Pastor’s Desk – Month of May 2021
A Message from Father Peter
– May 30th 2021 – Medjugorje Pilgrimage!
Dates: July 29-Aug 7 2021
Double Occupancy, from NY – $2547
Yes, it is a last-minute thing but I suppose this year we have to be flexible with our scheduling and organizing.
A pilgrimage is a call, it is not meant to be a pious vacation. That said, a pilgrimage can incorporate a very good measure of fun: new sights, sounds and tastes! You will make new friends, have great and inspiring conversations with people both similar to and very different from yourself. However, it is still a call – God is literally inviting you to come home away and rest a while and also (as Our Lady Of Medjugorje says) “to know and feel the love of God in your hearts.”
This is an invitation from Our Lady; only very secondarily is it one from me. I cannot predict what you will experience but it will be profound if you come with a ready heart. While the church has not yet pronounced its verdict on the supernatural nature of the events reported there, the official Vatican observer presented a very positive report; it was accepted, and the spiritual fruit judged authentic. Catholics who wish to go, are now formally encouraged.
Call me directly at 631-609-0040 or at the rectory at 631-757-7435 for more info!
At last, the light at the end of the tunnel! The diocese has stipulated some areas where we may safely ease some of the pandemic restrictions! After May 19, several rows of pews in the rear of the church will remain corded off and will remain so for those who feel they need greater level of protection. About ¾ of our seating capacity will be opened. We hope this will meet the needs of most!
A Message from Father Peter
– May 23th 2021 – Good News from Our Diocese!
These changes are based in part on directives from the Governor and take effect on May 19, 2021. Please keep in mind that our churches have not proven to be dangerous places. A calm and reasonable approach is an encouragement to all. The dispensation from obligation to attend Sunday and holiday Mass remains in effect. All of New York State Dioceses will lift the dispensation together on the same date. As priests and pastors, we are now being told to start encouraging our people to return to in-person participation in the Mass.
Beginning May 19, 100% of our seating capacity may be used. Some social distancing should remain in practice. There is legitimate debate as to how many feet it should be. In New York State, it is still 6 feet. We should be reasonable; 6 feet is not a magic number. Particularly those not in the same family should remain at some distance. Ushers should not be enforcers of the 6 foot rule. As of May 19, the pew tapes will be removed. People who are truly fearful should be encouraged to remain at home. Priests should remain serene and confidant that people will make good decisions. Masks should continue to be worn by all except for children under 2 years or people with breathing difficulty.
We should not ask about people’s vaccination status, nor segregate them on that basis. Lectors, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, Sacristan and Choirs may return at the pastor’s discretion. Here at St. Francis we will begin slowly but surely. Standard entrance and exit processions are judged safe. However, the offertory procession (with gifts) should not begin as of yet. Collection baskets with poles are acceptable. Exchanging the Sign of Peace may now begin but physical contact outside the family circle must be avoided. We can say “Peace be with you” but without touching! The Precious Blood may not be distributed until further notice. Parish bulletins may now be distributed after every Mass. Hymnals will be placed in pews for use very shortly. Holy water fonts will remain empty but holy water will be available in the tank.
Slowly and steadily we here at St. Francis are making our way out of the pandemic and on our way to “normalcy”. Let us operate on a “new level of normal”- with greater Joy and Thanksgiving for the Gift of Life that comes from God and the gifts of hope and love given to us by Jesus our Lord in the Holy Spirit!
– May 16th 2021 – Ascension of the Lord
Deacon Allan Longo (center) has just announced his intention to retire from his position as Director of Religious Education on June 1, 2021. Deacon Allan, who is the longest serving and first Deacon here at St. Francis, assumed the Directorship 12 years ago.
Since then, he has served in that position which was held for 40 years by Mrs. Terry DeMayo. Deacon Longo was always prepared; he knew the names of the students, and together with Mrs. Anita Modelewski, maintained an orderly and safe environment.
Deacon Longo of course will remain in ministry here as Deacon and you will continue to see him on the altar on Sundays. We look forward to enjoying Deacon Allan’s ministry for many more years.
The necessary changes in Religious Education will be made and announced in due course. Check the bulletin and our website for upcoming news about our program.
– May 9th 2021 – Sixth Sunday of Easter
Our first healing mass was a great blessing for all who came. The Replay is available to watch via live stream on our web site (stfrancisgreenlawn.org) Our next scheduled Healing Mass will be June 8th,2021 (at 7:30 pm). Jesus not only preached but healed the sick. He calls all of us his disciples to do likewise.
Our coffee house young adults are watching segments of the serialized life of Jesus entitled ‘The Chosen”, The focus is on the lives and personal struggles of those who will become Jesus’ apostles and disciples. The characters, their choices, weaknesses and failures, joys and hopes are developed in a type of historical fiction. “It could have happened that way.”
There are several ways to view it: check on YouTube!
Our young adults are enjoying it thoroughly. Don’t forget ‘Coffee House’ is Wednesday and Friday evenings. Both zoom and in person (during the pandemic in the lower church) Spread the word to all the young adults you know. Watch the bulletin every week for word on upcoming special events!
– May 2nd 2021 – Fifth Sunday of Easter
Congratulations to all our First Communion Families!
All your work and self-sacrifice has borne fruit in the excitement and sample faith of our first Communicants. You allowed yourselves to be led spiritually by your children and the day became a family day of faith and joyful fun!
Now we can take the next step! Now we have a moment of to pray to God for the focus and spirit of sacrifice entailed in returning to church regularly for Sunday Mass! If we “show up”, God will “show up” and a whole new season of grace will blossom in our busy lives!
As many of you know, members of the parish and the Starfish Coffee House joined Fr. Peter on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje last month.
Our Blessed Mother models a profound witness to love and life in the Gospel account of the Visitation.
Justin Kozma is a member of the group of young adults who visited Medjugorje last month on the occasion of the 2022 Youth Festival. His testimony to what he witnessed there is presented here and in two other installments.