Parish of St. Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of Siena

A Parish of the Archdiocese of New York served by the Dominican Friars

January 02, 2016

You Will Never Know It’s Winter – Pastor’s Reflection (January 3, 2016)

Because of bulletin deadlines I write you on December 23, while we rush to get ready for Christmas. At this point I cannot reach the deeper recesses of the mystery of the Epiphany, so let me amend the plan for the next several months that we published several weeks ago.  We have developed it somewhat.

  • Enriching the communal life of the Parish
    • January 24 will begin a regular practice of Parish Coffees at St. Catherine’s. Thereafter we hope to celebrate these on the third Sunday of the month.
    • St. Catherine’s will also break the mid-winter gloom with a pair of celebrations. On February 2, at 6:30 pm we will celebrate the Lord’s Presentation, with its lovely procession of the Faithful carrying candles.
    • On the following Saturday, February 6, we hold will our Parish Mardi Gras in St. Dominic Hall after the 5:15 pm Vigil Mass.
    • A special observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity promises to deepen the intellectual and spiritual practice of the Faith.
    • January 18 – Opening Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer
    at 6 pm.
    • January 19 – Parish Study takes up the subject of
    our patrons, St Vincent Ferrer and St. Catherine of
    Siena, and positions on opposite sides of the Great
    Western Schism of the Church.
    • January 20 – Holy Hour for Christian Unity
    • January 21 – Lecture on Christian Unity at St.
    • January 22 – National Day of Prayer and Penance
    for the Preservation of Life. Votive Masses will be
    said in both churches.
    • January 23 – Solemn Mass according to the new
    Anglican Missal at St. Catherine’s.
    • January 25 – Sung Mass for the Feast of the
    Conversion of St Paul and the closing of the
    • The gradual formation of a united Parish Council.
    • In view of the merger we have not added new members to the the Parish Council of St. Vincent Ferrer. The members are Lou Zacharilla (Chair), Sr. Mary Elena Rizzo, O.P., Lois Deming, Philip Morace, Ashley Rose and Lane Shea, and David Linnehan.
    • At St. Catherine’s I have asked Helen Cox, Peggy Gale, Peter Marchewka, Fran Warga, and Steve and Kim Quatela to form a Parish Council.
    •Each group is helping me to be aware of the issues facing each congregation as this process goes forward.
    • Each group has also engaged in providing our Province of St. Joseph with a candid assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Friars’ ministry in each place.
    • The Parish Council meet jointly to design a drive for parish registration. See below.
    • The gradual union of Finance Councils. This needs to be handled carefully since St. Vincent’s and St. Catherine’s will be functioning as separate civil corporations for some time yet.
    • At St. Vincent’s, Lauretta Bruno, Lois Deming, Joan Carvo, Peter Handal, Joe Brownell, and Jean-Hugues Monier have helped us analyze our performance for the previous fiscal year and present it to the parish.
    • At. St. Catherine’s, the vagaries of transition have slowed the production of the latest reports. However, we now have those figures. It will be a relief to sit down with Tom Warga, Ed Munshower, Stanley Nadel, and Anthony Pirraglia, to go over our most recent performance and present it to the congregation. Also important to this task will be the Parish Trustees, Peter Marchewka and Alessandra Cabras.
    • This presentation is now scheduled for the weekend of January 16 -17.
    • On the following Sunday, January 24, after the Noon Mass we will have a listening session so that Parishioners raise their concerns on finances and other matters.
    • A process of communal reflection on the name of the new parish so that we can give the Cardinal three alternatives when the time comes. Parish Study will take up this matter on March 1.
    • We all need to register for the new parish. In tandem with this, we need to convince more people to take this step of commitment. Our combined Parish Council will take a lead in this. Perhaps it will serve us as a Lenten work. Parish Study will lay a foundation for this in its early sessions, beginning on January 12.
    • To pool our resources and develop a comprehensive program of religious education for the new parish. Toward this end, Lisa Harrelson who administers the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd at St. Catherine’s has been completing the coursework necessary to be a Director of Religious Education (dre) in the Archdiocese. Once she possesses this certification, she can provide training to other catechists, so that the whole program can be up to code. Parish Study will address the work of faith formation when it meets on April 12.
    • Clergy and Laity will need to reflect on the Mass and confession schedule of the new parish. What can we sustain? What does the common good ask of us?
    • The whole new community must be heard on the subject of liturgical music, so that we can frame a program that serves our worship. Parish Study sessions on February 9, 16, and 23 will be important for this reflection.
    • The Jubilee of the 800th anniversary of the Friars began on November 7. It will be a great work of the merger to develop a parish plan of celebration as we draw near to the anniversary itself on December 22, 2016.

May your winter pass swiftly!


Fr. Walter