Office of the Cardinal
1011 First Avenue
New York, New York 10022
April 4, 2012
This weekend we welcome to Saint Anthony of Padua Church Deacon George Stewart whom Cardinal Dolan has appointed to serve in our parish.
Deacon George was ordained a Permanent Deacon on May 28th, 1983 by His Eminence Terence Cardinal Cooke at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Deacon George has been married for 48 years to his wife Agnes and they have 7 children. Their oldest son, Father George Stewart, was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of New York on June 25th 1994 by John Cardinal O’Connor. Father Stewart currently serves as pastor of Saint Brendan’s Parish in the Bronx.
Deacon George and his wife recently moved back to Westchester County after living for several years near Lake Placid, New York. Previously, Deacon George served for 10 years as Deacon at Saint Columba Parish in Hopewell Junction, New York with Bishop Dominick Lagonegro as his pastor.
Deacon George is a very gentle and generous man. I am sure that he will be a great asset to our parish over the years to come. His extensive experience, concern and commitment to people will be a great addition to our pastoral team here at Saint Anthony’s.
Deacon George will begin assisting at Masses this weekend. He also enjoys preaching faculties and will offer the homilies at certain Masses in the future. Deacon George will assist us at times with wake services, Baptisms, Wedding ceremonies and other parish events.
Please be sure to join us in welcoming Deacon George and his wife Agnes this weekend as he begins his ministry with us here at Saint Anthony’s.
WELCOME DEACON GEORGE!
Above, Joe Cardillo, center, is presented with an award at our Parish Gala Dinner in March 2011.
Yesterday one of the original “foundation stones” of our parish died at the age of 91. Joe Cardillo had been in declining health for the last several months and he had been in White Plains Hospital for the last fews days until the time of his death yesterday.
Joe Cardillo was a man whose entire being was infused with love. Anyone who ever met him was embraced and welcomed by his warm smile, deep voice and generally with the words – “I love you!” It did not seem to matter whether he had known you for 5 minutes of 50 years, when you met Joe you became part of his family.
And, speaking of family, it would be impossible to mention Joe without also mentioning his beautiful wife Lee who passed away several years ago and their nine children. What a beautiful family the Cardillos are. And, how grateful we must be that we have been privileged to have them as part of our parish here at Saint Anthony’s.
Joe made what would be his last visit to the church a few weeks ago on March 18th to attend the 10:15am Family Mass. I was so happy to see him on that occasion as was everyone else in the church. Even though I had visited him at the Hebrew Home in Valhalla, at the Hospital and at home on several occasions, I was never so happy as when I saw him in church. By his own admission he “loved this place” and to him being able to come to Saint Anthony’s for Mass was like being home.
At the Mass that day the 4th grade students were the hosts. I brought the students up to the sanctuary for the homily and I pointed Joe out to them. They all looked at Joe sitting in a wheelchair in the aisle. When all the kids looked at him he immediately lit up with a broad smile and then proceeded to wave at them. A few of them waved back. It was a special moment as you can imagine. I told the youngsters about Joe and about how he had been a part of our parish from its very beginning. And, I told them that his one wish was to come to Saint Anthony’s for Mass. I pointed out to the youngsters that in the world today we have a lot of poor examples but that we also have a lot of great examples. I told them they have their parents and grandparents to look up to and other family members as well. But, I said, “look at that man, his name is Joe Cardillo, never forget him. He is a beautiful, faithful, loving man whom you should use as an example and whom you should seek to be like.”
Joe Cardillo watched our parish grow over the decades from being a Mission Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in White Plains to the small clap-board church on Columbus Avenue to the church as it is today. He saw all of the high points and low points. He celebrated the joys and mourned the sorrows that have all been part of the history of this community. Joe saw it all. And always was his attention fixed on the Master. Joe never allowed himself to be drawn into anything petty. He never became entagled in gossip or rumors. He had no time for that. He knew that it was counterproductive and hurtful and Joe would never permit himself to be part of anything of the sort. This was part of the reason Joe Cardillo became so beloved in this parish and in the community at large. He simply wanted what was best for people – his family, friends, parish, community. Joe was a man at peace with himself, at peace with others and at peace with God. And, he always wanted everyone else to experience the same.
As pastor of Saint Anthony’s I believe I can say honestly, no one did more consistently for Saint Anthony’s over a longer period of time than Joe Cardillo. He will be missed in this place he loved so much. And for those of us who remain behind who mourn his passing, like those 4th graders, we should remember that there really are good, decent and loving people in the world worth following and Joe Cardillo is one of them!
The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Monday at 11am here at Saint Anthony of Padua Church. The wake will be held Sunday from 2-4 and 7-9pm at McMahon, Lyon and Hartnett Funeral Home in White Plains. Interment will be at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla.
Rest in the peace of the Risen Lord whom you loved so much Joe!
Here Joe looks at the plaque as I read the words honoring him at our Parish Gala Dinner last year.
Joe was such a beautiful man. Saint Anthony’s Parish will miss him and never forget him.
I am happy to give you an update on the status of our 2012 Archdiocesan Stewardship Appeal. As you may know, our parish goal for the Appeal this year is $60,000. To date we have received gifts and/or pledges from 150 families totalling $42,000. This appears to be GREAT news and it is! However, if you look at the parish statistics you see that we have 1305 registered families as part of our parish. With 150 families so far participating in the Appeal this means that only about 12% of the parish has so far been involved. And, just think how easy it will be to reach and even exceed our goal if EVERYONE does something to help!
We truly do need the help of EVERY parish family this year to make the Appeal successful. If we reach our goal, this will be the 5th year in a row that we have not only reached but exceeded our goal! And, what’s more, this year EVERY penny that we raise over and above our goal comes right back here to Saint Anthony’s to be used by us in our parish. No gift is too small and no gift is unappreciated. So, I ask you to please consider, if you have not already done so, making your gift to the 2012 Archdiocesan Stewardship Appeal TODAY! I want you to know that I sent my check in this weekend. My gift has already been counted. I hope yours will be very soon too! God bless you for your generosity. God knows the good that you do and I promise you He will return your sacrifice to you 100 times over in an abundance of graces and gifts!
Below is a simple pie chart describing some of the very prudent uses of the funds raised by the Archdiocesan Stewardship Appeal.
Your contribution of any amount will go a long way in helping fund the many vital programs of the Archdiocese of New York. Without your help the Church will not be able to continue to provide the many services and programs that help hundreds of thousands of people in the New York metropolitan area.
I invite all parishioners, family members and friends to attend our Divine Mercy Holy Hour tomorrow from 3-4PM in church. The Holy Hour will include: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Divine Mercy Chaplet, opportunity for confession and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. This is guaranteed to be a very grace-filled experience for all who avail themselves of the opportunity. I hope to see everyone there. Jesus, I trust in you!
Yesterday I received the news of the death of a friend – Ann Bottari. She was known to everyone as “Sis”. Sis died suddenly of a heart attack early yesterday morning. Her passing has stunned everyone who knew her. I will always remember her for her very complimentary words to me whenever we spoke on the phone. She would always tell me how special she thought I was and how much I had influenced her life. I was always moved by her kindness but I knew that it was really just a reflection of who she was and not really so much about me at all.
Sis felt a deep loss following the death of her husband Vincent almost 7 years ago. I always knew that without him she felt incomplete. Each time I spoke with her, which was not nearly as frequently as I wish it was, she would always say “I just miss my Vinny!” She always wanted to be back together with him and I pray that now she is!
Sis will be waked at McNulty Funeral Home on Middletown Road in the Bronx Sunday Evening and Monday and a Funeral Mass will be celebrated for her on Tuesday at 9:45 AM at Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus Church in the Bronx. She will be buried with her husband Vinny at Calverton Cemetery, Long Island, New York.
Rest in Peace Sis!
These past few days have been very busy here at Saint Anthony’s. Hence, it has been hard to update my blog posts here. But, now that I have a chance here are a few of the things that have been going on:
Today I celebrated a Wedding Ceremony for Anthony Macchia and Deborah Janson. Congratulations to them both and to their families. Anthony and Debbie are a beautiful couple and I know they are going to have a great life together! And, just before the wedding I performed the baptisms of two children, Lilliana Nuculovic and her brother Thomas Nuculovic. Also, today I attended the First Holy Communion Retreat for our 2nd graders which was held in the lower church hall. The 2nd graders are really looking forward to their First Holy Communion on April 28th and so am I! What a joy it was to be part of all of these events today!
Yesterday I celebrated the funeral Mass of Anita Krewet. Anita had been a long-time member of our parish who was part of our choir and very deeply involved in every aspect of parish life for decades. At the Mass I spoke about how it is people like Anita that every parish relies upon as “living stones” making up the foundation of the community. She was buried at Saint Mary’s cemetery in Rye Brook. Please remember Anita in your prayers.
On Thursday, I celebrated the funeral Mass of Anthony Ciotola. Anthony died very suddenly at the age of 47 last Saturday night just after the Easter Vigil. Anthony is the son of Lucy Ciotola, a very dedicated member of our congregation. Father Peter and I were with Anthony when he died and were able to give him the grace of the Sacrament of Anointing at the time of his passing. Anthony will always be remembered as a gentle and kind man who helped everyone who ever came to him in need. Anthony was entombed at Ferncliff Mausoleum in Hartsdale. I ask you to remember Anthony and especially his family in your prayers.
Wednesday evening I attended an organizational meeting of the Festa Committee. It is hard to believe that it is almost Festa time once again! There are great plans coming along for the Festa this year which will be held June 1st, 2nd and 3rd. I encourage parishioners to get involved by volunteering your time and energy to help with the running of the Festa. It takes over 300 parioshioners to come together and make the Festa a success each year. I know that this year the Festa will be the biggest and best ever! Thanks to all of those who are, once again, working so hard to make our Festa great!
Last night (Friday), I attended the Youth Group meeting at the gym. Again, it was a great turn out of the young people of our parish. I thank the adult supervisors and everyone involved who are doing such a great job for our young people. After a time of sports, the teens had snacks and then a virtue talk. As always, I am deeply impressed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the youth of our parish when it comes to the faith. I am proud to be able to say we are shaping “leaders” for the future here at Saint Anthony’s!
Well, these are just a few of the things going on this week. This is certainly not an exhaustive list but it helps to give you, I hope, a sense that God has certainly given us a vibrant and exciting Spirit here at Saint Anthony’s.
Happy Easter to all! I pray this day has been for each one of you a blessed and joy-filled time in your life.
Once again, the celebrations here at Saint Anthony’s were magnificent! Our choir again outdid themselves and I thank all of the various ministers and volunteers who helped make these days of Holy Week so special and so meaningful.
This morning following the 10:15 AM Mass we held an Easter Egg Hunt on the front plaza of the church. It was wonderful to see so many young families and especially the children so happy and excited. In my homily at the Mass I explained that the Easter Egg is a good representation of the empty tomb. We break it open only to find candy which we take out and eat reminding us of the “sweetness” of the Resurrection and of Eternal Life with Jesus!
In the next few days please check back and you will be able to see photos of our Easter Masses. Additionally, within the next couple of weeks videos will be uploaded to our website from the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. I am sure you will find them inspiring!
Jesus us alive! He is Risen! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!!!
The past few days, as you can imagine, have been very busy and there has been little time for “blogging”. I will have a full recap as soon as possible of all of the events of these most sacred days of Holy Week. However, for the time being I encourage you to go to the homepage and click the link for the photos of our Holy Week celebrations. I hope you will find them inspirational. And, I hope they will assist you in your prayer during this most blessed period for those of us who are Christians!
I offer a special word of thanks to Bob Serra who has been taking many of the photos throughout the week. He has helped make these images available to our parishioners locally as well as to those who join us via technology from around the world. You are all most welcomed!
God bless you as we come ever closer to the Glory of Easter!
Above, I deliver a brief homily following the Gospel this morning at the 10:15 AM Mass.
Today, with the Solemn Palm Sunday Procession and proclamation of the Lord’s Passion we formally enter into Holy Week. This is the most sacred time of the year for those of us who are Christians.
I celebrated the 5:00 Vigil Mass last evening as well as the 10:15 AM Mass and the Mass at Mount Saint John Convent today. In my brief remarks following the Gospel, I reminded the congregation that it is important for each one of us to truly enter into these days of Holy Week and not simply sit by and observe them as mere bystanders. The depth and richness of Holy Week will truly come alive in our lives and in our world if we embrace Jesus’ suffering and death. And, if we are able to do this we will then be able to share with Him the glory, joy and love of the Resurrection!
Masses were very well attended and, as always, the logistics were smooth and the music which added so much was wonderful. I invite everyone to all of the celebrations of Holy Week in these next few days and hope that they will be for all and very blessed and grace-filled experience.