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 life of the parish.

 

 

 

 

April 11, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

I hope you enjoyed your Easter Sunday. We had a great Easter morning at the parish. Around 1650 people attended Easter Mass. We had 10 Masses including two outdoor Masses. Sr. Judy, parish volunteer greeters, and our maintenance team did a great job at helping people find their seats and cleaning the benches and chairs after each Mass. Parishioners felt reasonably safe. So many parishioners have expressed their gratitude to the team of greeters. Reports from some parishes indicated concern because there was a lack of spacing between people because of the Easter crowds. Here we are very blessed by the generosity and volunteer spirit of our greeters who have taken great care to sit properly and safely the hundreds of people who attended Mass here on Easter. Thank you.

Thank you also for your continued generosity in the Easter collection. So far the Easter collection is about $110,000. That is 30% more than last year and just $15,000 short of the 2019 Easter collection. All through this pandemic, St. Anne’s parishioners have continued their generosity in all sorts of ways.

We had been waiting for spring and Easter. Both have fully arrived. The remaining weeks of April, May, and early June are going to bring many happy celebrations to the parish. Through late April to late May, we will have 18 celebrations of Confirmation and First Holy Communion. On the weekend of May 22, the Solemnity of Pentecost, we will have a combined five Confirmation and First Holy Communion Masses. These will be happy days in the parish for our young families. Let’s join them in hoping for good weather.

EASTER OCTAVE– DIVINE MERCY

Today is the eighth day of Easter and completes the Easter Octave. In addition, we celebrate the Sunday of Divine Mercy. Each of the eight days of the Easter Octave highlights a resurrection appearance of Jesus. In today’s gospel Jesus appears in the Upper Room to the apostles when Thomas is initially absent. The story is well known for its conclusion, the confession of faith of Doubting Thomas: “My Lord and My God.” St. Thomas the Apostle is my home parish. The rose stained glass window above the altar and tabernacle is framed by these sacred words of Thomas.

Over the years, today’s gospel has become one of my favorites. I have learned much from Jesus’ greeting, “Peace be with you.” Among the many words that Jesus could have used to speak to these apostles, he chose “Peace.” Prayerful reflection on this greeting from the Risen Lord gives insight into this important moment of encounter between the Risen Lord and his closest followers.

The story’s narrative also includes this description of the Risen Lord: “...And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” As the greeting Peace be with you,” has impacted my thinking and approach to persons, so too has this image of the Risen Lord “breathing on them” and saying “Receive the Holy Spirit.” We have many images of the Holy Spirit. Some are fond of the image of the dove representing the Holy Spirit. Some prefer the Acts of the Apostles image of the Holy Spirit as fire.  Some suggest that the image of a strong wind is most like the Holy Spirit. This passage that we have in today’s gospel instructs me to understand the Holy Spirit as the very life breath of God that he shares with us.  I associate the Holy Spirit with the very sound and rhythm of breath. So, a celebration of the Holy Spirit brings us greater life and energy as it brought life to the apostles in the Upper Room.

ST. FRANCIS MINISTRY CENTER

Part of the excitement of this Easter spring season will be the significant progress of our St. Francis Ministry Center for Faith Formation, Parish Social Ministry, and other parish ministries. The 20 or so modules of this new building are scheduled for arrival and installation around May 20. How fitting that this parish project will achieve this historical moment during the days that we celebrate the Solemnities of the Ascension and Pentecost. We have been speaking about this project and working through so many challenges these past six years, most significantly the global pandemic that brought so many activities throughout the world to a stand still. It will be joy to see the roof hoisted atop this ministry center. It will bring new post-pandemic life when parishioners assemble as all different kinds of ministries to further the mission and ministries of our parish in the St. Francis Ministry Center. The Easter spring weeks that are upon us will bring excitement to lots of people.

Enjoy a Blessed and Happy Easter Season!

Fr. Tom