Autumn Catch-Up – Pastor’s Reflection (October 11, 2015)
Columbus Day weekend, for me, makes the real break from Summer to Autumn, which runs until the turkey is on the table. At this hinge in the year, let me try to situate us in the stream of events.
Last Sunday’s celebration of Confirmations by Bishop Walsh at St. Vincent’s was also the welcoming Mass for the freshmen class at St. Vincent Ferrer High School. With its celebration, it seems fair to say that this singular parish year is in full swing, and that the ritual aspect of our canonical merger is complete.
The administrative work of the in-fact merger has only just begun. It would only be candid to say that we begin this work in a stance of deficit. At St. Catherine’s Steven Picciano, Business Manager, and Kelly McNamee, Administrative Assistant, now serve as the newly formed administrative staff of the Dominican Friars Health Care Ministry of New York. In the whole wave of changes, I do not think we have thanked Steven and Kelly in these pages for the industry and skill they brought to their service in the parish. Fr Jordan Kelly and lay collaborators made it clear that their help was invaluable in the development of the ministry and culture of St. Catherine’s Parish. In particular, the parish benefitted enormously from their facility with technology. Br. Ignatius and the Chaplains, Fr. David Adiletta, Fr. Jonah Pollock, and Fr John Devaney are blessed to have their assistance.
When this change is set beside the retirements of Pat Keegan and Yvonne Scally after long service, as Parish Secretary and Receptionist respectively, at St. Vincent Ferrer, it makes for a major break in the continuity of the daily administration of the parish. I find it a great consolation that all those who have left our employ are well-situated, at the same time it comes as a hard realization that in a workplace one comes to take much for granted. Deacon Richard Cheu has been sent to us by the Archdiocese to help us work out the challenges of the merger. Rachel Miller at St. Vincent’s and Sister Padraic Mary have worked with grace and perseverance to deal with the loose ends and unexplained mysteries. I want to give thanks publicly for all this help, and for the forbearance of so many in the parish and in the Dominican communities.
I anticipate that next week I will be writing to welcome a new permanent Business Manager to our parish. With the filling of this position I hope that we will be establishing a new order and coherence to our administration of affairs, allowing for a more attentive pastoral practice.
The Finance Council for St. Vincent Ferrer will meet this week to review the financial report for the Fiscal year just ended on August 31. They will report to the parish at the Masses at St. Vincent’s on the weekend of the 17th and 18th. The Finance Council for St. Catherine’s will also plan to meet and report as soon as figures are available. Given the change in administration, that will probably take place in November.
As of this writing, Parish Study has met three times with three different Friar presenters. The results have been very gratifying, and we Friars are now speaking about the best ways in which to share the fruits of this work with the Parish.
Let me remind you that you are welcome to submit names of the ill and the deceased to Rachel Miller at St. Vincent’s so that we might pray for them. The names will be read once at Mass and then appear in the bulletin for three weeks. Feel free to renew the request for prayers at the end of this cycle.
At St. Catherine’s we are due to celebrate the Forty Hours devotion at this time, but frankly, we are not prepared to do it. So, this year, I would like to celebrate our annual period of Solemn Exposition around the Feast of St. Catherine in April.
What will proceed however is the annual novena of prayer and preaching sponsored by the Shrine of St. Jude the Apostle at St. Catherine’s in preparation for his feast on October 28. Some may not realize that his shrine in St. Catherine’s Church has proven to be a popular and effective place of prayer for the sick, their families, medical professionals, and many others. St. Jude is venerated as the saint who brings “visible and speedy help where help is almost despaired.” Thus St. Jude stands among the saints as a bringer of fresh hope. The Novena and its prayers will be carried out at the 12PM and 5:15PM Masses at St. Catherine’s. This year I have been asked to preach it. I am offering this topic, “The Practice of Justice and the Ground of Hope.” We will be speaking about how the work we do at perfecting human relationships gives us a deeper and more confident longing for the truly perfect relationship with God, which comes as His gift. By working with what human life can provide, we come to terms with what it cannot, and we look to Him who alone can make up the difference.
Please also mark your calendars for Sunday, November 1, the Solemnity of All Saints. We will honor this feast with Solemn Vespers at St. Vincent Ferrer at 4PM. This will be followed by a parish party. On the following day, the Commemoration of All Souls, we will celebrate a Solemn Mass for the Dead at St. Catherine’s at 6:30 PM.