Sunday, November 12, 2017

Two Matters of Importance

I wish to speak to you regarding 2 matters of importance:
First, In light of recent events in Texas and in other parts of the country, I believe we need to discuss the security of our church during Mass. I have asked Amery Bernhardt to chair a new Parish Safety Committee. Sgt. Bernhardt is a Westchester County Police Officer with 15 years experienced. He is a Certified Instructor through the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program. Our First Meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 5 at 7:30 pm in the church rectory. Chief Kevin Keefe from the Town of East Fishkill will attend. I now wish to invite to this meeting any parishioner who works in law enforcement. Your presence would be truly beneficial. Tuesday, December 5 at 7:30 pm.
Second, About a year ago, the Archdiocese informed us about the Renew and Rebuild Capital Campaign for all parishes. Each parish has been asked to develop a list of capital projects. One project that came immediately to mind was to replace all the 50 year old school windows. Our next thoughts were of our church. I invited parishioners to be part of a committee to study the church. Many responded. We choose Eric Winogradoff to chair the committee. Some things came out of our study:
-         We noticed brown marks coming through the paint on the ceiling. We realized we needed to paint the church.
-         We saw how the carpet is deteriorating. We thought this was a good opportunity to replace all the carpet with tile, just as you see at St. Denis & St. Kateri. Maintenance is minimal and it will last for generations.
-         The kneelers are shot and need to be replaced.
-         We realized that the choir area needs to be reimagined.
-         We learned that the sanctuary area is not to code. The middle step is too narrow with an overhang. Also, there are awkward steps into the work sacristies, and there is a big drop off near Mary where one priest broke his leg. We have a temporary rail there.
-         We have a rolling wooden baptismal font while most parishes have a fixed, permanent and beautiful font.
-         There was an attempt to add marble to the altar. Some feel this attempt did not significantly beautify the altar.
-         The old baptism font that used to be in the narthex serves as the table for the Tabernacle. Nothing in the sanctuary matches.
-         Significant money can be saved by installing LED lights.
I asked to committee to dream of an even more beautiful church. Many of their thoughts have been on display in the narthex.  It is a work in progress. You are welcome to share your own thoughts as indicated in the bulletin. The committee hopes to present a final proposal for your review by February.  At that time, we will hold some parish meetings.
I just wanted you to understand the process that has been taking place because, soon, you will be asked to support the Renew and Revive Campaign. This will help you to understand how your donation will be used.

Thanks for listening!

Be Prepared!

Sinking of Titanic
Woman about to get in lifeboat – forgot something, let me go back
Ran to her room – pushed aside her diamond rings and necklaces
Reached above bed for 3 oranges

A few hours before you could not have given her a crate of oranges for her smallest diamond. But now everything had changed -  priceless things became worthless. Worthless things became priceless.

Bridesmaids could care less about oil. But the bridegroom was late. Now they were running out. Getting oil, any oil, was most important thing. Some were ready and some were not.

Jesus tells this parable – be ready for the coming of the Son of Man. Some thoughts:

1)    Some things in life cannot be borrowed.  We can help each other with so many things, but at some point, we are on our own.   We can encourage, can pray, in the end, we have no power. That person must decide to change. Watched mom & dad pass from this life – not a thing I could do – Ultimately, they had to face it themselves.

2) We often think there is more time. But some things in life cannot be put off until the last moment – Superstorm Sandy – when the hurricane was forecast, it was already too late to do some things.  So, we try to prepare now!

3) If we are not prepared, can miss great opportunities   Watchfulness a daily thing!
Parents go to movie with 13 year old.
Sign says children under 12 $8.00   Adults $12.00
They tell themselves, my child is not an adult – ask for child’s ticket.
Suddenly, a great opportunity is lost to teach responsibility
They could have taught child that honesty is more important than money.

Before the iceberg – diamonds were all that mattered.
Now it’s oranges.

We know not the day or hour – are we prepared?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Veteran's Day

Friday, November 10 is Veteran's Day (Observed). Morning Mass will be at 7:00 a.m. Parish Offices will be closed and the Adoration Chapel will be closed. We are grateful for all our Veteran's and pray God's blessings upon them!

Funeral Mass - Angelo LaVecchia

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Angelo LaVecchia on Thursday, November 9 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Servant Leader

He was ordained a priest in 1945 after seven years of study. After his ordination and First Mass, he went back to the seminary for a final retreat before going to his first parish.  That first night he could not sleep, so he decided to take a loop around the seminary.
On his walk he met Mike, the night watchman, who would walk from building to building, making sure everyone was safe.  They chatted about the lovely weather and some other small talk. Of course, he had a brogue. That’s how it was in 1945. After a few minutes, he told Mike “I better get back to my room and try to get some sleep.”  Mike tipped his hat and said – “Well, good night, Father.”  The priest said later – “For 50 years, I’ve been trying to live up to that tip of the hat.”
This good priest understood that he had received this title – Father – not for himself – but for the good of others. He was called to be a servant!  If only that was true of all of us who have received titles and responsibilities – that we are not to be served, but to serve!
Our gospel is very uncomfortable today – Jesus criticizes the leaders:
They preach but they do not practice. The word often used is hypocrite – that word comes from the Greek - it means “play actors” who wore masks for their roles. Their public faces do not match their inner truth. This is a great challenge for us – to be who we say that we are – to be the same person – at work, at school, at home, on vacation, at the store, when I am alone. We have the opportunity to be a great example for others. Are we?
They give heavy burdens to carry, but do not lift a finger to move them. Jesus does not say – do not give heavy burdens – speak the truth – BUT - Cardinal George of Chicago used to tell his seminarians – do not dump truth on people and walk away – walk with them!  Sometimes we priests must tell people - they cannot be a godparent because they are not confirmed or married in the church. But then, we try to help them – would you like to prepare for Confirmation? – would you like to have your marriage blessed in church? – we blessed 7 marriages last year!
They love symbols of power and importance. They seek their own glory instead of the Glory of God! What Jesus asks for instead is humility.  And, what is humility?   It is not putting oneself down, saying I am no good.  Humility recognizes that all I am and all I have is a gift from God. So then – what return can I make to the Lord for all that has been done for me?  It is a call to compassion.  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!”
So then here’s the challenge:

See the stained glass window? A saint lets God’s light shine through. God’s light!