The Pastor’s Desk
A Message from Father Peter
– April 5 2020 – Palm Sunday (The Passion of the Lord)
“The children of the Hebrews waving olive branches cried out ‘Hosanna in the highest; Hosanna to the Son of David; Hosanna in the highest”! – Palm Sunday Hymn
Yes, the citizens of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus on Palm Sunday in great numbers! Yet, that Friday, Jesus lay dead on the cross but 5 days later. Our Lord accepted this very human praise, fickle though it was, because it was right and fitting that He, the Messiah, would be welcomed into the Holy City by the people He, would redeem! You and I must learn to search for God’s understanding (‘His take”) of human events (intimate or worldwide) and then to respond to them as Jesus would. There are so many lessons to be learned from this pandemic, even now before it is over and for years to come! Our actions here and now will unlock for us the secrets of our characters, strengths and weaknesses. We thought we were patient, then we ‘boiled over’ more than once. We check ourselves and find that we are continually putting our own needs ahead of others!
There is a deep lesson in “Palm Sunday”. Praising and thanking God are the lifeblood of our souls, even the fickle praise of the crowd reveals this. We were so constructed by God that praising Him is our highest form of prayer and worship! Praise is not showing display, but all the good things done with joy in hearts that love God and seek to make Him better known by all. God accepts our interrupted praise too! Today’s liturgy quickly moves to the reading of the Passion. If we want to extend the joy of the procession of palms, we must be with Jesus on the cross also. Jesus’ suffering is the price of the glory the Father bestowed on Him. Embracing the cross is the secret path to a truly grateful heart; one that is caught up in God’s love for us even when we were far from him in sin!
No one asked for this Pandemic. God did not send it either. He permitted it to bring greater good out of it, God will stir up a spirit of self-sacrifice and courage in many; there will be genuine heroism; healings both medical and miraculous. All of these will point people to God. We humbly ask that our people use their time in confinement well. Pray for a spirit of collaboration within our government. Ask God to bless the amazing work of medical personnel in finding the best medicines and vaccinations! Pray for our churches and our home parish of St. Francis that moved by the suffering and sacrifices of so many, we may come out of this with renewed faith and trust in God. There are a few mundane but necessary things to remember; Your weekly envelope for the support of St. Francis (our household of faith) and of course, your very special Easter offering! You can also now donate safely on our new website at
www.stfrancisgreenlawn.org/donate. This is also a wonderful time to sign up for Faith Direct, which is a convenient and secure electronic giving program that will enable you to continue giving to our parish from your home. Please take a moment to enroll at www.FaithDirect.com and click on “Give”. Our church code is NY350. We rely on your faithful generosity as always!
Yours in Jesus who sustains us,
– March 22 2020 – Fourth Sunday of Lent (Interior Door Remodeling)
It was an unlooked for blessing to discover that several thousand dollars had accrued in our Capital Campaign account. Folks who for one reason or another were not able to complete their pledges in time faithfully continued to give after the deadline to make their pledges. This encouraged the committee to tackle the vestibule problem. We had already taken care of the first issue; leaks in the lower part of the church roof sending water down over the vestibule floor which was damaging the rug! All Done!
We are now ready to complete the job. First the internal doors need to be cut down due to tile being a bit thicker than the rug. Please be patient. We hope to have the job done in just over one week. There will be no access to church via the front doors for one weekend. There is some intricate work to be done with the tile. Please be patient as it is going to be beautiful. Side door access will always be available .
Now, candidly, we still need your help. The leftover funds will not cover the entire project. Paul Sepp, who has been the driving force behind this entire project for almost two years, will be speaking to you at all Masses asking for donations for the vestibule project. Envelopes will be available in pews and in the Rectory office. Please give Mr. Sepp a good hearing and positive response! You can also donate safely on our new website: www.stfrancisgreenlawn.org/donate
At press time, all Masses are still scheduled. Please check our website or call the Rectory for any questions regarding cancellations of Masses and Events.
– March 22 2020 – Third Sunday of Lent (The “Big Three” of our Lenten Preparation)
Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving – The “Big Three” of our Lenten Preparation for Easter. We want to participate in Christ’s risen life. Have we forgotten something? All three of the above devout practices and point to a free spirit of repentance and so the Capstone of Lent should be the Sacrament of Penace. Reconciliation. That is confession!
Many Catholics, almost without knowing it, have disconnected themselves from this precious healing sacrament! We need to return to a more frequent use of the sacrament. As we know, in confession, not only are our sins forgivin but we are strengthened to avoide sin in the future. Not only does the confessing of sin and absolution by a priest lead to God’s forgiveness and healing, but it is a true encounter with God
Every Saturday 2-3:30pm in church.
Put confessions in your date book or get it on your mobile calandar! And while you are on your device, check out our new website at www.stfrancisgreenlawn.org
God Bless You!
– March 8th 2020 – The Second Day of Lent! (Almsgiving)
It so important for us to take a moment to reflect on what we are called to do during Lent. With a stress on the word “do”. Lent isn’t just about attitudes, ideas and intentions. Lent is about doing things that involve mind, body and spirit that involves the exterior of your life as much as the interior.
The three great practices of Lent – prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are the things we need to do to prepare ourselves for Easter. I would like to focus this week on almsgiving. The Catholic Ministries appeal is a wonderful way to meet this call. We have started out only three weeks ago and you can see that in our early results. So far 76 parishioners have pledged $23,420. Our goal as a parish is $66,200. There is a real need for more people to come on board and make a pledge even if it’s a small one of $50 or $100 dollars. By participating in the Appeal everyone is doing their part and the drive is more deeply rooted in our parish. You can see the way your donations help both our parish and the Diocese at www.drvc.org.
Our Bishop John Barres tells us “The Holy Spirit is calling forth a new generation of saints, mystics and missionaries on Long Island and you can lead the way by helping to pave the path with your gifts to the Catholic Ministries Appeal”.
– March 1st 2020 – The First Day of Lent! (The Meaning of Lent)
Lent has caught us off guard. We were all engrossed in political drama of impeachment and campaigning and its daily surprises and mudslinging! But here it is! We will begin with scripture. Some scribes asked “why do the disciples of the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist fast while yours do not?” To understand the passage and Jesus’ response is to grasp not only how Jesus dealt with fasting but the overwhelming importance of keeping our eyes on Him in the midst of our daily lives.
How can the wedding guests fast when the bridegroom is still with them? The wedding feast symbolizes the life of the kingdom of God revealed in Jesus and God’s plans and purposes revealed even more fully than before. We’ve got to keep up, stay focused and be flexible, docile and ready to “walk” with Jesus wherever He takes us. This eagerness and flexibility can disrupt daily routines, even religious practices such as fasting and some other scheduled activities.
So, Jesus asks His disciples, defends and teaches us a valuable lesson about fasting. He is not diminishing the value of fasting but asks if it serves the right context. Without Jesus, fasting can easily become another human level exercise or self discipline that will have us end up not much better than the proud Pharisee. He boasted to God about how faithful he was to his regimen and how superior he was to most other people! Yes, let us have our Lenten promise, a balanced one of Prayer and fasting and almsgiving and so be brought closer to Jesus and be ready to follow Jesus and the work of the kingdom.
Have a good Lent
– February 23rd 2020 – Chirstmas Collection/Ash Wednesday
Friends, it’s hard to believe that Lent is here already. It feels like we were just celebrating Christmas! Since our Christmas collection comes in a little at a time, we can now report that we have collected just over $57,000. This is not a record but is constitutes a big help to us. We have been blessed with a mild winter and so our snow removal costs have been non-existent so far.
Ash Wednesday is this week. During Lent we apprentice to Jesus in His 40 day sojourn in the desert. The desert is a place of clarification says bishop Robert Barron, “when we have been stripped of the relatively trivial desires that preoccupy us, we can see, with a somewhat disturbing clarity, who we essentially are and what most pressingly matters.” I invite all of you to think about the distractions that we don’t really need in our lives and focus more on the decision to have Christ at the center of our lives. Looking forward to a wonderful springtime. God Bless You.
– February 16th 2020 – The Starfish Coffee House!
Our young adult Starfish Coffee House is up and open for business every Wednesday and Friday night starting at 7:30pm! Our coffee house ministry is not simply a young adult program, but it’s really a place to meet and share time and get acquainted with other young Catholics. We always provide some high point for the evening. We might have live music, and interesting video or movie, a guest speaker, a young adult-oriented Mass, guided meditation (Lectio Divina), etc.
Young Catholic adults have a very real need for encouragement and support from one another as well as from older Catholics. Spread the word about our unique coffee house to other young adults in your family or neighborhood. By young we generally mean 20-40 year olds, married or single, but all are welcome. Our men’s group that meets every last Friday of the month is distinct and the ages vary.
This week is an exciting one for Starfish! On Wednesday, Greg and James from our own Instruments of Peace rock band will be playing live guitar music. Friday night will be a Mass and Potluck dinner and next Sunday (February 23) will be a special Mardi Gras dinner after the 5:00pm Mass.
See ya there!
– February 9nd 2020 – Dramatic Missionary Growth..starts here at St. Francis!
Bishop John Barres has challenged us to embrace Dramatic Missionary Growth by creating unique ways to incorporate evangelization through education and communication. So as part of this call we are embracing this new opportunity to spread The Word of God with enhanced social media, a new website, and email updates all coming soon.
Your involvement with our 45 ministries is crucial to meeting Bishop Barres’ invitation, and only works if each and every one of us gets involved. As a member of Our Community you can take part in an inspiring evening of prayers, healing and miracles with Bob Walsh, or a Bible Study Group on Thursdays. Join Faith Formation and be a part of Religious Ed and Youth Ministry. If you sing or play an instrument, you are welcome to be a part of the Sunday Rock Mass. Or make coffee an instrument of your peace and stop in at the Starfish Coffeehouse on February 14th for the Women’s Group. Also at Starfish join us for live music on Wednesday, February 19th, and on Friday February 21st for Mass and a Potluck Dinner afterwards, and Sunday February 23rd for a Mardi Gras dinner after 5:00pm Mass. With so many groups to choose from you are bound to find one that clicks with you.
Come be a part of any of our ministries and help sow the seeds
– February 2nd 2020 – New Week, New Look!
Three “Attaboys” to everyone involved in our new look with the bulletin, Check out our new masterpiece of design and information. We are also tying the bulletin into our website and other social media outlets. Its not only the young at heart that will profit from our enhanced abilities but our rank and file. Some of whom go online for something every day.
Bon-Voyage and many blessings to Kathy and Lisa who will leave our staff permanently this week. Each has put in a good 10 plus years here at St. Francis, a lot of hard work and challenges and a lot of joys too. Our Prayers are with them as they find new jobs and opportunities.