Our Community Grows, c. 1900 – c. 1957

By October, 1923, a parish census showed 140 families where both spouses were Catholic, and 260 families where only one spouse was Catholic. There were then 859 Catholics in the parish. A Sunday School held at the time averaged 135 youngsters in attendance. Fifty were baptized that year; 26 made Holy Communion; thirteen couples were married; and there were 16 deaths.

Vintage post card view of the front entrance to St. Boniface School.

The “diamond-in-the-rough” who followed Father Sloane as pastor is still remembered by some in the community: Reverend Patrick J. Ford (1926-1937). Irish-born, with a tough exterior, he was the sort of pastor who visited his flock, family by family. Carrying forward Father Sloane’s dream, the school became his great effort, and it was brought to a reality at a cost of a quarter-million dollars. It opened in September, 1928, with an initial enrollment of 150 pupils, and the Sisters of Mercy of Dallas, Pennsylvania were enlisted to teach.

When the Great Depression hit the country, it seriously affected St. Boniface Martyr Parish. Few could meet pledges made in good faith, and the church was burdened with debt. Father Ford, in 1932, organized a “conference” of the St. Vincent de Paul Society as one bulwark against personal need suffered by the parishioners and others in Sea Cliff during those stark days. To make matters worse, in 1936, an arsonist set fire to the church building on three occasions, causing heavy damage and adding to the financial debt of the parish.

When Father Ford was moved to St. Sylvester’s in Brooklyn, he was succeeded by Reverend Charles B. Garvey (1937-46), a native of Cutchogue who was one of the first vocations from Suffolk County. During his pastorate, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) was organized, the Confraternity of the Rosary was begun, and the Carmelite Third Order set up a chapter here.

During W.W.II parishioners knitted scarves, held blood-banks, rolled bandages, sat fire-watches, and entertained “the Boys” from Mitchell Field and Roslyn Air Base. They whispered about the strange boats quartered at Fyfe’s Shipyard in Glenwood Landing that were tested up and down the harbor (which they later learned were the “PT Boats” of Pacific fame). They wrote a lot of V-Mail letters and also held special prayer services for a victorious D-Day. As a matter of fact, they did a lot of praying! During the war, more than 400 men and women of St. Boniface served in the armed forces and of these, 15 made the supreme sacrifice of their lives.

During the era of post-world war prosperity, many Catholic families moved out to the suburbs and into the parish. Despite the return to better times, many still felt the pinch of the long depression. To aid them in adjusting financially, while helping them avoid the high interest rates of the loan companies, a cooperative credit union was established among the parishioners. Small loans at very low interest rates were of untold value.

Father Garvey died as pastor in 1946, and was succeeded within a month by the Reverend William J. Gately. Under Father Gately’s leadership, the parish debt was paid off, and the church, school, convent and rectory were repaired and redecorated.

In May, 1947, a census revealed that the parish had grown to 1,198 families representing 3,645 individuals. During Father Gately’s stay, the parish celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1948, with a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving, with the Most Reverend Thomas E. Molloy, Bishop of Brooklyn, presiding. Father Gately was instrumental in establishing a Mothers’ Club as a support for the parochial school.

In 1952, Reverend Thomas W. Smiddy succeeded Father Gately. After a year of dedicated pastoral work Father Smiddy, in 1953, was transferred to the Chancery Office in Brooklyn where he was eventually elevated to Papal Chamberlain as a Very Reverend Monsignor. In exchange, the man who held that post in Brooklyn, Very Reverend Monsignor Vincent J. Baldwin, came to St. Boniface. He was aided in his adjustment to the life of pastor by Fathers O’Mara and Canning, who had long served in the parish. Three years later, Monsignor Baldwin left for St. Aloysius in Great Neck, and was succeeded by the Reverend John J. Fee.

Since three successive pastors, Fathers Gately, Smiddy and Baldwin, had each won high office in the Church after leaving St. Boniface, it was said at the time that a priest apparently “is never simply transferred from St. Boniface — he’s promoted!”

About a year after Father Fee’s arrival, an important change occurred. The Brooklyn Diocese had, from 1853, extended control over the entire length of Long Island. In May 1957, Nassau and Suffolk counties were separated from the old order and designated as a new diocese with its seat at Rockville Centre. The Most Reverend Walter P. Kellenberg became the new Bishop. At this time, Father Fee’s devotion to Mary was recognized and he was appointed director of the Legion of Mary for the new diocese, a post which he held until his death.

New Growth in a New Millenium

In June, 20Spring Church 4 May 201407, St. Boniface bid a fond farewell to Fr. Mike Torpey, who had been Pastor since 1989.  Fr. Mike had led the parish through some momentous times, assisting in the founding of All Saints Regional Catholic School and helping the parishioners explore their baptismal roles as Catholic Christians by helping them grow into new responsibilities as St. Boniface became a “one priest parish”.

That same month, St. Boniface welcomed a new Pastor, Fr. Robert A. Romeo.  St. Boniface was Fr. Bob’s first assignment as Pastor of a parish, but he soon proved to be more than equal to the job and to be a great blessing to the parish, ushering in a renewed spirit and an era of great growth, much of which is detailed in this publication.

Father Bob served as Pastor of St. Boniface Parish from June 21, 2007 to June 24, 2015 when he was assigned as the new Pastor of the Parish of St. Mary, Manhasset.  Fr. Kevin Dillon, Associate Pastor of St. Aidan’s, Williston Park, became the new Pastor of St. Boniface.


2007 – New Pastor Appointed to St. Boniface Martyr Parish

Fr. Bob Portrait

Fr. Robert A. Romeo
Photo Courtesy of The Long Island Catholic/Greg Shemitz

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, June 21, 2007—The Most Reverend William Murphy, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre, appointed Father Robert A. Romeo pastor of St. Boniface Martyr parish, Sea Cliff, N.Y., effective June 27, 2007. “I was shocked and very pleased in the bishop’s confidence,” Father Romeo said of the appointment.

Born in Plainview, N.Y. and raised in Dix Hills, N.Y., Father Romeo attended Cathedral College, Douglaston, N.Y. and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue, N.Y. He attended the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington, N.Y., and was ordained into the priesthood on May 9, 1987.

 His first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Christopher parish, Baldwin, N.Y., followed by Cure of Ars parish, Merrick, N.Y., where he served for 10 years. During his time in Merrick, he helped coordinate diocesan pilgrimages and served as a firefighter and department chaplain in the Merrick Fire Department.

“I miss fighting fires,” he said. “It’s the total opposite of what I usually do.”
In 2002, Father Romeo was appointed to St. Peter of Alcantara parish, Port Washington, N.Y. He said he will miss the parish, but looks forward to connecting with the people of St. Boniface Martyr.

“That’s one of the most difficult parts of being a priest: leaving your home,” he said. “There’s always a place in your heart for the people from your assignments.”

Father Romeo said there has already been an overwhelming welcome in Sea Cliff. During a recent visit, everyone from bank tellers to library guests gave him a warm greeting.

“I’ve been very blessed because every one of my assignments has been wonderful,” he said. “Every parish I’ve been in have been moments of growth for me.”
St. Peter of Alcantara is a parish of 2600 families. He will be the only priest at St. Boniface Martyr, where 1300 families worship. One of his goals as pastor is to create a youth ministry there, and to “always be grounded in Jesus and the Word.”

Father Romeo serves as an advocate for the annulment process and an assistant master of ceremonies for major diocesan events.
In his free time, he enjoys water and snow skiing, bowling, tennis and reading history and fiction novels.

Editor’s Note: Photo Courtesy of The Long Island Catholic/Greg Shemitz

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Meet Fr. Bob

St. Boniface Martyr’s new pastor, Rev. Robert Romeo, arrived at the parish on June 27. Father Bob, as he likes to be called, said he is happy to be a priest. As a priest, he feels privileged to be invited into people’s lives on a daily basis and during their joyful as well as sad moments. It’s an honor and it’s what he loves about being a priest.

Father Bob attended local schools including Commack High School South, Cathedral College and St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue before attending Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington. He was ordained by Bishop John McGann as a priest for the Diocese of Rockville Center in 1987. Prior to his ordination, he served his pastoral year at St. Joseph’s in Ronkonkoma. His first parish was St. Christopher’s Parish in Baldwin for five years as an associate pastor moving on to Cure of Ars in Merrick in 1992. In 2002, he was assigned to St. Peter Alcantara in Port Washington until recently when he was appointed as a pastor of St. Boniface in Sea Cliff.

In addition to serving as an associate pastor for 20 years, he has served as a diocesan assistant master of ceremonies for major masses and events at St. Agnes Cathedral, as well as at Confirmations around the diocese. He also has served as an advocate for the diocese of Rockville Centre assisting people seeking annulments.

Father Bob said he is strong on well-celebrated joyful liturgies and big on prayer, scripture and teaching. He said his personal energy for serving as a priest comes from his prayer life and the people he serves. “Everything I do is based on prayer and scripture,” he said.

During his day off, he frequently goes to his family’s vacation house at Lake Hopatacong in New Jersey, where he spends time in prayer, with the scriptures and in relaxation.

His previous parish involvements range across the board from experiences with young children to senior members of the parish, involvement with liturgy, sacraments, outreach, and various forms of prayer. He particularly noted being involved in a “Midnight Run,” where he and others took a group of young adults to New York City to distribute clothing, food, and toiletries to homeless people.

Father Bob said he grew up on Long Island in Dix Hills where he is the second of four boys. Family is important to him, and he regularly spends time with his parents, his brothers and their families, and his godchildren. He also likes spending time with his friends. He especially likes quiet evenings with close friends.

He likes sports such as water skiing, snow skiing and hiking in the mountains, reading, the beach and being on the water.

Other special involvements since he was ordained include serving as a Class A interior firefighter in the Merrick Fire Department for eight years and being part of their racing team. He has been a chaplain in New York City for Squad #288 in Queens and he was very involved with 9/11.

Father Bob mentioned that he is grateful to St. Boniface’s previous pastor Father Michael Torpey, who has been very kind and helpful to him making his transition into the parish easy.

“The parish has been extremely welcoming. I enjoyed the sign. It was very comforting. I love the people stopping by at the rectory to say hello. I look forward to meeting everyone and hearing about your visions and hopes for the parish. Please don’t hesitate to contact me over anything.  To sum up my feelings about St. Boniface, I want to quote McDonalds, ‘I’m lovin’ it,’ said Father Bob.

The parish welcomes Father Bob and wishes him much success and happiness in his time at St. Boniface.

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The following article appeared in what happened to be the final print edition of the Long Island Catholic on October 10, 2012


Jubilarian ‘ran from vocation,’ but later found it

SEA CLIFF — While still very young, Father Bob Romeo recalls, “I knew that God was calling me to the priesthood, but I tried to run from it.“I wanted a typical life,” said the pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Church here. “I wanted to be married, to have children, but God had other plans for me.”In April, Father Romeo celebrated his 25th anniversary as a priest when his parishioners threw a surprise party for him.Father Romeo, son of Fran, a homemaker, and Gabriel, a banker, grew up in Plainview, one of four boys. They attended St. Pius X Church. “My parents were really involved in the life of the church,” participating in groups like the Holy Name Society and the Altar-Rosary Society.“We had priests who were friends and visited our home,” Father Romeo said. Msgr. Jim Kelly was associate pastor. “He was a great friend” and an influence on young Romeo.

Later the family moved to Dix Hills, where they belonged to St. Matthew’s Church. Among the priests who influenced him there was Msgr. James McDonald “who was in love with the priesthood and in love with the Eucharist. He saw God in everything.”

Though he felt the calling, Father Romeo said, he went to Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania to study business. After one semester he left. Eventually, he entered the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Huntington. “The academics were great. I was opened up to the teachings of the Fathers of the Church.”

He also valued his pastoral year at St. Joseph’s, Ronkonkoma, both for the experience of living and working in a parish and for knowing the pastor, Father Charles Kohli.

“He is one of the most spiritual men I know, but also very human. Fun,” Father Romeo said. “He’s been a powerful influence on me and my priesthood.”

Father Romeo was ordained May 9, 1987, and assigned to St. Christopher’s Church, Baldwin.

“I heard a priest say that you leave part of your heart at your first parish, and that was true for me,” he said. He cited Msgr. John Bennett, the pastor, and two other associate pastors, and how well the four worked together.

“We had different spiritualities, but we were united in ministering to the parishioners. I learned the meaning of unity,” Father Romeo said. They also served as chaplains at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, “which was a place that had special moments for ministry.”

In 1992, he was transferred to Curé of Ars, Merrick. “I served under two pastors, Msgr. James Swiader and Father James Mannion, and I learned from both of them.”

At Curé, he also became a volunteer firefighter and chaplain for a fire company. He said he was profoundly affected by the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

“You could see that people needed Jesus in their lives,” Father Romeo said.

At Curé of Ars he also had more opportunities for ministry with adults. “I loved Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).”

Father Romeo became associate pastor of St. Peter of Alcantara, Port Washington, in 2002. He praised the pastor, Msgr. Dan Picciano. Father Romeo enjoyed visiting the parish school as well as working with the youth minister.

“We had about 80 to 90 kids” who were involved in a variety of activities, from regular meetings to such projects as “The Midnight Run,” where they go into Manhattan to offer food to homeless people.

“Most important we focused on Jesus,” Father Romeo said.

For years, he resisted becoming a pastor because, “in the words of one of my former pastors, I wanted to avoid ‘the Three Ls, leaks, locks, and ledgers.’” Yet in 2007, he was assigned to his first pastorate, St. Boniface here.

“I found that I love being a pastor” because it offers unique opportunities to serve.

An important element of leadership is working with groups of parishioners to call upon their expertise and insight for the direction of the parish.

Still, the pastor ultimately must make the decisions, Father Romeo said, “but he must come to it in prayer so that the Holy Spirit can direct us.”

One surprise he has found since becoming a priest “is how warmly people welcome you. I was once at a family’s house for a barbecue and realized after a while that I was the one person there who wasn’t part of the family.” His first reaction was that he didn’t belong, but soon realized: “No. I am a part of the family.”

One difficult aspect he sees is the fact that priests are regularly transferred from one parish to another. “You build relationships and then you have to move on,” Father Romeo said, “but I understand it because it involves the greater good of the diocese.”

What he likes best about being a priest is celebrating the Eucharist. “If you do more than say the words but actually pray them,” Father Romeo said, you can see the Eucharist for what it is — Jesus’ “great gift of self to us.”

Despite his past reservations, “I love being a priest and I’m amazed that I became one. I can’t imagine being anything else.”


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Church Renovation 2015

Dedication sign welcoming Bishop MurphyA three year effort aimed at ”Renewing and Restoring the House of God” came to joyful fruition on April 12, 2015 when Bishop Murphy dedicated and consecrated our new church and altar.

We also renamed the Parish Center after our founding Pastor, Fr. Donohoe, and we renamed the Chapel located there the IHM Chapel in honor of the religious Sisters who taught at the former St. Boniface School.

In 2011 our Parish began a discussion as to whether to renew, restore and update our church building. After positive discussion with parishioners, the first phase, a Capital Campaign began. This phase was designed to confirm that we plan had sufficient support to move forward. An overwhelming response to the Capital Campaign saw pledges of over $1,230,000.00.

With monies pledged we began the design stage of our church renovation. Thirty-five people signed up to be part of the committee. They worked very hard with liturgical designer, Lawrence Hoy, to develop five alternative designs which were presented to the parish after Mass on two weekends. In addition, groups of our younger parishioners from among our Youth group, altar servers and First Communion families were asked for their input.

These designs gave rise to some wonderful discussions and excitement among the Parishioners. The committee used their suggestions, ideas and comments and developed a design proposal incorporating the three designs which had received the strongest support, and then presented that design to the Parish.

We celebrated Mass for the last time in the “old” Church on the Sunday after Christmas.  Following Mass a number of parishioners, young and old, pitched in to move sacramental elements and furniture next door to the St. Boniface Gym where we celebrated Mass on New Year’s Day and on all weekends while the church was being renovated.

Enough of the work was completed to allow the first Mass in the newly renovated church to take place on Holy Thursday and we are able to celebrate the Triduum and Easter in the renovated building. During Easter Week, the new altar, ambo and many of the final design elements were completed by a construction crew working day and night so that everything was in place when Bishop Murphy arrived for the re-dedication and consecration of the church at 10:15 Mass on Sunday, April 12, 2015.

This was a very wonderful time for our parish which will continue to generate excitement and renewed devotion to our worship of Jesus Christ as Lord!

Photos taken at the dedication ceremony for our newly renovated church on April 12, 2015.  On the same day Bishop Murphy helped us rededicate the Parish Center, which has been renamed the “Fr. James Donohoe Parish Center” in honor of our Parish’s founding Pastor, and also the chapel contained in that building, which has been renamed “Our Lady of Mercy Chapel” in honor of the Sisters of Mercy, who taught at the former St. Boniface School.

Click here to read about various statues installed in the renovated church.

Reredos and Narthex April 2014

Designs for the reredos and tabernacle (top) and a view of the narthex wall from the nave of the church (bottom).

"Overhead" view of proposed floor plan.

“Overhead” view of proposed floor plan.


Next Page:  Renewing and Restoring the House of God by Carol Griffin Gold Coast Gazette January 12, 2012

Pages: 1 2

History of St. Boniface Martyr School, 1928 – 1990

Vintage post card view of the front entrance to St. Boniface School.

Vintage post card view of the front entrance to St. Boniface School.

The dream of establishing a Catholic school at St. Boniface Martyr Parish began in 1898, when the parish was established. Father James Donohoe, the first pastor, expressed a strong desire to see a parochial school created for the children of parish families. The idea stayed alive in the 1920’s, when Father Louis Sloane, the pastor at the time, began to set aside money each year to be used in building the school.

His successor, Father Patrick Ford, went a step further by organizing a fund drive to raise $50,000 of the $250,000 needed for the school’s construction. The support given by the parishioners was such that the money was donated or pledged within only a few weeks. Combined with the funds set aside by Father Sloane, that money was sufficient to buy the Amrhein Farm on which the school was to be built, and to hire Architect James O’Connor  to design the structure.

In November, 1927, ground was broken and Frank A. Droesch, Inc., a construction firm from Queens, began working on the building. The work was completed in time for the school to open its doors in September, 1928. On June 23, 1928, the Sisters of Mercy from Dallas, Pennsylvania arrived and began registering children for entry into grades 1 through 6. Another grade was to be added each year until all 8 grades were included.

The new school opened on September 10, 1928, with an initial registration of 150 students. The building contained 10 classrooms, 2 indoor playgrounds, lunchrooms, a kitchen, restrooms, offices, a clinic, storerooms, and a large auditorium. Bishop Thomas F. Malloy of the Diocese of Brooklyn formally dedicated the school on September 16, 1928, at a ceremony attended by more than 1000 people.

In June 1931, the first 8th grade class (14 students) graduated, leading the way for the 59 graduating classes that followed it into the world.

First Graduating Class, St. Boniface School 1931

Over the subsequent decades, enrollment at St. Boniface grew (to nearly 600 students, at one point) and the building was expanded to accommodate the students. In 1962, a library and gymnasium were added and 8 new classrooms were opened. In 1963, student services were expanded to include a 5-day hot lunch program staffed by volunteers from the Mothers’ Club (later the Home School Association).

For 36 years, St. Boniface provided its students with a free education but, in 1964, economic factors forced the introduction of a modest family tuition schedule. The school continued to change. In 1969, a playground was built on school property with the help of many community volunteers. In 1976, nursery and Pre-K programs were begun, and, in 1977, the first kindergarten class started. By that time, lay teachers had replaced most of the Sisters of Mercy.  In the Autumn of 1989 enrollment was approximately 220 students.  In its 62 years of existence, St. Boniface Martyr School graduated over 2,000 pupils.

On June 24, 1989, St. Boniface Martyr School joyfully celebrated its 60th anniversary with a reunion dinner chaired by Kathleen and John Ahearn. Many of the school’s 2,000 graduates returned for the event.

Throughout its existence, St. Boniface Martyr School served as a superb example of academic excellence in Catholic education.

In 1990, the parish schools of St. Boniface, St. Mary in Roslyn, St. Patrick in Glen Cove and St. Hyacinth in Glen Head regionalized to form All Saints Regional Catholic School, a new entity designed to supported by those four parishes, joined by St. Rocco Parish of Glen Cove.  The decision to regionalize the schools and close the St. Boniface School building made for a very painful time in the parish, especially for the families whose children who attended the school. Since then however, space made available by the closing of the St. Boniface School building has been put to other use.

Click here to read the history of All Saints Regional Catholic School,
which operated until it June, 2019.

 St. Boniface School Principals


Sr. M. Adrian Gillespie, RSM


Sr. M. Gonzaga Kehoe, RSM


Sr. M. Constance Dolan, RSM


Sr. M. Andrew Hennigan, RSM


Sr. M. Cornelia Dever, RSM


Sr. M. Isabel Sheerin, RSM


Sr. M. Philip Dillon, RSM


Sr. M. Gemma Brennan, RSM


Sr. M. Maureen McGroarty, RSM


Sr. M. Philip Dillon, RSM


Sr. M. Elizabeth Guckavan, RSM


Sr. M. Clare Dougherty, RSM


Sr. M. Jeanne d’Arc Salinger, RSM


Sr. M. Elizabeth Guckavan, RSM


Mrs. Elaine Lawless


Sr. Margaret McPeak, DW


Mrs. Lenora Brisotti

Spotlight on Stewardhip

Spotlight on Stewardship
is a column which appears in the St. Boniface Martyr Bulletin about once a month.  It highlights contributions parishioners make to St. Boniface Martyr Parish.  It is a most fitting way to celebrate the “Year of Faith” which runs from October 11, 2012 to November 24, 2013.  The Year of Faith is “a call to Christians to embrace their faith anew and proclaim the Gospel with their lives.”


Robert P. Lynch

Robert P. Lynch

Robert P. Lynch

Robert Lynch is one of St. Boniface Martyr’s most active parishioners.  A major contribution he makes is to maintain our presence on the internet. He is the webmaster of our website www.saintboniface.org which he created fifteen years ago, and he is the administrator of our Facebook pages and Twitter feed, where parishioners may post photos and information about parish happenings.

Our website includes extensive information about our parish ministries and events and a growing section on our history. He also posts the weekly bulletin each week on the website and emails it to over five hundred subscribers.

Robert was born in 1955 and grew up along with six siblings in Bayside, Queens attending St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic School, Bishop Reilly High School, and later St. John’s University and Law School. “I was always surrounded by the Catholic faith, it was always part of my everyday life,” he  said. Robert said although Vatican II had a big influence on him, he was blessed to have some pre-Vatican II experience. From his Catholic family life and education he was he always surrounded by a Catholic ethos. In 4th grade he became an altar boy when they still had to learn Latin. “I had a taste of the pre-Vatican II church and developed an enduring appreciation of the changes.”

Robert’s upbringing caused him to develop a deep interest in Catholic social teaching and become a strong supporter of Catholic education. His grandfather, father and brothers have been strong supporters of the labor movement. Besides his family, he has been influenced over the years by many interesting Catholics he has had the good fortune to meet. He corresponded with Fr. Andrew Greely, met Archbishop Fulton Sheen, protested with Fr. Daniel Berrigan and Bernadette Devlin, and was a local activist for the causes of Cesar Chavez.

Robert has, since childhood , been an avid student of Irish culture and history. He is a traditional Irish musician, has made many trips to Ireland and speaks the Irish language. He is proud that his grandfather was an Irish revolutionary.  Robert, who plays the bagpipes, has been the chairman of the St. Patrick’s Parade in Glen Cove for a number of years and in 2010 he was honored as the parade’s Grand Marshall. He teaches traditional music to children and adults and also lectures on Irish culture and history at Molloy College Institute of Irish Studies.

Robert’s warm outgoing personality and talents, and generous nature lend itself well to many interesting things. He has had a private law practice for the past 30 years and specializes in elderlaw planning, estate planning and real estate. At the same time, has created and directs a unique after school program incorporating all the aftercare services, clubs, activities and sports at our Parish school, All Saints Regional Catholic. He is also Director of Promotions at ASR, where he is presently designing a two year celebration and appeal marking the start of the Second Century of Catholic Education on the Gold Coast, which started in 1915 at the building now occupied by our school.

Robert teaches 7th grade religious education at St. Boniface, serves on the Events Committee, previously served on the Finance Committee and helps parents prepare for the Baptism of their children. He has also served as the DJ at many of St. Boniface events.

Robert is married to Sighle Webster Lynch, who is equally involved in the life of the parish and school. Their four children, Kieran, Aidan, Conor and Maura are at various states of their education at ASR and at Catholic high schools and colleges.

Jerry Moran and Kevin O’Shea

By Carol Griffin

Jerry Moran Kevin O'Shea

Jerry Moran
Kevin O’Shea

This Spotlight on Stewardship focuses on longtime Parishioners Jerry Moran and Kevin O’Shea who coordinate the St. Boniface Outreach Program.  Under their guidance Outreach has grown and is working with more individuals and families.  Outreach also runs the Parish Thrift Shop that sells gently used affordable clothing and bric-a-brac.  The Thrift Shop and food distribution are staffed by Jerry, Kevin and other volunteers from the Parish.  It is open for three hours twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.  In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus calls on us to feed the and clothe our neighbors and on behalf of St. Boniface Parish Jerry and Kevin have certainly taken that message to heart by the service they provide.

Jerry Moran

Jerry Moran lives in Glen Head and has been a Parishioner of St. Boniface for 36 years.  He and his wife, Sue, have raised their three children here.  “The most important thing to me is my family,” he said.  His basic values are family, faith and friends.  Jerry attributes his faith to his parents, who had a strong religious background as Irish Catholic immigrants and to his Catholic elementary school education.

Jerry had volunteered as a coach in the St. Boniface CYO and local Junior Baseball for many years.  He and Susan have always worked on the Parish festival and other fundraisers.  He said, “I registered for the Parish after two ladies showed up at my door and told me I was a member of St. Boniface.”

When Fr. Mike was Pastor he appointed Jerry as a Parish Trustee.  When Deacon Ted started Outreach at St. Boniface, Jerry said he and his wife Susan started to work in program, where Parishioners donated food and clothing, with the emphasis on distributing food.  At that time Parishioners were donating the equivalent of 10 bags of food per week.  Although the Parishioners were generous, this was not enough, since Outreach received the 75 requests for food each week.  The Parish signed up for Long Island Cares started by the Harry Chapin Foundation and Long Island Harvest, where Jerry and Kevin O’Shea, who co-chairs Outreach, go weekly to pick up food to bring to the Parish.  The State and Federal governments provide money for food and Kevin O’Shea completes the necessary paperwork for these benefits.  On average 35-40 people pick up one bag of groceries provided to each family twice a week.

Those who need food initially fill out forms to request the food.  “If you ask for food, you get it,” said Moran.  Fourteen or fifteen volunteers help each month with distribution.  At Thanksgiving and Christmas St.

Boniface Parish also provides 120 bags of food to families and food gift cards to buy fresh food products.Deacon Ted Kolakowski was responsible for the program growing and helping more people.  When Deacon Ted left, Fr. Bob asked Jerry to take it over the program, and Jerry asked Kevin to co-chair it with him.

Reflecting on the program, Jerry said, “Someone had to do it.  It’s a way of acting out our beliefs.  This is a very practical way to live our faith.”

Kevin O’Shea

According to Jerry Moran, Kevin does all the paperwork for Outreach, which is considerable given all the governmental forms to be filed regularly.  In speaking  about early influences on his Catholic faith, Kevin tells us he grew up in Long Island City, a working class area of Queens.  His family were members of St. Mary’s Parish and he attended St. Mary’s School.  On Sunday’s he worked for the church cleaning and changing the candles.  He was also an altar server and attended St. Agnes Catholic High School in New York City.  Kevin’s uncle was a priest who was a big influence on him.  He also attended Catholic college at Biscayne in Florida before finishing his degree at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Kevin said the most important value to him is charity, being able to give back to people his time and energy and give financial aid to those who have less.  In high school and college, he volunteered as a tutor at the Jacob Reis Center, where he helped inner city kids develop language and math skills.  He commented that he is grateful that in his own life he has been very fortunate.

Kevin and his wife, Alexis, moved to Glen Head, in 1972, and joined our Parish.  In retirement, he enjoys being involved with his family, especially his grandchildren who he sees regularly.  He enjoys reading and playing with and going on vacation with them.  He has always been involved with the Parish fairs and fundraising.  In 1987 he joined other fathers in building the Glenwood School play area and has been an active member of the James Norton Council of the Knights of Columbus.  The Knights invite men who join to become better Catholics and to assist with charitable work within the community.  With the Knights he has participated in various charitable works and fundraising including delivering food baskets to the homes of senior citizens for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Kevin also works Bingo night at the K of C, which gives its profits to various churches and other charitable organizations in the area.  He still regularly donates to the Marist Brothers organization in gratitude for what they taught him when he was in high school and college.

St. Boniface Martyr Parish is grateful to Jerry and Kevin for organizing our Outreach Program that reaches out to help our neighbors.

Parish Outreach:
Jerry Moran & Kevin O’Shea

Parish Center. Wednesdays & Saturdays.  10 am-1pm
Phone: (516) 676-0676.

Return to Introduction and Index


Meet the Murellos

John and Rosemary Murello

John and Rosemary Murello

The interview began with a question. “The Year of Faith?” asked John Murello. “All of a sudden we need a year of faith? Every year should be a year of faith, not just this year.” So, this year John and Rosemary Murello will celebrate 59 years of faith, stewardship, and marriage.  “I was praying to meet the right person,” says Rosemary. “God brought John into my life and we both developed a relationship with God.  We have to come into a personal connection with God, and you can’t have that with someone you don’t know but only know about. As we spend time with the Scriptures our relationship with the Lord grows – we come to know Him more intimately.”

The Charismatic Aspect

As young Catholics, John and Rosemary both thought the only people who served the church were the clergy and religious. “Not until Vatican II did we begin to realize we are all called to serve God,” says John, “although many of us felt unqualified. But, again, the gifts of the Holy Spirit enable us to do far more than we imagine.” “We wanted to be part of the Church, connected to the Church,” says Rosemary. “But we were shy and afraid of getting in over our heads until we began a relationship with the Lord. That’s when you hear Him and He enables you with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” Rosemary is referring to 1 Corinthians 12 and the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit given to us for the benefit of the body of Christ. “I didn’t know what my gifts were, so I just let the Spirit lead me one day at a time.” He did. In their former parish, the Murellos were involved in religious education, in the prayer group, the Bible study, and led the Antioch program that brings teens closer to Christ. “The program involved 9th through 12th grades,” says Rosemary,  “and kids came to the realization that the Father loved them. Many said they hadn’t realized it before. They even began taking their Bibles to school and gathered together after school to pray and subsequently grow in faith.” Then, 13 years ago, when Murellos moved to Sea Cliff and St. Boniface, they waited on the Lord to lead them in ministry. “And just like that, Fr. Michael Torpey, the former pastor, invited us to start a Bible study. Then when Fr. Bob arrived, he invited us to start a prayer group.” “And though people may think Rosemary and I do a long preparation for Monday prayer group, that we plan it down to every song. We do not – the Holy Spirit does. We pray Monday afternoon for the Lord to be with us, to guide us, and He does. He leads the Scripture, the songs, and the people. He enables and empowers. He gives the gifts. We couldn’t do it without Him”

The Love Letter

“We all have times when we question is God listening?” says John. “Does he know I am here? Is he paying attention?  Then, when you hear someone affirm through an incident that He is listening and we are all encouraged, and renewed in faith. That’s the experience we’ve had.” “The Bible is a love letter from God,” says Rosemary, “ and so much in the scripture tells us about his love. Take Romans 8:  Nothing can separate us from the love of God. He is the perfect parent. He understands us, he forgives us, and He is merciful, all He that requires is our yes.”

Let The Church Say Amen

“Everyday we are meant to be a blessing to one another.” John and Rosemary say, almost in unison. “The church, in the Biblical sense is a gathering of the people not an organization or structure. When someone shares about life changes, when you hear them say they turned their trust to God, we trust Him more deeply, and we share that trust with others.” “We are so blessed and grateful that the Lord brought us together with such sweet, kind loving, people in this parish and with Fr. Bob. “The Lord developed a community here. And He wants all of us to join in.”

Introduction and Index


Kathleen VanBloem

by Carol Griffin

Kathleen VanBloem is a perfect example during this Year of Faith of someone in St. Boniface Martyr parish who proclaims the Gospel through her faith life.  Kathleen is often visible by her active roles in the parish as a Eucharistic Minister, Lector, and Altar Server, but her greatest gift is really her quiet presence to people through her gift of hospitality and friendship.

Kathleen VanBloem

Kathleen VanBloem

It is not unusual for Kathleen to offer an encouraging word to those around her, take someone to the doctor, welcome a new face with a smile and friendly conversation, visit a friend who is sick bringing along her specialty, some homemade custard, or taking Communion to a homebound parishioner.  In her own quiet way Kathleen regularly does these things with great dedication and love without any fanfare.

One of her most demanding contributions to the parish today is as an assistant to Irma Berkley with the Ministry of Consolation.  Kathleen and Irma alternate responsibilities in this ministry involving about forty plus funerals at St. Boniface Martyr each year.  They meet with each family that has lost a loved one and help them by assisting them in the selection of readings and music for the funeral Mass.  They also attend the wake and coordinate the family or ministers involved in the funeral Mass.  Kathleen’s empathy, gentle, attentive, yet confident way is no doubt a great help to the families she serves at their time of loss.

Having lost her husband suddenly, Kathleen said she recognizes the importance of the support you receive at such a time of loss, and the Ministry of Consolation recognizes the importance of that support.  She said she is willing to be there for the people and taking to them where they are at.

Her primary values have always been family and faith, said Kathleen.  “The reason I have a strong faith is because of my family,” she emphasized.  As a child, she attended St. Aloysius School in Great Neck and later Manhattanville, in New York City, at the time a small Catholic women’s college staffed by the Sacred Heart nuns who influenced her.  In 1963 Kathleen and her husband Peter moved to Sea Cliff with a sixth month old and two year old twins.  She and Peter later added two more children to the family.  When it was time for the children to start school they enrolled at St. Boniface Martyr School, where Kathleen joined the St. Boniface Mother’s Club.  An early contribution she made to the school was helping supervise the children on the playground.  During that time, she met and learned from a number of deeply religious women who were dedicated to the school.  Peter was also involved in the school, including being chairman of the School Board.

After losing Peter in 1977, Kathleen returned to work and had to limit her involvement in the parish.  Upon retirement, Kathleen became more involved in the parish again.  During this period Kathleen became a member of the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Council, was a member of the Peace & Justice Committee and was involved in the Confirmation and Communion programs with the Jesuits.  She also started some of her present commitments as Lector and Eucharistic minister, bringing Communion to the homebound and attending the weekly Prayer for the Sick.  In addition she was appointed as a parish Trustee.  She was one of the mainstays when the parish began a program for seniors and Fr. Mike hired Sr. Mary Butler, O.P. to run the senior program.  After Sister Mary left, Pastoral Assistant Sr. Kathleen Murphy, O.P. took over with Kathleen’s assistance, and when Sr. Kathleen left, Kathleen continued leadership of the program with a core group of parishioners for some years.

Kathleen commented that the ideas and generosity of other volunteers has always been a big influence on her own life.  She said that when asking for help from other parishioners, she shows them that what she is asking them to do is worthwhile, that they are capable of doing the job, that there will be others to help them, and they will not have to do it alone.

Today, Kathleen helps Rose Eggers and Eileen Bowersock and other volunteers with the Birthday Breakfast, she is a regular member of the St. Boniface Martyr Prayer Group and she regularly attends the parish Scripture Study.

Kathleen said that over the years her involvement in the parish has helped her to grow in her own faith.  She said she finds the presence of the priests from Africa and India has broadened her view of the Church.  Attending church regularly, she finds Fr. Bob’s homilies meaningful and helpful.  Presently, she also credits her attendance at the weekly Prayer Group and Scripture study as helping her continued growth in faith.

Beside her regular involvements in the parish, Kathleen works part time for Sea Cliff Village in Community Development and is actively involved as a volunteer for several local community organizations.  In recognition of her longtime dedication to the community, Kathleen received the White Cap Award for her service a few years ago.

Introduction and Index

Josie Harte

by Carol Griffin

Although she is of small stature, Josie Harte has a very big heart and lots of energy that she has generously devoted to St. Boniface Martyr Parish as one of our unsung heroes.  Most parishioners know Josie for her Sunday morning commitment to parish hospitality.  Each Sunday she arrives early, makes freshly brewed coffee and sets up home baked goods for the parishioners to enjoy after 10:15am Mass;  something she has been doing for about twelve years.

Josie Harte

Josie Harte

Josie came to Sea Cliff from Co Cavan, Ireland, in 1986 to serve as a nanny for the McMenamin family to help raise their boys.  As the boys were growing up, Josie became familiar with St. Boniface Martyr by often walking the boys to church and religious education.After the boys were grown, Josie looked to take on other responsibilities to keep busy and that’s when she began to volunteer for St. Boniface Martyr Parish. In addition to her Sunday morning hospitality, Josie is usually the one who assists and sets up the coffee and desserts at other parish functions, St. Patrick’s Day Supper, farewells, anniversaries and birthdays throughout the year.Josie likes helping people, even strangers.  She often puts other people before herself by doing things for them.

Besides her role in the parish by doing hospitality, Josie regularly does the altar linens and helps to take care of the parish grounds.  She is often seen in the early morning weeding, or cultivating the ground in the flower beds around the church. Josie said she loves working in the garden because it’s relaxing and it’s a place where she feels close to God.

In addition to the McMenamin’s, Josie has also worked for other families in the area who appreciate her reliable help.

Josie said that when she was raised in Ireland, her family was very religious and regularly attended Mass and prayed the Rosary every evening.  Up until now, Josie has gone home to Ireland every year to visit her brother and sister and their families, something she will continue.  However, unfortunately for St. Boniface Martyr, Josie will be leaving the parish in February and moving to San Diego, California, with the McMenamin’s.  Farewell, Josie and please come back to visit us.  St. Boniface will not be the same without you!

Introduction and Index


Scott Whitting

by Kay Johnson

Scott Whitting’s model of stewardship begins with a fine smile and a handshake that’s strong, warm, and fully committed, just like the man, himself. So while grins and greetings may not sound like the traditional gifts we share or return to God, Scott knows they are. “I learned that from Fr. Bob,” says Scott. “When you build a good social community, you build a good religious community.” This synergism also defines our Year of Faith: the human will and the Holy Spirit working together to strengthen spiritual regeneration.

Man On A Mission:  Scott found St. Boniface parish in 1980, “and I’ve become more and more attracted to the Church ever since.” The attraction led to Scott’s increased faith and relationship with Christ, a gift he wanted to share. Ultimately, it became an indivisible way of life. “I see stewardship as the desire to serve others,” he says. “So I started greeting people when they arrived, learning their names, shaking hands, making them feel welcome by saying ‘Hello, John’.” Scott became an usher, a Eucharistic Minister, a server at daily Mass, and a self-appointed custodian. “Okay, I admit I’m a bit of a neatnik,” he laughs. “So when I noticed the church is often messy after mass, I started tidying up the pews.” That led to being a sociable recruiter. “While I cleaned up, in a friendly way I’d ask parishioners to give me a hand. And now quite of a few of us have fun kidding each other while we work, again fostering that sense of community. And we can use more people. You can never have too many. So, please step right in and be welcome.” He also recruits a special group before Mass. “Well, that’s when I try to get kids involved,” he says, “especially as ushers. At the five o’clock mass I always corner a couple of youngsters to bring the gifts. I like the idea of them being contributors, not just onlookers. Their tangible participation will enhance their spiritual participation. I guess the idea truly is that one enhances the other. In the military, when we had a strong social bond, we performed our duties better. That social bond, be it in the military, your workplace, or church, strengthens the mission. “

Life, Death, and the Green Beret:  Scott knows how faith can impact life and death experiences. “During Viet Nam, I vividly remember going to Chapel at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and praying I would make it through Special Forces training.” He did. He became a paratrooper and was selected for the Green Beret. He reenlisted when his military service was up. He volunteered for the front-line Green Beret medical team. “I’ve had quite a few near death experiences,” he says quietly “One in a plane crash in Viet Nam. I felt myself leave my body and was on my way to Heaven when I became aware that I could help save the lives of people who would otherwise die. The assignment has been my life experience. I am a big believer in God first of all, Number One. To have faith is to believe in a power greater than you. It is the strong belief in God and his blessings. “I was given God’s grace to save many lives,” says Scott. “We all have gifts and talents. The important thing is to recognize and share them. Certainly, when I am in prayer, I think of these things in a philosophical way as a gift from God, meant to be shared. So, he kept volunteering:

  • Past President and ex-captain of the Hook and Ladder truck, Glenwood Fire Company
  • Nassau to Suffolk Bicycle Challenge, 100-Miles-in-One-Day to aid our veterans
  • Marathons including parachuting into Death Valley for a 100 mile run. The event earned a place in the Congressional Record and new, positive recognition for Viet Nam vets.
  • Multiple charitable organizations that benefit needy and severely disabled children.

Even in his civilian vocation as a Funeral Director, Scott Whitting has served others. “When you can help people find their way it’s immensely rewarding.”

The Man and The Motto:  “I am a man through experience,” Scott says. “I treasure family, friends, and the opportunity to participate. I pray for faith, hope, and love, love being the most important. Love in the sense of community, family, friends, and inviting others to participate.”  He smiles and says, “Share your gift of time and talent. You don’t have to get overwhelmed. Do as much as you’re comfortable with and bring a friend. Bring your family. For instance, I get the kids to take part and that gets Mom involved. Whatever you do in a friendly, welcoming way encourages more people to participate. As long as you are welcoming, people will want to take part. “I want to show my gratitude and add to the overall mission of the church. I am grateful for the spiritual and the community of the church. If people are willing to give it a chance and get more involved, even on a very small level, just be a greeter, just say ‘Come in. Welcome,’ they will commit to live the way Jesus taught us.”

Join In: We need you and want you to help build a community of fellowship and faith. To get involved, talk to Scott after Mass. He will help you meet and match your interests; or call the parish office at 676-0676.; or visit http://saintboniface.org/Ministries-2.htm and join in, because it’s not a community without U.  (Article by Kay Johnson).

Introduction and Index


Irma Berkley

by Carol Griffin

This Spotliight highlights the contributions of Irma Berkley who has given so much to St. Boniface and its people over the course of her life.  Irma’s warm welcoming personality, sometimes including a hug, has contributed much to people and the ministries she has served so generously in for many years. One of her earliest memories of giving service to the parish was being toted along as a young teenager by her older sister Margaret to sing in the choir.

Irma and her husband Bill, both grew up on McGrady Street in Glen Cove. They were married in St. Boniface Martyr in 1949 by Father O’Mara. After they were married, Bill’s schooling and later jobs took the couple out of the area where some of their five children were born. Irma said they moved back to McGrady Street in the 1960’s when Fr. Fee was pastor.

As her children grew up Irma became active in the parish once again, especially with music.  She was also involved in teaching a special group of children in CCD when Ita Levesque directed the program.  When the renovation of the “new” church was organized under Fr. Diederich, Irma and Bill assisted in fundraising for the project.  As a member of the parish choir, Irma was a natural fit when the Children’s Liturgy was organized in the 80’s.  She  worked with the organist, Nicole Van Vorst, and Karen Sweeney, who sang, helping the children to bring their sweet young voices to parish liturgy.

When the R.C.I.A Team of lay people was formed under Fr. Jay Madacsi and Maureen Kelly in the late 80’s, Irma was one of a small group of volunteers who welcomed and trained the first candidates, who were later baptized at the Easter Vigil.  Irma later served as a companion for a teenage confirmation candidate.

As a member of the choir she became a cantor at Mass and later Fr. Reggie asked her, in the absence of a choir director, to select the music each week used at Sunday Mass.  She was invited to be a Eucharistic Minister and she volunteered to lector at weekday Mass.  In the absence of a priest on Monday mornings, Irma became one of a small group of parishioners who led Communion services.  When Music Director Jeff Schneider organized the Bell Choir, Irma was right there ready to be part of the group.

Presently the Ministry of Consolation is Irma’s major contribution to the parish.  In the early days of the ministry she sometimes led the Wake Services when Sr. Kathleen Murphy could not be present.  After Sr. Kathleen left St. Boniface, Fr. Michael Torpey asked Irma to take over the responsibility of the Ministry of Consolation.  She recruited a small group of parishioners that included Fred Haberle, Ed Tooher and Kathleen Van Bloem to assist at wake services.  The ministry has grown and Irma now has the assistance of Kathleen and a large group of parishioners who attend and assist at our funerals.

With her gentle ways and listening ear, Irma is certainly the right person to meet with the families who have just lost a loved one and to assist them through their loss on behalf of the parish.  She often receives notes from families expressing their appreciation to her and other the members of the ministry for their help to them at their time of loss.

Always concerned for people with needs, Irma was also part of a group of parishioners who visited people in the hospital and another group who prayed at home for parishioners who requested prayers for their needs and those of their family.

Irma has been appointed one of the Parish’s trustees.  Presently, you will often find Irma and her husband Bill on Saturday at the 5 o’clock Mass.

Recognizing Irma’s major contributions to the parish of St. Boniface Martyr, Fr. Bob Romeo recently recommended to Bishop Murphy that Irma receive the “St. Agnes Award” given each year by the bishop to parishioners in the diocese who have given exemplary service to their parish and diocese.  On October 14, Irma was awarded the medal at a ceremony at St. Agnes Cathedral. Congratulations Irma! Thanks for all you have contributed to all of us here at St. Boniface Martyr Parish.

Introduction and Index

St. Boniface Religious Education Registration 2011-2012

Religious Education Registration
for the 2011-2012 will take place at church after all Masses on the weekends of June 12th and 19th.
Please print out the Registration form, below, complete it; bring the completed form and a copy of your child’s Baptismal certificate if they were not baptized at St. Boniface Martyr Parish. Any questions please call the Religious Education Office at
516- 671-0418.
The fee for this year’s program is $90 per child, $180 for 2 or more children per family.  Cash or checks will be accepted and must be provided at registration. Please make sure to fill in your Parish ID number located on your offertory envelopes.   If you are not registered to the parish please contact the Parish Office prior to registration.

Registration will take place after all the Masses on the weekends of June 11,12 & June 18,19

Please complete the form below and bring any necessary paperwork and fees with you.  No forms with incomplete information, missing baptismal information or missing fees will be accepted.


Last Name: _______________________  **Parish ID Number (From envelopes): _____________

Fathers First Name: ____________ Mothers First Name: _____________ Mother’s maiden name:___________

Mailing Address: ______________________________


Home Phone Number: ______________________      Additional Phone Number: (cell, work): _______________

E-Mail Address: ________________________________________

***Volunteer: (Catechist, Assistant, Attendance Help, Other): _________________________________________

1. Child’s Name: ___________________________     Grade:___________  Birth date: ______________

*Baptismal Church: ________________________      Baptismal Date: ___________________________

2. Child’s Name: ___________________________     Grade:___________  Birth date: ______________

*Baptismal Church: ________________________      Baptismal Date: ___________________________

3. Child’s Name: ___________________________     Grade:___________  Birth date: ______________

*Baptismal Church: ________________________      Baptismal Date: ___________________________

4. Child’s Name: ___________________________     Grade:___________  Birth date: ______________

*Baptismal Church: ________________________      Baptismal Date: ___________________________

*If child was not baptized at St. Boniface Martyr Parish and this is a new registration please attach copy of Baptismal certificate.

**Parish ID is on your Offertory Envelopes.  If you do not get envelopes you must check your Parish registration status with the Parish Main Office at 676-0676 before registering for Religious Education, Thank You.

***Volunteers are necessary for a successful program.  Please volunteer in some capacity, Thank you.

Program Choice:

After-school program meets Tues. (gr. 1-3)-3:45-4:45pm; Wed. (gr. 4-5)-3:45-5pm; Thrs. (gr. 6,7,8)-7 to 8:15pm

After-school program (grades 1-8):  ______                

Family Program meets every other Sunday from 9 to 10am.

Family Program (available for grades 1 through 6 only): ___________

Fee: $90 per child – $180 max per family (Sacrament Fees extra)

PARISH USE ONLY: PAYMENT INFORMATION: _______________________________________________