The next couple of weeks will bring some nice things to do here at Saint Anthony’s. I hope that you will all take advantage of these special events that are coming up!
First, this weekend, June 3, 4 and 5 we have our Annual Festa Italiana! This year I really believe it will be our best Festa yet! Please plan to come and enjoy some of the best food you will ever taste, ,meet some celebrities, purchase some items of Italian origin, try your luck on some games of chance, buy a $10,000 raffle ticket, have some peaches and wine, honor our patron Saint Anthony. Goodness, there is something for everyone!
The following weekend will be exciting as well. On Friday evening June 10th from 7-9pm I will be hosting a “movie night” for the young people of our parish. This event is only for the kids and teenagers. The evening will be chaperoned by several adults. So, parents need only drop their children off at the door to the lower church and pick them up there as well. The feature is “Oh God” starring George Burns and John Denver. Popcorn will be served during the movie and a pizza/hero social will follow. Again, this evening is ONLY for the young people.
Then, on Saturday evening June 11th at 6:30 pm in Church we will host a wonderful concert of some exceptional music. The concert will be performed by Drew Santini, one of our cantors here at Saint Anthony’s. Information was in this past weekend’s bulletin and can be also be obtained by calling the Parish Office. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. I hope you will plan to come and enjoy this marvelous evening.
In the meantime, I hope today, Memorial Day, you will all take time to thank a Service man or woman or a Veteran and remember the real meaning of this day – to remember and honor those who have faught and died for the freedom we enjoy and all too often take for granted!
I invite all parishioners to join in the prayer which you see below as we interview candidates to direct our Religious Education Program here at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish. Our Religious Education Program is such an important and life-giving part of our daily work here in our Church and it is good that we ask the Lord to send the Holy Spirit to guide this process so that He will lead the right person to this ministry. God knows our needs and He will surely direct our Religious Education Program in the years ahead of us.
This is a very exciting time for all of us because this coming year and the years ahead are very bright as new, vibrant and dynamic leadership help us to understand and appreciate our faith more deeply. My hope is that our new Religious Education Director will help make “faith formation” available to everyone in our parish regardless of age or academic ability. In other words, I hope there will soon be opportunities for the young preparing for Sacraments, the teens and young adults, young families as well as our more “experienced” Catholics who might want something in the “Adult Education” area. This will all take some time to put into place but we are certainly moving in the right direction!
I thank the members of the Parish Council and Finance Council as well as others in the parish who have been helping as we implement our Five Year Strategic Plan for our parish. Also, I thank the members of the Religious Education “Search Committee” who have been working very hard in helping to interview candidates for Religious Education Director. All of this is very imporant work. So, let’s all join together in prayer:
PRAYER FOR THE SELECTION OF A NEW DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
Lord our God, in your infinite wisdom and love you surround us with the mysteries of the universe. In times long past you sent us the prophets to teach your laws and to bear witness to your undying love. You sent us your Son, Jesus Christ, to teach us by word and example that true wisdom comes from you alone. We ask you now to send the power of the Holy Spirit upon us as we seek a new Director for our Religious Education Program here at Saint Anthony of Padua Parish. Guide the process before us and through the intercession of Saint Anthony lead us in right judgment in the work at hand. Amen.
This weekend as we celebrate Memorial Day in our nation there will be a great deal of talk about how this weekend marks the “beginning of summer” or how this starts “barbeque season”. It is easy as we take a day off on Monday to be drawn into forgetting the real reason why we celebrate Memorial Day. We celebrate this special holiday in order to take time to remember those who have served our nation in the armed services and who have sacrificed their lives for the freedoms that too often we take for granted. This Monday as we celebrate Memorial Day take time to say a little prayer for those you might know who have died for this nation and for those you do not know but who gave everything for me and you so that we could live in the greatest nation on earth. God bless our Veterans, our Military men and women and God bless the U.S.A.!
This evening here at Saint Anthony of Padua Church the members of our Fire Department along with our local elected officials and family members of firefighters who have died came together to celebrate our Department’s Annual Memorial Service. Each year this is a wonderful time to remember our members who have passed away throughout our 100 year history. I am always very proud to be with our firefighters and to serve as the Departments Chaplain. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen!
Above, Harrison Town Mayor Joan Walsh addresses those gathered for the Memorial Service at Saint Anthony of Padua Church.
A bouquet of roses stands in front of the Altar of Saint Anthony of Padua Church to honor the memory of our departed firefighters.
A statue of Saint Michael is displayed in the Sanctuary of Saint Anthony of Padua Church during the Memorial Service.
The candles displayed above are lighted and extinguished as each departed members name is mentioned during the Memorial Service. As each name was said Fire Chief Steve Mancini extinguished the candle and said “absent”. This is a very moving part of the ceremony. The four flags you see in this picture are, from left to right, the New York State Flag, the West Harrison Fire Department Flag, the Papal Flag and the American Flag. I apologize in advance that the American Flag is misplaced. Properly, it should be to the left of all of the other flags and it will be henceforth.
It’s Festa time again. And, earlier this morning I spent a while with the wonderful ladies who cook for our festa each year. One thing that makes our Annual Festa Italiana here at Saint Anthony’s so special is that all of the food served at our Festa is “homemade” and cooked by the ladies of our parish. Most of them have been cooking for our Festa for its entire 42 year history. I thank all of these ladies and gentlemen who help in the kitchen and everyone who is volunteering their time, talent, energy and so much more to help make this year’s Festa a great success!
Above, you can see as the “secret” meatball formula is mixed and prepared.
Here, some of the wonderful ladies who cook for our Festa are seen “mixing it up” as they prepare meatballs for next weeks Festa June 3, 4 and 5! If you would like to help these ladies please feel free to stop by the School Kitchen between 9:30 am and 3 pm Monday through Friday. I am sure they would appreciate the help.
How would you like to be $10,000 richer? Especially in these difficult economic times all of us could use this extra cash to help pay some bills, college tuition, mortgage payments, whatever. $10,000 could come in very handy. So, why not include yourself in our Parish Festa Raffle. Tickets are on sale NOW and can be purchased after all Masses the next two weekends and also at the Parish Office. The donation is $100 for each chance and only 250 tickets will be sold. So, the likelihood you will win is good. Please support our Festa through a contribution to our annual $10,000 Raffle and who knows you could be $10,000 richer in just a matter of a couple of weeks! GOOD LUCK!
Earlier this evening we celebrated our first “Youth Mass”. I was happy that so many youngsters of our parish attended as well as so many of their family members.
Just before I proclaimed the Gospel reading I invited the young people to join me in the Sanctuary and they remained there for the rest of the Mass. This was a wonderful way for the young people to see “up close” the Mass. It also gave me a good opportunity to explain the Mass as we celebrated it. I hope that this helped our youngsters to have a deeper appreciation for the beauty and majesty of the liturgy.
During my brief homily I explained to the young people that Pope Benedict, on the occasion of the Beatification of Pope John Paul II, said that it is not difficult to be a Saint. In fact, the Pope said that the recipe for sactity is quite easy – pray in the morning when you get up, try to live according to the Commandments of God in the Scriptures and end the day with prayer and add to that Sunday Mass and you have the perfect ingredients for sanctity.
The young people and teenagers shared responsibities for the Mass. Some were Altar servers, some ushers, some brought up the offertory gifts and others were lectors. Nicki Decker and Lawrence Broderick provided beautiful contemporary music which inspired us all. Some of our parishioners also hosted a nice reception for everyone in the lower church hall with light refreshments and beverages following the Mass.
At the conclusion of Mass I announced two additional events I hope our young people will participate in and enjoy – Movie night on Friday June 10th from 7 – 9pm in the Lower Church Hall and our First 4th of July Bike Parade on Saturday July 2 at 3:30pm in the School Parking Lot. There was a lot of enthusiasm amongst the kids and I hope they will enjoy them.
It is my hope to host a “Youth Mass” every month as we move into the future. So, please feel free to spread the word and invite others to attend the next youth Mass.
God bless the “youth of all ages” of our parish of Saint Anthony of Padua!
Below are a few photos from tonight’s Mass.
Here I am seen welcoming everyone and thanking them for coming at the start of the Mass.
Young people of our parish gather around and listen intently as the Gospel is proclaimed.
Above, I show the Book of the Gospels and explain its significance to the youngsters who are gathered.
Above, I distribute prayer cards with a “Teen Creed” to all of the kids who were present.
Here, I explain that we will be having another “Youth Mass” soon and I ask each youngster present to invite other friends to join them next time! Then, I gave them each a special blessing asking God to keep them faithful to Him always.
It is hard to believe that “Festa Time” is almost here! The Annual Saint Anthony of Padua Festa in West Harrison attracts thousands of people from all over the tri-state area and features the finest of Italian foods that are all homemade by the ladies of our parish who are some of the most dedicated and generous people you will ever meet!
Thanks to the generous efforts of hundreds of our parishioners, friends of our parish, and members of the community, our Annual Festa is always a big success and I am sure that it will be again this year. I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone who helps make the Festa such a wonderful time every year. God bless you all for your selfless efforts. I am so grateful!
The Festa includes booths of games, prizes, food, italian ices, zeppole, clams, drinks, etc. etc. etc. Games of chance and skill are available for those who like to try their luck and this year we will feature an indoor market with items of Italian origin. This year we are also lucky to have a few celebrity guest appearances. On Friday evening from 6 to 8pm, singer/songwriter Tiffany Giardina of Disney fame will be available to greet attendees at the festa. Also on Friday from 8-10pm Vinny Buzzetta – the “Cake Artist” from the WE tv show “Amazing Wedding Cakes” will be with us. On Saturday June 4th from 6-8pm World Champion Boxer Doug DeWitt will be here and on Sunday June 5th from 6-8pm Grassroots Films presents actors Michael Campo and Jeffrey Azize from “The Human Experience”. Come and meet these celebrities and have a photo taken with them. There really is something for everyone at Saint Anthony’s Festa so plan to come and have a lot of fun!
The hours of the Festa are as follows: Friday June 3rd from 6pm to Midnight, Saturday June 4th from 5pm to Midnight and Sunday June 5th from 2pm to 10pm. Also, on Sunday following a special “Festa Mass” at 2pm we will carry the statue of our patron Saint Anthony of Padua through the streets of our neighborhood in the Annual Procession of Saint Anthony. The procession will end at the Festa grounds and is always a climactic moment for our community.
I welcome and invite everyone to please come once again this year and enjoy the 41st Annual Saint Anthony of Padua Festa Italiana. The Address is Saint Anthony of Padua Church 85 Harrison Street, West Harrison New York 10604. Phone: 1-914-948-1480.
Tonight, Saint Anthony of Padua School is hosting a Science Fair and Band Concert. The students of our school have prepared some wonderful science projects and the members of our school band will be performing some beautiful musical pieces as part of their Spring Concert! I am looking forward to being present at the School tonight for these special activities and I will report on them tomorrow. Thanks to all of our Faculty and Staff and our wonderful and dedicated principal, Ann Marie Zagaglia for all of their hard work and dedication. I am very proud of our gifted students who share so many of their talents with us. As they each move on next year to new schools and new experiences they will take with them many very valuable lessons they have learned here at Saint Anthony’s over the years. This is something to be very grateful about and to thank God for!
This Saturday evening at 6:30pm in Church I will be hosting a special Mass for the young people and young families of our parish. I hope that many of you will be able to come. Please feel free to spread the word. There will be a social/reception immediately following the Mass in the lower church hall.
For those of you reading this blog, I give you some “advanced” information. On Saturday evening at the Mass I will be announcing two additional events I will be hosting for our young people.
First, on Friday evening June 10th at 7:00pm, we will have a “Movie Night” in the lower church hall. The film is “Oh God” starring George Burns and John Denver. Popcorn will be served during the show and a pizza/hero social will follow. The evening will be chaparoned by several adult parents and youngsters can be dropped off and picked up at the door to the lower church between the rectory and church buildings.
The second event is very special, it is our First Annual 4th of July Bike Parade. The bike parade will be held on SATURDAY JULY 2, 2011 at 3:30pm in the school parking lot. All youngsters who can ride a bike are welcomed and adults who wish to bring their bikes may do so as well. The theme of the bike parade is – “For God and Country”. And, the objective is to come with your bike and yourself decorated with as much religious and patriotic decoration as possible. There will be a prize for the most creative bike! Parishioners are encouraged to come line the parade route and cheer on our participants. A light reception will follow. And, if you wish to attend the 5:00pm Mass that evening we should be ending just about that time.
I hope that these activities will be something that the young people and families of our parish will enjoy. Please plan to come and have fun! God bless you!