Fr. Tom’s Letters

 

Each week Fr. Tom writes a letter to parishioners in our bulletin.  Every letter is comprehensive, including current information about the Parish, an explanation of Scripture for that Sunday, and an invitation to become more engaged in the faith life of our Parish.

 

 

 

 

July 16, 2017

Dear Parishioners,

Hello my name is Dominik Wegiel and I am a seminarian studying for the Catholic priesthood.  Every summer, the seminarians are assigned to a parish for ten weeks to observe, learn, and gain pastoral experience in preparation for the priesthood.  I have been blessed to spend my summer here at St. Anne's Parish since May and sadly I am entering my last week here before I head off for summer break and eventually back to the Seminary in the Fall.  I find it ironic since my time in the seminary and especially here at St. Anne's how the Gospel can appear in so many ways.  As a seminarian, I thought I would be preaching the Gospel, but instead all of you have been preaching the Gospel to me.  It was not through your words, but through your joy!  The written Gospel along with the sacraments is meant to nurture joy in our lives.  I have found plenty of joy, especially in visiting the School.  I had the privilege of eating lunch with the second to eighth graders on a regular basis.  The kids always expressed joy, it was evident to me that St. Anne's school is a happy place.  The children of St. Anne's reminded me of my own childhood and it was great to spend time with the kids and talk about Disney World, my favorite animal, ice cream, and sport.  The children preached the Gospel to me by reminding me of the child-like joy which we all should carry as Jesus says, "Truly, I say to you unless you turn and become like Children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mt. 18:3)  The key to become child-like is to reclaim the child's joy we once had. 

I also had the pleasure of visiting St. Joseph's home for the Aged in Huntington, which is run by the Missionary Sisters of St. Benedict.  Many of the residents are well over eighty, some even over a hundred.  What a beautiful witness I became of seeing the Sisters take care the residents like they were their own family, which they are.  I would see the sisters go to every room giving out orange juice.  I literally would witness the sisters scrubbing the floor and yet somehow do it all with immense joy.  The Missionary sisters taught me the value of service, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45).  I also became a close friend to Father Kohli, a retired priest who lives in St. Joseph's and says mass for the nuns and residents.  Every time I visited him, he always had a story to tell.  This is a priest who truly has a heart for Christ and cares deeply for every person he encounters.  Fr. Kohli would tell me stories of his time in the seminary during the 1950's, lecture me on classic English literature, and teach me the profound theology of various intellectuals of the last century, and of course he never let me leave without telling a joke.  Fr. Kohli has been a priest for over fifty years and not once I sensed any loss of zeal for Christ and his Church.  I also had the pleasure of meeting a resident named Marie who has two children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.  Marie would never tire in chewing up my ears telling stories of her childhood, family and faith experience.  Again, I was amazed how beautiful it was to hear the power of the Gospel being preached through the wisdom of Marie's life as a mother, grandmother and great grandmother.                                 

I would also like to spend a few words thanking Msgr. Harold.  During my ten weeks here I have had the opportunity to live in the Rectory with him along with Fr. Rudy.  Msgr. Harold is a true pastor in the fullest sense, he has been your pastor for six years, but he has also been a pastor to me.  He has mentored me by his example, homilies, questions, and conversations.  Msgr. Harold has offered me life advice, spiritual insights, pastoral experience and plenty of baseball lectures on the New York Mets.  It has been a pleasure to work under his shadow and I couldn't imagine a better pastor to be my mentor.  Msgr. Harold thank you for making me feel at home at St. Anne's.                  

Ultimately, my time in St. Anne's has taught me the power of encounter.  I wake up every morning not knowing what to expect, not knowing who I will meet.  Yet, I know every person I meet is an opportunity to encounter the living Gospel.  This Sunday's Gospel is the Parable of the Sower.  The Sower goes out to sow and Christ explains that the seed is his word, and the ground is the human soul. God's word is not limited to the written Gospel of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  If the Parable is true, the word of God  is meant to bear fruit in all of our lives.  We are meant to become the living Gospel for the world.  My time in St. Anne's I have found the Gospel, not simply the written one in the sanctuary, but the living one in the pews of St. Anne's.  It has been a privilege to be a witness of the joy and love that you all carry in Garden City.  Please pray for me as I continue on my seminary journey and pray that I may to be a living Gospel for the world as you have been for me.

Peace,

Dominik Wegiel


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The letters are available in PDF and require Adobe Reader to view.  If you do not have Adobe Reader, you can download it for FREE by clicking the graphic to the right.