Baptism

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Today marks the close of the Christmas Season and by now most people have removed their Christmas decorations and packed them away for another year.  Gifts have been unwrapped and either used, worn or exchanged and we have settled back into our daily routines.  If we stop and think about it, most of life encompasses daily routines of either work or school.  This is not necessarily a bad thing because it gives us stability and grounding.  The festivities and business of December gives us a much needed break from the ordinary, but now we settle back into routine and rhythm which enables us to continue living out our baptismal calling or vocation, whether it be as a spouse, child or parent.  This feast we celebrate today, not only marks the day Jesus was baptized, but recalls the day of our own baptism.  We know Baptism is the remission of Original Sin; however, this sacrament also gives us mission or calling.  On more than one occasion I have been asked why Jesus was baptized.  Hopefully this article will shed some light on this frequently asked question.  

Why was Jesus baptized?  Today the Church recalls Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan River, and people have often asked, “If Jesus was without sin, why did HE need to be baptized?  The simple and straightforward answer to this question is He did not have or need to be baptized.  Jesus chose to be baptized.  Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry was about to embark on His great work and proclaim the Kingdom.  Baptism in essence confirms Jesus’ mission and identity; we hear the words of the Father coming from the heavens at Jesus’ baptism “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him.”  Jesus baptism also shows us that though He is without sin, He chooses to identify with sinners.  That should give us and all Christians great hope and comfort, because we are all sinners.

Just as Jesus’ baptism gives him mission to begin the Father’s plan for salvation, (Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection) so, too, does our own baptism.

At Baptism we were anointed with holy chrism, which sets us apart or marks us for mission in the Church. 

We all are called to service in the Church and ultimately to the world to make the Kingdom present here and now through acts of sacrifice and service.  In essence our Baptism calls us to be like Christ to others through acts of service, charity and sacrifice.  This is often referred to as the common priesthood.  In Baptism we all share in the common priesthood of Jesus Christ.

How we do that varies.  The vast majority of folks are called to the married life in which they share in God’s great capacity to love.  This is accomplished through devoting themselves totally to the other’s happiness and more often than not requires dying to one’s own wants and desires for the good of the other.  The vast majority of married couples have children which require more service and sacrifice for their good, and makes present in a tangible way what Christ does for us.

While all Catholics share the common priesthood of Jesus, some are called to share in the Ordained Priesthood, i.e. priest or deacon.  These men are ordained for public service in the Church to make Christ present through the celebration of the sacraments and putting their lives at the service of the Church.

Single people also share in the common priesthood of Christ.  These individuals for one reason or another choose not to marry and lead chaste lives.  In not having a spouse or children these people can devote more time in service and sacrifice to the wider community and doing so the play their role in making the Kingdom present as well.

Each one of us is given a task or mission from God and a role to play in our Church, may we be faithful to the work God has called each one of us too and pray for the grace and perseverance to live out our Baptismal calling with faithfulness. 

— Fr. Kevin

Feasts within the Season of Christmas

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Christmas is a season and therefore it spans a period of time.  Aside from the Sacred Easter Triduum which spans three days, Christmas is one of the shortest Church seasons; at most it is 13 days long, like this year.  During the season of Christmas the Church in her wisdom celebrates other major feasts within the Christmas season, for example, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1) and Holy Innocents (December 28).  On this weekend, the last weekend of the calendar year, the Church celebrates The Feast of the Holy Family, honoring the human family of Jesus, Mary His mother and Joseph, His father.  Being fully human, Jesus belongs to a family and like all of us has a mom and dad.  This feast however, not only celebrates Jesus’ family, but our families as well.  For better or for worse, we all belong to a family!

Traditional families consist of a mom, dad and children, who are products of their parents love for one another.  This is probably the most well-known of “family types” but in the 21st century there are many variations to that like blended families, single parent families etc. 

The unifying and overarching fact about families is they should be places where all members feel loved and valued and where members can turn to one another for support and encouragement.  Most parents strive to be models of kindness and love to their children and teach the children to love and support their parents, siblings and other family members.  

Sometimes people think that the term HOLY FAMILY is reserved only for Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but this notion is far from the truth.  ALL FAMILIES ARE CALLED TO BE MODELS OF SANCTITY AND HOLINESS.  People will ask me, how can our family be holy?  Many times they feel that holiness is reserved for the great saints and other pious people who spend a lot of time in Church, whether it be praying or volunteering. 

Yes, these individuals are on the path to holiness and I remind families with young children who are busy with hectic schedules that individuals who have the freedom to be very involved in parish life often have raised their children and perhaps are nearing retirement or already retired.

Parents who are very involved in the children’s lives often do not have time for themselves.  I will often hear them say, “I do not even have time to breathe, or spend a few minutes by myself or with my spouse.” That is because they are busy with the ministry of parenting.  Parents who drive their children to sporting events, help their children with homework, cook meals, make lunches, comfort a child who has had a bad dream, rush a child to the emergency room because he/she has gotten hurt, helps and calms a sick child in the middle of the night and then still gets up and goes to work in the morning are shining examples of sanctity and holiness!  Simply put, in each of the above mentioned scenarios and many others, the parents are putting their child’s needs ahead of their own.  Parents do for their children; they teach with their actions what it means to give without counting the cost.  In short, they become the presence of the love of Christ to their children.  Parents do what Jesus, Mary and Joseph did for God and one another!

This does not, however, give children a free ride.  The Book of Sirach which we heard this weekend in the Scriptures reminds children of their obligation to do for their parents when they are in the golden years of their life!  In other words assist your parents, if they become infirm or disabled.  If they are healthy, call them; visit them, socialize with them occasionally or more if you are able to and you will be blessed.  I hope deep down children remember and appreciate all the generosity, sacrifice and love parents gave them and do not be too hard on your parents.  Most do the very best job they can and remember two things there is no manual for being a parent and someday many of you will be parents as well.  On this Holy Family Sunday we salute all families in our Parish and pray that God give them the strength and grace to loving, generous and supportive to one another and no matter what your role is in your family, you might be a model of sanctity and holiness.

-Fr. Kevin

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Well it may not be exactly the night before Christmas but we are pretty close,  Monday is Christmas Eve, and so it we can say with certainty that this is the weekend before Christmas. 

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Ready or not the great feast of Christmas is upon us!  Often as Christmas draws near, I hear people saying “I’ll be so glad when it is over!  We are tired of all the work Christmas entails from shopping to wrapping and baking and cooking, not to mention entertaining!   To some degree,  we have brought it on ourselves, after all, our culture tells us to start celebrating the day after Halloween.  Christmas music abounds in stores, restaurants and radios days before Thanksgiving, and of course the man in the red suit arrives in malls even before he makes his debut in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade down Broadway.  Is it any wonder that when this great feast of God made Man descending on earth arrives we are tired of Christmas?  Christmas Eve and Day have almost become anti-climactic!  Sadly, this phenomenon is not just a product of American culture, but spans across the globe.  Frs. Perera and Azuibuike told me that Santa Claus is the be all and end all in their countries as well and Christmas has become extremely commercialized in their native lands.

I came across the following poem which is a religious version of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  I hope you will agree that all the commercialization from Santa to the Rockettes  and everything in between is pale in comparison to that great mystery we as Catholics proclaim every Sunday in our Creed, “For us men and for our salvation He became man.”   

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas;

God glanced over the earth.

He looked to and fro,

All over its girth.

They missed it again He said with a sigh,

A heavy heart and a tear in His eye.

I gave them my Son,

So they could be free.

My greatest gift to them from me!

They traded me in for a fat man in red,

A little tree and a horse drawn sled.

How do I save them and make them see,

My love is complete and my grace is free

How do I help them when all they know is a talking snowman

And a big box with a bow?

Maybe next year they will stop and see

The biggest gift of Christmas is the little child from me!   

I pray that you and your loved ones appreciate and know the true meaning of Christmas which is the infinite love and generosity of our God who for us became human, someone like us in all things but sin.  May God bless you at Christmas and always!  Merry Christmas!

-Fr. Kevin

St. Boniface and the Christmas Tree

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Traditionally this weekend is known as Gaudete Sunday or in English, Joy Sunday. We are halfway through Advent and we light the Pink Candle on the Advent Wreath to signify Christmas is almost here. Many people decorate and put their Christmas Trees up this weekend, and so in honor of that I thought you might find the following article I read interesting, particularly since it relates to our beloved Patron, Boniface!

One of our stain glass windows in Church depicts our Patron, Boniface, chopping down a  great and might oak tree in the forest. We know St. Boniface was of English origins by birth and
traveled to Germany to evangelize and spread Christianity to the German people. Despite the fact that Boniface is seen chopping down a tree, the legend of the Christmas tree was born. We know that legends are not true; however, we can sometimes learn something from them and apply it to a larger truth.

Someone from the parish shared the following article with me and I
thought it was appropriate to share with you for
two reasons. The Christmas tree is a popular
sight in contemporary culture; we adorn our
homes and marketplaces with them; in fact, we
even have them in Church and St. Boniface is
credited with Christianizing this Christmas
symbol.


What Christmas celebration would be complete
without the glittering fir filling our homes with
light and warmth? Whence the custom of the
Christmas tree? Pine fir trees were certainly not
found in Oriental Bethlehem when Jesus was
born. Rather Palm Trees grow in that area of the
world. Why then don’t Palm Trees adorn our
living rooms and malls at this time of year? One
can even go as far as to ask is it even Christian?

Indeed, that majestic fir in our living rooms
has an ancient wonderful history.
Though the custom began pagan, it was
“baptized” and adopted by the wisdom of the
great St. Boniface!  One of the pagan gods
was a great oak tree, called Thunder Oak in honor of the god Thor.

Every winter locals would offer sacrifice to Thor
under the oak tree. The sacrifice was a young
child, certainly barbaric and Boniface bravely
did away with this custom by chopping down
the oak tree. Legend has it that a strong gust of
wind toppled the oak tree before Boniface
finished cutting it down and the locals were so
impressed that the “god” did not strike down
Boniface that they accepted Christianity.

As the giant oak collapsed, standing there was a
small fir tree that somehow escaped destruction.
Pointing to it the holy man Boniface said, “This
little tree, a young child of the forest shall be
your holy tree tonight. It is the wood of peace; it
is the sign of endless life; for its leaves are
evergreen. See how it points upward to the
heavens. Let this be called the tree of the Christ
child. Gather around it not in the forests but in
your own homes; there it will shelter no deeds
of blood but loving gifts and rites of
kindness.” (The Legend of the Christmas Tree,
by Andrea Phillips)

Thus using strength and tact, Saint Boniface did
away with an idol and made it a holy and
Christian symbol. As you gather around your
Christmas trees this year, share its holy origins
with your children relatives and friends so they
may not only love its lights, colors and
ornaments, but also the rich Catholic heritage
that is theirs.


-Fr. Kevin

The Sounds of Silence

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Yes, the title of the article is also the same as the hit song by Simon and Garfunkel, but it is also much more than that.  Silence is not just the absence of something, namely NOISE and SOUND, but also the presence of something!  It enables us to be in touch and in harmony with our thoughts and hopefully our God. According to a former Roman Catholic Benedictine Monk who spent a little over a year in a cloistered monastery says, “When we are silent we become aware of and are union with the sacred inner self which is always active and at work in us.”   After all, the words of the Hebrew Scriptures give credence to that, BE STILL AND KNOW I AM GOD!  (Psalm 46:10)

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a family gathering with cousins, aunts, uncles and a plethora of other family members totaling 25 in number, so there was lots of good cheer and noise, and of course a number of different conversations going on at once among various groups of people. I can certainly say that I enjoyed seeing everyone and conversing with them; however, as the evening drew on, I found myself wanting to make a quick exit, because I could no longer stand all the noise.  It was actually grating on my nerves.  I suppose this is basically because I live alone.  True, I have Fathers Azuibuike and Perera in the rectory with me, but we all have separate suites (living areas) however, we do share meals together.  Sometimes they are both out and I am the only one home, so like most priests, I have grown accustomed to alone time.  I can say unapologetically that I savor and relish silence.

In a recent article I read regarding spirituality and silence, the author states emphatically that silence is healthy and is NOT DEADLY!  Quite to the contrary, silence is not only beneficial to our spiritual health and well-being but to our physical health as well.  The art of silence is practiced in monasteries and convents around the world by many cloistered religious orders.

Our world is noisy and filled with many distractions.  Everywhere we turn and in every place we frequent people seem to be on phones.  Psychologists and Spiritual Directors alike often claim that people are afraid to be silent and still; perhaps because they are afraid to discover something about themselves or do not want to face some issue that may be confronting them.

Lent is a good time to start the practice of silence, even if for just 5-10 minutes a day.  Find a quiet room in your home; perhaps eat lunch alone once or twice a week rather than with co-workers; spend 10-15 minutes before the Blessed Sacrament or take a walk alone through a park or on a beach.  Silence calms us down; it relieves stress; you may very well feel the presence of God, and in that quiet God may reveal Himself more deeply to you.  When Lent finally passes, you may find yourself practicing this lost art on a daily basis all year long.  It can’t hurt and GOD KNOWS; THE SOUND OF SILENCE IS NOT DEADLY, BUT RATHER LIFE GIVING!

– Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s letter appears periodically here and in the St. Boniface Parish Bulletin.

Hardcore Catholicism vs. Catholic Lite?

 

 

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

I know that just by the title of this article, some will read out of mere curiosity, while others will be overjoyed that the Pastor has written another bulletin article after what has been a bit of a hiatus, but trust me; it is not because I have not wanted to, it is simply because I have had a bit of a dry period with regards to ideas.

This past Ash Wednesday and an all-day meeting the following day with Bishop Barres and my brother priests from the Oyster Bay Deanery (which by the way encompasses 10 parishes, 9 of which are north of Jericho Turnpike) has changed that! By the time, you finish reading this article; you may very well have learned something new or simply had your memory refreshed from days gone by.  We have begun the solemn season of Lent with bare sanctuaries, the absence of the word All***ia, fasting, praying, and the use of the somber and austere color purple.  All these signs and practices help to remind us that this is a special season, a time of grace, a time of reconciliation, a time set apart.

This past Ash Wednesday, St. Boniface, like so many other Catholic Parishes around the world had large numbers of people present, many of whom were simply present to covet those valuable and precious ashes! When I arrived at St. Boniface, there were 2 Ash Wednesday Masses (8 AM and 12:15 PM) and 2 services (4 PM and 7:30 PM), and as a Pastor, I felt that perhaps we should offer mass at 4 PM, rather than just a service.  A large number of Religious Education students and their families attend and so as to stress the importance of the Mass and the graces received in the Mass, I changed the 4 PM service to a Mass.  One naysayer (as you know there’s always one in every crowd) told me, “They will never stay; they will all leave as soon as the ashes are distributed.” I must admit; I thought this person would be correct, but much to my surprise and delight, practically all stayed for the entire Mass! After communion, I announced how happy I was and that they were TRUE HARD CORE CATHOLICS! They get it that receiving the Eucharistic Lord is so much more important than ashes!

A suggestion for a Lenten devotion, if you have not already chosen one might be to attend daily mass one or two days a week.  We have a brand new million dollar plus Church and the other priests and I would love to see more parishioners at daily Mass.  While numbers are slightly up some days and the Church is indeed, more conducive to prayer and silence, we would still like to see more people.  I know of several people who said they would attend daily Mass more frequently, if only we used the Church.  The heat has to be on for the pipe organ anyway, so here is YOUR chance!

The Mass is a powerful and effective.  Did you know there is something called The Fruits of the Mass? In fact, there are many fruits to the Mass; these are Divine Heavenly treasures and graces God bestows on the Faithful who attend Mass.  Here is one example which if you are still reading might cause you some discomfort, but maybe that is God speaking to you.  “Each time you attend Mass, you can do more to pay for the penalty of your sins, than by the severest work of penance.” Something to really think about!

While I realize some people work and their schedules do not allow them to attend Mass here at 8 AM, why not consider finding a parish near work or school? Some parishes add extra Masses during Lent, and that is something I am considering here next Lent as well.  As Pastor, I should probably tell you that I have been told people will not come, but then again that is what people (a few albeit) said about adding the noon Mass on Sunday and although the numbers vary on any given Sunday, numbers have increased at that Mass as well, particularly in the Winter months.

Finally, if one simply cannot attend Mass then why not consider having Mass(es) offered for your loved ones, both living and deceased, including YOUR OWN FAMILY.  The offering is $20.  One of the things I have noticed here is that MANY MASSES go unannounced.  People seem to only want Sundays; perhaps it is because they want to be there; however, whether you are there or not does not really matter.  What truly matters is that the Fruits of the Mass are applied for the salvation of the soul for whom Mass is being said.

—Fr.  Kevin


Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears periodically here and in our Parish Bulletin.

To the Moon and Back

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Like many other grandparents, my mother gives her grandchildren a kiss and a big hug when greeting them or saying goodbye to them and then adds the phrase, “I love you to the moon and back!”  I must admit I thought she was the only grandparent who used this saying, but now realize this statement is employed by countless other grandmas and grandpas.  Recently, I observed it on a plaque in the den of a family who are parishioners here at St. Boniface and mentioned to them that my mother says the same thing to her grandchildren.

To the moon and back is not exactly eternity, but wow, what a distance it is!  At the conclusion of Saint Matthew’s Gospel Jesus says, “Go Teach All People My Gospel.”   Notice his choice of words, “ALL” which in essence means everyone.  Jesus did not want to keep His message confined to just Jerusalem and the land of his birth, death and resurrection; rather he wanted it revealed to the furthest and remotest corners of the earth, and for over 2000 years that is exactly what happened, thanks to the gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and their successors.

A little more than a month ago, Pope Francis created five new Cardinals, or Princes of the Church.  Heeding the mandate of Jesus, he continues a pattern of finding Cardinals at the peripheries of the world and from dioceses which have not traditionally had a Cardinal.  With this new group of men, Francis has confirmed his preferences for dioceses that are not traditional Sees for a “red hat”.  This group of men will be elevated to Cardinals this Wednesday, June 28 in Rome by Pope Francis.

A good example of the Pope breaking from tradition is where these men currently serve, Laos, Mali, Sweden and San Salvador.   Each of these respective Sees will receive a “red hat”.  Francis also breaks from tradition in that only two of the men are currently Archbishops.  Two others are simply Bishops, and one is the long standing Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of San Salvador, El Salvador; his name is Jose Aregorio Rosa-Chavez and is known to have closely worked with slain Archbishop Oscar Romero.

While we may not be called to go to the moon and back, or to evangelize the furthest corners of the globe, we are called to be witnesses to Christ in our local communities, in the work place, school and our families.  Perhaps our Holy Father is reminding us we are all called to be missionaries and be the presence of Christ to all we meet.  Who knows?  Actually on a very local level here in Rockville Centre our Bishop, John Barres is also calling us to Dramatic Missionary Growth! This phrase has become one of the mantras of his Episcopacy since arriving on Long Island earlier this year.  Our actions here locally may have profound effects and influences in our local area and just maybe to the ends of the world!

—Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears here and in our Parish Bulletin

Numbers

 

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Numbers fascinate some people, especially Mathematicians, Statisticians, and Accountants.    It’s hard to believe we are at the Fifth Sunday of Lent already and that Easter is just two weeks away.  During these past weeks, we have been singing popular Lenten hymns with the number forty.  Forty Days and Forty Nights and Lord Who throughout These Forty Days are two such hymns that we have sung during this special season.

Forty Days, why does Lent last forty days?  Have you ever stopped to think about that?  Believe it, or not, it is not just some random number that a Theologian or Pope decided upon at whim!  FORTY is a special number in the Scriptures.  It occurs many times, and is often associated with a period of testing or purification.

Moses spent 40 days fasting on Mount Sinai before returning with the Ten Commandments.  The biblical flood required forty days and nights of rain.  According to Jewish law, Mary had to wait forty days after the birth of her Son, Jesus, to enter the temple.  Of course everyone is familiar with the forty days Jesus spent in the desert where he was tested by Satan.  After His resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday, Jesus spent forty days appearing to his Apostles in His glorified body

Forty years is also a special time frame in Judeo-Christian culture.  It was considered the biblical time span of a generation, as in the time the Israelites wandered the desert until the sinful generation passed away before their descendants entered the Promised Land.  King David ruled for forty years.

So as we prepare to enter Holy Week and the Easter Tridium and bring these great FORTY DAYS to a close, let us reflect on what we can do to test and purify ourselves to prepare us for the great events that bring these special days to a climax.

One of the ways we can purify ourselves is to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  It is a wonderful way to experience the deep and lasting peace of Jesus Christ through the forgiveness of our sins. Monday of Holy Week (April 10, this year) has come to be known as RECONCILIATION MONDAY because in every Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of New York and Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre confessions will be heard from 3PM-9PM.  In addition, confessions will also be heard here at St. Boniface on Good Friday from 4:30-6:00 PM and Holy Saturday from 11:00 AM until12:00 Noon.  Give yourself the gift of Easter Peace; come, celebrate this powerful and life giving Sacrament during these SPECIAL AND HIGH HOLYDAYS!

 – Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin Dillon’ s letter appears here and in the St. Boniface Parish Bulletin.

Small Matters

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

We are taught that big is better, and more really matters. While it is definitely good to think big, and have all sorts of grandiose plans for projects, renovations or career dreams, sometime if we bite off more than we can chew, we may discover we cannot fulfill or finish the endeavor we originally set out to complete. This can lead to frustration and maybe a bit of depression. It might be good to ponder the words of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can ALL do small things with GREAT LOVE.” Lent is the perfect time to pray and meditate on these words of this great spiritual woman and nun.

We are already at the Second Sunday of Lent, also known as Transfiguration Sunday. The Church refers to this particular Sunday with that term because every year on the Second Sunday of Lent, we hear the Gospel account of the Transfiguration of Jesus where Peter, James and John get a preview of what Jesus’ resurrected body will look like. That is also our hope and expectation for our lowly bodies when Christ raises us from the dead at the end of the world.

During Lent, we strive to make changes in behaviors and habits that will enhance and strengthen our relationship with God. We strive to be better disciples of Jesus Christ, and try so hard to become just a little bit more like Our Lord, and it’s NOT ALWAYS EASY! We give up things, try to pray and reflect more and perhaps perform acts of charity. We may start out with the best of intentions on Ash Wednesday to accomplish a lot and just maybe, by the Second or Third Sunday of Lent fail. This failure can lead us to abandon all the good intentions we had on Ash Wednesday; or maybe, some people have not done anything as of yet. My advice is either to get started or do not give up. In fact, why not START SMALL!

There are lots of things one can do during Lent. For example, if you are not a daily mass goer, attend mass one other day during the week, besides Sunday and if you can do more than that, wonderful. Consider attending Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at 7:30 PM at least once during Lent. Make an effort to pray one decade of the Rosary every day during Lent. Attempt to join one of the several prayer groups we have here at St. Boniface, or become a member of the Women’s Book Club here at the parish. Why not think about attending the Catholic Themes in Film group that Deacon Tom Fox hosts on Sunday afternoon in the Parish Center. Make a conscious effort to avail yourself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once during Lent. Read a portion of Sacred Scripture for 5 minutes every day during Lent (St. Mark’s Gospel is a good beginning). If Mark’s Gospel doesn’t appeal to you try praying the Psalms before bed time. Psalm 91 is a great bed time prayer, or Psalm 51 is also a good choice to use before going to sleep. Spend 15 or 20 minutes before the Blessed Sacrament on Saturday afternoons from 4 PM – 5 PM. Attend Father Perera’s Breaking Open the Word Sessions in Church on the Monday evenings of Lent at 7:30 PM.

These are just some suggestions to aid you in making your Lent more fruitful, and hopefully enhancing your spir of Christ, and that’s ultimately one of the goals and objectives of this Transfiguration Sunday!

– Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears here and in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin

From Allentown to Levittown

 

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

On January 31, 2017, John Oliver Barres became the Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.  Amid much pomp, pageantry and solemnity Bishop Barres was escorted to the Cathedra (Bishop’s chair) in St. Agnes Cathedral by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Metropolitan/Archbishop of New York and Most Reverend Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America to succeed Most Rev. William F. Murphy, Fourth Bishop of Rockville Centre.  The ceremony was very impressive and over fifty Bishops and three Cardinals were present as well as hundreds of priests and deacons from the Dioceses of Allentown, PA, Wilmington, DE and Rockville Centre NY.  A number of Religious Sisters and Brothers were also present as well as a myriad of lay people from all backgrounds and ages.

In an interview before the Mass of Installation, Bishop Barres joked that he is the only United States Prelate that has something in common with Billy Joel.  Billy Joel wrote a song about Allentown (Bishop Barres’ former Diocese) and Joel hails from Long Island (Bishop Barres’ new Diocese).  Bishop Barres was then asked if he was familiarizing himself with all the little towns, hamlets and villages of Nassau and Suffolk Counties and he replied yes and that he knew where Levittown was.  He then went on to say “I guess I am going from living in Allentown to living near Levittown!”

I thought it might be of value to write a little bit about Bishop Barres’ predecessors here in our Diocese.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre was established on April 16, 1957 by Pope Pius XII, prior to that we were a part of the Brooklyn Diocese.  The First Bishop of Rockville Centre was Walter P. Kellenberg who was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New York on June 2, 1928.  In 1954, Bishop Kellenberg was consecrated Bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensberg, NY where he served until 1957 when he was consecrated Bishop of the newly formed Rockville Centre Diocese.  Bishop Kellenberg served at a time when church attendance was high, the reforms of Vatican II were being implemented and new Catholic High Schools like Holy Trinity and St. Pius X were being opened.  His episcopal moto was Queen, Guide Me by Thy Light.  He retired in June 1976 when John R. McGann succeeded him.

Bishop McGann, the Second Bishop of Rockville Centre was consecrated a Bishop on June 24, 1976.  He is the only Bishop in the history of our Diocese to be consecrated in a place other than our Diocesan Cathedral.  Bishop McGann’s installation took place at the Nassau Coliseum because he wanted as many people as possible to be able to attend.  I was privileged to be in attendance at the ceremony because I was a freshman at the high school seminary St. Pius X.  Bishop McGann was loved by laity, priests and religious.  His easy going and friendly down to earth personality made him approachable.  He encouraged lay participation in the Church and continued the teachings of Vatican II.  Bishop McGann’s episcopal moto was Serve the Lord with Gladness, and that he did in his 25 years as Bishop.  He retired in January 2000, when James T. McHugh succeeded him.

Bishop McHugh, the Third Bishop of Rockville Centre served only for 11 months and was victim to an untimely death.  In his brief tenure as Bishop here in Rockville Centre, Bishop McHugh is best remembered as being a champion and defender of life in all its forms from the womb to the tomb.  He was a man of profound humility, who even though was a successor to the Apostles was not afraid to do his own dishes, cook for himself and even take out his own garbage.  His episcopal motto was What Shall I Return to the Lord?  In December of 2000, Bishop James McHugh succumbed to cancer and died.  William F. Murphy of Boston succeeded him in September 2001.

Bishop Murphy, the Fourth Bishop of Rockville Centre was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston and was consecrated Auxiliary Bishop of Boston on December 27, 1995.  On September 5, 2001 Bishop Murphy was installed as Bishop of Rockville Centre at St. Agnes Cathedral.  He has served on numerous committees with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America. Less than a week after his installation, Bishop Murphy led us through the tragic and uncertain times following the 9/11 attacks, reminding us that mercy, forgiveness and trust in God will eventually led to healing.  He celebrated a hope filled and uplifting mass at the Nassau Coliseum a month after the attack in honor of all the First Responders, both living and deceased.  Bishop Murphy is fluent in four languages, French, Spanish, English and Italian. His episcopal motto is No Other Name.  He retired on January 31, 2017 when he was succeeded by John Oliver Barres.

Bishop Barres brings a love for the youth of our Church and is encouraging them to be proud of their Catholicity.  He has a love of sports, particularly basketball and played J.V. Basketball for Princeton University.  He can even be seen on You Tube videos conducting basketball practices with the young people of his former Diocese, Allentown.  His episcopal motto is Holiness and Mission.  As a priest of this Diocese I look forward to working with and supporting Bishop Barres and welcoming him here to St. Boniface Martyr in the not too distant future.  Ad Multos Anos, Bishop Barres.

– Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin Dillon’s letter appears online here weekly and in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin

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