Consistory Pilgrimage ends…Lent begins
Feb 22nd, 2012 by Father Chris

Well, our British Airways flight arrived back at JFK late last night at 11:15pm.  And, after getting through customs and claiming our luggage we got home about 1:45am.  The word “tired” doesn’t even begin to describe the way we all feel.  Everything in Rome was very exciting and busy with early mornings and late nights.  A vacation it was not!  Enjoyable it was!  But, all of us who traveled to Rome for the last few days agreed last night that it is so good to be home.  Even Cardinal Dolan said that when he arrived back at his residence yesterday. 

Over the next couple of days I will upload as many photos from the pilgrimage as possible to my blog here along with descriptions of our activities each day.  Please give me a little time as this is tedious work and I have many photos to go through.  If you have not already done so, I encourage you to visit the homepage of our parish website and click on the Twitter icon to see my ”tweets” and the photos I posted during the trip.  I think you will really like them. 

In the meantime, I hope to see all of you today at our Ash Wednesday services here at Saint Anthony’s as we begin the Lenten Season.  May these weeks ahead be a grace-filled time for each one of us as we prepare for Holy Week and Easter on April 8th!

Consistory Pilgrimage in Rome Day 2
Feb 17th, 2012 by Father Chris

Technical difficulties – try Twitter
Feb 16th, 2012 by Father Chris

I’m having difficulty with Internet to update blog. Twitter is working perfectly for immediate info and pics.


We’re Here!
Feb 15th, 2012 by Father Chris

We have arrived in Rome and have had a busy day. We had a safe and smooth flight from JFK to London. We spent 4 hours on a layover at Heathrow before boarding our flight bound for Rome. After we exited the airport we went immediately to the Basilica of Saint John Lateran for the opening pilgrimage Mass celebrated by Archbishop Dolan. It was a personal thrill to be able to con celebrate Mass there in the Cathedral church of the Diocese of Rome.

Following Mass we were driven to our hotel, the Hotel Cicerone to check in and have dinner. Much to our pleasant surprise Archbishop Dolan had gone ahead of us and was waiting at the door of the hotel to welcome us and make sure we got checked in ok. In the brief time we have been here, the Archbishop has been so gracious and kind.

Tomorrow we will be up early for a morning tour of much of the ancient city of Rome. Many of the areas we will visit like the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon, etc. I have visited several times before but on each new visit you always learn something new.

Unfortunately , tonight I have not been able to upload the photos I have taken over the last couple of days. I have, however, been able to post the pics to my twitter account. Please sign up to follow me on twitter if you would like to see today’s pics. You can do so on the link on the parish website. And, I will try to upload more pictures tomorrow.

Until then…buona serra!

The Consistory Pilgrimage begins!
Feb 14th, 2012 by Father Chris

Well, the long awaited day has arrived and today we begin the pilgrimage that will take us to Rome for the celebrations for the Consistory of Timothy Cardinal Dolan.  Below I include a few photos of the very beginnings of our journey to “wet your appetite” for more.  Tomorrow evening after the opening Mass at the Basilica of Saint John Lateran, I will hopefully be able to update my blog here once again.  Please feel free to check back often over the next fews days and follow along and be part of this exciting and historic moment in the history of the Church in New York.

We started the day with Mass at 8:00am at Saint Anthony of Padua Church.  Here you can see the “delegation” from our parish traveling to Rome for the Consistory.  In addition to myself, the pilgrims include my parents and Joanne Corona and her mother Amparo Sulsona.  We will bring all of the prayers and best wishes of everyone in our parish to Cardinal Dolan.

We are traveling on British Airways.  Here is the 747-400 which will take us to London, Heathrow Airport and then on to Rome.  We will arrive in Rome tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday) at 2:30pm.

Here is a photo of the interior of the cabin on the British Airways 747-400 flight to London then continuing on to Rome.  It is spacious and comfortable for the long-haul.

During our stay in Rome we will be staying here at the Hotel Cicerone.  It is close to the Tiber River and within walking distance to Saint Peter’s Basilica.

Here is an example of one of the guest rooms at the Hotel Cicerone.

HHS Mandate and a letter from the Archbishop
Feb 13th, 2012 by Father Chris

At all Masses this past weekend I read a most important letter from our Archbishop, Cardinal-designate Dolan, on the Health and Human Services Mandate that the Obama Administration recently required of all institutions in the United States. 

I encourage all parishioners to please visit the link on the homepage of this website and familiarize yourself with the information therein.  The Unites States Conference of Catholic Bishops website is most helpful in answering some basic questions directly and in terms that are easy to understand. 

Below is the fulltext of the letter conveyed to all parishioners in the Archdiocese of New York at all Masses on February 11 & 12.

Office of the Archbishop

February 9, 2012

Dear friends in the Lord,

I write to you concerning an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith.  The federal government, which claims to be “of, for and by the people,” has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people-the Catholic population-and to millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful.

As you are aware, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced two weeks ago that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees’ health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception.  Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those “services” in the health policies they write.  And almost all individuals will be forced to but that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Ammendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty.  And, as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences, or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so).  The Administration’s sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.

We cannot-we will not-comply with this unjust law.  People of faith cannot be made second class citizens.  We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom.  Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God given rights.  In generations past, the Church has always been able to count on the faithful to stand up and protect her sacred rights and duties.  I hope and trust she can count on this generation of Catholics to do the same.  Our children and grandchildren deserve nothing less.

And therefore, I would ask you two things.  First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored.  Without God we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible.  Second, I would also recommend visiting www.usccb.org/conscience, to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty, and how to contact Congress in support of legislation that would reverse the Administration’s decision.

With prayerful best wishes, I am,

Fraternally yours in Christ,

Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan

Archbishop of New York

TV Coverage of Consistory
Feb 12th, 2012 by Father Chris


I encourage parishioners to follow along via TV coverage to the Consistory next weekend in Rome.  Please tune in to the EWTN Catholic Television Network.  EWTN will cover the ceremonies in their entirety and this will be a very good way to see “up close” all of the events happening in Rome as they occur. 

I look forward to keeping everyone informed via my blog and tweets as the days progress and I will give a full recap upon my return. 

“Our Father” Family Mass
Feb 11th, 2012 by Father Chris

This weekend at our Family Mass we will be concentrating on the “Lord’s Prayer”, the “Our Father”.  The First Graders will be presenting their project and banner both of which will be about the “Our Father”.  They will also host the reception with refreshments immediately following Mass in the lobby of the church. 

Please plan to join us tomorrow at 10:15am for another exciting and informative Family Mass!  See you there!

Youth Group News
Feb 11th, 2012 by Father Chris

Last night, I went to Thornwood to participate in the Leadership Training Program that is attended by about 30 of our young people from Saint Anthony’s.  I was very impressed with the entire evening and by the engagement and enthusiasm of each of the youngsters. 

We left from the front of church at 6:45pm and arrived at Thornwood about 7:30pm.  Once there, we gathered for a brief prayer and then began to play a fierce game of dodgeball.  The energy of these kids is amazing.  I kept saying, “if I could transplant 5% of their energy I would be in a lot better shape!”  However, it was a great deal of fun to be there and I want to encourage other young boys and girls in our parish to get involved and come see what it is all about.  I guarantee you will have a fun and exciting time and you will learn a lot about your faith and about Jesus too!  What could be better than that?

The next meeting is February 24th at 6:45pm.  Plan to join us!

Special thanks to Maria Stark, Jennifer Stagg, Celeste Jerasi, Ralph DiDonato and everyone else who is in any way invloved in helping with the organization of our Youth Program here at Saint Anthony’s.  God bless you for your hard work and God bless the youth of our parish!

+Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, RIP
Feb 11th, 2012 by Father Chris

Last week Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia, died after suffering for several years with dementia and cancer.

Below is the fulltext of an obituary which appeared online earlier this week.

PHILADELPHIA — Church leaders called on parishioners Wednesday to pray for the soul of retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who led them for more than 15 years.
Bevilacqua, who was 88, died in his sleep at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood after battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer, according to archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell. He had been the spiritual leader of the 1.5 million-member Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1988 until his retirement in 2003.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput encouraged all Catholics to “join me in praying for the repose of his soul.”
“Cardinal Bevilacqua has been called home by God; a servant of the Lord who loved Jesus Christ and His people,” Chaput said in a statement.

Chaput received the body at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on Monday. A public viewing took place Monday evening and again Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a funeral Mass was celebrated at 2:00 p.m.
“Cardinal Bevilacqua’s death comes at a time when the Archdiocese is facing extraordinary challenges,” Chaput said. “During this difficult period, I invite all of our people to come together in prayer for a renewal of our Church and Her mission.”

Bevilacqua, a native of Brooklyn, was ordained a priest in 1949. He had also led the Pittsburgh archdiocese and served as auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn.
As a church leader, Bevilacqua campaigned for a moratorium on the death penalty and often spoke out against homosexuality, birth control and abortion. He headed the influential bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

He was not averse to new methods of outreach. Heeding the pope’s call for a “New Evangelization,” Bevilacqua used then-novel methods, such a toll-free confession line, a live weekly radio call-in program and an online forum for people to pose questions to priests.

“We are carrying out the wishes of the Holy Father for a new evangelization, reaching out to people like never before,” Bevilacqua said after a telephone hotline began in 1998.

At the same time, attendance at weekly Mass and Catholic school enrollment was falling in some parts of the archdiocese, leading him to close inner-city schools and parishes. The decline continues. The five-county archdiocese just this month announced plans to close 48 schools, displacing nearly 24,000 students.

Bevilacqua, as required, had submitted his retirement to Pope John Paul II when he turned 75 in 1998. But the pope did not accept it at that time, and the cardinal kept up 16-hour days into his late 70s.

He was 88.

Above, Cardinal Bevilacqua’s body is received at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia.

Cardinal Bevilacqua lays in state at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia before the Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday.

Mourners pay respects to Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia.

An unidentified mourner prays at the casket of Cardinal Bevilacqua.

Cardinals, including Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, were present to attend the Mass.

Cardinal Bevilacqua’s casket rests in center aisle covered by the pall, representing the purity of Baptism, during the Funeral Mass.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput blesses Cardinal Bevilacqua’s casket after it was placed in the crypt beneath the Altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.


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