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Prayers for the People of Iraq and the Middle East
Aug 9th, 2014 by Father Chris

pope francis

Pope Francis and the Bishops of the United States have asked Catholic people in the United States and around the world to pray fervently for peace in that troubled part of the world at this perilous time for the Christian people there.

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday made another urgent appeal for an end to the conflicts in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Ukraine. Speaking after his regular Angleus address to thousands of people gathered in a hot and sunny St Peter’s Square, the Pope spoke of the victims of war, in particular the children who die or are injured and orphaned by the violence…

“….bambini morti, bambini feriti, bambini mutilate….”

I think especially, the Pope said, of the children whose hopes for a dignified future are taken from them, dead children, injured and mutilated children, orphans and children who have bits of weapons as toys, children who don’t know how to smile. Please stop, the Pope pleaded, I ask you with all my heart…..

“…..Ve lo chiedo con tutto il cuore….Fermatevi, per favore!”

Pope Francis urged all those listening to his words to continue joining him in prayer that God might grant to the peoples and leaders in the Middle East, in Iraq and in Ukraine the wisdom and strength to pursue the path of peace with determination and to face each dispute with the force of dialogue and reconciliation. Every decision, he said, must not be based on particular interests but on the common good and on respect for each person. Remember, the Pope said, that all is lost with war and nothing is lost with peace.

Pope Francis also noted that Monday marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First Word War which caused millions of victims and vast destruction. This conflict, he said, which the Pope of that time, Benedict XV, called a “senseless slaughter”, resulted, after four long years, in a very fragile peace. Tomorrow, the Pope said, as we remember this tragic event, I hope that the mistakes of the past won’t be repeated, but that the lessons of history will be taken into account, so that peace always prevails through patient and courageous dialogue.

Before reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from St Matthew which tells the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven as a mustard seed, a hidden treasure or a pearl of great price. Those who come to know Jesus, by reading the Bible, he said, understand that the Kingdom of Heaven is indeed the greatest treasure which changes lives and gives meaning to everything we do. Urging his listeners to always keep a portable copy of the Gospels with them and read from it each day, the Pope said the joy of a Christian who has discovered this treasure is evident as each word and each gesture will show forth the love that God has given us through his son, Jesus Christ.

Prayer for a Parochial Vicar
Aug 6th, 2014 by Father Chris

 Since Father Peter’s retirement on July 1st, we have all been praying fervently for a new Parochial Vicar to be assigned to us here at Saint Anthony’s.  God has blessed us in the presence of Father Stephen who is here to assist us temporarily until the end of August.  We are also fortunate to temporarily have the summer assistance of Father Pete.  Now, I would like to ask that we pray together as a parish the following prayer asking God to send the right priest to our parish as our new Parochial Vicar.  Would you please pray together the following prayer each day until, hopefully, a new priest is assigned to us?  God will certainly hear our collective prayers and bless us now and in the future as He always has in the past.

______________________________________

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God our Father, you are the Good Shepherd who never leaves His flock untended. 

In our need we cry out to you asking for your abundant blessing upon our parish of Saint Anthony of Padua. 

Send to us, we ask, a good and faithful Parochial Vicar whose life and ministry will reflect your love to all in our community. 

We ask this prayer trusting in your providential love through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Transfiguration – Getting to know Him
Aug 6th, 2014 by Father Chris

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I took this photo of Mount Tabor during our parish pilgrimage to the Holy Land in January 2011.

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The Basilica at the top of Mount Tabor is an impressive and large structure.

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I took this photo looking south from the top of Mount Tabor.

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Standing at the top of Mount Tabor.

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In the Basilica there are three large altars over which are the beautiful images of Moses, Elijah and Jesus.  Here Moses is depicted as representing the Law.

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Here, Elijah is depicted representing the Prophets.

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The central and largest Altar has an image of Christ who is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.

Getting to Know Him

Sometimes we can work beside someone without really getting to know the person; then, one day, something happens which causes him to open up, to begin to let us get close to him, and we discover a depth of riches which we didn’t know existed. The gospel today is about an experience analogous to that, where Peter, James and John are able for a moment to see who Jesus really is.

For the three apostles, it is an experience of something beyond words: frightening and yet, at the same time, so wonderful that they would wish to prolong it by building three tents – for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. Reflecting on the experience, years later, Peter would write: “We had seen his majesty for ourselves. He was honoured and glorified by God the Father, when the Sublime Glory itself spoke to him” (1 Pet 1:17.)

The gospel accounts underline the whiteness of Jesus’s clothes; Mark says they became “dazzlingly white, whiter than any earthly bleacher could make them.” Saint Gregory Nazianzen tells us that this whiteness was the Divinity, manifested to the disciples.

Traditionally, Moses and Elijah are seen as representing the Law and the Prophets, an interpretation which we find in the preface of today’s, Mass. However, Moses and Elijah were also people who had encounters with the Divinity. Both had to cross the desert, fast for forty days, and climb the mountain of God. Moses had prayed to God, “Show me your glory.” When God revealed his back (not his face) to Moses, he placed him in the cleft of the rock, and when he came to Elijah as a gentle breeze, it was at the mouth of the cave. Perhaps these two are present as representing all those who desire to see God’s glory: “When can I enter and see the face of God?” Is. 42:2)

About what were Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus? Luke says they were “speaking of his passing which he was to accomplish in Jerusalem” (Lk 9:31), and indeed it was in his Passion that the face of God was to be revealed, as John would later write: “No one has ever seen God; it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known” (Jn 1:18.)

In the Transfiguration, the Father’s voice is heard saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved. Listen to him.” Gregory Palamas says: “The Father by his voice bore witness to his Beloved Son; the Holy Spirit, shining with him in the bright cloud, indicated that the Son possesses with the Father the light, which is one, like all that belongs to their richness.” Just as at the Baptism of Jesus, so also at the Transfiguration, the heavens are opened and we receive a glimpse of the inner life of the Trinity. Jesus is revealed as Son of the Father, who speaks from the cloud of Divine Presence, where in dwells the Spirit.

The three apostles who would see Jesus prostrate in agony in Gethsemane were given this glimpse of who he really is, to strengthen them for what lay ahead, and also to help them to understand what is revealed in the Passion. John says in the Prologue, “we saw his glory;” is he referring to the Transfiguration or to the Crucifixion, to Tabor or to Calvary? Or is there a sense in which these two mountains are one? Is Tabor simply a preview of Calvary, rather than an antidote: a deeper vision of the reality of the Crucifixion event?

May this Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord be another opportunity of grace for each one of us in our lives drawing us closer to the “dazzling” love, mercy and peace of Jesus!


Greetings from Father Pete’s Salesian Community in India
Aug 5th, 2014 by Father Chris

Recently I received a beautiful letter from Father Pete’s Salesian Community in India.  Our parish made a contribution to their outreach to orphan boys there and the letter was to thank us for this gift.  Below I would like to provide you with a copy of the letter along with a couple of photographs of the signatures of the boys as well as of the facility where their ministy is housed.   We are very fortunate that, through Father Pete, we are able to share in this very important and necessary outreach to some of the most needy among us.

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Above is the building where Father Pete and the other Salesian priests care for about 100 orphan boys whose parents all suffer from HIV/AIDS. 

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Each of the boys as well as the priests and staff of the residence have signed the “Thank You” card.

Dear Fr. Christopher,

Greetings from Don Bosco Anbu Illam, Namakkal.

We have received your kind letter and the generous donation as a support for our ministry for poor and abandoned boys.  On behalf of our Salesian community and our boys my heartfelt thanks to you and the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua for this generous contribution.

We are much delighted that Fr. Peter is a great help to your parish as he is also getting treatment for his sickness.  We are praying and hoping that Fr. Peter gets completely alright and very soon.  Fr. Peter has told me personally about your parish and how well and kindly he is treated by you and the people of Saint Anthony’s.  He has also told me about your efficient ways of organizing the parish activities and managing the parish.  All the boys remember to pray in a very special way for you and all of the people there.

We pray that you get another permanent parochial vicar for St. Anthony’s soon.  I can understand how difficult it will be to run the large parish without a vicar.  Father, we are planning to install ‘Solar lights’ in our parish campus which has been our long term plan.  The donation from your parish will be put to great use and the boys will benefit much from it as we have Electricity failure very often.  All these boys are children of HIV/AIDS infected parents.

Fr. Peter is a fine and gifted priest who helps our boys so much.  This is yet another chance that he has helped us through your generosity.  We all miss him here but his health is much important to carry on his mission in the future.  So we sincerely want him to be there as long as his treatment requires.

With best wishes and continued assurance of our prayers,

Fr. Arul Maran SDB

Director

New Auxiliary Bishops for New York
Aug 4th, 2014 by Father Chris

Today Father Pete, Father Stephen and I attended the Episcopal Consecration of the three new Auxiliary Bishops Pope Francis Appointed for the Archdiocese of New York on June 14, 2014.  The Mass was held at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and was attended by several Cardinals, dozens of Archbishops and Bishops and 200 priests as well as atleast 2000 of the faithful who were on hand to pray for these new Successors of the Apostles.  Below I have included a photo and information about each of the three Auxiliary Bishops.  All of us at  Saint Anthony’s offer our heartfelt best wishes and prayers to Bishop Jenik, Bishop O’Hara and Bishop Byrne as they begin this new work for the Lord and His  Church.

 

BishopJenik

Most Reverend John Jenik

 Monsignor John Jenik was born to John and Helen (Kelly) Jenik in Manhattan,

New York on March 7, 1944.

He attended Immaculate Conception Elementary School and Cathedral College

High School, both in Manhattan. In 1962, he entered Cathedral College and, in 1964, the

archdiocese’s major theologate, Saint Joseph’s Seminary, in Yonkers, New York, during

which time he earned a bachelor of arts (BA) degree.

Monsignor Jenik was ordained a priest by Cardinal Terence Cooke in Saint

Patrick’s Cathedral on May 30, 1970. In June, Cardinal Cooke appointed him to the

Catholic University of Ponce, Puerto Rico for the summer months to learn the Spanish

language and culture. That September, Cardinal Cooke appointed him as parochial vicar

for Saint Jerome’s Parish in Bronx, New York. In 1974, Cardinal Cooke reassigned

Monsignor Jenik to Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish, also in the Bronx, where he soon

became involved in what has become a near forty-year dedication to providing housing

for the poor and fighting crime, corruption, drugs, and prostitution.

In 1974, Monsignor Jenik earned a masters degree in education (M.Ed.) from

Fordham University, at the Rose Hill (Bronx) campus.

Cardinal Cooke, in 1978, appointed Monsignor Jenik as parochial vicar for Our

Lady of Refuge Parish in Bronx, New York. Seven years later, in 1985, he was appointed

pastor of the parish by Cardinal John O’Connor, where he still serves.

Ten years after his appointment as pastor of Our Lady of Refuge, Monsignor

Jenik was appointed a prelate of honor to His Holiness.

In 2006, Cardinal Egan named him vicar for the Northwest Bronx, and he

continues to serve in this position.

Throughout his priesthood, and at various times, Monsignor Jenik has been

elected to the presbyteral council; has been appointed to the college of consultors; and

has been named to a number of special archdiocesan committees, including education,

healthcare, and housing. Monsignor Jenik was instrumental in the work of the committee

for regionalizing Catholic schools in the archdiocese in order to preserve and strengthen

its school system.

Bishop Ohara

Most Reverend John O’Hara

Father John O’Hara was born to John and Helen (Quinn) O’Hara in Jersey City,

New Jersey on February 7, 1946.

He attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School in Ridgewood, New

Jersey and Don Bosco High School in Ramsey, New Jersey. In 1967, he earned a

bachelor of arts (BA) degree from Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey,

with a concentration in English.

From 1967 through 1980, Father O’Hara was employed in the field of journalism

and broadcasting.

In 1980, he entered the archdiocese’s major theologate, Saint Joseph’s Seminary,

in Yonkers, New York. Ordained to the priesthood in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral on

December 1, 1984, by Archbishop John O’Connor, his first assignment was as parochial

vicar for Saint Augustine’s Parish in New City, New York.

Bishop Patrick Sheridan, with the permission of Cardinal O’Connor, appointed

Father O’Hara archdiocesan scout chaplain in 1988. That same year, Cardinal O’Connor

transferred him to Saint Charles Parish on Staten Island, New York, as parochial vicar.

Four years later, in 1992, Father O’Hara was appointed by Cardinal O’Connor as

parochial vicar of Saint Teresa of the Infant Jesus Parish, also on Staten Island. With the

illness of Cardinal O’Connor in 2000, Bishop Robert Brucato, as apostolic administrator,

appointed him pastor, where served until his appointment in 2012 to assist with the

pastoral planning process,

Making All Things New, which he has led since 2013.

BishopByrne

Most Reverend Peter Byrne

Father Peter Byrne was born to John and Dorothy (Nolan) Byrne in Manhattan,

New York on July 24, 1951.

He attended Immaculate Conception Elementary School in Manhattan and

Cardinal Hayes High School in Bronx, New York. In 1983, he earned a bachelor of arts

(BA) degree from Fordham University, the Rose Hill (Bronx) campus, with a

concentration in history/social studies.

Father Byrne entered the archdiocese’s major theologate, Saint Joseph’s Seminary

in Yonkers, New York in 1974, and was granted a leave of absence in 1977. Between

1977 and 1984, he taught at Holy Name of Jesus Elementary School in Valhalla, New

York and Bishop Ford High School in Brooklyn, New York. He returned to Saint

Joseph’s Seminary in 1983, and on December 1, 1984, was ordained a priest by

Archbishop John O’Connor in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. His first assignment was as

parochial vicar for Holy Family Parish in the Bronx.

In 1992, Cardinal O’Connor appointed Father Byrne as administrator for Saint

Thomas Aquinas Parish in the Bronx, with Bishop Francisco Garmendia as pastor and

espiscopal vicar. Two years later, in 1994, Cardinal O’Connor appointed him

administrator of Immaculate Conception and Saint John the Baptist Parishes on Staten

Island, New York, becoming pastor in 1995. Since July 2013, he has served as pastor of

Saint Elizabeth Parish in Manhattan.

Following the World Trade Center tragedy of September 11, 2001, Father Byrne

volunteered his priestly service to bereaved families for many weeks at the Ground Zero

Morgue.

Father Byrne is fluent in English, Spanish, and French.

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