Mass time change
Jul 31st, 2012 by Father Chris

You may have noticed the announcement in the parish bulletin this past weekend about the change of time for the celebration of the 10:15 am Mass beginning in September.  The 10:15 am Mass will change to 10:30 am beginning on Sunday September 2, 2012.  This change will become permanent at that time. 

The reason for this slight adjustment is due to the change of Religious Education classes on Sunday morning which will end now at 10:15 am.  This time change will allow all children and families who are attending classes on Sunday morning to make it to church in time for the 10:30 am Mass which almost every Sunday this year will be a Family Mass.

Thank you for your understanding and please spread the word to others who may not already know about this important change to our Mass schedule.   

SainT Anthony’s Religious Studies (STARS)
Jul 31st, 2012 by Father Chris

This is a reminder that the Religious Education (STARS) Office will be closed until August 10th.  However, you may still submit registration forms, information and payment for upcoming Fall classes at any time at the Parish Office or through the mail to the Religious Education (STARS) Office.  The full package of information may be found online at our parish website www.SaintAnthonyofPaduaWH.org and may be dowloaded and printed out for your convenience.   

We are anticipating a very exciting program this year with many new additons to enhance the learning experience for all of our students and families.  I am certain that you will not want to miss out so I encourage you to please enroll now if you have not already done so. 

Thank you Sister Mary Faith Chandra, C.S.J.B.
Jul 30th, 2012 by Father Chris

Sister Mary Faith and me yesterday at Mount Saint John Convent in Purchase, New York

Sister Mary Faith Chandra has been in charge of the Convent of Mount Saint John in Purchase, New York for the past 6 years.  Each day the priests of Saint Anthony’s Parish celebrate Mass for the community of Nuns at Mount Saint John and it is a great privilege to be associated with such a dedicated group of religious women. 

A few months ago Sister Mary Faith was given a new assignment as a pastoral associate at Saint Philomina’s Parish in Livingston, New Jersey. 

Sister Mary Faith has been a source of great support to me personally and to our parish during her years here at Mount Saint John.  Yesterday at a luncheon following the 11:30 Sunday Mass I presented Sister Mary Faith with a bouquet of flowers as an expression of thanks and love.

We wish you well in your new assignment Sister Mary Faith.  Our prayers, support and love go with you!

Feast of Saint Theresa
Jul 29th, 2012 by Father Chris

Last night Father Pete and I traveled to the Bronx to the Parish of Saint Theresa of the Infant Jesus to enjoy their annual Feast.  It certainly was a special visit for me and a bit of a homecoming too since I was stationed at Saint Theresa’s for 4 1/2 years and because it was my first assignment as a newly ordained priest.  I served at Saint Theresa’s from 2003 until my appointment as Pastor of Saint Anthony of Padua Parish in 2007. 

It was wondeful to see the pastor, Father Robert Grippo, the other priests and people of the parish.  And, it was also great to be able to spend some time with two seminarians who are both from Saint Theresa’s.  Richard Morano and Louis Masi are studying for the priesthood and, God willing, will be ordained to serve here in the Archdiocese of New York in the next few years.  Both Richard and Louis are two of the finest young men I have ever met and they will make fantastic priests!  Please keep them in your prayers as they return to their studies at the end of August. 

The Feast continues today from 2pm to 10pm and I encourage our parishioners from Saint Anthony’s to visit Saint Theresa’s Feast if  you are able to do so.  Much like our own Festa in June, Saint Therea’s Feast features some of the best Italian food, pastries and fun you will find anywhere!  Also, this afternoon they will hold their annual procession through the streets of Pelham Bay.

Our prayers are with you for a most enjoyable and successful Feast!  Buona Festa!! 

A beautiful statue of Saint Theresa is displayed in front of the church during the Feast.

A happy reunion!  From left to right, Seminarian Richard Morano, Seminarian Louis Masi, me, Father Grippo and Father Pete.

Visiting with several parishioners inside Saint Therea’s Church.

Father Pete and I were priviledged to be able to have a personal audience with a most distinguished guest at the Feast this year!  In truth, it is a cardboard cut out but it looks reasonably authentic all things considered.

Crowds of people enjoy the Feast on Saint Theresa Avenue in  the Bronx.

Storm update
Jul 29th, 2012 by Father Chris

On Thursday night the Northeastern United States suffered a series of strong storms.  The cloud formations were amazing, the winds strong, cloud to ground lightning very intense and amazingly damage quite limited. 

Here in West Harrison there was, thankfully, little damage to report and we might say we “dodged the bullet” as the largest and most dangerous storms broke up just before arriving here.  Shortly before everything began, however, Father Pete and I were driving through White Plains and saw anchors from the Weather Channel broadcasting from Hamilton Avenue just across the street from the transit terminal. That was unusual and rather exciting for this self proclaimed weather enthusiast!

As the storm was approaching I snapped a few photographs.  I hope you enjoy.

Looking from the front of the Rectory down Harrison Street to the west the clouds started to build about 7:20pm.

This picture was taken from the back yard of the Rectory looking to the south.  The photo does not do the actual conditions justice.  In fact, the wind was blowing at atleast 30 mph and the cloud formations and lighting effects were most impressive. 

“Treasures” of Saint Anthony’s
Jul 24th, 2012 by Father Chris

Last Friday I visited several of our elderly and homebound parishioners, as I do frequently, to bring the Eucharist and to make a visit to them.  I feel it is important if our older parishioners cannot make it to church that we do our best to bring Church to them.  We have many volunteers from the parish who assist in this mission and it is an invaluable help.   

One of the visits I made last Friday made a great impression on me.  It was the first time I had ever met Theresa Viscome.  Theresa will turn 98 years old on August 4th and she has lived here in Silver Lake and been a member of Saint Anthony of Padua her entire life!  “Wow”, I thought when I entered her kitchen and saw her sitting at the table!  She looked so much younger than her age and she was totally aware of everything that was happening.  Her sense of humor was a great inspiration and when our visit was nearly over the only thing I regretted was that I could not spend more time. 

I was so moved by all of the visits I made on Friday and especially the one to Theresa that I thought to myself, “these are the real treasures of our parish!”  It was interesting during our time together to see photos of our church throughout virtually its entire history.  Theresa had pictures taken in the old church on Columbus Avenue as well as the current church.  It was a real history lesson for me.  Seeing so many of the pictures and hearing so many of the stories of happenings through the decades gave me an even greater appreciation of the rich history we happen to be the beneficiaries of as members of this wonderful parish family. 

Often we can  think that the real “treasures” of a parish are the art work or the musical instruments or expensive items used for the celebration of the liturgy.  All of these things are important and have their value but I cannot help but think that among the most valuable treasures we have are the people who make up the church.  Indeed, the greatest treasure of all is Jesus Christ, who, in the Eucharist brings us all together and binds us together in love.

Theresa is just one example I mention in this post but there are so many others like her who have spend their lives in this community building this parish we call Saint Anthony of Padua.  Each of you is a real “Treasure”!  To all of you I say again, Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  And I know so many others join me in those feelings.  We are grateful! 

I thank Theresa’s nephew Ray and her caregiver Catherine for calling me and asking me to visit.  It will, I am sure, be the first of many!

Theresa Viscome and I visit last Friday in the home where she has lived her entire life.  She loves maps (as I do) and you can see a large one on the wall behind where we were sitting.

Response to Aurora Shootings
Jul 21st, 2012 by Father Chris

Archbishop Samuel Acquila of Denver comforts young people after a Mass in Denver last night.

Below I have included information which was released last night by the Catholic News Agency regarding the response on the part of the Archdiocese of Denver and its Archbishop, Samuel Acquila,  to the shootings early yesterday morning in Aurora Colorado. 

- In his homily following a July 20 mass shooting in Aurora, Colo., Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila reminded a crowd of faithful that though there is evil in the world, there is also mercy.

“Sin, evil and death do not have the last word,” he said, citing Jesus’ victory over death through his resurrection.

The Mass was held at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church – just blocks from Century 16 Theatre – where 12 people were killed and at least 59 were injured when a gunman opened fire at a midnight showing of the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The newly-installed archbishop warned Catholics against responding to the violence with vengeance.

“That is not the way of Jesus Christ,” he said. “We must be peacemakers. We are called to love as Christ loved and commit ourselves to peace.”

Parishioner Juliet Younger said her daughter Jo Ann spent the hours leading up to the Mass at University Hospital in Denver where five of her friends are being treated for injuries. Jo Ann said one of them remains in critical condition.

They said they came to the Mass to find peace.

“And hopefully understand ‘why,’” Juliet said, with tears in her eyes. “I don’t understand this. Why go there and kill those people? Why?”

The archbishop said people like the Youngers can take hope from the fact that God is present in their suffering.

“What occurred … was an encounter with evil, and encounter with violence,” he said. “Certainly the love of the Father is stronger than the bullets that killed 12 and wounded (many more).”

Nearly two dozen priests concelebrated the Mass with the archbishop.

Fire Department practice
Jul 18th, 2012 by Father Chris

Last night I joined our West Harrison Fire Department for practice.  The practices are always held at the Fire Department training located on Park Lane.  It is a very impressive place on one of the highest sites in Westchester County. 

We are very fortunate to have one of the finest Fire Department’s anywhere here in West Harrison.  It is an all volunteer department staffed by some of the most dedicated men and women I have ever seen.  I am always so proud to serve as their department chaplain and to spend as much time as I can with the members of our Fire Department.  We owe each of them a great debt of thanks for all they do for us in keeping our community safe day in and day out.  So, THANK YOU to you all!

Fire Department practice is held at the Fire Training Facility which is easily recongnizable by these large water towers.

Firefighters prepare a strategy to put out a “staged” car fire.

Above, a van is set on fire using an accelerant to simulate a car fire. The firefighers are dressed in several layers of clothing and about 50 pounds of heavy gear and it was 93 degrees outside last night.

As soon as the fire is “attacked” with the water the color of the smoke turns from black to white.

   They had the fire extinguished within a matter of seconds.

Congratulations Laurence
Jul 16th, 2012 by Father Chris

Yesterday Laurence Broderick starred as Fenton in Giuseppe Verdi’s Opera Falstaff at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.  It was a wonderful performance and we congratulate Laurence on his extraordinary work this weekend.  A large number of parishioners from Saint Anthony’s were on hand to wish him well. 

The performance was here at the Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in Manhattan.

The Opera included a full orchestra seen here in the pit at the theatre.

It is a little hard to see in this photo due to the lighting but if you look closely you can see Laurence at the left of the stage.

Above you can see a large group of parishioners from Saint Anthony of Padua who made the journey to NYC to enjoy the opera yesterday.  Several parishioners as well as Laurence’s family members are not included in this photograph.

“Inside the Vatican”
Jul 14th, 2012 by Father Chris

Last week I visited very good friends of mine in Smithtown, Long Island.  It was the first time I was able to meet their new baby boy, Thomas John Vigliante.  We had a BBQ dinner in the back yard of their home which sits on a high hill overlooking Long Island Sound.  It was one of the most pleasant evenings I have had in a long time. 

Prior to dinner my friend John and I stopped by Uncle Giuseppe’s Market in Port Jefferson.  This supermarket is unlike any I have ever seen before.  The store specializes in Italian food and things of Italian interest.  What is most striking are the scenes from various locations in Italy that make you feel as if you are in the very place itself.

Over the meat counter is a magnificent painting of Saint Peter’s Basilica.  I was so impressed by it that I took a picture and I have included it here.  When we went up to the counter to order our steaks I began by saying to the clerk – “hello, I always wanted to meet someone who worked inside the Vatican!”  He laughed.  He said that many people remark about the beauty of the painting.  And, I explained to him and my friend John that when Bernini planned Saint Peter’s Square, he contructed the Collonade to appear like two arms reaching out to embrace all who would come to Saint Peter’s as a representation to the whole world that all are welcomed in that Sacred place as well as in the Church universal. 

Saint Peter’s Square as seen over the meat counter at Uncle Giuseppe’s Italian Market.

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