Christ, the Light of the World shines brightly to dispel the darkness of death and sorrow.  As a good friend of mine always likes to say – “If you aint got God in your life, you aint got nothin at all!”  Amen to that!

I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who attended Trish’s Mass this morning and thanks to everyone of you who might read this blog who are part of this great “community of faith”, this great “church” we call Saint Anthony of Padua!  From time to time I suspect we might become disappointed with “the Church” as an institution.  We might feel “let down” by family members, friends and, yes, even priests or bishops at times.  That’s life and these things happen.  But I am so proud to be Catholic (I hope you are too), proud to be a priest and proud to be the Pastor of this great “Church” of Saint Anthony of Padua you have no idea.  And, when I see things such as what happened this morning, the community coming together, to heal, console and strenghthen one of its own in a tough time, it makes me even more proud!  That’s the importance of “Church”. 

 To Christ, the Good Shepherd of the Sheep, our Great High Priest, who never disappoints and who never lets us down, To Him be all glory and praise now and forever. Amen!

Post Script
Nov 5th, 2010 by Father Chris


In my post last night I failed to mention the location of the West Harrison Fire Department Inspection Dinner.  It was held at the Brae Burn Country Club in Purchase.  The Club was recently renovated and everything was well done.   The food was delicious, the atmosphere was most pleasant and the fellowship was as enjoyable as ever.  Below is a photo I forgot to include last night.  It is a broad shot of the ballroom and of everyone having a great time!

West Harrison Fire Department Inspection Dinner.
Nov 4th, 2010 by Father Chris


Earlier this evening I attended the Inspection Dinner for the West Harrison Fire Department.  I am very proud to serve as the Chaplain for our Fire Department and I love all of its members very much.  We owe all of our firefighters a great debt of gratitude for what they do each and every day usually unknown and underappreciated.  All of our firefighters are volunteers and they put in a tremendous amount of time to keep all of us safe.  This year’s dinner was particularly special because it was a time to honor our Department Chief who is not seeking re-election for another term next year.  Chief Pat Galluzzo has served with great distinction as Chief and he has made our department very proud!  Thank you Pat for all of your tireless efforts on behalf of our department and our entire community.  We honor you and thank you for everything you have done!  Pat received a plethora of accolades and awards at tonights dinner that are very much deserved.  Mayor Joan Walsh declared November 4, 2010 Chief Pat Galluzzo Day in the Town and Village of Harrison.  And, County Legislator John Nonna declared tomorrow November 5, 2010 Chief Pat Galluzzo Day in the County of Westchester.  If Pat gets pulled over for speeding tomorrow I suspect he will be given a pass!  LOL. 

Below I would like to offer two poems read at tonight’s dinner.  They are quite beautiful and meaningful to all firefighters.  I think they will be to anyone who reads them.  And, I hope they help to create a greater appreciation amongst everyone in the community for the efforts of our Firefighters, Police Officers and EMS workers who are always there for us when we need them.  Thanks to all of you!!

The following was read by me when I prayed the Invocation.

“When I am called to duty, God wherever flames may rage, give me the strength to save some life whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child before it is too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout, and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me to guard my every neighbor and protect their property.

And if according to your will I have to loose my life please bless with your protecting hand my children and my wife.”

At the end of dinner Westchester County Legislator John Nonna read the following poem called “Brave Volunteers”.

“Scared, cold, in pain, the dust hasn’t settled yet.  Pinned in, crying, my clothes are ripped, red and wet.  Lights, noise and confusion, all part of the night.  I’m going to die alone, give up the fight.

Red lights are flashing, mixed with blue.  A face appears at my window, the face is you.  ‘You’re gonna be all right’ is the first thing you say.  A reassuring voice, someone wants me to stay.

You could have been home with family, they need you too.  You worked all day at the job, your sleeping hours numbered two.  But you went down the hall, hoping your family was OK.  Now you’re here with me and Death, with comforting words to say”.

Me with Assistant Chief Steve Mancini at the Fire House.  You will notice in all of the pictures I am proudly wearing my Fire Department Chaplain Shield.  It is gold designating me as an Officer in the Department.

Firefighters line up for inspection.  Everyone and everything looks perfect!  The weather is chilly and damp.

Me with New York Supreme Court Judge Dennis Donovan.  I’m always so happy to spend time with Judge Donovan because he has some of the best jokes of anyone I know.  And, he has a way of telling them that is priceless.

Here I am pictured with three extraordinary men, from left to right, Chief Rich Lyman of White Plains Fire Department, Jim Feeney of ConEd and Public Safety Commissioner David Chong of the White Plains Police Department and Fire Department.  They all do such a super job!

Chief Pat Galluzzo makes remarks during the dinner.  Pat just became a grandfather a couple of days ago.  Congratulations Pat and our best to Jaimie and all the family!  We are so proud of you and for you!!

Commissioner Chong and me.

White Plains Mayor Emeritus Joseph Delfino and me.  Mayor Joe is a very special friend to me and to our community.

Me with Mayor Joan Walsh of Harrison.  Mayor Walsh is a parishioner of Saint Anthony’s and is one of our Lectors.  She is very involved in the parish in many ways and she is always extremely helpful to our parish and to the entire community.  Thank you Mayor Walsh!

I am very proud of this picture!  Me with New York City Police Officer Robert Salerno.  Bobby is one of our parishioners and he has made a miraculous recovery from the near-death incident he was involved in on March 22, 2010.  I thank God every day that he is alive and safe.  Bobby you look fantastic and you are an inspiration to us all!  God bless you and keep you!

Keep Tooting!
Nov 4th, 2010 by Father Chris


I was happily surprised (well not really, after all, this IS Saint Anthony’s) when the mail arrived today to see the Catholic New York, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New York.  As I looked through the pages I turned to page 26 and saw a half page photo and caption covering the Notre Dame Glee Club concert here at Saint Anthony’s on October 20.  The two color photographs are magnificent and they make our Church look quite impressive (which of course it is!).  It thrills me to see these type of things broadcast in the media and especially in our Archdiocesan Newspaper publicizing so many of the very positive and exciting things that are happening here at Saint Anthony of Padua!

Again, I take this opportunity to thank all of you who attended and helped make the evening such a successful and enjoyable event!  Also, we are indebted to Laurence Broderick, our Director of Music, and all of the members of our Choir for all of their help in organization and planning. 

Also, I would like to thank Maria Bastone from Catholic New York who was here on October 20 and took the beautiful photos you will see in the paper.  We also want to thank John Woods, Claudia McDonnell, Mary Ann Poust and all of the staff of Catholic New York who are always willing to come and cover events here at Saint Anthony’s.  Thank you all!!  A VERY special thank you is extended, as well, to Jeannie Stapleton-Smith, the Director of Development at Saint Joseph’s Seminary for her invaluable assistance!  Jeannie has been a friend for many years and is always so helpful in these things.

Please be sure to get a copy of the November 4, 2010 Catholic New York and turn to page 26 to see the coverage. 

I remember a friend of mine telling me years ago, “when you have good things going on don’t be afraid to toot your horn!”  I guess that fits in here somewhat.  So my advice to you all – KEEP TOOTING!

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