35 Dartmouth Street, Garden City, New York 11530 - (516) 352-5904
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 faith life of our Parish.

 

 

 

 

February 18, 2018

Dear Parishioners

As we hear every First Sunday of Lent, we hear today the story of the Temptation of Jesus.  This year we hear the very brief version from Mark’s gospel.  It is only two sentences long.  We are told the spirit drove Jesus to the desert where he experienced Satan’s temptations over forty days.  The story concludes with the detail that the angels ministered to Jesus.

That the spirit drove Jesus into the desert seems to suggest that these forty days were a testing time for Jesus.  More detailed versions of the story in the other gospels provide a picture of the kinds of temptations that Jesus experienced.  Jesus found the strength to withstand temptation and did not succumb.

My experience of temptation varies.  At times I fail and the temptation is victorious.  Sometimes it is not so serious.  At other times temptation leads me to sin.  More often I am able to withstand the power of temptation.  Similar to Jesus, the Spirit of God is my best ally.  Sometimes the falling to sin happens too quickly.  It seems there was no temptation, just a bad action, often a poor reaction.

A reflection on our experience of temptation is a good Lenten exercise.  Knowing our temptations can help us understand our sin.  Our Lenten repentance demands an awareness and knowledge of sin.  Allow today’s gospel story of the temptations of Jesus to offer you the opportunity to know better your own experience of temptation and sin.  Such a Lenten exercise is not meant to lead to anxiety and worry.  Such a reflection may lead to a very positive experience of confession and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

We have many opportunities for prayer during Lent.  We have added to each weekday a 7:00PM Mass.  This Lenten evening Mass gives an enhanced opportunity for daily Mass during this special season to those unable to get to Mass in the morning.  In addition we have the devotions of Eucharistic Adoration and Stations of the Cross.  Eucharistic Adoration takes place on Thursday morning between the 7:30AM and 9:00AM Masses.  Stations of the Cross take place at 7:30PM on Friday evenings.

In addition during this Lenten Season, we are sending by e-mail a brief Lenten reflection for each day.  We have about 2500 e-mail addresses for our 3300 parish families.  If you are not receiving these early morning reflections, we do not have your e-mail address.  You can supply it to us and then you will receive these simple and short Lenten messages.  Each week we print them on the cover of the bulletin.

As you read this bulletin letter, I am on retreat up in Gloucester, Massachusetts at the Jesuit Eastern Point Retreat House.  My room faces the Atlantic Ocean which can often be quite rough during these winter weeks that I usually take for retreat.  It is a very pleasant and peaceful week.  Many parishioners wished me well for the retreat and many asked for prayers.  I am grateful for your well wishes and I will remember you during the many prayer times of the retreat.

Following Ash Wednesday with this retreat feels so appropriate and grace-filled.  I am confident that the days will be filled with opportunity.  What does that mean?  This retreat follows the Spiritual Exercises of the Jesuit founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola.  Part of Ignatius’s encouragement is that the retreatant knows and is able to articulate what he or she seeks all through the days of the retreat.  The basic question is “What are you seeking?”  Over the years that will change.  I begin with this question well before I leave for Gloucester.  It is not all that different than the gospel of last Sunday when the leper knelt before Jesus and begged for healing.  It is a helpful question for all of us to ask at the beginning of Lent.  “What am I seeking this Lent?  What am I looking for?  What do I desire?”  If you have not already asked that question these first few days of Lent, this First Sunday of Lent is a good time to ask that question.

As I reflect and pray with the question “What am I seeking these days of retreat,” I respond that I am simply seeking to spend time with the Lord.  To be in the presence of the Lord as I pray, as I eat, as I walk, as I read, as I sleep during these eight days of retreat.  Giving the Lord this time to be with me and let him speak to me so that I may hear him will make for a grace-filled retreat.

The church painting is nearly completed.  The results are a brighter, cleaner looking church with a greater emphasis on the beauty and illumination of the stained-glass windows.  The brightening of the window panes and the replacement of the deep blue with a more neutral color has allowed the many colors in the windows to stand out with greater vibrancy.

In addition, the refurbishment of the bathrooms alongside the church lobby is complete.  Re-tiling, new fixtures, new lighting, and painting have all enhanced these bathrooms that many parishioners requested be refurbished.  Many thanks to all the workers who are responsible for these improvements.  They were all a pleasure to work with and completed their work with really no interruption to the use of the church.  I am very grateful to both the church painters and the craftsmen who re-did the bathrooms for their professionalism and courtesy.

Happily, these improvements were possible because of your generosity during past Spirit Days.  We were able to complete these projects on time with no additional fundraising.  Next year at this time we will complete the refurbishing of the church with a refinishing of the church pews and a re-polishing of the stone in the church floor.  Then our church will really shine!  The reason for the timing of these projects is for the scheduling of marriages and minimum interference with church building activities.

Sincerely in Christ,/userAssets/file/Father%20Tom's%20Letters/Fr_%20Tom's%20letter%202_18_18.pdf

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.