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.

 

 

 

 

January 17, 2021

Dear Parishioners,

We have turned the calendar from 2020 to 2021 and liturgically from the Christmas Season to Ordinary Time. So many have spoken about 2021 being a better, healthier year than 2020. 2020 will be remembered for its pain, struggle, and difficulties. At the same time, many persons have experienced significant events that brought joy to them and their families.

Along with you, I will have my own memories of 2020. One memory is the incredible generosity of St. Anne parishioners during this recent Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Your generosity manifested itself in many ways. First, there was the tremendous support you showed Parish Social Ministry in its programs for Thanksgiving and Christmas. During the heart of the pandemic, St. Anne’s parishioners gave an outpouring of help to the several communities that our parish seeks to assist during these celebratory times. Food, gifts, toys, flowers, were all included in our donations that assisted hundreds of families during Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This year, because of the pandemic, many donors gave gift cards and monetary contributions to support the parish efforts. A favorite image of mine during these seasons is the long procession of cars loaded with food to be delivered to the various communities we serve. This is all in addition to the generosity you offer to the Loaves and Fishes Ministry.  All these programs are organized and supported by the volunteers in Parish Social Ministry and our Parish Social Ministry leadership. In this time of the pandemic when so many ministries and activities have been restricted, the extraordinary generosity of you parishioners brought much needed help to those in need and added joy  for those who have struggled every day with basic food needs during this most difficult time.

Then there was the parish Christmas collection! We over prepared and over expected Christmas crowds for Christmas Masses. In past years 4500 to 5000 people attended Christmas Mass. This year we planned 20 Masses and were prepared to welcome 4,000 people for Christmas Mass in the church and auditorium. People took precautions so our attendance was only about 1100 people. We later learned about 1000 families participated in Christmas Mass through livestream. As we realized the Mass attendance was only about one third of what we planned for, I become concerned about our Christmas collection which is significantly about 15% of our total for all Sunday and holyday collections for the year. How silly of me to be worried!!! Again your generosity exceeded all expectations and even exceeded our budget and even exceeded the Christmas collection for 2019. To date our 2020 Christmas Collection is $221,268, about $5,000 more than last year. That is incredible and another manifestation of the wonderful generosity of you the parishioners at St. Anne. It is also a sign of your love and commitment to the parish. Such generosity is an encouragement to me and I am deeply grateful to you for your sacrificial giving.

The generosity of St. Anne’s has been abundantly clear since I arrived here ten years ago. Whenever there has been a challenge that has called upon you to respond, you have always exceeded goals and expectations. I remain very grateful to you. And for all the suffering and heartbreak that the pandemic has brought to our community, I will always remember the generosity of the parishioners during this time of trial.                                                                                                                                                                                               

The pandemic has bridged the transition from one year to the next. We are hoping that as this year unfolds, with continued vigilance, precaution, and vaccinations, the number of sick and the number of Covid related deaths will decrease significantly as we approach spring. We have done our best with masks, distancing, and seating at our parish Masses. We are grateful to another form of generosity, the extraordinary generosity of those who have volunteered as ushers and cleaners at all of our Sunday Masses. You continue to do a great job and thank you.

Back in the spring when the pandemic was spreading throughout the world, Pope Francis approved a special Mass called “Mass in Time of Pandemic.” The priests of the parish have used this Mass at different times during the year. Beginning Tuesday, January 26 at 7:00PM we will have a weekly Mass when we pray this Mass. During this Mass we pray for the deceased, for mourners, for healing to the sick, peace to the dying, for healthcare workers, for wisdom, courage, and love. All parishioners are invited to join us for these Tuesday evening Masses that will begin January 26, at 7:00. All the precautions and advisories remain in place for these Masses. Masks are mandatory. Social distancing regarding pew seating is required.

As we move through this difficult time, we trust the Lord will accept the prayers that we offer each Tuesday evening beginning, Tuesday January 26.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

As our nation comes to Wednesday, January 20th and the inauguration of our new president, we pray for the peace, safety, and health of all involved in this important transition of government leadership. E pluribus Unum  “out of one many”- In God We Trust.

Peace be with you!

Fr. Tom