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Padre Pio, Pray for us
Sep 23rd, 2011 by Father Chris

 

The above photo of Padre Pio is an unsual one, from when he was a very young priest.  Here he is seen attending to a young lamb – an appropriate image indeed!

The Feast of Padre Pio is something very special for Saint Anthony of Padua.  Some of Padre Pio’s relatives live in our parish and so many of our parishioners have very deep devotion to this “Saint of our times”.

The short information given to us in the ordo today reads as follows: “Padre Pio” was born Francesco Forgione in 1887 in the small Italian village of Pietrelcina.  A Capuchin priest who had received the stigmata, he spent fifty years at the monestary of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was much sought after as a spiritual advisor, confessor and intercessor.  Despite such noteriety, he would often say, “I only want to be a poor friar who prays.”  His life was devoted to the Eucharist and to prayer.  He died Spetember 23, 1968 at the age of 81.”

Next spring, we plan to visit San Giovanni Rotondo and the places where Padre Pio lived and  ministered as part of our parish pilgrimage to Italy and Lourdes.  If you have devotion to Padre Pio and would be interested in joining us please contact the Parish Office at 914-948-1480 with your name and phone number.

Above, you can see the burial place of Padre Pio which we plan to visit during our parish pilgrimage to Italy and Lourdes in the Spring.

All are welcomed to join the members of the Holy Rosary Society and our entire parish community as we celebrate a special Mass in honor of Padre Pio tomorrow, September 24, 2011 at 12:00 Noon in Church.

As we remember Padre Pio today (and tomorrow) let us also seek his example, wisdom and guidance so that we might follow in his footsteps and live the Christian life more faithful and more fully as he taught us. 

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, Pray for us!

 

Veni Creator Spiritus
Sep 18th, 2011 by Father Chris

At the 10:15 AM Mass this morning our parish community celebrated a Mass of the Holy Spirit officially beginning the academic year for the students, catechists and families of our Religious Education Program.  The Mass was concelebrated by four priests.  I served as the main celebrant and I was joined by Father Pete, Father Joy and Father Luis de la Calle, a member of the Society for the Incarnate Word.  Father Luis is visiting from Argentina and spoke at all of the Masses this weekend for the Office of the Propagation of the Faith. 

Following the Homily I invited our Coordinator of Religious Education, Mrs. Jean Jackson, to come forward and then I called each catechist by name and asked them to form a semi-circle around the Altar in the Sanctuary.  Also included were all of the volunteers, aides, hall monitors and anyone else who assists with the administration of the Religious Education Program.  After all were assembled I read an appropriate reading from the Book of Sirach and then the other priests joined me in imparting a special blessing upon our catechists asking the Holy Spirit to guide and enlighten them during this year of religious studies for the young people of our parish. 

Following the Mass a reception with refreshments was held for everyone in the church lobby and on the front plaza.

The Mass was very beautiful and all of the details seemed to come together so perfectly.  Thanks to Mr. Laurence Broderick, our Director of Music and Choirmaster as well and the members of our choir for providing us with exceptional liturgical music.  This morning’s selections were especially moving.  The communion meditation song was, “More than a Song“.  It was the first time I had ever heard it and it was especially appropriate for today.  The words say…”more than a song I sing, more than just words I speak, all that I do and all that I say is to praise you O Lord.“  The selection could not have been more perfectly placed as we blest our catechists and students this morning. 

I ask all parishioners to please join in praying for them and for Mrs. Jacksen.  We have begun on a great high note and we look forward to a very exciting and rewarding year ahead.  God bless you all!

West Harrison Fire Department 100th Anniversary Dinner
Sep 18th, 2011 by Father Chris

Last evening Father Pete and I attended the 100th Anniversary Gala Dinner which was held at the Villa Barone Manor in the Bronx.  It was a wonderful event which had been planned for the last couple of years.  Congratulations to the Dinner committee for planning an event that will be remembered for many years to come.  And, God’s blessings upon our Fire Chief, Steve Mancini and all of the members of the West Harrison Fire Department on our 100th Anniversary.  I am privileged to have the opportunity to serve as the Fire Department chaplain.  Next Sunday I encourage all parishioners and residents of West Harrison to line Underhill Avenue beginning at 1:00 PM for the parade which our town will have in honor of our Fire Department’s 100 years.  The parade will travel along Underhill Avenue and into Passadomo Park ending at the Fire House on Lake Street. 

Below I have included a few photographs from last evenings festivities.

Fire Department members and their families enjoy the evening at Villa Barone

This large sheet cake was on display to celebrate the Fire Department’s 100th Anniversary

Westchester County Legislator Bill Ryan reads a proclamation at the Dinner

Everyone has a good time!

Busy weekend
Sep 17th, 2011 by Father Chris

This will be a busy weekend at Saint Anthony’s! 

Father Luis de la Calle will be speaking at all Masses this weekend on behalf of the Society for the Propogation of the Faith.  Please be sure to extend a warm welcome to Father Luis when you see him.

This evening at 5:00 PM I will be attending the West Harrison Fire Department 100th Anniversary Gala Dinner at the Villa Barone in Throggs Neck, The Bronx.  I am looking forward to being with all my fellow firefighters and sharing in this very important celebration for our Department.  I am very proud of all of the members of our Fire Department and of our Chief, Steve Mancini.  They are all so dedicated and work so hard to keep everything in our community working well and to keep all of us safe. 

At all Masses this weekend there will be a second collection which will be to benefit Saint Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers.  Saint Joseph’s is the Seminary of the Archdiocese of New York.  Both Father Peter and I are graduates of that prestigious insitution.  We were well trained there and the seminarians who are currently studying to be our priest for the future need your help and mine today as well so that they can continue to be educated for service as priests in the years to come.  I hope that you will join me in being as generous as your means might allow in this very important collection.

Tomorrow morning at the 10:15 AM Mass we will celebrate a special Mass of the Holy Spirit which will officially begin the academic year for our Religious Education program.  I invite ALL of our Catechists, students and families to be be with us tomorrow at the 10:15 AM Mass for this very special celebration. 

I look forward to seeing everyone at Mass this weekend.  God bless you all!

Great Start
Sep 14th, 2011 by Father Chris

These past few days have been the start of our “academic” year here at Saint Anthony’s.  Things have certainly gotten off to a good start!  I thank Jean Jacksen, our Coordinator of Religious Education, all of our catechists as well as our students and families who started their classes this past weekend.  We look forward to a great and exciting year!

Monday night was the first Ave Maria Guild meeting and last night was the first Holy Rosary Society meeting of the year.  All went well and I welcome everyone back.  God bless you and let’s allow the great start to become a great year!

2001 – September 11 – 2011
Sep 11th, 2011 by Father Chris

Today we celebrate the 1oth Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.  This morning at 10:15 am we celebrated a beautiful Memorial Mass here at Saint Anthony’s.  More than 500 people filled the church.  The choir sang and our community gathered to remember, console and pray. 

Even from the distance of ten years it is still difficult to digest the enormity of what happened that day.  Much could be said but maybe it is best to say less and to be more quiet, more still. 

Below, I offer the prayer which was on the memorial cards which were available to all parishioners this weekend.  Below the prayer are a few photographs of the 9/11 Memorial in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  I visited there several months ago and took the pictures while I was there.  Sixteen residents of Bucks County, PA died on 9/11.  Their names are enshrined there along with all of the others who perished that day. 

May we NEVER FORGET any of those we lost!  God bless them and may they rest in peace!

Almighty and Ever-Loving God, we remember September 11, 2001, and pray for all those who were affected by the terrible events of that day.  We remember with love and respect, all of those who went tragically to their deaths. 

We remember those who still suffer from their injuries of that day ten years ago and pray for their recovery.  we remember the still grieving families and friends.

Gracious Lord, comfort all who mourn, embrace all those in sorrow, give courage to all who suffer.  Continue to console them in the hope that all who trust in you will find peace and rest in Your Eternal Kingdom.  Bless them with Your presence and surround us all with Your love.

God of peace, who vindicates all injustice, bless all those defending and protecting our country and its ideals of freedom and liberty.  God of all nations, look with love on this world and on its people.  Restore tranquility to all nations and bless the work of Your creation.

Heavenly Father, answer our prayer and bring us hope through Christ, your Son.  May Your kingdom of justice and peace reign and may the earth be filled with Your glory. Amen.

The September 11th Memorial in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

A description reads: “Honor them, celebrate their lives, remember them always!”

The centerpiece of the Memorial is this fountain with two water towers representing the World Trade Center.

A piece of steel from Ground Zero is displayed near the American flag.

Possible pilgrimage to Italy and Lourdes
Sep 4th, 2011 by Father Chris

I am considering directing a pilgrimage for members of our parish this coming Spring 2012 to Italy and Lourdes.  I have had several people approach me and ask about such a pilgrimage.  Therefore, I would like to encourage any parishioners, family members or friends from Saint Anthony’s or beyond who might be interested to please contact the parish office as soon as possible to let me know that you would be interested in receiving information.  There is absoultely no obligation for this initial inquiry.  If we have enough people interested then I will get information and begin to organize the pilgrimage.

At the present time, we do not have any information about dates, price, itinerary, etc.  All I am curious about at the moment is seeing if there is enough interest to make it possible. 

I would expect that the pilgrimage would include visits to Rome (Mass at the Vatican, a general audience with Pope Benedict XVI, and other points of interest  in the Eternal City) as well as to Padua to visit the sacred places of the Patron of our parish, Saint Anthony.  Also, a highlight would be to visit and celebrate Mass at the tomb of Padre Pio at San Giovanni Rotondo.  Other cities may include, Assisi, Sienna, Florence and Venice.  I anticipate ending the pilgrimage with a visit to Lourdes in France before our return to the United States. 

I believe this has the potential to be an amazing, inspiring and life-changing pilgrimage.  So, if you would be interested in getting more information on this pilgrimage please contact the parish office at 914-948-1480 and leave your name and telephone number as well as the number of people in your party who may wish to attend. 

More information will be in the parish bulletin in the next couple of weeks.

The magnificent interior of Saint Peter’s Basilica

The Basilica of Saint Anthony in Padua, Italy

 Pilgrims venerate the tomb of Padre Pio at San Giovanni  Rotondo

That could be you riding along in the gondola!

The grotto at Lourdes, France

Today is a gift, that is why it is called the “PRESENT”!
Sep 4th, 2011 by Father Chris

Earlier this morning, I used the following story in my homily.  Several people mentioned that they enjoyed hearing it so I thought I  might put it here on the blog for the benefit of all. 

Actually, I found this laying on a table in a car wash last week.  Isn’t it funny how God communicates with us?  It spoke to me and I thought it might speak to each one of you as well.  I hope it does.  It makes a great point about how we should live our lives and how we, as Christians, should orient ourselves in the care and help we offer to others to make their lives and ours brighter and better.

Here’s the story:

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs…His bed was next to the room’s only window.  The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.  They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.  Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats.  Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man  by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.  Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.  She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window.  The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.  He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.  The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.  She said, “Perhaps, he just wanted to encourage you.”

Epilogue:

There is a tremendous happiness in helping to make others happy, despite our own situations.  Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared is doubled!

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.

Today is a gift, that is why it is called “The Present”.

Welcome back…
Sep 3rd, 2011 by Father Chris

It is hard to believe that the summer is quickly coming to a close.  The Labor Day weekend, unofficial end of summer, is upon us and in the next couple of weeks all of the regularly scheduled activities of the parish will be underway once again. 

So, now is a good time to say WELCOME BACK!  I am looking forward to another very exciting year here at Saint Anthony’s and I hope all of you are too.  God bless you all and see you soon!

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