The Pastor’s Desk

Nov 29, 2020 | Community, Featured

A Message from Father Peter

– November 29th – Advent and Holy Longing

This awesome season is now upon us. This year Advent holds a special meaning. “A People that walked in darkness has seen a great light.” The world seems a doubly dark and cold place this year due to pandemic and the continued harsh political climate. All this makes the case for our need for true Advent spirit; Longing for the coming of our Savior to usher in His kingdom of peace, justice, truth and love.

We re-live the longing of centuries of believers (from Abraham to Mary and Joseph) awaiting the birth of the Messiah. We pray for justice, peace, and prosperity in our troubled world; such peace as only the Christ child can bring us. Advent clashes with the secular view of Christmas. The commercializing of “The Holidays” leaves little room to cultivate an attitude of hopeful expectation, so critical to Advent! Please encourage (with no pressure) your family and friends to come to Mass at Christmas if they have not yet come back due to the pandemic. We are following all Diocesan guidelines and believe we have very safe worship space here at St. Francis.

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PAST MESSAGES

– November 22th – Thanksgiving Day 2020

Thursday we will all celebrate Thanksgiving Day, a great American tradition and perhaps our best “Family” Holiday. Everyone has a place at the table!

This year the great day may be compromised by the pandemic. Some family members, to our disappointment, may elect not to come! Some may even feel that you were wrong by not cancelling dinner! Others will be there but be gripped by various fears. The political scene in the country may be the occasion for a heated argument between family members. Polarization is to be found all over!

We are blessed however by the deep biblical resonance of this holiday (Holy Day)!
Thanksgiving is at the heart of Hebrew and Christian Prayer.

“Give Thanks to the Lord for he is good, His mercies endure forever”!

We can witness to our faith in various ways:

  1. Warmly welcoming our guests and thanking them for coming.
  2. Offering plenty of understanding (via phone) to all who chose not to come.
  3. Encourage those who are anxious about the virus to rebuke fear and pray the Divine Mercy prayer “Jesus, I Trust in You.”
  4. Affirm our Catholic pro-life values to all folks of all political persuasions.
  5. Do a lot of listening – People do not expect you to agree with everything they say but everyone appreciates a good listener.
  6. Find someone positive to affirm in all perspectives!
  7. Move away from the mindset that locks in “I’ve got to win this argument” to “What’s useful here, How do I help people to keep talking in a civil way, Where does this person come from in terms of their lives?”

Family should be a warm and loving place where people can respect each other and learn from each other. In this way God, who made us all, will be glorified. We will have given Him the best of thanks. Jesus sat down with tax collectors and sinners; we don’t have to be of the same exact opinion to sit down at the Thanksgiving table! Let’s enjoy one another’s company.

From Padre Pio “Pray and Don’t Worry”!

– November 15th – Father Tom DiLorenzo’s Radio Ministry

St Francis was able to offer an old friend a friendly spot to hold his Prayer Conference when all other options disappeared! Father Tom DiLorenzo has had a radio ministry for over 40 years and by God’s grace and his own native exuberance, has brought many people to the Lord.

His has always been a Charismatic Ministry with the gifts of the Holy Spirit much in evidence. Now with “Zoom” these special events are open to many more people.

(Thank You for bearing up with any extra noises while in church!)

– November 8th – Rev. Msgr. Patrick J. Armshaw

Whenever I think of Father Pat, I think of him still in Cathedral College Prep Seminary (High School) calling out “Tablet ten cents, tablet 10 cents!” on the front steps of our parish church. He was selling the Brooklyn Diocese newspaper. Fr. Pat, being 8 years older than me, remembers when the Tablet was only 5 cents! His church career had already begun!…

Click on the button below to read the full story of Father Pat.

– November 1st – Starfish Coffee House, “Days Of Glory” and Pray for our Country

Starfish Coffee House
By the time you see this article you will have heard the pulpit presentations by the young adults of our Starfish Coffee House here at St. Francis. The young adults are enthusiastic about having a faith-filled meeting place. There is no shortage of places for them to meet in the town of Huntington, but they cherish, in their own way, the bond of faith. The special collection gives the core group some resources for programs, speakers and music and food! The young adults are our future. If you know a young adult in his/her 20s or 30s, ask them to give the coffee house a try!

“Days Of Glory”
We welcome Father Tom DiLorenzo and his team (present physically and via Zoom). Father Tom is a priest in good standing of the Archdiocese of Boston with a radio and prayer group ministry that reaches across the country! The dates of this event are November 5-7,2020 (Thursday evening until Saturday all day!), Father Tom is a unique faith-filled priest with a wonderful gift for making God’s love tangible to many people. With Father Tom, his team, great Zoom speakers and music, this will be a healing and empowering moment you do not want to miss!

Pray for our Country
I am grateful to see so many parishioners so enthusiastically praying for our country at this time. As a nation we need unity and cohesion at this time. We so much need to learn again how to speak to each other with respect and honesty. May this election and its aftermath be blessed as a new and harmonious start for our country. Many have thanked me for the numerous prayer experiences we have hosted here!

– October 25th – Adults know how to Social Distance

If there is one group around here that respects social distancing it is our young adults! Sometimes the group has been large enough that it could not distance in the coffee house itself! No problem! They have been meeting in our parking lot around a campfire! With cold weather coming, they hope to get indoors in the lower church in the coffee house. All the young adults – Catholic or not – are most cordially invited to attend the meeting.

They come from a very Catholic place but reach out readily to other seekers. Meetings are on Wednesday and Fridays at 7:30pm. Using Zoom, they have been able to pray the rosary together every night at 9pm now for 100 consecutive nights! Not bad for 20-30-year somethings! The greatest thing about the coffee house ministry is that there’s enough time for socializing also! This weekend a young adult coffee house member will be speaking at all Masses and there will be a second collection to cover special events, such as guest speakers, live music, apostolate, special events like day pilgrimages, hikes, etc.

Thank you in advance for your generosity!

– October 18th – The Status of the Diocese of Rockville Centre

Last week you read in the bulletin the full text of our bishops’ letter to all the people of our Diocese of Rockville Centre. In it, Bishop Barres explained that after much prayer, discernment and consultation, the Diocese filed “A voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy code.” There are simply too many allegations against the Diocese for it to litigate them all (over 200); also many are very old (some over 40-50 yrs.); in this way the bankruptcy court will centralize the claims, see that no one is left out, and ensure just compensation.

The bishop anticipates that the normal operations of the Diocese will continue without interruption. Parishioners need to be reassured that parishes and schools are separate legal entities and are not included in the filing. So, we as the local church, take another small step to bring healing, and eventually closure to one of the most painful chapters in the history of the people of God in our country.

Be assured that your Sunday contribution to St. Francis Parish and Annual Catholic Ministries Appeal will not be used to meet this settlement. The Diocese initiated many reforms in 2003. There are now policies in place and finally being implemented that mandate background checks and special educational programs. A special office for both paid employees and volunteers and clergy was created at the Diocesan center to oversee the child protection programs. These are difficult times on many fronts. I unite my prayers to those of our Bishop. Here is how he concludes this letter “Please know that I am praying for each and every one of you and your families and in a special way for the survivors of clergy sexual abuse, I also pray that through this re-organization the diocese can emerge stronger, having resolved these issues with dignity and fairness and placing everyone in a better position to move forward and heal.”

– October 11th – Respect Life Month/Blessing of the Animal Recap

It was quite a weekend here at St. Francis, full of important events. Holding pride of place was our kickoff of Respect Life Month (October). Deacon Jim Byrne preached a fine homily at all of our Sunday Masses. The Pro-life cause is very near to Deacon Jim’s heart and I must commend him for his labors!

I celebrated on Saturday the two confirmation Masses for our class of candidates. In cases of pastoral necessity, a priest may receive a special permission to confirm and this was graciously conferred on me. It was a beautiful experience for me and a joyful one for the Candidates! Very special thanks to Deacon Allan, our Director and Anita Modelewski for their outstanding work in organizing the entire Confirmation program. It is many sided and detailed! Also, they have successfully moved our Religious Ed program online. We miss seeing “the kids”, but it is quite necessary now!

Last but not least, “All Creatures Great and Small” were present for the blessing of the animals. It is a great tradition around here, dedicated as we are to our patron St. Francis of Assisi, a friend to all animals. So, our events were all together serious, joyful, community- building, and a lot of fun!

– October 4th – Blessings of the Animals

You sea monsters and water creatures
Bless the Lord!
All you beasts, wild and tame,
Bless the Lord!
Praise and exalt Him forever!
(Daniel Chapter 3)

St. Francis loved animals because they manifested the glory of God in a simple and unimpeded, innocent way! So, we are conducting a Blessing of the Animals on His Feast Day, October 4, 2020 after the 12:00 noon Mass!

We do not plan on any sea monsters actually showing up, but we bless our pets in solidarity with all God’s creatures. Indirectly, we are blessing all our African and Asian animal friends, elephants, lions, zebras, etc. So, the sea monsters get their moment of recognition also! Please come prepared for your pets to be a little unsettled by the presence of so many others, the cats especially do not appreciate the dogs! Also, dog, sheep, and pony owners- don’t forget the pooper scooper!

This is always a joyful event; the kids love it too!

– September 27th – Some Necessary Scheduling

A big disappointment, but quite necessary!

We have postponed both the special Mass of Thanksgiving for my 50th anniversary of Priesthood and the tent reception to follow. The event was originally set for Sunday, October 18th, 2020.

Some of our most loyal parishioners are still not physically coming to Sunday Mass (due to pandemic). Also, by October 18 the weather may well be quite chilly for an outdoor event.

We look forward to rescheduling in the spring!
Thank you so much for your patience.

– September 20th – Religious Education Programs

Last week we officially opened our Religious Education program, headed ably by Deacon Allan Longo and assisted by Anita Modelewski. As with almost all parishes in our Diocese, we are “off campus” this semester. In other words, our program is home-based with an online component. Each student has a teacher and we have safeguards to see that students are truly involved, along with their parents, in keeping up with their religious education.

Students are given a workbook, weekly curriculum and any other necessary materials. Students will do a lesson each week (filling in any chapter activities in the book as they go along). At the conclusion of each chapter, there is a review – that is the online component. Students log on to the Loyola Press website (publisher of our religion workbooks), complete the review online, and email it to their teacher. The teacher will track the student’s progress each week.

This is for us (as for all parishes) a venture into “new territory”. With God’s help we will succeed and despite the pandemic, have an effective program. As always, your constant prayers for our parish are crucial to our not only coping with but thriving in these tough times!

– September 13th – An Aniversary as Promised

We’ve taken over the Pastor’s Desk to invite you to a celebration of Service to Our Lord.

As promised during the surprise drive-by on June 28, we will be celebrating Fr. Peter’s Jubilee with a Mass and Picnic Lunch.

Fr. Peter Kaczmarek’s 50th Anniversary Jubilee:
October 18, 2020
Mass at 12:00 pm

Picnic Lunch in the back parking lot from 1:00 – 2:30.

All are welcome to come celebrate our beloved Pastor!

– September 6th – Honoring Giovanna Maiello

No doubt it was a fine and fulfilling night!

Our Coffeehouse Gang of young adults met out in our parking lot around a fire pit and enjoyed a mixture of Christian and Pop music offered by Greg Gulotti and James Young! There was pizza too! The gathering honored Giovanna Maiello who is stepping down as head of our core group. It is hard to believe, but it has been 3 years since the Starfish Coffee House opened and Giovanna has been coordinating things for that long! The need for a young Catholic adult gathering place has been obvious for some time. Giovanna sensed this early on and did a super job of getting us off the ground! She pulled together many kinds of events: Music nights, Mass in the Coffee House, Speakers, Movies, Lectio Divina, Holy reading. Potluck suppers, Retreats, Day hikes…etc. Giovanna especially connected with Lectio Divina, an ancient yet uniquely modern way of meditation on bible passage – very early and taught our young adults how to do it!

She moves on with her life and career but will keep in touch and help as she can. God’s blessings on you, Giovanna! You have been a gift to us! You will always be a big part of Starfish Coffee House and the lives of the Believers and Friends who gather there.!

– August 30th – We Reflect and We Grow

It’s so good to come upon unlooked for blessings in the course of our lives. I am referring to our Men’s and Women’s discussion groups that have developed out of the Starfish Coffee House. This is a testimony to the “hidden” work of God in our midst.

It’s been a difficult summer for sure in our parish. In the middle of this pandemic, Father Francois suddenly lost his mother. It was particularly difficult for Fr. Francois since he could not get an airline ticket to the Congo, in fact he is still uncertain when he will be able to go! I am so very pleased to have experienced the spontaneous outpouring of love and affection for Father Francois. He always said how welcome he felt in his Connecticut Parishes; I’m sure now he feels equally at home here!

Please do not forget our Booster Club. All the tickets have been mailed out to all active registered families. If you
need an extra ticket, they are available at the rectory. Remember you have multiple chances to win!

– August 23rd – First Penance of our Second Graders

Covid-19 is still a threat of course, but the life of our parish moves forward! This weekend we are celebrating First Penance for our second graders who, on the normal schedule, would have made their first confession in the spring! First Holy Communion will take place the next weekend! We are doing this now to make for an easier start in September when the entire Religious Education program begins! We will adapt our format of instruction to complement the public schools.

Confirmation will take place in October. Bishop Barres had been scheduled to come but due to the pandemic and all the changes, I, as pastor, have received delegation from him to confirm our young people. While the bishop remains the ordinary minister of the sacrament, he may delegate an appropriate priest to confer this beautiful sacrament. Hopefully, Bishop Barres will join us in the future for Confirmation.

Folks are returning to Sunday Mass in better numbers. I am particularly delighted to see an increase in attendance at the 4:30pm on Saturday. This is a good sign because the 4:30pm is attended mostly by senior citizens and this means older folks, eager to receive the Eucharist are coming forward!

– August 16th – Blessed Mother of Fatima

Accepting inconveniences that we are not used to and making small sacrifices for God are about the equivalent for us. We either are accepting and creatively dealing with all that the Covid-19 virus has thrown at us or we have entered into one or another type of stubborn denial.

I think of the Blessed Mother at Fatima asking the children to make small sacrifices in reparation for sin. These were poor peasant children in Portugal over 100 years ago. They had little enough already, now they are asked to sacrifice! Yet they did not question Mary’s request but with simple hearts, tried to find “sacrifices”.

Hopefully, this pandemic will soon be history also, but we can learn much about ourselves in the meantime. Our generosity and positivity may in fact in many instances surprise and delight us. In some moments, our impatience and anger may challenge us to do better.

Again, I am deeply impressed with the spontaneous goodness and love in the hearts of so many of our parishioners! Thank you for responding with such generosity to our appeal for Father Francois on his mother’s sudden passing. It is a hardship for him not to be able to get there due to the virus. Also, I know I can count on you to keep him in your prayers.

– August 9th – In Prayer of Louise Eale

I know that I can always count on the spontaneous generosity of our parishioners in time of need and crisis. As many of you know by now, Fr. Francois sadly and suddenly lost his loving mother, Louise two weeks ago at the relatively young age of 69. Fr. Francois’ family lives in the Congo and he is trying hard to make it home. He is facing many obstacles in getting a flight home. There are very few flights to Africa via Europe. Please pray that God guides his search. The parish is assisting Fr. Francois by covering the cost of his plane ticket. However, his family faces many financial challenges.

I know in advance that you would want to help him at this time. We have taken up a special second collection for Fr. Francios’ family at our Masses last weekend. If you would still like to help, donations may be mailed in or brought to the rectory. Donations can also be made securely online on our website via PayPal at https://stfrancisgreenlawn.org/donate/ (please indicate that the donation is for Fr. Francois). Because of your past generosity, I have no doubt that your help will make a real difference.

At 12:00 noon on Saturday August 15th, Father Francois will say a special Memorial Mass for his Mother here at St Francis. Thank you and God bless you for your generosity. We give thanks to God for the life of Louise Eale; may she rest in peace.

– August 2nd – The Feat of St. Mary Magdalene

The Church celebrated the feast of St. Mary Magdalene this last week. Mary of Magdala (a small fishing village on the southern end of the sea of Galilee) holds a unique place in the company of the saints of the church! While tradition has attempted to identify her with several other sinful women, the only detail of her life before Good Friday was that Jesus cast out seven devils from her! Mary remained passionately committed to Jesus and was fearless in proclaiming him to be risen. Jesus in turn favored Mary with the first recorded appearance after his resurrection. She became the “Apostle to the Apostles” Announcing to Peter and the rest that he was alive. Jesus has unique relationships for example, with the “Disciple whom Jesus loved”, He is never identified in the text, but it looks like the first readers would have known him!

Jesus had a special bond with Peter whom he chose as head of the Apostles. “Simon Peter, do you love me more than these”? It goes without saying above all others stands his mother Mary whom he entrusted to John, “Woman, behold your son”!

Ourselves

Jesus calls us “his friends” not his servants! All of us have a special place in his heart in the heavenly kingdom. Do not let the present troubles get you down!

– July 26th – Social Seating

As Jesus said, “When you are invited to a banquet, go and take your seat in the lowest place”.

In the spirit of renewed co-operation and sacrifice, the parish is asking our daily Mass attendees not to take seats in the wings (lower roof areas) of the church but rather to sit in the alternate pews in the main central area. This is a small inconvenience, but it will help the staff greatly in sanitizing the pews that were used. This sanitizing (after every Mass) reduces 5 hours of staff time per week for other routine tasks. This small change will allow them some more time for other important tasks. Signs and tapes are already up announcing the change. I am fully aware that some are very attached to a particular seat but I am confident that in spirit of parish, solidarity will prevail; and rather than be seen as annoyance, this change will demonstrate that we can all work together to protect ourselves and others from harm.

Father François celebrated Mass for our coffee house and young adults and found them to be alive and joyful in their faith in God and their commitment to our church. After Mass they had a buffet supper around a campfire in the parking lot, Not Bad!!! Young adults enjoying one another’s company and celebrating their faith joyfully at the same time.

– July 19th – “Drive Through” Celebration

Let me take just a moment to thank each one of our parishioners for all their thoughtfulness and affection so visually displayed in the well-planned “Drive Through” celebration. The home-made signs and banners were just a joy to see!

The event was truly a complete surprise to me and so much more a joy seeing so many familiar faces. The rectory “team” created a magnificent album of photos and best wishes! Leading the turn out in numbers and evident enthusiasm were about sixteen of our own Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict (Polish Nuns). They were having as much fun, if not more, as anyone else.

We will have a special Anniversary Mass in the fall and a simple parish reception afterward. I know that you will all try to be there in body and spirit! After all, 50 years is worth remembering more than once! These events help give us an identity as a Catholic Parish and a Christian Community with strong bonds of Love and Remembrance.

– July 12th – Slow Growth in Numbers

First, the good news: our daily Mass at 8:30am has achieved a level of attendance that just about equals what we had before the lockdown! It is encouraging to see all the familiar faces! There is nothing like the “immediacy” of actually being physically in the church at the Mass and being able to receive the Eucharist itself.

So far, we are at about 50% of normal Sunday attendance. Not so bad in comparison to many other Long Island parishes, but clearly in need of improvement. Please discuss your own decision to get back to church ASAP. Not that watching a Mass on TV or on a website or Zoom isn’t wonderful and a praiseworthy thing! However, at the actual Mass we have the Eucharist in its full sacramental dimension and a far greater sense of the one table and one cup!

Pass the Word

We are open and eager to return to normal. We are providing a safe environment according to State and Diocese guidelines! If you have a serious pre-condition, exercise good judgement and if necessary, choose not to come. However, we think many more should now be making the additional effort to be here on weekends! With all of us pulling together we’ll not only “Get Back” to where we were, but in a true sense we will forge ahead and even see some newcomers.

– July 5th – The “New Normal”

What is the “New Normal” going to look like in the weeks and months ahead? We are beginning to get the picture. We are back in church for all Masses and practicing “social distancing” dealing with masks and sanitizing our hands. The greatest confusion came from the distribution of the Eucharist after the Mass itself is finished! The unusual sequence stems from the Bishops desire to be in conformity with the State guidelines and the insistence by the Bishops that the celebrant not wear a mask! We are once again doing Baptisms and Funerals observing, of course, the protocols of social distancing, etc.

I am asking all parishioners to invite those who are able to come to Mass and begin the tradition to “normalcy”. Of course, the elderly and vulnerable should not be “pushed” in any way to come! But spread the word! We are very much “open for business”! Very much wanting to see all our people!

There will be no parish picnic this year; we will miss this joyful event but there is no practical way to have it here this year. The Booster Club Program has been part of our parish life for many a year. Our 2021 program is now in the works! Thank you in advance for your generosity! My only wish is that all our Parishioners could be winners! Of course, if we are close to God then truly, we are all winners!

– June 28th – We are “Open” Again

Now that we are “Open” again, we as the Parish can better assess our true situation. We did not rush out and order the first sanitizers and masks, etc. available as there was a lot of price gauging and we wanted to be certain we were in sync with the Diocese and their stipulations! Soon we will have 12 sanitizing dispensers in place. Four on stands and eight permanently mounted on walls, around church and downstairs. We have cordoned off pews in a very visible manner to help with social distancing!

We have a supply of masks (though we hope most will bring their own) and many gallons of spray sanitizers to use with our new backpack sprayer on the pew surfaces. Our maintenance staff will be sanitizing after each Mass. On our first Sunday we achieved about 50% of our normal attendance, (Not bad). We can only ask our parishioners who have come on Sunday to assure others who held back that we are “on it,” and that they felt safe at Mass here.

A more complete message has been sent to your home in the mail with an envelope, “Let’s Catch Up with Our Giving”. This way we really do put the virus behind us both practically and spiritually!

– June 21th – Opening Day

Last week we opened St. Francis church to Public Mass for the first time in nearly 3 months and what a joy it was to see so many “Old Faces”. There was a true atmosphere of warmth and love. Everyone welcomed this return to “normalcy” even though there were some abnormalities!!

Please spread the word to friends and family who may have been reluctant to ”step into church” just yet! The precautions we are taking seem to be a small inconvenience in comparison to the joy of returning to Mass and Communion! The virus, though awful, helped many grow in appreciation of God’s Blessings Great and Small!

We all have so much to be grateful for. Let us pray for those families that lost loved ones to the Pandemic.

– June 14th – Wonderful News!

St. Francis of Assisi Parish will be open for Sunday and Weekday Masses beginning on Wednesday June 10 at 8:30am. Our full weekend schedule of Masses (Saturday 4:30pm, Sunday 8am, 10am 12pm, and 5pm) will be implemented beginning Saturday June 13 and Sunday June 14.

Please note: We may not as yet distribute Holy Communion at Mass. We are awaiting new procedures from the Diocese for the safe distribution and reception of the Eucharist.

We are happy to announce the following guidelines which we have put forth for the safety and protection of our parishioners and visitors.

  • Masks must be worn inside the church
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be mounted at all entrances (on order-coming soon)
  • Few spacing restrictions will be in effect to enforce social distancing
  • Floor decals will be in place
  • Maintenance personnel has been reorganized and instructed in cleaning and disinfecting between Masses, and after weddings, funerals, and baptisms
  • Scheduled events will be timed accordingly to allow for proper cleaning

The Rectory office will now be open at regular hours (9am – 3pm) beginning Monday June 15. Masks must be worn in the rectory office. We are preparing for your return and look forward to welcoming you back.

Praise God – we rejoice that we can come together again!

– June 7th – Confessions are Back

Confessions are coming back! Following Diocesan directives, we have restored private scheduled confession (same time as before lock down; 2:00pm- 3:30 pm on Saturdays).

However respecting social distancing, we are now hearing confessions in new church locations and not in the traditional confessionals. One site is the Baptistry corner to the right of the sanctuary as you enter the main doors. The other is the music area on the left as you enter by the same main doors. Both will be active at the same traditional time.

Don’t miss out on the Graces of confession! Events compelled us to suspend regular confessions but now we are getting back on track! The healing blessings of the sacrament of Penance will be ours again!
Mary Mother of the Church and our Mother Pray for us (Poor Sinners!)

Father’s Day

Don’t forget your Dads and Granddads on this important Father’s Day. Remember them by enrolling them in our Father’s Day Novena of Masses! All Masses said here at St Francis Parish during the week of Father’s Day will be for the intentions of the Fathers included in the Novena.

Thank you, as ever, for your generous response to our Novena! It renews our deep faith in the workings of God in family life and the vital role fathers have in raising their families! Return the envelopes you have received in the mail to the rectory or the box set in the vestibule of church. Again, thank you!

Please pray that soon, very soon we will be given practical and doable guidelines from our bishops for opening our Parish Church for Mass. We cannot get back to “normal” in any other way. Looking forward to that Great and Glorious day!

– May 31st – Pentecost Sunday

“When the days of Pentecost were completed …”
“When the days of our lockdown were completed …”

In more ways than one, we are like apostles ready to come forth and come to life again! The Apostles needed to pray and prepare for coming into the power of the Holy Spirit. We are now coming forth with new resolve to begin our full lives again with new wisdom and strength. Our time of confinement due to the virus is coming to an end! Our work lies ahead of us!

Let us truly celebrate Pentecost this year for what the Lord has already done, in pouring out His Spirit and preserving us in time of trouble (the virus). There is nothing like the glorious feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, and new start for the Apostles and for us, the Lord’s modern day Apostles!

– May 24th – The Ascension of the Lord (Mother’s Day Drive-by on Youtube)

The whole event radiated a feeling of warmth, celebration, and faith! A cavalcade of family cars (often with most of the family!). I am referring to our Sunday (Mother’s Day) Drive by Blessing with the Blessed Sacrament displayed in the Monstrance! What a joy it was to see so many of our parishioners come out joyfully for this event!

You can view the dedication (www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmRIo7P9Ov0&t=61s) and drive-by
(www.youtube.com/watch?v=NefDvpxWbY0&t=11s) on our YouTube channel. Remember to subscribe to our YouTube Channel, it helps us spread the word faster with more subscribers).

The drive-by was the climax of a formal dedication of ourselves and the parish. First, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, then to Our Lady (especially in her own title of Our Lady of Guadalupe) and then finally to St Joseph. These dedications prepare us to “open up “the parish once again when the lockdown is over and slowly we begin our regular routine. Please pray that the joy of that Sunday abide in us as we begin to pick up the pieces of parish life especially as we begin to celebrate Mass again in the church and carry out all the necessary protocols!

– May 17th – Sixth Sunday Of Easter 

Off to a great start!

We held our first virtual coffee house gathering on a Wednesday. Nine Catholic young adults used Zoom (a virtual gathering tool) and we were all happy with the results! Our program was “Prepare your Mass”; we went over the Sunday scripture readings so that our experience of the Mass would be that much richer! Also, we will understand the Homily on a deeper level.

Special thanks to our Wednesday coordinator, Rosie Nelan, who is excited by this opportunity to evangelize and share her faith. Next Wednesday she hopes to have some special guests, fellow students and an engaging young priest – a University Chaplain – on the show. For information call Rosie at 516-642-0245.

Special thanks also to Giovanna Maiello for all her work with the Friday night group. Last week they held “Lectio Divina” – an ancient yet appealing way to come into contact with God through the scriptures! Friday we host the Women’s group.
Their Topic is “Theology of the Body – for beginners” by Pope St. John Paul the II.

If you are a Catholic young adult or interested in our topics the virtual coffee house is the place to be!

– May 10th – Fifth Sunday Of Easter (Social Distancing and Mother’s Day!!!)

We are still in the season of the Pandemic, but Mother’s Day holds its rightful place in our hearts and minds. Hugs and kisses are of course very much in order and very much needed. This year, however, we take more common sense precautions and behave responsibly. 

The traditional Mother’s Day Novena of Masses will be celebrated privately. Remember your moms and grandmothers, make an appropriate offering, and return to the rectory or church during the day by mail or electronically. As we pray for our moms, living and deceased, they in turn are interceding for us before God. 

At the Starfish Coffee House there has been quite a bit of action over the internet. Our young adults are praying, sharing, and studying on Fridays via Zoom. Hats off to Giovanna, our Friday night coordinator! She did a great job of leading a Lectio Divina (prayer and sharing event). Giovanna has held the whole gang together through this pandemic. 

We are now open on Wednesday nights; we are starting virtually at 7:30 pm. I have asked Rosie Nelan to serve as co-coordinator, to develop a program with me and get us started on Zoom, a computer program for holding virtual meetings. Rosie is excited about her new position. Of course, we look forward with anticipation to being present to each other in the coffee house as soon as lockdowns are lifted. 

Enjoy Mother’s Day everyone! 

Mother’s Day Drive-By Blessings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NefDvpxWbY0

– May 3 2020 – Fourth Sunday of Easter

This strange time of pandemic is hitting our people in very different ways. If it strikes a family directly with hospitalization or even death it becomes a horror. If we are very inconvenienced by social distancing but all in our family seem safe and we are just filling our time with non-essentials, all this might just be an empty waste of time. Wherever we are on the spectrum, this ordeal can be a time of fruitful personal suffering, that is for a time of meaningful solidarity with those near and far who are physically affected. Suddenly, we ourselves find our faith in a good and powerful God severely challenged but ultimately enriched. We must work through this time as people of faith, as people who turn to God in trust. And by the way when we all get back into the church together, we will all see something new and beautiful, the unveiled cathedral size great image of the Divine Mercy!

Take heart little flock! We are truly loved by a merciful and mighty savior.

– April 26 2020 – Divine Mercy Recap

We take our English word “Church” from a Greek word which meant “to assemble” or “to gather together”, We are now in the midst of a pandemic which is challenging our right and our need to assemble. Our identity as the “People of God” could be undermined! Social distancing is necessary, of course, but we must not become distant to one another. Last Sunday was Divine Mercy Sunday and at the 3 o’clock hour we unveiled the great image of Divine Mercy. Only a small group could be present and pray the chaplet.

But then we were able later to have a cavalcade of cars approach and receive a blessing! As they say on TV, “Let us be apart now so we can be together later”! Jesus shows us the way. These times “test our souls” but the short Prayer below the image “Jesus, I Trust in You” is the perfect antidote to the stress and anxiety we struggle with in these days!

– April 19 2020 – Easter Week

Sometimes it is the little things that cheer our hearts the most. In this time of unusual challenge, the first need is to survive it and help others to do so. Hopefully, we will look back on these weeks of isolation as a time when we grew in appreciation of the good people God put in our lives and gained a renewed sense of spiritual priorities that make for happiness.

Now for two of the “Little Things

1) Watching and praying the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday via the internet but also teleconferencing and being able to see the faces of our young adult coffee house gang. We were all praying separately but still present to each other! The technology is great but even greater of course, was the gift of seeing so many of them together, as Jesus said, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst”. I didn’t realize how much I missed them! We couldn’t make it to the coffee house, but we got together anyway, and we celebrated our identity as his disciples!

2) The other little joy was our “Easter Sunday Drive Thru” it was our home-grown version of the Easter parade! Parishioners organized it themselves! I stood on the main steps of the church, they drove into the parking lot and formed a cortege (a line of entry) and drove past me as I blessed them with the Eucharist! They did not get out of their cars (social distancing) but through the open car window we were extending “Easter Greetings”. Whole families came out! The kids were excited and even made Easter Drawings. We all connected to God and his church in spite of the pandemic! Everyone was smiling! This simple gesture of parish and family solidarity paid off! The “Easter Drive Through” was a moment I won’t soon forget! Also, an amazing “little miracle “or a God-instance (divine co-incidence) happened. Without planning by us the song and commentary of Andrea Bocelli came on and lifted our spirits, it was an unlooked for, but precious blessing!

– April 11th 2020 – Easter Sunday

Dear Parishioner: 

How can we celebrate? 

With this frightening pandemic still very much with us, no one can really celebrate anything in an ordinary way! We need to jolt ourselves out of these ever-present fears and pre-occupations and say to ourselves and others “It’s Easter! Sorry I almost forgot”! We are sharing all we’ve been through (despite social distancing) even as we know it’s not over yet! Easter then can no longer be just a seasonal pause or a “Family Day” this year. It’s either a day to renew our faith in the risen Jesus or nothing much at all! 

A Warm Anecdote 

A pastor was talking to some of the smaller children of his parish about Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion; he was talking about some of the things Jesus said while He was dying. Then he asked, “What was the very last thing Jesus said before He died?” One little child raised his hand and said, “I’ll be back”! The simplicity and yet the authentic truth of what the child said lets us smile and take heart at the same time! Jesus himself didn’t quite put it that way , but He did say “in a little while” and “you will not see me and then in a little while you will see me”. Then He added, “because I go to the Father,” Jesus even predicted His death and resurrection three times and still it seems the apostles had no real idea of what He meant!. 

A More Subdued but More Profound Easter 

This year we have all been through something new and fearful. The pandemic has tested us and will continue to do so. The apostles went through the fright of Jesus’ passion and death; they saw their hopes and dreams of Him as their Savior totally crushed, yet they grew stronger because of it. So we too come out of all this a new people! An Easter people – profoundly changed and ready to share our joy with the world! 

Good Out of Evil 

God is not going to let something as awful as this pandemic attack His people without bringing out of it great blessings for our eternal good! God didn’t send this virus, but once it arrived, He would invite us to turn it around for the greater good of all. This requires that we use our freedom to carry out God’s purposes; of course, this is no easy thing to do! It takes faith and a willingness to sacrifice. God never forces us. These haven’t been the most enjoyable weeks of our lives, but they can turn out to have been among the most valuable. We can take time to ask ourselves what really counts in our lives! Have we discovered that it is being in a right relationship with God? What a “wake up call” these events can turn out to be! 

Best Easter Ever 

A popular Catholic author recently wrote a book entitled “ Best Lent Ever”. It might seem a bit ambitious to say “Best Easter Ever” but we have all been through a sobering, unique experience that God wants to use for our spiritual betterment. It was not easy for the apostles to see Jesus their Lord crucified but it was necessary so that they could experience His Resurrection on Easter. I pray that our modern-day journey with the crucified Jesus (that is our journey through this pandemic) may lead us to a new level of faith and an appreciation of God’s love for us and His plans for our lives. 

Your Support 

Thank You again for your fidelity to St. Francis Parish and your support at this time. When you return to church, check out our refurbished vestibule. Looks pretty nifty, doesn’t it? While we will have to sacrifice many of the simple human joys of a great holiday like Easter, we find ourselves rejoicing in a true holyday. As the Early Christians said when greeting one another “He is risen! Truly Risen as He said”! Also, I thank you for not forgetting your Easter gifts to the parish. 

A blessed Easter to all! 

Father Peter Kaczmarek 

– 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,
Father Peter

– 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

God’s Blessings!

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”.

Lenten blessings

– 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.

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