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.





October 20, 2019

Dear Parishioners,


This past Tuesday night, we had an important meeting. We brought together all our First Communion students and their families. Together in Faith Formation and the parish school we have 187 boys and girls receiving Jesus for the first time in the Eucharist. We maintain the tradition of Saturday First Holy Communion Masses and they will be held on May 2, 9, and 16 with two Masses each day at 10:30 and 12:30. These will be great days for our second graders and their families.

Lots of preparation goes into celebrating First Holy Communion. Our Faith Formation staff, second grade catechists and teachers, the priests all participate with Vivian Flood who organizes and coordinates all 187 children. This is our largest First Holy Communion class in several years and our team of people do a great job in providing the kids and parents with a very memorable day.

Prior to receiving First Holy Communion, all the children will be prepared and celebrate First Reconciliation and Confession.  This year, instead of celebrating First Penance  at night, most of the children will go to their First Confession during school time. All parents are invited to join in the celebration of First Confession and we encourage moms and dads to also receive the absolution and forgiveness of this sacrament of mercy, healing, and forgiveness.

In the presentation with the second graders and their parents on Tuesday evening, I asked the children how they felt at Mass when they saw most people in the church getting on line to receive Jesus and they could not.  One young child responded, “jealous.” What a great and appropriate answer. The word “jealous” expresses the child’s hunger and desire to receive. Perhaps a title for this year’s First Holy Communion class might be “Jealous for Jesus.”

Emphasized to the parents was the best way to help prepare the children to receive Jesus for the first time is to make sure they attend Sunday Mass. Participating in Sunday Mass will help the children develop a hunger, desire, and anticipation for their First Holy Communion Day.

These days are not only special days for the kids. They are wonderful days for a strengthening of faith and a renewed commitment to the sacramental life of the Church. Preparation for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion is in full swing!


As I did last week, I reviewed the weekly bulletin to identify the various activities and ministries occurring in the parish. This time I counted 32 different activities and ministries for people of all ages.  Some included: sandwich making, altar server training, School early Childhood, Youth Ministry, Blood Drive, celebrating veterans, children’s choir, CDA Bunco, Bible Study, and Defensive Driving.

All of these and more include upcoming activities. Information can be found in pages throughout the bulletin.


Many years ago, Bishop Murphy began the annual diocesan and parish tradition of awarding the St. Agnes Medal. The St. Agnes Medal is given to parishioners who have been involved and supportive of the Church in parish and diocesan activities. Next Sunday, October 27 at 3:00 PM, at St. Agnes Cathedral, Bishop Barres will be awarding the St. Agnes Medal to members of the 133 parishes across Long Island. Mr. and Mrs. Pat and Susan Donnelly will be receiving the St. Agnes Medal for St. Anne’s this year. Pat has been a life long member of the parish and Pat and Susan have raised their three adult children Patrick, Colleen, and Jack at St. Anne’s.

Susan and Pat have been very active and supportive of the parish for a long time. Most recently, Susan has served as a parish trustee along with Lilly Schwieger. Susan has been very involved in the Respite Program when she volunteers her Friday nights to help the entire Respite team bring together Respite participants, volunteers, and helpers which can approach 200 persons on a busy night. Susan has been a faithful stalwart at Respite. In addition she offers one of her weekday afternoons as a catechist to some of our youngest parishioners. Susan does all her volunteer  work with a generous heart and cheerful spirity of you have met Susan in her work as a school nurse for the Garden City Schools.

I have known Pat Donnelly since 1976 when he was a student in my freshmen English class at Chaminade, my first year teaching. Pat and I still have memories of those days! Pat and Susan worship here at St. Anne’s every week and Pat helps out whenever needed, most recently at Respite. As an attorney Pat has assisted me with legal matters related to the parish. Pat has been involved in supporting the Church and diocese through his work with the CATHOLIC FAITH NETWORK. Pat has been a trusted advisor to Msgr. Vlaun in this regard.

The Donnelly’s have been supportive of every initiative at St. Anne’s these past years. They have personally and generously supported our St. Francis Ministry Center. I thank Pat and Susan for all their support and encourage their many friends to join me in congratulating them upon receiving the 2019 St. Agnes Medal. As Dartmouth Street residents, they are very good neighbors. I will always fondly remember the Donnelly family walking from their home to the Church for Colleen’s wedding. I had the opportunity to welcome, greet, and pray with them on this very joyful day!

Peace be with you!

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.