The Pastor’s Desk
A Message from Father Peter
“When will they start showing up in church again?” If these words are not on the lips of priests and many active lay people, they are certainly on their minds! Ash Wednesday was quite frankly a surprise and a blessing, Parishioners showed up in good numbers. Many who did not come out for Christmas were here for ashes! Make no mistake, we are far from where we were before the pandemic, but we are moving in the right direction! Many people have good reasons to stay at home, but many also could come and did come! So, to sum it all up; see you in church, God willing!
Our very special project is coming along nicely. A benefactor has come forward who will purchase the statue of St. Martin DePorres and pedestal. We are accepting donations toward a small rack of candles to be set below the statue. A Donors Plaque will be set up. Call the office for details. Also, over a 3-week period we will print in the bulletin and on the web site the complete entry for St. Martin DePorres taken from Butler’s Lives of Saints (updated). Martin led an extraordinary life of practical and extensive help for a great number of poor people. Since he is a bi-racial person, he is a most fitting patron for our country and our church at this time.
We at the parish would like to restore our teen (youth) ministry on a virtual basis via Zoom. (Special thanks at this time to Ivonne Porpora who did so much to bring our young people in contact with the homeless.) Tony Chiarelli, who will be conducting the Zoom meetings, has long experience with youth and many talents and contacts. He will be offering a weekly program live on Zoom starting very shortly. Our recent Confirmation classes have been notified!
Please share this important news with any teens you may know. Our target age group is 8th to 12th grade enrolled in public high school. Catholic high school youth, of course, are always invited. There will be a teaching based on Catholic values, some fun moments (games, art etc.) and music and song. The aim is to build and encourage community and grow in faith and trust in our loving God. Starting date and time will be announced very shortly. Tell your teen gently; let them choose to come!
Ash Wednesday is fast approaching, and when it gets here, we will discover that the virus has touched this beautiful day also! So, we are called upon by the Diocese to administer the ashes in what hopefully is a safer way. The ashes will not be placed on our foreheads by the Priest (or Deacon) but nor will gloves be used; the minister must sprinkle the ashes over the forehead of the recipient in the hope that some will stick and remain!
We must prepare for a little to fall upon our eyes, we will alert everyone to have their eyes closed at the time of sprinkling. You may bring a cloth or Kleenex to cover your face. The words of the blessing remain the same as does the meaning. A touch of humility and good humor will get us through! After all Lent is a time of penance! See below for a full Ash Wednesday schedule; as always Friday night stations of the Cross in the church. New time is 7:30pm, Our Deacons co-ordinate the Stations. Wishing you a blessed Lent.
Ministry in the time of pandemic
Even those coming to Mass physically at this difficult time haven’t seen a regular eucharistic minister, or altar server since we re-opened (even lectors are scarce)! Forget the adult choir! Even the children’s choir has long “in abeyance”. We did restore Little People’s Liturgy at the 10am Mass. The young adult coffee house is thriving on zoom and with precautions the young people have also come together in small groups! Our youth ministry is only now beginning to think about zooming meetings! A meeting of all ministry heads is planned in the near future to re-assess the situation. We must take into account that we don’t yet know when the virus will no longer be a threat. We don’t know how to fully reopen all these ministries! We cannot fully implement ministries until we know more and receive instruction from the Diocese. Please keep the parish in your prayers!
The response to our “live streaming” all the Masses has been overwhelmingly positive! For this we are grateful! With the vaccines now beginning to be available, many are hoping to come back to church physically in the near future. As of now, about a total of 500 people are regularly coming to the 5 Masses we have. The Bishops will not restore the obligation to come physically unti most of the population is vaccinated. So, no pressure! However please begin to pray that soon the other 50% of our regular attendees will be with us not only in spirit but in body also. Then they too can once again receive Jesus into their bodies and soul!
Healing Mass – Held on Jan 20, 2021
It was a special joy for me to have this opportunity to celebrate a healing Mass for our people. The need is so great and the faith of our people is so in need of strengthening! Whenever Jesus preached, He also healed. Also, when He commissioned His apostles to preach and baptize, He instructed them to “heal the sick.” These special Masses are opportunities to do as the Lord would have us do. We look forward to monthly or bi-monthly Masses, our attendance will grow!
Feast of St. Blaise – Feb 3, 2021 – 12:30PM
Pandemic guidelines are in place for the Blessings of throats on the feast of St. Blaise. Both the priest and/or deacon who administers the blessing and the person receiving the blessing should wear masks. A distance of six feet should be maintained. The candles are normally held in the shape of a cross, often tied together with red ribbon. They should not be lit, and the prayer “through the intercession of Saint Blaise…” it’s said over each person. No other gesture besides holding them at a safe distance and making the sign of the cross at the invocation of the Holy Trinity is observed. It must be restated explicitly that candles may not be touched to the neck of any member of the faithful, then touched to the neck of another. This would be a direct violation of the pandemic protocols now in place in our region. This pandemic sure is challenging all of us in various ways!
Prayer for our country
No one can dispute the fact that our Government is in dire need of prayer support. At this time, Bishop Barres himself sent a memo to all priests reminding us to use great discretion in what we say from the pulpit regarding politics! So, the emphasis for us should be on prayer even as we try to educate ourselves about all aspects of this crisis. I want to commend particularly all those parishioners who have been conducting and attending various vigils and holy hours during this political season. This is sincere, humble faith in action. God has not given up on America! Let us not lose heart. We can discover God’s plans to heal our country and move forward in peace and harmony with one another.
Young Adult Retreat
Michael Grogen is a young Catholic gentleman who is legally blind and yet conducts one-to-one street ministry and evangelization in the poor areas of Philadelphia. On January 9, Michael presented to our Starfish Coffee House young adults a powerful day of reflection and adoration! They were most responsive to his message. Our young people are truly hungry for the truth and power of the Gospel. They are often an inspiration to me! Young Adult ministry is growing on Long Island. We also have a great Men’s Group that meets monthly to discuss Catholic theology on the moral issues of our time. If you have contact with a Catholic (or searching) young adult please, tell them about the Coffee House here at St. Francis.
Let us know
Our in-church Mass recording camera has now been in service for over two weeks. If you have been using it or know someone who is, we would appreciate your thoughts. Obviously, it is a great help to those who want to view a televised Mass and especially our parish Mass here at St. Francis. There is a lot to like about it but there may be something we can improve. Let us know!
The Christmas collection has been a crucial part of our budget planning. No longer can the average parish bank the collection for a rainy day! Due to the pandemic, physical Mass attendance was quite low on Christmas Eve and Christamas Day. Yes, it was a real disappointment, but a bright spot soon appeared. Many who felt they were in danger sent us their Christmas donation via mail or Faith Direct. Yes, our totals are lower this year, but not as bad as it could have been. We will publish the results so far in next week’s bulletin. Again, Thank you for your Christmas gift to the church.
With all the struggles the church has gone through, The Catholic Ministries Appeal is doubly important. We will launch the drive here very soon. Pat Brennan will again serve as chairperson. If you have given in the past, the Diocese will contact you directly. A very fine video has once again been created by the diocese. It is our Bishop’s desire that every Catholic in the diocese see this video. Therefore, we will show it in church. Experience teaches us that if we show it downstairs, many will not go down. Thank you for your understanding.
Our first Grand 50/50 raffle during Advent was a good success! The winner received a Prize of $4,612.50 after taxes to Al Fusaro, so the Parish came away with an equal amount! Donations for our usual Christmas collection were down of course from last year at $42,000 (there still may be some more to come). Taking the pandemic into account, not so bad. Last year’s Christmas collection was around $57,000. Some more will come in the next few weeks, but finances remain a challenge.
Yes, in common with most Catholic pastors, I had been hoping for a very good turnout of our parishioners. As you may know the Christmas attendance was disappointingly low! Here we planned for a closed circuit tv hook up to show the live Mass downstairs in the lower church also. Attendance was so low that nobody needed to go down to the lower level! I pray that a hunger for the Bread of Life (Holy Eucharist) will draw many more back to Mass in church. If you are youthful, under 70 and otherwise able to come, please consider returning soon. In the meantime, let us pray for one another.
The Magi (wisemen) had to “get on the move; “Get up and Go” so to speak. They could not remain “stuck”! In this instance, they undertook a great and dangerous journey – of hundreds of miles at least!
If we are to grow in faith, you and I must be more like them searching for God and willing to move (to change some of our routine when He shows Himself) We speak of the journey of faith, it means movement from one set of activities, relationships and priorities to others- we are familiar with changes thrust upon us by family, finances, aging, external events “we must not merely go with the flow”; we need to choose the path that God shows us.
Move a muscle, Change a thought! Introduce one new thing, eliminate something from our schedule. Lift the anchor, you cannot sail away in an anchored boat! All these expressions offer perspectives on the journey of faith. We cannot stand still forever; let us move by faith in a God who wants to fill our hearts with his love!
How many changes have we made of our own initiative? How many did we make seeking to do God’s will? How many did we pray about beforehand? The wise men’s faith and persistence found them the Christ child. Let us imitate them and discover more of God’s plan for our lives.
Mary may have burned the supper or broken a pot once in a while! Jesus, the scripture says, “grew in wisdom and knowledge”; Mary had to teach Jesus certain household chores. Joseph in all probability taught him carpentry. They all remain magnificent models for us who are not sinless but love the Lord and strive to do his will!
Take some time to pray to them about the realities of your family life.
The Parish and indeed the church at large owe deep gratitude to Mike Lobasso for his devoted work in promoting the National Night of Prayer for Life. Over 700 Catholic parishes and other Christian groups participate yearly, this has been Mikes special annual project for many years and people all over the U.S anticipate it with Easter expectation.
Join Mike and his family, friends in their heart felt prayers; “O God, Change America’s heart about Abortion”.
Christmas is fast upon us; Gaudete Sunday is a reminder to us to prepare spiritually for this most wonderful time of the year! The chance books are coming in! Your response has been good! Our parishioners have great parish spirit; they are excited by the thought of live streaming our Masses and needless to say, the hope of winning is a big motivator. Again, stay strong in the Spirit in these times!
Thank you in advance for your Christmas offering! We cannot stress enough that given the present struggle with the virus and the reality that many have not returned to Sunday Mass, our need is greater than ever.
May God Bless you with health and spirituality in the coming year.
An Introduction to Advent and the Advent Wreath
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.
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:
- Warmly welcoming our guests and thanking them for coming.
- Offering plenty of understanding (via phone) to all who chose not to come.
- Encourage those who are anxious about the virus to rebuke fear and pray the Divine Mercy prayer “Jesus, I Trust in You.”
- Affirm our Catholic pro-life values to all folks of all political persuasions.
- Do a lot of listening – People do not expect you to agree with everything they say but everyone appreciates a good listener.
- Find someone positive to affirm in all perspectives!
- 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”!
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!)
Click on the button below to read the full story of Father Pat.
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!
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!
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.”
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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”!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!)
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!
“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!
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!
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!
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
Take heart little flock! We are truly loved by a merciful and mighty savior.
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!
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!
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.
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
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,
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
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!
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”.
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
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.
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!
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
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.