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How Do I?

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 life of the parish.

 

 

 

 

June 30, 2019

Dear Parishioners,

Peace be with you. You may remember these are the words used by the Risen Lord when he greets the Apostles for the first time. This gospel passage from John’s Gospel takes on more and more significance for me as time passes.

This past week has been a time of great blessing and a time of sadness. We have received our newly ordained priest, Fr. Cody Bobick as our new Associate Pastor. It is a great blessing to receive a newly ordained priest into our parish. I write this column to you from Good Shepherd Hospice at Mercy Hospital where my dear friend, Msgr. James Kelly passed away early this morning. Msgr. Kelly has been a dear friend of mine for more than 30 years. Along with Msgr. Edward Donnelly, also in Heaven, Msgr. Kelly has been a wonderful and most important friend, mentor, and priestly example. I ask you to welcome Fr. Cody and pray for Msgr. Kelly and his family.

Fr. Cody was ordained a priest by Bishop Barres last Saturday at St. Agnes Cathedral. Fr. Cody’s home parish is St. Frances de Chantal in Wantagh. Father is introducing himself at Masses this weekend and we are celebrating the 10:00 AM Mass together. We will all get to know Fr. Cody in the weeks and months ahead.

It is a privilege for all of us that Bishop Barres has sent a newly ordained to our parish. A priest will always remember his first parish. He will have experiences that he will draw on all during his life as a priest. That was my experience at Holy Family, Hicksville. As a parish we are asked to do all we can to welcome Fr. Cody. We are asked to affirm, encourage, and support his vocation to priesthood. He will provide priestly ministry in the name of Jesus, and we will be blessed by his words and service. He will baptize your newborns, celebrate sacraments with children, marry sons and daughters, anoint our sick and dying and pray with you at the funeral for your loved ones. He has been well formed and he will learn here at St. Anne’s what it means to be a parish priest. I am sure it will grow into a wonderful relationship of love and respect of a parish priest and the people of St. Anne’s. His ministry centers on the celebration of the Eucharist, the center of all parish life.

Among Fr. Cody’s first experiences here was accompanying me to visit Msgr. Kelly on Wednesday evening. While at Mercy Hospital the nursing staff requested the assistance of Fr. Cody in anointing a person near death. He then led me and Msgr. Kelly in a decade of the Rosary and offered Holy Communion to a third seriously ill patient. We did not know at that time that this would be my last visit with Msgr. Kelly and the concluding prayer of his life.  As Msgr. Kelly’s friend and Fr. Cody’s new pastor, I will always remember that prayer together and am grateful to Fr. Cody for his joining me that evening and leading our prayer together. The nurse with Monsignor at the time of his death described it as the “most peaceful death I’ve ever seen.”

I was not surprised at her description. Msgr. Kelly was one of the most peaceful persons I have ever known. In 32 years, I never heard him raise his voice. Those of us who knew him well knew that his “large eyes behind his glasses” could well express disappointment or disapproval. His sister Josephine told me earlier this morning he got those eyes from his mom.

Msgr. Kelly was a very kind priest. He served in five parishes, served as a diocesan high school principal, the Director of Priest Personnel, and the Rector of St. Agnes Cathedral. He served under all five bishops of the Diocese of Rockville Centre and served as advisor to them over the years. All of us marveled at his kindness, calmness, and evenness of temperament. He had many dear friends among priests and the people he served. His parishioners loved him. He gave me the privilege of accompanying him during these difficult years of his illness. His sister was his dearest advocate and supporter. His aide Michael was like a son caring for his father. Monsignor had a long illness and a most peaceful death. We spent much time together. I loved him. I will greatly miss him. His priesthood and friendship were a gift to many. Peace be with you, Monsignor!

Peace be with you my friends,

Fr. Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.