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

Something to be said of the Baltimore Catechism

Fr. Kevin Dillon

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

A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with a young man who recently graduated from a prominent Catholic high school in the New York area.  In the course of the conversation, we spoke about our Diocese and its Bishop.  I was surprised to learn from him that he had no idea who the Bishop of Rockville Centre was, nor did he even know the name of our Diocese.  Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I asked him who was in charge of the Archdiocese of New York.  I figured that His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan is a very public figure and his name is often in the news, so at the very least the young man I was speaking with would have some recollection or knowledge about the chief shepherd for the Archdiocese.  Unfortunately, he had no idea about those matters or other teachings of the faith, like fast and abstinence during Lent just to name one, and it wasn’t that he had no interest.  It just seemed to appear that he did not know.

“Why did God make me?”  To know Him, love Him and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him in the next life.”  Anyone reading this article that graduated high school before 1970, I am CERTAIN knows this question and answer by heart.  It was probably drilled into you by an army of Religious Sisters and Brothers.  This question and a myriad of others is a part of the compilation of the famed Baltimore Catechism which became the National Catechism for children in grades 1-12 across dioceses of the United States.  It was the first such catechism written for Catholics in North America.  It was a standard and a staple in Catholic Schools from 1885 to the late 1960’s.  One volume (number 4) was an advanced textbook with explanations of many little known questions pertaining to the Catholic faith designed to reward the questioning reader.  Four generations of Catholics were taught using this question and answer methodology of learning and large numbers of Catholics actually knew the faith!  So there is something to be said of The Baltimore Catechism.

I am not a product of the Baltimore Catechism, but as I grow older and perhaps a little wiser, I sometimes feel regret I did not learn about our faith this way, at least in part.  Most of my elementary school days in Religion were spent making collages, and simply being told God loves you.  I realize the first couple of decades after Vatican II the Church was “experimenting” in  new ways of trying to impart the faith but in conversations with Catholics many unfortunately do not know a lot about the faith. Some Bishops and Theologians now seem to realize that all these trendy and flashy programs have not worked.    After Vatican II,  the Church strived to move forward and make it more relevant and pertinent to contemporary culture.  In many ways that is good, but now her leaders and many of the faithful realize that maybe it’s time to get back to basics, and teach the current generation of young Catholics more tenets of the faith and why the Church believes and teaches what it does.

Here at St. Boniface we are going to change the Religion textbook series.  Currently we are using Pflaum Gospel Magazines which remind me more of a Scholastic Weekly Reader than a Religion textbook.  One of the main goals of the Religious Education Program here at St. Boniface is to produce informed and enlightened generations of Catholics prepared to know the faith, proclaim the faith and live the faith.

– Fr. Kevin


Fr. Kevin’s letter appears online here each week and in our Parish Bulletin

Pastoral Councils

Fr. Kevin Dillon

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

Canon Law provides for the formation of Parish Pastoral Councils in Canon 536 #1.  “In every parish of the diocese, a Pastoral Council shall be established…the pastor presides over the Pastoral Council and it is composed of members of the congregation…the Pastoral Council assists in promoting pastoral action in the parish.”  The Pastoral Council is a consultative body, pastoral in nature, because it strives to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit among God’s holy people in a particular parish.

In light of these guidelines set down by the Church, a new Pastoral Council has been formed here at St Boniface, Martyr Parish.  Just before Thanksgiving twelve new members were commissioned by me to serve on the Pastoral Council of St. Boniface Church.  I believe they represent a cross section of the parish with a variety of backgrounds, age and life experience; one thing they all share in common is that they are active and faith filled parishioners who not only support the parish but the pastor in the various spiritual, educational and social endeavors of our parish.

Specifically the Parish Pastoral Council’s purpose is to enhance the process of Pastoral Planning, developing and initiating new pastoral programs, evaluating the pastoral effectiveness of various programs and services.  It is not legislative in nature.  Ultimately the pastor is responsible for the final approval of Council recommendations concerning pastoral planning, programs and services for the parish, as well as for their implementation.

Meetings will be quarterly and our first meeting will take place on Tuesday, January 17 and the minutes of the meetings will be shared with the parish in the weekly bulletin.   I thank the following parishioners who so graciously agreed to share their time and talent in this important leadership ministry!

Bobby Dey

Renni Dey

Maura Lynch

Debbie Mink

Jeffrey Mink

Gina Pisciotta

Martha Pusey

William Schiller

William Swift

Ben Szemerenyi

Scott Whitting

Belinda Zeitlin

– Fr. Kevin


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

Christmas Past

Fr. Kevin Dillon

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

Christmas Day was just two weeks ago, and now with the Solemnity of the Epiphany celebrated this weekend and The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord tomorrow the Church brings this season of joy and gladness to a close. Christmas requires much preparation and attention, especially with purchasing gifts, cooking and baking many of our favorite foods and decorating our homes for these special days. It is probably fair to say that most people are breathing a sigh of relief about getting back to our ordinary routines.

Christmas here at St. Boniface went well. We welcomed thousands of people to our Church for the six Christmas Masses that were celebrated here, and our Church was full for all Masses, in fact, the 4:00 PM Christmas Vigil had record crowds with over 1200 in attendance at that Mass alone.

Preparations for the big day began weeks in advance. Thanks to the graciousness and generosity of many hard working and dedicated parishioners our Church and its grounds looked splendid for the Christmas Season. Many visitors remarked at how beautiful the Church and grounds looked and how faith filled and welcoming our parishioners are! Priests come and go in parishes, but it is the parishioners who make a faith community so vibrant and alive and St. Boniface, Martyr is a prime example of such a community!

Know I appreciate and value all you are and all you do for St. Boniface. A special THANK YOU to all who were a part of making Christmas so special, especially the Pastoral Staff,

Maintenance Staff, lectors, altar servers, Extraordinary Ministers, musicians, cantors, ushers, collection counters and Altar Guild and many other volunteers who contributed to making Christmas so beautiful. Thanks also to you, the parishioners, for your generous financial support, not only at Christmas but the whole year long! Equally, I am grateful for how joyfully and freely you share your time and talent with the parish during the course of the year. Father Azubuike and I are also very appreciative for the gifts, cards, and homemade candies and cookies that you left at the rectory; we are grateful for your generosity and kindness!

On behalf of Father Azubuike and the Pastoral Staff, a Happy and Holy New Year to you and your families and May God continue the good work He has begun in you!

On another note, congratulations to Loretta Zanier, the recipient of the 2016 St. Agnes Medal, awarded by the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Loretta has coordinated the Baptism program here for many years and works tirelessly and enthusiastically in welcoming parents who are expecting a child and prepares them for the sacrament of Baptism. Congratulations, and thank you, Loretta!

– Fr. Kevin


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

Don’t Quit

Fr. Kevin Dillon

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

With Christmas Day as far away as it can ever be people begin to look forward to the New Year.

The month of January is named after the Roman god, Janus, and he is often depicted looking forward and looking backward.  New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this year is on a weekend, and a long weekend at that!  Since the actual day is a Sunday, business and schools close Monday in observance of the holiday.   With the arrival of New Year’s Day, there is certain let down that all the festivities of this special time of year are over and now we enter into the routine of January which can be cold and dreary.

The beginning of January, however, is the perfect time to reflect and ponder over the happenings of the previous year, and look forward to new beginnings and some changes for the coming year.  Ask yourself what was one positive experience you had last year?  What did you learn from it?  If you could do anything differently, what would it be and why?  Were there missed opportunities for growth or change?  Did we place any limits on ourselves because of lack of confidence or courage?

You can’t.  You will never.  Just give up and call it a day.  You aren’t good enough.  These phrases were told to some pretty successful people throughout history, everyone from musicians, to actors and actresses to authors and television personalities.  Among them are composers like Beethoven, whose teachers told him he was hopeless.  Stephen King who had 30 rejections until he finally had his first book published and Lucille Ball who was considered a “B” list movie star and failed many times before she became a successful actress on the hit television series,

I Love Lucy.  Lucky for us, they ignored the doubters and naysayers and became legendary giants in their own right for all they accomplished.  Want to know who isn’t famous?  Their belittlers who said they couldn’t.

If we are honest with ourselves, we too have probably been told we can’t, or we’re not good enough and unfortunately most of us have bought into this non-sense! Perhaps we have regrets about this, but it is never too late to change or start anew!  In the first few days of this New Year take the time to reflect and ponder over your dreams and expectations for 2017.   It’s human nature to give up, especially after failure but that is giving up too easily.  If failure is embraced in the right fashion, it can serve as a learning experience for us.   One of the traits of Christians is perseverance, or a stick to it mentality.  Perseverance often leads to endurance and that  makes us stronger. Think about the persistent widow in the Gospel.  The Scriptures are filled with people who persevered and relied on GOD’S GRACE.  Often persistence and endurance bear fruit; we just need to be patient, and maybe God is telling us something as well.  After all, the only limits we really have are the ones place on ourselves.

HAPPY AND PEACEFUL NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES!

– Fr. Kevin


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

 

We Need a Little Christmas!

Fr. Kevin Dillon

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

Many of us are familiar with the Broadway tune We Need A Little Christmas from the production of the play and television movie Mame.  There is a scene in which “Auntie Mame” breaks out into the upbeat and happy song to remind her nephew Patrick and two household servants of how the great feast of Christmas can change everything and everyone into someone and something better.  Virtually all people will agree that our lives and our world can be better.  With just over a week remaining until the big day, Christmas, itself, preparations are in high gear.  People are shopping for that special gift for that special someone, while others are either attending parties or planning their own special Christmas celebrations, and still others are generously tipping their hairstylists, housekeepers, and personal trainers etc. to thank and show appreciation to them for what they DO all year long.  People are usually in very festive, optimistic and cheerful moods despite the hustle and bustle of this joyous season

Indeed, at the very least we NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS; in fact, WE NEED A LOT OF CHRISTMAS, not just on December 25 or the days immediately preceding or following this Holy Day and Holiday, but ALL YEAR LONG!  Kindness, compassion, gentleness, generosity, cheerfulness should not be traits and dispositions that people, especially Christians exhibit and live for a season.

All people of goodwill should attempt to live these attributes the whole year through and Christians above all, should lead the way and be shining lights and examples for everyone!

While it is important to KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS, it is equally, and quite possibly more important to BE CHRIST AT CHRISTMAS and ALL YEAR LONG.  At the Last Supper, Jesus reminds His Apostles and us “to love one another.”  During the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s a popular folk song was sung at Sunday masses, They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love.”   With life so busy and complex these days we often feel pressured to worry about ourselves, and while sometimes we must do that, there are plenty of times where we can assist others with our time, talents and treasure.  The good people of St. Boniface, Martyr in the many ministries and societies of this magnificent parish strive to do that all year long.  So, when the last sip of eggnog is finished, the presents have all been unwrapped, the Christmas music has stopped and the decorations put away for another year keep striving to BE CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR LONG!

Be assured of a special remembrance in ALL my masses, at Christmas time and the whole year long and a BLESSED AND HOLY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

– Fr. Kevin


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

Merry Christmas!

Fr. Kevin Dillon

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

Go ahead and just say it, particularly if you are certain that you are addressing another Christian.  We live in a world of growing secularism where God, organized Religion and the Catholic Church are pushed off it to the corners with hopes of being just seen and not heard.  This trend did not start overnight; it has been creeping in slowly during the last several decades.  Even the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony has few religious Christmas songs during the hour long television event.  In days gone by, many Christmas television programs were aired with a good deal of both religious and secular Christmas music.  As a child and even teenager, I can remember my parents watching Christmas shows featuring Perry Como singing Adeste Fidelis and Andy Williams singing the Ave Maria and Ring Christmas Bells with the lyrics saying, Ring Christmas Bells Loudly Proclaim the birthday of Jesus is near!”    Even the Radio City Christmas Spectacular has shortened the grand finale of the show, the traditional Nativity scene, in order to make more time for Santa and the Rockettes.   We must ask ourselves, what happened?  Secularization is what happened, and a desire to be politically correct.

While we never want to offend anyone, I find it puzzling to hear fellow Christians, many of whom are Catholic to be wishing each other a Happy Holiday, or have a great holiday season.  Something is very wrong with this, as we are keeping the main celebration and focus of this special time of year obscured!

It is the celebration of God made man…the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ!  One year a well-meaning parishioner in one of my former assignments said to me after Christmas Eve mass, “Have great holiday Father!”  I responded thanks so much, and it is okay to say Merry Christmas to me; I am a Catholic priest you know but that goes to illustrate just how conditioned we have become to this phenomenon.

Most if not all Christians, whether churched or unchurched will have no problem with it, and if you know for certain the recipient of your greeting is Jewish, then do not be afraid to wish them a Happy Chanukah.  I have wished many of our Jewish brothers and sister this greeting and they smile and return it with and Merry Christmas to you!  I suppose if you are absolutely certain someone is something other than an individual from the Judeo-Christian tradition then it is acceptable to wish them a Happy Holiday.

We need to keep Christ in Christmas, and the belief of God in the public sector.  Just perhaps it will raise our consciousness and hopefully get others to think about Jesus Christ and a sense of spirituality and respect for Religion which is sorely lacking of late in this country.

Other ways to promote and remind people of the reason for the season is to send religious Christmas cards and most certainly every Catholic home should have a Nativity Set proudly displayed either inside the home or outside.  Better yet, display two, one inside and one outside.  So go ahead say it and do it,  MERRY CHRISTMAS and KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS!


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

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