Pastor Letter August 9

Dear Parish Family,

May the Lord give you peace! On July 31st I am delighted to announce that the catechumens and candidates for the Easter Sacraments of RCIA, (The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) finally were administered and we welcomed 9 new Catholics fully initiated into the Catholic Church. They are Michael Dorillo, Rachel Fishman, Krystal Furiam Ruby Moczdkowski, Frank Persico, Amanda Squeo, Luke Stangarone, Amanda Willis, and Dr. Dean Jepson.

Ordinarily, they would have been welcomed at the Easter Vigil last April; but due to the COVID-19 virus quarantine it couldn’t happen. So, on last Friday evening at 7PM 2 men and 7 women along with their godparents and sponsors and family and friends joyfully participated in the Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. I want to express my sincere appreciation to Joe Limeri, Agnes Zuffante, John Amodio and Carol Ordy, these parishioners are part of the year long team that helped prepare our newest Catholics for their commitment to Christ. On August 15th we will have 15 young people making the sacrament of Confirmation who have traveled a similar route. I have been given permission to Confirm and this is a great honor.

On August 15th, next Saturday, the Feast of the Assumption of Our Blessed Mother, this feast day will occur but it is not a holyday of obligation since the pandemic and the fact it falls on a Saturday all across the USA. This will be a milestone for one of our parish workers. For the last several years Katie Nicosia, while attending college worked in our parish office in the evenings and on weekends answering the door and the phone as a receptionist. This past year she entered the Carmelite Sisters of the Aged and Infirm. These are the sisters who staff Carmel Richmond Nursing Home, Ozanam Home, Queens, Saint Patrick’s Home, Bronx and Mary Manning Walsh Home in Manhattan.

She had been contemplating religious life for a long time. The Motherhouse for the Carmelite Sisters is situated in Germantown, New York. This is in Hudson County along the Hudson River.  She was the only one in her class, there were three other novices in the group before her. During this past year, she has been in formation. She did work at the motherhouse and then went on a field assignment to Saint Patrick’s Nursing Home in Framingham, Massachusetts. She loved meeting the elderly and sadly she was quarantined to her convent because many of the residents did come down with COVID -19 and some of them died. This was heart breaking, however her ministry to the elderly will involve this prayer ministry to accompany many residents right up to the moment they pass into eternal life. It has been a most unusual year for her.

Just the other day she received her name in religion. She was known in the world as Katie Nicosia, and from now on she will be called, Sister Michelle Elizabeth Marie, O. Carm.. Please keep Katie in your prayers as she accepts her habit with a white veil and begins her two- year novitiate on August 15.

In his writings, “Who do you say that I am,” Cardinal Dolan writes a reflection for August 2nd that was thought provoking.

When I was studying Church history, I took a course titled “The Church and the French Revolution,” and my professor lectured on how “secularism” began to be the new value system for the Western world. He defined secularism as our ability to get along just fine without God, our attempt to find all meaning and purpose in earthly life and to our drive to restrict faith and religion to the private, personal sphere. To the question, “Is this all there is?” secularism replies, “Yes”.

I am afraid many of us have become secularists.

A secular society celebrates Mardi Gras but not Lent, Christmas without Advent, and Halloween without All Saints Day and presumes salvation without conversion and repentance.

The syndicated columnist Cal Thomas once wrote that contemporary society is still worshipping a golden calf, just as the Israelites did at the foot of Mount Sinai. “Many prefer,” he observed “to worship things and are slaves to feelings, this dulling their senses to the wisdom of the ages.”  He wrote that everywhere there is a “rejection of what previous generations called social norms, decency, virtues, values, propriety, modesty, integrity, and standards” and that “materialism has dulled our senses to anything that does not produce pleasure.”

Secularism, idolatry, materialism in our values, our priorities, our behavior, and our speech. We Catholics don’t want to be “just like everyone else”.

The gospel challenges us to change the world, our world with His grace. In prayer he multiplies His gifts to His people, and divides fears and conquers wars.

A blessed August!

Fr. Tom Devery