Monday i had one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I visited with and prayed with those who gather each Monday at the Germantown abortion clinic in Germantown, Maryland where the latest term abortions in the United States are performed even up until the moment the baby is scheduled to be born. Each week women very visibly pregnant enter to carry through with the procedures that will end the lives of their babies and forever change their lives for the worse.
I am working on a more detailed and thoughful post here which will take a couple of days for me to complete. I am also working on two presentations which will soon be posted here in audio form for you to listen to. One is a presentation by Cardinal John O’Connor and the other by Monsignor William B. Smith, one of the leading moral theologians in the United States until the time of his death a few years ago. While the presentations are a little bit dated (they were originally given in the late 1980s) the information is as valuable and as timely today as it was then. I also want to provide everyone with important resources which serve as alternatives to abortion. There are other options to abortion but often people do not know of these. I want to be sure that people have meaningful options which they can keep close at hand that can be offered to women who might be considering the possibility of abortion. There are too many options for life and too many people who genuinely care and can and want to help!
Until then, I invite you to go to the website www.prayforgermantown.org. This website will give valuable information about what is happening in the clinic in Germantown, Maryland. It will also familiarize you with the very fine people who are working so hard to oppose the killing which happens daily inside the abortion clinic of Leroy Carhart. These same people are working to provide women with other alternatives to abortion. Keep them in your prayers. Please know that what happens there is not unique. These “late-term” procedures are happening all over the United States on a daily basis. Over the last few months I have spent time educating myself about these evils in our midst. I encourage you to do the same. It will change your life and I hope it will change your mind and heart to stand on the side of life and of truth.
More to come, stay tuned!
The U.S. bishops’ second annual Fortnight for Freedom—a period of prayer and fasting to raise awareness of challenges to religious liberty, both nationally and internationally—is planned for June 21 to July 4.
Celebrations in the archdiocese include Mass Wednesday, June 26 at 7 p.m. in the chapel of the lower church of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, corner of Prince and Mulberry Street in Manhattan. Afterward, a presentation of the issues and a discussion with action steps will be held in the parish house across from the chapel at 263 Mulberry St.
At St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty will be recited at Masses and the Litany for Liberty will be prayed during periods of Eucharistic Adoration.
The website www.Fortnight4Freedom.org provides details of fortnight events and suggested activities for parishes and families, as well as fact sheets, educational resources and suggested prayers for the observance.
The site includes a study guide on the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, “Dignitatis Humanae,” and quotes about religious freedom from the nation’s Founding Fathers and the writings of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
Additionally, the archdiocese’s Fortnight for Freedom website is archny.org/news-events/freedom.
The fortnight occurs just weeks before Aug. 1, the date final rules take effect for implementing the federal contraceptive mandate, requiring most employers to provide contraceptive coverage for employees. The Catholic Church and other faith groups object to the requirement.
During the fortnight, the Supreme Court’s decisions on the definition of marriage may come, as the court is expected to issue rulings in late June on two same-sex marriage cases. One is a challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, a voter-approved initiative banning same-sex marriage, and the other is a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
“Here in New York, we’re facing the abortion expansion bill, which also will have very significant impact on the religious freedom of individuals and institutions,” said Edward Mechmann, coordinator for public policy and assistant director of the archdiocese’s Family Life/Respect Life Office.
“The fact that the bishops are sponsoring a religious liberty event every year now serves to highlight that these threats to religious liberty are not isolated incidents,” he added.
“It’s an ongoing struggle now in the United States to maintain our freedom to exercise our religion in public and to carry on our business in conformity with our religious values and to basically enjoy the freedoms that Americans have always taken for granted but which we can’t take for granted anymore.”
After prayer, “people need to inform themselves about what’s really going on here,” Mechmann said. “There are a number of very significant areas in which there is very grave conflict between our laws and some of the policies of our government, and our freedom.
“People need to educate themselves about the details and to see the big picture so they understand how all this fits together,” concluded Mechmann. “An educated lay population is the most important thing we can have right now so that they really appreciate why the bishops are taking this so seriously, why we’re asking people to take action and really what the future holds for us if we’re not vigilant and vigorous in defending our freedom.”
This evening Father Peter, Father Pete and I went to Mamaroneck to visit the Saint Vito Parish Festa. The food was great and there are many games, rides and fun things for the whole family. Also, they had a great band playing some very entertaining music.
I encourage all of our parishioners to visit the Saint Vito Festa in Mamaroneck this weekend. The hours are from 7pm to 11pm Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We wish Monsignor White and the people of Saint Vito’s much success on their annual Festa! God bless you!
Congratulations to the students of REACH Academy who graduated today! We are proud of all of the young men and women of REACH who have achieved this great milestone.
Father Pete, Erialdo Ramirez, members of our Parish Council, Staff and other parishioners joined me today to attend the graduation ceremony in the shool auditorium.
We are proud to have the REACH Academy as part of our mission here at Saint Anthony’s and we wish all of the students who graduated today much success! We also commend the faculty and staff on a job well done! To the parents we say thank you for your dedication and committment to these very special young men and women in our community. Each one of them is a gift with many talents to give and contributions to make.
We are happy and honored to be a part of REACH Academy. We wish you many more happy and productive years. God bless you!
This evening members of our Parish Council and Finance Committee gathered in the backyard of the Rectory for a special dinner. It was the last meeting of the year which we used as an opportunity to celebrate. At one point Erialdo Ramirez, our summer seminarian, observed that we have not stopped celebrating since he arrived here three weeks ago. Such is the way it is here at Saint Anthony’s – there is always cause for celebration one way or another!
I am truly grateful to all of the members of the Parish Council and Finance Committee who work so hard during the year to make our parish operations work so smoothly. Each member does a wonderful job in his or her appointed area. God bless each one of you and have a great summer!
On Saturday June 15th 55 members of our parish traveled on a wonderful pilgrimage to two shrines in upstate New York – the Shrine of the North American Martyrs at Auriesville and the Shrine of Saint Kateri in Fonda.
Many years ago pilgrimages were always done on foot. In many instances they would take days, weeks or even months to complete. Today we have the benefit of modern means of travel by bus, car or airplane. This makes a pilgrimage much more accessible for most people. The point of a pilgrimage is to grow in faith through the experience of travel to a holy site. Also, a pilgrimage is meant to remind those who participate in it that our whole life is a pilgrimage in which we are on a jouney traveling back to God.
We offer a special word of thanks to Virginie Woo and Jean Jacksen who did much of the work in organizing the pilgrimage on Saturday. For everyone who attended it was a great experience and we look forward to many more pilgrimages like this in the future.
Below please enjoy a few of the photographs taken on Saturday!
Saint Anthony of Padua parishioners gather on the site where Saint Kateri Tekakwitha lived for 11 years with here Indian Tribe.
We celebrated Mass at Saint Peter’s Chapel on the site where Saint Kateri was baptized. The chapel dates to 1782.
A beautiful wood carving of Saint Kateri.
I took notice of the tomb stone of Father Luke Ziegler who was one of the original founders of the Saint Kateri Shrine because he died on the same day I was born – October 11, 1971!
We then traveled to the Shrine of the Jesuit Martyrs at Auriesville, New York.
The “Colliseum Church” is a beautiful place to visit.
This image of Calvary is near the Jesuit Cemetery in Auriesville.
The Jesuit Cemetery in Auriesville contains the graves of more than 500 Jesuit priests.
Among the priest’s graves we visited were several who taught me and my classmates in the seminary including Cardinal Avery Dulles. For all of his noteriety and brilliance Cardinal Dulles was an extremely simple and humble man. We had him for class in 2001 at the time he was created a Cardinal. Upon his return from the Consistory in Rome we had prepared a surprise party for him with a card signed by all of us, his students, a cake and balloons to congratulate him. As he entered the classroom we sang to him a hymn in latin about the priesthood. And, we all asked if we could have a picture taken with him for posterity. He seemed to think it was all a lot to do about nothing. But he gave in and allowed himself to be honored. Each day he came for class he drove himself in a small white Toyota Corolla from Fordham University in the Bronx where he lived. Each student was assigned on a rotating basis to meet the Cardinal at his car, help him with his bags and make sure he made it to the classroom with no problem. Cardinal Dulles was always a true gentleman and it was a blessing and an honor to have known him and to have learned from him.
Father James Reid taught us Latin for two years. He was a very funny man who had a great sense of humor.
And, Father Robert Kelly taught us Greek for two years. On my desk I have a statue of Saint Christopher Father Kelly gave me for my ordination. He was a very thoughtful man. It was a special experience for me to be able to visit the cemetery and see so many of the graves of priests whom I had known and who contributed to my own “pilgrimage” in the priesthood. They each have a particular place in my prayers each day.
This is just a reminder to all who will be traveling with us on the parish pilgrimage Saturday morning June 15th. Please be at church at 6:30am so we can depart promptly at 7:00am. It will take us 3 hours to get to the Shrine and we must be on time as we have a set schedule of events for the day.
Also, be sure to bring whatever money you might need for extra refreshments, religious articles and any other items you may wish to purchase.
We will return to Saint Anthony’s around 7:30pm Saturday. We look forward to a beautiful and spiritually profitable experience tomorrow at the Shrines of Saint Kateri and the North American Martyrs.
Saint Anthony of Padua
Today on our parish Feast Day we offer the following information about Saint Anthony! This morning at the 8am Mass we celebrated a beautiful Feast Day Mass with so many parishioners and devotees of Saint Anthony in attendance. Bread was blessed following the Mass. We pray that Saint Anthony will continue to intercede for us and be an inspiration to us!
Saint Anthony of Padua lived from 1195 – 1231.
He was canonized (declared a saint) less than one year after his death.
There is perhaps no more loved and admired saint in the Catholic Church than Saint Anthony of Padua, a Doctor of the Church. Though his work was in Italy, he was born in Portugal. He first joined the Augustinian Order and then left it and joined the Franciscan Order in 1221, when he was 26 years old. The reason he became a Franciscan was because of the death of the five Franciscan protomartyrs — St. Bernard, St. Peter, St. Otho, St. Accursius, and St. Adjutus — who shed their blood for the Catholic Faith in the year 1220, in Morocco, in North Africa, and whose headless and mutilated bodies had been brought to St. Anthony’s monastery on their way back for burial. St. Anthony became a Franciscan in the hope of shedding his own blood and becoming a martyr. He lived only ten years after joining the Franciscan Order.
So simple and resounding was his teaching of the Catholic Faith, so that the most unlettered and innocent might understand it, that he was made a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII in 1946. Saint Anthony was only 36 years old when he died. He is called the “hammer of the Heretics” His great protection against their lies and deceits in the matter of Christian doctrine was to utter, simply and innocently, the Holy Name of Mary. When St. Anthony of Padua found he was preaching the true Gospel of the Catholic Church to heretics who would not listen to him, he then went out and preached it to the fishes. This was not, as liberals and naturalists are trying to say, for the instruction of the fishes, but rather for the glory of God, the delight of the angels, and the easing of his own heart. St. Anthony wanted to profess the Catholic Faith with his mind and his heart, at every moment.
He is typically depicted with a book and the Infant Child Jesus, to whom He miraculously appeared, and is commonly referred to today as the “finder of lost articles.” Upon exhumation, some 336 years after his death, his body was found to be corrupted, yet his tongue was totally incorrupt, so perfect were the teachings that had been formed upon it.
At long last Father Pete has arrived! His journey this time took longer than previous visits. In fact, the journey took almost 36 hours from the time of his departure at his home in India to his arrival in New York. Three flights, two long layovers, 10,000 miles, 2 sunsets, 1 sunrise, 5 meals all to get to the greatest parish in the world – Saint Anthony’s – in time for our feast day today!
We are so happy to welcome Father Pete back to his home away from home. And, we look forward to his presence with us once again in the months ahead! Father Pete always brings to us a beautiful spirit of joy and love for God, the priesthood and his faith. He is an inspiration to all who know him. We are so fortunate to have him with us again this summer and we thank him for coming back to us. God bless you Father Pete!
Father Pete’s plane, above, arrived at JFK Airport from Frankfurt right on time. As we waited at the cargo center on the north side of the airport his plane passed so close you could almost touch the wing.
Father Pete just after his arrival at JFK last night with me and Erialdo Ramirez our summer seminarian. We were so happy to see him!
Before we left Terminal 1 at JFK we took this photo in front of the sculpture named “Love of Country.” This sculpture is a memorial of 9/11. It is particularly appropriate we visited that place since Father Pete has such close connection to the tragedy of 9/11 and it is the reason why he is here for his treatments.
This is the plaque on the base of the sculpture.
Thanks to the tremendous generosity of our parishioners, neighbors and friends of our parish our 2013 Festa Italiana was a great success! Although Friday night was tough with the heavy rain we more than made up for it on Saturday and Sunday with perfect weather and great time for everyone.
We are ever grateful to Alan Zale who photographed the entire Festa and will soon have dozens of images for you to enjoy here on the website. Below I have included just a couple for you until then!
An aerial view of the Festa grounds covered with people who are enjoying a perfect evening.
The shepherd visits a couple of his sheep at the petting zoo at the Festa.
Parishioners gather in front of church before our Annual Festa Procession through the streets of our neighborhood.