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HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Dec 31st, 2010 by Father Chris

 

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Father Peter, Father Pete and I pray that the year ahead in 2011 will be filled with God’s choicest blessing for you all!

www.saintanthonyofpaduawh.org
Dec 28th, 2010 by Father Chris

 

I am aware that many people have been logging on to my blog from other parts of the country these last couple of weeks.  This is just a reminder to please also log on to our parish website to see the full site and so many other items of interest in addition to my blog.  The web address is: www.saintanthonyofpaduawh.org.  If you wish, please add this site to your “favorites” and plan to visit often.  I hope it will be of help to you and will provide all of you with daily prayer, information and inspiration.  God Bless!

Monsignor Paul Reynolds Funeral
Dec 27th, 2010 by Father Chris

Well, as soon as I returned on Friday morning to New York from all of the Rites surrounding Monsignor Reynold’s Funeral last week in Atlanta I immediately jumped into all of the Christmas celebrations.  And, of course, this year as soon as Christmas was complete we had all of the regular Sunday Masses.  Now that we have come through all of that we are enduring a major blizzard here in New York and as I write this there is already over a foot of snow on the ground and it just keeps piling up!  We are expecting atleast a foot and a half and possibly two feet of snow by the time all is said and done with winds blowing up to 50 miles per hour in most spots!  I mention all of this because I now finally have an opportunity and plenty of time to update my blog with all of the information and photos from Monsignor Reynold’s funeral last week.

It is hard to put into words exactly what occurred last week.  There were thousands of people who came together to pay tribute to Monsignor Paul Reynolds.  The network news stations in Atlanta covered his death and funeral activities.  There was great sadness but also a real spirit of thanksgiving on that part of everyone who was there.  I suspect we all felt the same way – deeply saddened by Monsignor Reynold’s death, but so very grateful that we had been so fortunate to have known him!  Below I will include photographs from the start of the funeral services right through to the burial and reception following.  I do this mostly for the benefit of those who were unable to attend and I hope that what you see here will also include you in the services for this very special man to all of us – Monsignor Paul H. Reynolds.

This is Northside Chapel Funeral Directors in Roswell - The funeral home that prepared Monsignor Reynold’s body.  It is a very beautiful place and they did a very fine job!

The flags flew at half-staff at Saint Brigid’s Church to honor their revered Pastor.

I stayed here at the Rectory as I always had where Monsignor Reynolds lived.  I want to thank Pat, the housekeeper, for always taking such good care of me.  THANK YOU PAT!

Another view of the Rectory from the front entrance gate.

A view of the Rectory from across the street.

Here Monsignor Reynolds is seen reposing in the the casket at the funeral home prior to being brought to the Church for the public viewing.  I feel very fortunate that Trish and Monsignor Reynold’s niece Mary and her husband Eamonn invited me to accompany them to the funeral home to assist in the preparations there.  Thank you very much!

Here is a view of the full casket.  It was a Batesville Premiere Mahagony casket.  It was stately and classy just like Father Reynolds.  It was very fitting!

Monsignor Reynolds is very  much at peace.

A view from a slightly different angle.

Monsignor Reynolds always wanted to be buried wearing his Notre Dame shirt under his vestments.  Monsignor Reynolds was always a faithful Notre Dame fan.  I am happy to report that his wishes were carried out as he expressed and if you look carefully in the above photo you can see the gold Notre Dame shirt showing!  Monsignor Reynolds would be VERY happy!

I like this photo because as I stand at the head of his casket it appears that I am giving Monsignor Reynolds a big embrace which is what we all did over these last few days as we honored and celebrated his memory!

Here I stand with Archbishop John Donoghue, the Archbishop Emeritus of Atlanta, as we wait for Monsignor Reynold’s body to arrive at the Church.

Monsignor Bill Hoffman, who has been assisting at Saint Brigid’s during Monsignor Reynold’s illness, and I wait for Monsignor Reynold’s body to arrive.

The Knights of Columbus Honor Guard stands at attention as Monsignor Reynold’s casket arrives at Saint Brigid’s.

Monsignor Reynold’s body arrives at the church.

Monsignor Reynold’s body is recieved at the entrance to the Church on Wednesday afternoon to begin the public viewing.  Seen on the other side of the casket is Archbishop John F. Donoghue, Archbishop Emeritus of Atlanta, Monsignor James Fennessy and Monsignor Bill Hoffman.

The line of mourners stretched for 6 hours from the casket, down the aisle, out the lobby, down the hall, down the steps, and into the parking lot.  The line never let up all night!

The line of people just kept coming and coming…

and coming…

Here Bishop Luis Zarama, Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta, incenses the body of Monsignor Reynolds during the Vigil Service.  Also in attendance was Bishop Boland, the Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah. 

 Following the Vigil Service a Rosary was prayed and the viewing continued.  The Church remained open throughtout the night and the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard stood watch through the night.  People kept vigil with Monsignor Reynolds all night. 

Here, Monsignor Reynold’s casket is seen at 1:00 AM before the Altar of Saint Brigid’s.  The casket had been closed and covered with the Pall about 11:00 PM the evening before in preparation for the Funeral Mass the following morning.

Above the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard are seen assembling at the entrance to the church just before the start of the Funeral Mass at 11:00 AM. 

Priests begin to line up for the procession into the church.  Here, four of Monsignor Reynolds’ good priest friends who served as pallbearers are seen.  From left to right, Monsignor R. Donald Kiernan, P.A., Father Mike Redden, Father Walter Foley and Father G. Philip Ryan.

Above, Bishops and Archbishops prepare to enter the church.  Seen here are Archbishop Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, Bishop Luis Zarama, Auxiliary Bishop of Atlanta and Archbishop John F. Donoghue, Archbishop Emeritus of Atlanta.

Bishops in the Sanctuary during the Mass.

The first reading is read during the Mass.

Just before the funeral started you can see the hearse at the bottom of the stairs and the parking lot filled to overflowing with cars.

Here are a few of the floral tributes that were in the church for Monsignor Reynolds.

A beautiful spray with a ribbon which reads: “Our beloved Pastor and Friend”.

This is the basket my family sent.

Following the Funeral Mass the procession of cars traveled to Arlington Cemetery in Sandy Springs, Georgia where Monsignor Reynolds was buried with other priests and bishops of the Archdiocese of Atlanta in the area called “Priest’s Circle”.  It is a beautiful location on the top of a hill in the highest part of the cemetery.  In the center of the circle is a large Crucifix and an Altar.  Above, the  Knights of Columbus Honor Guard line the path awaiting Monsignor Reynold’s casket.

Monsignor Reynold’s casket is brought to the grave.

Monsignor Reynold’s casket is brought to the grave.

Prayers are prayed during the committal service.

Following the committal prayers, Monsignor Reynold’s niece Mary placed a rugby jersey on the top of the casket.  Everyone broke out into spontaneous applause.  Monsignor Reynolds had been an avid rugby player in his youth in Ireland.

Following the committal at the cemetery a reception was held at the Rectory for the staff and close friends and family members of Monsignor Reynolds.

At the reception in the Rectory.

At the reception in the Rectory people sit and tell wonderful stories about Monsignor Reynolds.  Here you can see the Christmas Tree at right.  Monsignor Reynolds loved Christmas.  It was his favorite time of the year!

Here I am seen with Father Walter Foley who succeeded Monsignor Reynolds as pastor of Saint John Neumann Church in Lilburn.  The photo at the left is of Monsignor Reynolds.

This is a picture of Monsignor Reynolds as a young boy.  These pictures were displayed at the reception in the School Auditorium.

In this photo, taken many years ago, Monsignor Reynolds is seen doing what he did best – being with his parishioners!

Here, Monsignor Reynolds is seen receiving a well-deserved honor!

Here, Monsignor Reynolds enjoys the moment at a Mass he was celebrating.

A GREAT picture of Monsignor Reynolds holding a baby he had just Baptized!

The photo above was from the Saint John Neumann Parish Photo Directory and was probably taken sometime in the mid-1980s.

I wanted to save this picture for LAST because it is, in my opinion, the BEST ONE!  Here, Monsignor Reynolds is seen driving along in a golf cart.  And, this is the way I will always remember Monsignor Reynolds –  HAPPY, JOY-FILLED and SMILING!!!

I hope that you enjoy this post and that it will be especially meaninful to those of you who might not have been able to attend the wake or funeral for Monsignor Reynolds.  You missed an amazing tribute to a great man!  We are all going to miss him very much.  But, we must thank God that we had the privilege of knowing him and having him as our pastor, priest, friend and guide during our lives.  And, from his place in Heaven there is no doubt, in my mind atleast, that he will guide us still!  May he rest in peace!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Dec 25th, 2010 by Father Chris

 I want to take this opportunity to wish ALL of you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Father Peter and Father Pete join me in asking God made man, Jesus Christ our Savior to continue to bless each one of you and your families!

Our Christmas Masses here at Saint Anthony’s have been extremely inspirational.  The Church has been filled at each of the Masses.  Thanks to all who have cooperated to make these celebrations so special.  We are so grateful for the hard work and dedication of all of our parishioners.

God bless you all and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

SAD JOURNEY
Dec 20th, 2010 by Father Chris

Tomorrow I will make a sad journey to Atlanta to attend the wake, funeral and burial of Monsignor Paul Reynolds, my longtime friend and mentor.  I am sorry that I will be away from the parish for these days just before Christmas.  I am grateful for your understanding.  And, I thank Father Peter, Father Pete and the staff in the Parish Office for taking such good care of things in my absence. 

The funeral arrangements for Monsignor Reynolds are as follows:

Wake: Wednesday December 22, 2010 4:00-10:00 PM at Saint Brigid’s Catholic Church, Alpharetta, Georgia.

Funeral Mass: Thursday December 23, 2010 at 11:00 AM at Saint Brigid’s Catholic Church, Alpharetta, Georgia.

Burial: Arlington Memorial Park, Sandy Springs, Georgia in the “Priest’s Circle” with other priests and bishops of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

For those who wish, I plan to post information here on my blog throughout the next few days as we honor and celebrate the life, ministry and love of Monsignor Paul H. Reynolds. 

Above is a photo of Saint Brigid’s Catholic Church where Monsignor Reynolds was Pastor and where his wake and funeral will be held.  It is quite a magnificent edifice befitting the type of man and priest Father Reynolds was!

The Sanctuary of Saint Brigid’s Church

An interior view from the Altar to the rear of the Church.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta (in a file photo) celebrates Mass at the site where Monsignor Reynolds will be buried at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

MONSIGNOR REYNOLDS, REST IN PEACE
Dec 18th, 2010 by Father Chris

Right Reverend Monsignor Paul H. Reynolds

Earlier today I received very sad news.  My childhood pastor, Monsignor Paul Reynolds passed away after a battle with cancer.  Although he had been ill and had been being treated recently his death has come rather quickly and has taken all of us by surprise.  I was told that Monsignor Reynolds was admitted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta on Thursday night and on Friday took a turn for the worse and late this morning his life on this earth came to an end.  At the time of his death, Monsignor Reynolds was the pastor of Saint Brigid’s Catholic Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, just north of Atlanta.  For eigth years prior to his assignment as pastor of Saint Brigid’s, he served as the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.  Throughout his ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta he became one of the most beloved priests by both fellow clergy and people whom he served in the various parishes where he was assigned over the years.

I must admit that I feel a great sense of loss because Father Reynolds has been my pastor since I was 7 years of age.  And, in these last hours so many joy-filled memories have flooded back to me as I have spoken to many mutual friends sharing the news with them.  We have all had a good cry together I must admit as we spoke about him recalling so many happy times.  Father Reynolds was known by many names.  To some, more recently, he was simply known as ”Monsignor”.  To others who knew him years ago, he was “Father Paul”.  To me he was always “Father Reynolds”.  That was how I knew him and addressed him as a youngster and how I always addressed him.  It was an appropriate title, “Father”, because to me he was a spiritual father.  In fact, I often reminded him that he had always been my pastor.  Even though I had become a priest and pastor myself (and the bishop of my diocese really is my official pastor) I always considered Father Reynolds to be my “pastor”.  And, I was grateful that he was always available at the other end of the phone whenever I had questions or needed some advice or was worried or needed to make a decision and wasn’t sure what answer was best, Father Reynolds was always there with “Bar-Gold” advice – never reactionary but always measured, thoughtful, and sound!

I became closer to Father Reynolds following my ordination to the priesthood in 2003.  In fact, immediately after Cardinal Egan had given my classmates and I the “Call” to the priesthood on March 19, 2003, the Feast of Saint Joseph, I called Father Reynolds to ask him to come to my ordination.  Father Reynolds was still recovering from his orignial treatments for leukemia and was not yet in full health.  However, I told him that he was the reason why I was being ordained and that if he did not come I was not going to attend my own ordination!  Well, needless to say,  Father Reynolds attended that occasion at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and I recall his words to me in the sacristy shortly before the start of the Mass.  He said, with his face beaming with pride and a broad smile, “well, Chris, we’ve come a long way since those days in the sacristy at Saint John Neumann!”  Shortly after I was ordained Father Reynolds gave me some wise advice that I have always remembered and that has been an invaluable help to me.  He instructed me that as I moved along in the priesthood and to various parishes that I would interact with many different people.  He said that they fall in many different locations on the spectrum of life – some are burdened with enormous problems, full of sins and difficulties.  There will be others you will meet who are walking saints who will daily inspire you to be better than you are.  And, he said, “somewhere in the middle of it all is Father Chris Monturo!”  And so, he said, “always try to meet people where they are and not where you want or expect them to be!”  In 2007, following my appointment as Pastor of Saint Anthony of Padua, I called Father Reynolds to share the good news.  He immediately congratulated me and conveyed his sentiments of personal pride.  Before the end of the conversation I asked him if he had any “pastorly advice” he might wish to impart.  ”Yes”, he said, “I will tell you what I was told when I assumed my first pastorate – two things – first, be yourself and second, give them all you got! – if you do that you’ll be very successful!”  His words were, as always, wise and true.  And, I must admit, that I learned more about the priesthood from Father Reynolds in these last few years than from all other priests I know and all of the years I spent in the seminary combined. 

My memories of Father Reynolds go back to 1979 at my home parish where I grew up at Saint John Neumann Church in Atlanta.  He was the founding Pastor and he built the church literally from the ground up.  It was no easy task but Father Reynolds was up to the challenge.  My brother Matt and I were almost always called on to serve funeral Masses at Saint John Neumann.   And, the normal funeral “team” consisted of Father Reynolds, Bill Head (the funeral director), my brother Matt and I.  Even at that young age a close bond was formed that lasted until the present time.  And, what he did in the years that followed at Saint John Neumann and at every parish he led was to create a “family”, a “community” of believers where all were welcomed and where God was loved.  Father Reynolds “formed a people”.  There was in every parish Father Reynolds was part of a great spirit of joy, charity and faithfulness.  And, there was something about Father Reynolds that is more than the homilies he gave or the words he spoke or the deeds he did.  Everything that he said and did was memorable and important because it was He who said it, it was He who was doing it.  Father Reynolds bore the presence of something greater than himself, a palpable love which drew people to him and which gave hope and life that will, no doubt, last long beyond his death.  That love which Father Reynolds carried has a name: Jesus Christ!

Father Paul H. Reynolds is a living witness of the Presence of Jesus Christ among us.  Certainly, in the days ahead there will be many memories shared and testaments to his life given but I am sure that Father Reynolds would want nothing more than that all of these remembrances lead each one of us closer to Jesus Christ, whom he loved and served so faithfully during his life on this earth.  Eternal rest grant unto Father Reynolds, O Lord!  And, let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace.  Amen!

Saint Anthony of Padua Choir on YouTube
Dec 17th, 2010 by Father Chris

If you have not already done so please be sure to check out a few recent selection performed by our choir which have been placed on YouTube.  I believe you can also also the link from our website here.  Thanks to our choir always for always presenting us with the best in sacred music!  Enjoy!!

Pilgrimage Meeting.
Dec 17th, 2010 by Father Chris

For all who will be traveling on our Parish Pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt from January 8-20, 2011 there will be an important meeting this Monday December 20 at 7PM in Church.  Please plan to be with us to receive important information about our itinerary, flights, hotels, transportation, what to pack, etc. etc. etc.  We are looking forward to a trip of a lifetime that will be one of the most inspiring occasions of our lives!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel!
Dec 17th, 2010 by Father Chris

We are fast approaching the Fourth Sunday of Advent.  These past weeks we have sung the beautiful hymn, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” asking our Lord to dwell with us not only at Christmas but always!  The words of our Gospel readings have focused our attention on John the Baptist announcing the coming of the Messiah and advising all who hear his words to make reading a path in their hearts and lives for the Christ child to be born.  Let us all meditate on these words and this prophetic advice given us by the “forerunner of the Lord” in these days before Christmas.

On a related note, last Monday I celebrated a Funeral Mass for Sister Vita Marie Cetrano, C.S.J.B. (ironically enough a Sister of Saint John the Baptist).  I could not help but think as I was celebrating that funeral liturgy about how Sisters like Sister Vita have been the “backbone” of the Church for so many years.  Sadly, many of them now are in advanced years and each are passing away as time goes by.  Perhaps in your thoughts your could remember Sister Vita and all other religous Sisters who for so many decades been such an influential part of the Church and of our lives.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Dec 13th, 2010 by Father Chris

This post is a little out of the ordinary and is entirely personal but I wanted to add it anyway because the one about whom I write is special to me!

Today, December 13, 2010, marks the 70th Birthday for one of my good friends, Mr. Bill Head.  Bill, who is the epitome of what it is to be a Funeral Director,  has always been a mentor to me and he gave me many opportunities in my youth.  It was with Bill that I started working in the Funeral Profession and through that work I learned so many of the things that eventually led me to the Priesthood.  I will be forever grateful that I had the privilege of working with Bill Head and learning from him throughout the past 32 years that we have been friends.  Bill, God bless you with another 70 Happy, Healthy and Blest years!  And, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING!

                                                              Mr. Bill Head

This was Bill’s 1955 Cadillac Hearse.  Actually it was a Hearse/Ambulance conversion.  It could be used either as an ambulance or hearse as needed.  I recall it had two seats near the door where a passenger or paramedic could sit.  they would fold down when the car was used as a hearse to make room for the casket.   I use to move this vehicle every time we had a funeral to make room for other cars in the procession (I only recall this car being used once on a funeral).  It was almost completely a “conversation piece” and it was a beautiful car.  But, with no power streering it could be very difficult to drive!

We had a fleet of hearses exactly like this one.  It was and still is a beautiful automobile.  And, when the headlights would flash I tell you it would get the attention of everyone on the road!

A traditional graveside view. Rest in Peace.

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