One day to go…to FESTA TIME!
May 31st, 2012 by Father Chris

At this time tomorrow our Annual Festa Italiana will be underway! 

We are looking forward to another great Festa this year with many new attractions for the kids and families including several jumping castles, a petting zoo and a rock climbing wall.

I hope you will also plan to stop into the church while you are at the Festa and “make a visit” and say a few prayers.  And, each evening at 7:30pm there will be a religious service in church.  Several statues of some of our most beloved Saints will be on display in the Sanctuary with candles available as well as religious articles. 

All of the other normal attractions that have drawn people to Saint Anthony’s Festa for decades will be in place including the delicious food which guarantees again this year to be the best of any Festa anywhere!

Finally, please continue to pray that the weather forecast remains favorable.  At the moment, all indications are that we should escape any “rainout” possibilities but prayers for good weather are always appreciated especially in these last few hours before we get underway. 


Harrison Memorial Day Parade 2012
May 28th, 2012 by Father Chris

This morning I attended the Annual Memorial Day Parade in Harrison on Halstead Avenue.  It was a great occasion to remember and honor those who have given their lives for our nation and for the freedom’s we enjoy here in the Unites States.  Every one of the men and women who have served our nation in uniform deserve our utmost gratitude and respect. 

While many people see Memorial Day as a time to go to the beach or have a bar-b-que, it is most importantly a time to come out and show support for those who have served this nation throughout its history and who have died for us.  That is exactly what we did this morning here in the Town/Village of Harrison.  I was proud to be among the hundreds who were present at this morning’s parade and I salute all of the men and women of our armed forces of the United States both living and dead. 

Above, Monsignor Francis McAree, Pastor of Saint Gregory the Great Church in Harrison gives the Invocation at the ceremony following the parade.  The fulltext of the prayer is below:

O Gracious God our Father, we come before you on this Memorial Day in 2012 to remember and to honor those who have given their lives in the service of our country.  In the Book of Genesis we learn that we are made in your image and likeness.  Being made so, we possess a share in the freedom which is part of your perfect nature.  When this freedom is threatened, either for ourselves or for others, we instinctively know that an attempt to diminish our humanity is present.  Help us always to appreciate the freedom which defines us…and give us the strength of will and purpose to defend it when necessary, to promote it wherever possible and to cherish it always.  With freedom we grow in Your image.  Without it, we live only in fear and shadows.  So have our forefathers realized and so have they done in their battles to preserve our freedom.  We honor them this day.  Make us their worthy successors as we travel through this troubled world, reward our servicemen and women for their sacrifices today, reward and welcome into your kingdom those who have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives so that we may be free.  May their selfless example inspire us and Your grace guide, strengthen and protect us and our nation.  We ask all these things in Your Holy Name.  Amen.

Mayor Ron Belmont of Harrison addresses the crowd at the Memorial Service.  Next to him is Mr. Benny DeFonce, the organizer of the event.

Members of the United States Marine Corps. Honor Guard impressively stand at attention during the ceremony.

Festa grounds shaping up!
May 28th, 2012 by Father Chris

Over the last couple of days the Festa grounds have really been shaping up.  Tents have been being assembled and trailers and booths have been arriving.  Much has been happening these last few days.  And, the rest of this week will be spent getting all of the details ready for next weekend’s big Festa Italiana here at Saint Anthony’s. 

Please spread the word among family and friends and plan to be here to celebrate with us.  Come enjoy several new additions to our Festa this year including a petting zoo for the kids, several air castles and jumpers and a rock climbing wall on the church plaza.  Additionally, there will be a religious service in the church each evening at 7:30pm as well as statues of several of our favorite saints with candles and religious articles available for purchase. 

We are looking forward to a GREAT Festa once again this year.  Please pray for good weather Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

The view early this  morning as the Festa grounds begin to take shape.

Memorial Day 2012
May 27th, 2012 by Father Chris

Monday, May 28th, 2012 is Memorial Day and we take time in our local community and in our nation to honor all of those who have given their lives for our freedom.  I will be attending the Annual Memorial Day Parade in Downtown Harrison on Halstead Avenue.  The Parade begins at 10:00am and I hope to see many of our parishioners there as well.  God bless the men and women of the Armed Forces of the United States especially those who have died in service for our nation and God bless America!

Happy Pentecost
May 27th, 2012 by Father Chris

Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, a beginning and an end.  Pentecost brings to a close the fifty day period of the Easter Season.  But, Pentecost also celebrates the beginning of the Church when the Holy Spirit was sent upon the  Apostles and Mary gathered in the Upper Room in Jerusalem.  Suddenly, all fear was gone and now they received the courage to be able to proclaim all that they had seen and heard.  The Church was born and Jesus has been faithful to His promise – “know that I am with you always, even until the end of the world!” 

The liturgies of Pentecost were especially moving this year here at Saint Anthony’s.  I thank Laurence Broderick and the members of our Choir in particular for their very hard work.  The music at this morning’s 10:15 Mass was spectacular.

I thank God that His Holy Spirit is alive and well and living here at Saint Anthony’s.  Happy Pentecost! 

Happy 40th Father Grippo!
May 27th, 2012 by Father Chris

Last night I attended a special celebration at Villa Barone Manor in Throggs Neck, the Bronx.  The party was to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Ordination of Father Robert Grippo, Pastor of Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus Parish in the Bronx. 

This was a great occasion as so many people came together to wish Father Grippo well and thank him for the 40 years of service he has given as a priest in several parishes of the Archdiocese of New York.  Father Grippo has served at Saint Frances de Chantel in the Bronx, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Scarsdale and then for the past 18 years as Pastor of Saint Theresa’s Parish in the Bronx. 

I was thrilled to be able to be there to honor Father Grippo and to thank him for his many kindnesses to me during the four and a half years I served as his Parochial Vicar at Saint Theresa’s from 2003 until 2007 when I was appointed Pastor of Saint Anthony’s. 

It was also great to see so many parishioners, many of whom I have not seen since my departure from Saint Theresa’s five years ago. 

The lighting is not good but here is a picture of Father Grippo and me at the party.

The celebration was held at the Villa Barone Manor in Throggs Neck, Bronx.

It was great to see so many priests there whom I knew including Father Luke Sweeney, above, who is the Vocation Director for the Archdiocese of New York.  If you have ever thought of becoming a priest or know someone who might be interested call him – 914-968-6200!

West Harrison Fire Department Memorial Service
May 27th, 2012 by Father Chris

On Thursday evening Saint Anthony’s hosted the Memorial Service for our own West Harrison Fire Department.  The format was basically the same as that held the prior evening at Purchase.  However, one thing that always distiguishes the West Harrison Memorial Service is the beautiful music which Laurence Broderick provides and this year was no exception.  Laurence led a moving playing of “Taps” using the trumpet stops of the organ.  This was done after each of the names of the deceased members of the Department had been called and a candle for each name had been extinguished. 

The Annual West Harrison Fire Department Memorial Service was held inside Saint Anthony of Padua Church.

Above, Chief Steve Mancini extinguishes a candle after the name of each departed member is announced.  After extinguishing the candle Chief  Mancini said, “absent”.

Mayor Ron Belmont thanked the members of the Fire Department for the extraordinary service they render to our community on a daily basis.

Members of the West Harrison Fire Department, Civic Officials and citizens of the community at large gather for the Annual Memorial Service.

Following the Memorial Service in Church, a wreath was placed at the Honor Roll in Taylor Square.

Purchase Fire Department Memorial Service
May 27th, 2012 by Father Chris

On Wednesday evening Father Peter and I attended the Annual Purchase Fire Department Memorial Service.  The Service was held on the lawn of the Firehouse in Purchase.  As always, the Service was attended by our local civic officials, members of the Armed Forces, Boy Scouts, and local citizens who turn out to show honor and respect for the deceased members of the Fire Department of Purchase.  Father Peter led those assembled in the Invocation at the beginning of the Service.

Once particularly moving part of the ceremony is the time when each of the names of the deceased members is read and the fire truck bell is tolled.  At the end of the litany of names a moment of silence is held and the American Flag is lowered to half staff in respect to the departed members.  This year, a jet flyover added the perfect punctuation to the evening at the end of the service.  Dinner was served upstairs and a wonderful time was had by all!

Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont makes remarks during the Memorial Service.

These two wreaths were placed at the Memorial Monument in front of the Firehouse.  One wreath was placed in memory of the deceased members of the Fire Department and the other in memory of the deceased members of the Armed Forces.

The wreaths have been placed and the salutes are given!


An American Litany
May 27th, 2012 by Father Chris

Saturday evening, Drew Santini, one of the cantors of our music program here at Saint Anthony’s presented a moving farewell recital.  Drew entitiled the recital An American Litany and it included works by some of our most beloved American composers such as Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin.  Drew was accompanied at the piano by Ms. Charity Wicks. 

We are grateful to  both Drew and Charity for providing our community with such a beautiful and inspirational concert.  Drew will be moving to Amsterdam, Netherlands in June to further his musical career and pursue his education in music. 

Following the recital a wine and cheese reception was held in the lobby of the church.  We had intended to hold the reception on the front plaza of the church but at the beginning of the concert a torrential thunderstorm with heavy rain, lightning and wind quickly changed those plans. 

Drew has been singing with us here at Saint Anthony’s for the past 5 years.  Our parish has truly been blessed by his generous spirit and his magnificent musical gifts which he has willingly shared here to enhance our liturgical celebrations.  We will miss Drew as he takes his leave from us but he has become part of this parish family over the years and so he knows that he always has a warm welcome awaiting him here whenever he returns to New York!

Our prayers and best wishes are with you Drew – Go with God!


Deacon George to be released soon
May 24th, 2012 by Father Chris

Deacon George Stewart is progressing nicely with his recovery at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains.  He is very grateful for all of the prayers and support he has received from all of the parishioners here at Saint Anthony’s over the last few weeks. 

Deacon George is scheduled to be released from Burke on Monday June 4, 2012 and we look forward to his return to ministry with us here at Saint Anthony’s soon after that – perhaps by the end of  June. 

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