Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Funeral Mass - Alba Escobar

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Alba Escobar on Saturday, December 2 at 11:30 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Funeral Mass - Mark Leis

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Mark Leis on Saturday, December 2 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Monday, November 27, 2017

We Will Be Judged By Our Love

Holiday season is here – sometime during the next month, you may travel you to NYC – perhaps to see the tree at the Met or the Tree at Rockefeller Center. Might I suggest _ walk up 5th Avenue – Stop for a moment on 5th Avenue across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral – see the giant statue of Atlas – holding the weight of the world in his hands.  The world is too heavy for him, and he is breaking under it, like a child trying to carry something all alone, without any help or grace or faith in God.  Some think it has been put there deliberately as a rejection of God – there is no God – we have no need of God - we have the whole world in our hands. It is ours.
Then, I invite you to walk across the street and go into the Cathedral. Enjoy how beautiful it looks after the recent repairs. You will probably want to go up and see the nativity scene which includes the dog “Lexington.”  Then walk to the back to the Lady Chapel. Turn and face the front door of the Cathedral. Notice a statue, very small, almost insignificant. Christ as a child – about 8 or 9 years old. Holding the world in his hand. He’s got the whole world in His hands! No breaking or straining. It is his. He shared in its creation – and now he shares it with us, as a gift.  A gift, not a possession. To be shared.
Now we can understand Jesus teaching today as he speaks of the end of that world. What we have received as a gift – have we given as a gift?
So many love St. Francis of Assisi and rightly so. But he did some very hard things. Coming back from a night of partying as he rode his horse, he saw a leper upon the road. He got off his horse and gave the man the money in his pocket. Then, he took the leper’s hand and kissed it. Then he hugged the leper. Later Francis would say it was the first time he experienced true inner peace.  What he received, he gave as a gift.
Ah, there are so many. Mother Teresa would say – I don’t look at everyone as my responsibility. I look at the individual. I can only love 1 person at a time.  So, you begin with one.
So, we do our best – one by one – as we feed families through St. Vincent de Paul and grow vegetables for them in our garden, as we listen to an elderly person or bring them to the doctor or to church through Ministry of Care, as we build Bunk Beds so every child has a bed, as we chat with someone on Midnight Run, as we make Rosaries for our Troops, as we take a gift tag today from the Giving Tree, as we all do so many other good things.
Because, in the end, we know we will not be judged by the people that we know or the cars that we own or the house we live in or the money in our bank account or the people that we know or the power that we possess.

As St. John of the Cross said – “In the evening of our lives – we will be judged by our love!”  Whatever you did for a brother or a sister – you did for me!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Funeral Mass - Benedict Caccavale

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Benedict Caccavale on Tuesday, November 28 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Funeral Mass - Alice Rutigliano

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Alice Rutigliano on Monday, November 27 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Funeral Mass - Ann Miceli

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Ann Miceli on Saturday, November 25 at 10:00 a.m. Please pray for her and for her family.

Monday, November 20, 2017


School Mass of Thanksgiving on Tuesday, November 21 at 10:00 a.m.

Hopewell Junction Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service on Wednesday, November 22 at 7:00 p.m. here at St. Columba

Parish Mass of Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24 at 8:00 a.m.

Note - November 24 & 25 - Parish Offices Closed and Adoration Chapel Closed. Happy Thanksgiving! 

Funeral Mass - Rocco LoBreglio

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Rocco LoBreglio on Tuesday, November 21 at 1:00 p.m. Please pray for him and for his family.

Funeral Mass - Harold Barrett

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered for the repose of the soul of Harold Barrett on Tuesday, November 21 at 11:30 a.m. Please pray for him and for his family.


Yesterday – 70,000 people were at Ford Filed in Detroit. They were not watching the Lions. Rather, they attended a special Mass at which – Barney Casey - Bernard Francis Casey – later known as Father Solanus – was beatified – this is the final step before being declared a saint.
Born in 1870 in Wisconsin – one of 16 children – parents taught him to pray every day and at night the family prayed the rosary together.
Barney was raised on a farm. As he grew older, he had other jobs: cutting trees, working in hospital, driving a street car.
In time, he thought that God might want him to be a priest. He tried to study, but classes were taught in German and Latin. He could not get it. So, he joined a religious order in Detroit called the Capuchins – a branch of the Franciscans – they run CYFM in Garrison.  He struggled, but he was very holy. So, they ordained him a priest – but would not allow him to hear confessions or preach at Mass. Gave him the name – Solanus, perhaps because but St. Solanus and Barney loved the violin.
Off to Yonkers – Sacred Heart Church – they gave him a job that he would hold for most of his priesthood – door keeper.
Movie “Frozen” – Princess Anna and Prince Hans meet. They sing:   “All my life has been a series of doors in my face. And then suddenly I bump into you!  Title – “Love Is An Open Door.”
Love is An Open Door. In time, the Capuchins unlocked the front door because so many people came to see Father Solanus. He listened to them , he prayed with them, he cared for them, he loved. He would encourage people – “Do something to please the Dear Lord.”    “Be faithful to the present moment or we will frustrate the plan of God for our lives.”   “Thank God ahead of time – His plans for you are always the best.”   He had an Attitude of Gratitude “Thanks Be to God.”
After 20 years in New York, he was sent back to Detroit.  When he was walking on the streets, he was always giving his food away to those in need. See – his 2 great loves were the sick and the poor. Father Solanus, don’t do that! You are too skinny! He kept doing it – he and another friar began the Capuchin Soup Kitchen – today it is the largest private charity in the state of Michigan.
How appropriate – 2nd Collection today is for Catholic Charities Collection – and on the day we are feeding 151 families for Thanksgiving.
I am always moved by the life of Father Solanus Casey – Barney – in the world’s eyes, he had  no great talents – but in God’s eyes???

What talent do I have?  What is God’s plan for me?  Only a door keeper – ONLY  - we are all door keepers – Painting in London’s St. Paul’s Church. “The Light of the World”   Behold I stand knocking at the door -  but he cannot come in – no door knob – the door keeper has to open the door.     Let him in!!!   Because  Love Is An Open Door!!!

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!