This Saturday, once again, Saint Anthony of Padua Parish will host our Annual Lenten Retreat. The Retreat will be held in the School Auditorium from 9:30 AM until 3:00 PM.
Included in the day will be Mass, the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Conferences, lunch and the pleasure of spending some wonderful time with fellow parishioners as we grow in faith and love of God and one another!
The title of the Retreat is “Live as Children of the Light!” More information was included in the insert in last weekends bulletin and there is also information on the “events” page of our website here.
I encourage all parishioners to please avail yourselves of this wonderful and exciting opportunity to experience spiritual renewal during this Lenten Season. I hope to see everyone this Saturday for our Annual Lenten Retreat!
This weekend at the end of all of the Masses we are going to be hearing from Laura Doherty one of our wonderful young parishioners. Laura has asked me if she can speak at Masses to tell our parishioners of her desire to attend World Youth Day this year in Madrid, Spain. I am overjoyed that Laura would consider representing our parish at this fantastic event! I hope you will give her your undivided attention as she speaks to us this weekend and I also pray that you will respond, however you can, in her invitation to assist her in her efforts to offset her expenses in trying to make this dream of hers and ours a reality. God bless you Laura in this good work!
We are very happy to welcome to Saint Anthony of Padua Parish next weekend Father Joy Devassy. Father Joy has been assigned to Saint Anthony’s as a Parochial Vicar effective April 1, 2011. Father Peter will certainly remain as Parochial Vicar as well for the long term. Father Joy’s appointment here will be a great help to us all!
Father Joy is a native of India and he was ordained a priest in 1982. He has served at two other parishes here in the Archdiocese of New York prior to his appointment as Parochial Vicar here at Saint Anthony’s – Holy Name of Jesus in New Rochelle and Saint Margaret of Antioch in Pearl River.
When you see Father Joy next weekend please be sure to give him a big “Saint Anthony’s” welcome! May God bless him as he begins his ministry among us here!
Just a little FYI for everyone. As you may have heard me mention at Masses this past weekend, you will see work being done over the next few weeks in and around the Church building, Rectory and School building as well as on the grounds of our campus here at Saint Anthony’s. The work which is being done has been needed for several years and we hope that all of the work will be completed by Easter.
Windows in the lobby of the church have been replaced. Water damage in the lobby, Baptistry, Sacristy and bathrooms is being repaired and then will be painted. The front doors and entrance area of the church will be sanded and repainted. One of our parishioners, Christopher Doherty, is currently doing his Eagle Scout project by cleaning and painting some areas of the stairwells in the church as well as the lower church hall. Little by little these improvements will continue to make our facilities here at Saint Anthony’s beautiful for many years to come.
I am happy to tell you that our insurance company is paying for almost all of the work which is being done because of the water damage and ice damage caused by the extreme winter conditions that we endured over the last few months. So, the parish is NOT having to expend a great deal of money for these much needed repairs and updates!
You will see below some photographs that I have taken over the past few days.
Water damage is being repaired in the lobby of the church. After the repairs are complete the lobby will be painted.
Water damage is being repaired on the ceiling in the lobby of the church.
Damage to the wall in the lobby of the church is also being repaired.
Here you can see a window in the lobby of the church which has been cracked for several years. The window is actually being held together with tape.
Above you can see what appears to be a bb-gun bullet hole in one of the windows in the lobby of the church. Someone (I hope trying to be helpful) put bubble gum in the hole to stop water from entering through it.
BEFORE the glass was replaced. You can see several different colors, textures and styles of glass which were added over the years as needed.
AFTER the glass was replaced. Now all of the windows are consistent in style, texture and brightness.
Here you can see the veneer which is separating from the door on the front of the church. This is the first impression people have of Saint Anthony’s! This will be repaired and painted soon.
The wood at the bottom of these windows was completely rotted. Every time it would rain heavily the water would pour into the lobby creating large puddles on the floor. The wood has been totally repaired and well caulked to prevent any water from entering the lobby of the church. This too will be painted soon.
Archbishop Timothy Dolan
As was mentioned at Masses this weekend, I encourage all of our parishioners to tune in this evening to see Archbishop Dolan’s interview on “60 Minutes” with Morley Safer. The interview will air on Channel 2 a few minutes late, around 7:15 PM, immediately following the “March Madness” basketball games.
I am certain that we will be treated to a fantastic interview peppered with the Archbishop’s customary sense of humor and also a serious look at some of the challenges facing the Church today. Archbishop Dolan has been an superb example for the Church during his time here in New York and I am sure, no doubt, his interview this evening, will help to continue to inspire all of us who are priviledged to have him in our midst!
We ask God’s multiplied blessings upon our Shepherd as he continues to lead the Church in New York!
At the Masses that I celebrated this weekend I mentioned our parish pilgrimage in January and our visit to the Mount of Transfiguration in Israel. I wanted to share with you a few of the photographs that I have from that amazing experience. We celebrated Mass at the beautiful church that is located at the very top of the mountain. The drive up and down is quite an experience – very narrow streets and no guardrails. I promise you, some of the most fervent prayers of the entire pilgrimage were prayed in the brief taxi ride up and down that mountainside!
Nevertheless, the instruction that Jesus gives to Peter (and James and John) in the Gospel this weekend is a good one for us to ponder too! When Jesus was transfigured before Peter, James and John, Peter’s first response is to get busy building a monument to the occasion. In a real sense, he misses the point. Jesus has to redirect him back to what is important and he tells him not to worry about building a memorial but rather to listen to God, stop and take in what Jesus was doing for them. We can be much like Peter because we can experience some great “mountaintop moments”, we can come back from a retreat, or some other experience where we have really experienced God’s love in a concrete way. We get excited and we start to get very involved – we join the choir, become a lector, teach religious education, work in the church, etc., etc., etc., and then we get burned out! We get disappointed! We get frustrated! Why? Maybe because we have spent too much time trying to build a monument to the moment and not enough time listening to God, discerning where it is and what it is He is really calling us to!
I mentioned in my homily this morning that my grandmother use to tell my brothers, my sister and myself that, “God gave you one mouth and two ears, so you should listen twice as hard as you talk!” Well, that little grandmotherly piece of humor contains some good wisdom too. We should listen well especially when it comes to the things of God. Listening is not passive however, it requires work. For some of us, listening requires more work than for others! But, it does mean that we have to still ourselves, turn off our cell phones, get away from “facebook” for a while, not be distracted by so much of the technology that constantly surrounds us and “go up the mountain” with the Lord in quiet, peaceful solitude. If we can do that, then we can begin to listen to what God is trying to say to us and follow in the way He is trying to lead us.
Just a couple of thoughts for this Sunday inspired by the beautiful Transfiguration account in the Gospel of Saint Matthew.
Below are a few photographs taken at the Mount of Transfiguration during our parish pilgrimage in January which I hope you will enjoy!
The Mount of Transfiguration from a distance.
The Church at the summit of the Mount of Transfiguration. We celebrated Mass here.
Here I am standing at the very top of the Mount of Transfiguration. The day was perfectly clear and you could see for miles and miles in every direction.
A view looking to the south from the top of the Mount of Transfiguration.
A view looking to the east from the top of the Mount of Transfiguration.
As we pause this weekend to remember Bishop Patrick Ahern, there are many stories going around about his long ministry as a priest and bishop here in the Archdiocese of New York.
Earlier today, after Masses, a few parishioners shared their own remembrances. And, at my turn, I recalled for them a wonderful experience that I had with Bishop Ahern a few years ago. Very shortly after I was ordained a priest almost 8 years ago now, my classmates and I were at a dinner and Bishop Ahern was with us. We were sitting, talking, laughing and then one of us asked the bishop if he had any advice he would be able to give us about the priesthood. After all, we were just ordained and recently moved into our first parish assignments and we figured here was a priest and bishop with nearly 60 years of experience under his belt – there couldn’t be a better person to ask! Well, upon hearing the question, Bishop Ahern thought for a moment, scratched his brow, and then, in typical Ahern fashion, his eyebrows rose, his mouth came open and his arms lifted up and he said, “…ENJOYYYYY IT!” (anyone who knew Bishop Ahern will understand why I typed it that way).
That question we asked and his answer give us some valuable insight into the life, priesthood and ministry of this wonderful instrument that God used so well for so many years! There was nothing complicated, nothing difficult, nothing hard to understand about him. He was simply a good and faithful priest who ENJOYED every moment of the life that God had called him to. Everyone who met him found a friend – a joyful priest with a listening ear and an understanding heart. He was a man who took seriously the Call God had given him and tried to mirror to others the love God had placed in his life.
Bishop Ahern loved Saint Therese. He wrote about her, preached about her and told everyone who would listen as much as he possibly could about her. I suspect that one of the reasons that Bishop Ahern found such a kindred spirit in Saint Therese was because they were, in so many ways, so much alike.
Let us thank God that Bishop Ahern spent his heaven doing all of the good here on earth that he did do. And, let pray that from Heaven Bishop Ahern, in company with Saint Therese, will continue to shower down roses upon us in graces, blessings and peace!
Perhaps it is significant and appropriate that these last two blog entries follow as they do. Just a couple of days ago I wrote about Saint Patrick’s Day and, today an entry about one of the long-time and very beloved Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese of New York, Bishop Patrick Ahern. Ahern died yesterday, March 19, 2011 (the 41st anniversary of his ordination as Bishop) at the age of 92.
I decided to entitle this entry; “From Saint Patrick to Bishop Patrick (Ahern)” because Saint Patrick’s Day was always a very special time for Bishop Ahern. He always loved the Mass at the Cathedral on that morning and then all of the activities surrounding it on Fifth Avenue after. And also, of course, because Bishop Ahern shared the name of Patrick it is especially meaningful!
I have very happy memories of Bishop Ahern from my days as a seminarian at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. It was during that time that one of my classmates, Father Daniel O’Reilly, was stationed at Blessed Sacrament Church on Staten Island for the Summer months. From time to time Bishop Ahern would be there for Confirmation or for some other occasion and Father O’Reilly would invite me to join the priests at the Rectory for dinner and some time of relaxtion. Stories would be told, jokes would be shared and, of course, impersonations would be done. The Clergy are notorious for mimicry and I have been known to do some clergy and members of the episcopacy quite well over the years! At any rate, Bishop Ahern asked to see a few of my impersonations and, being an obedient seminarian, I could not refuse the request of the Bishop and so I did what I was asked to do. Well, Bishop Ahern roared with laughter! And, the other priests in attendance were not far behind! Each time I saw Bishop Ahern after that he reminded me of that occasion and he laughed again and I did too!
Most Reverend Patrick V. Ahern was born March 8, 1919 in New York City. He attended Manhattan College and Cathedral College before beginning studies for the Priesthood at Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York. Father Ahern was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York on January 27, 1945. His first assignment was as Parochial Vicar at Saint Helena’s Church in the Bronx. He then worked on the Archdiocesan Mission Band until 1955, when he was assigned as a curate at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. He taught at Saint Joseph’s Seminary before serving as priest secretary to Francis Cardinal Spellman from 1958 to 1967. In 1967, Monsignor Ahern was named pastor of Our Lady of Angels Church in the Bronx. On February 3, 1970, Monsignor Patrick Ahern was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of New York and Titular Bishop of Naiera by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI. He was consecrated Bishop on March 19, 1970 at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Cardinal Terence Cooke was the ordaining prelate and Archbishop John Maguire and Bishop Edwin Broderick were the co-consecrators. As an Auxiliary Bishop, Ahern continued to serve as pastor of Our Lady of Angels Church and was also episcopal vicar for the Bronx. He later served as episcopal vicar for Staten Island and pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church there from 1980 to 1990. Following ten years as pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church, Bishop Ahern served as Archdiocesan Vicar for Development until his retirement on April 26, 1994.
Both during his active ministry and in his retirement years Bishop Ahern continued to write and speak widely on the spirituality of Saint Therese of Lisieux. In fact, Bishop Ahern was considered to be one of the foremost experts on the life and work of Saint Therese. In 2001 Bishop Ahern published, Maurice and Therese: The Story of a Love.
Father Peter Scaramuzzo recalls Bishop Ahern very well. Ahern was pastor of Our Lady of Angels Church in the Bronx when young Father Peter arrived there as a newly ordained priest. This morning, after learning of the death of Bishop Ahern, Father Peter said, “well, Pat was always singing about taking Kathleen home again, I pray now the good Lord has taken Pat home to his everlasting home in heaven – no one deserves it more than him!” I could not agree more!
As we end this tribute to Bishop Ahern we must also acknowledge an extraordinary life. We thank God for using Patrick Ahern in such an exceptional way as a priest and bishop for 67 years affecting the lives of countless numbers of people for the better – faithfully, gently, lovingly! What more could God ask? What more could anyone do?
A more recent picture of Bishop Ahern.
Three hours and counting until we celebrate the Patronal Feast Day of our beloved Archdiocese of New York. So, now is a good time to wish you all a very HAPPY SAINT PATRICK’S DAY! May the luck of the Irish be with you!
This special holiday reminds me of a cute story I heard a few years ago of the visit President and Mrs. Reagan made to Ireland in the early 1980′s. It is said that during their visit they went to the place where Saint Patrick is reported to have planted the first Cross in Ireland where there is a cemetery. And, during their visit to that place they were led by a local priest who escorted them around the cemetery explaining some of the historical grave markers that were there. Then President Reagan came upon one that had not been explained which had on it the inscription: “Look at me as you pass by, for as you are so once was I, and as I am you too will be, so be content to follow me!” Well, this had proven to be too much for some witty Irishman who came along later and inscribed below that: “to follow you I am content, I wish I knew which way you went!”
It’s a funny little story but it helps us to remember to keep our prayers and penances up during this Lenten Season as we prepare for Easter and to continue to unite ourselves to the Sacrifices of Christ Himself. If we do that during Lent and always then we will never have any worry or any question which way we are headed. Then, one day, we will join Saint Patrick and all of those who were faithful during their lives on earth and who are now counted among the blessed in the Heavenly Kindgom. God bless you all!
Saint Patrick is the Patron of our Cathedral and of our Archdiocese.
Every Saint Patrick’s Day for 250 years thousands and thousands of people gather on Fifth Avenue for the Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. One of the highlights of the parade is the pass by Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
This photo of the Sanctuary in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was taken with a special camera lens.
We are fortunate to have a magnificent Cathedral for our Archdiocese!
As we move rather quickly through March it comes to my mind that the end of the academic year is fast approaching. So, perhaps now is a good time for a reminder about a few things.
First of all, First Holy Communion will be on Saturday April 30th! And, Confirmation will be on Wednesday May 11! Bishop Dominick Lagonegro will be here to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation again this year. This is always a very special time for our parish as Bishop Lagonegro grew up here at Saint Anthony’s. Having him “home” is always a thrill for us here. We look forward to these two special days for the young people of our parish as they continue to grow in their faith journey.
Early registration for Religious Education for NEXT YEAR will be in the beginning of May. Please remember to register as early as possible so that we can plan for next year and accomodate as many students as possible. We look forward to a great year as we build and enhance our Religious Education Program as we go into the future.
And, now is a good time to remind everyone, once again, that although the day-to-day operations of Saint Anthony’s “School” will be ending at the close of this school year, the building will continue to be used and maintained by Saint Anthony of Padua Parish. Therefore, our Religious Education Program continues as normal. And, our parish will continue to use the building for all of our needs as we always have! The FESTA, RELIGIOUS EDUCATION, SPAGHETTI DINNER, RETREAT, ETC., will ALL continue AS NORMAL for many years to come! If you should hear any “chatter” on the streets of Silver Lake (which never happens!) please be sure to correct any misinformation that might be floating around out there with the truth!
God bless all of our Catechists, Staff, Parents and Students of our Religious Education Program here at Saint Anthony’s and thank you for your hard work and dedication!