May 10, 2022

Dear Parishioners:
With a very busy weekend behind us, we now look forward to several weeks of baptisms and weddings, with Confirmation as a highlight for our 8th graders on Tuesday, the 17th.

1. Last weekend’s attendance: 5pm, 87; 9am, 90; 11am, 132. Live stream: 135 households watched live, 50 households watched later.

2. During the past week I have been plagued with respiratory congestion. It created a slight interruption during Sunday’s First Communion at the 11am and the cancellation of morning mass on Monday and Tuesday. My Covid tests were negative. Whether I have seasonal allergies or picked up a respiratory virus is yet to be determined.

3. Still no word from the diocese about how things will look here at the Magdalene after June 30th. Communication is a two-way street. The diocese solicited the thoughts and ideas of parishioners in the recent Synod meetings, but has failed to communicate with us when asked about the future of the Magdalene. What’s the big secret?

4. Netflix has changed its production date to May 23rd. They will be using the parish hall to hold cast and crew not needed on the set.

5. Yesterday I celebrated the funeral at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Scarsdale of my grade school classmate. Each year he would contact me on my birthday. How many men do you know would send birthday wishes?? He lived in the Chicago area and called me two days before he died. He wanted me to promise him that I would do his funeral. He left a wife of 50 years and a son. Some friendships and bonds last a lifetime.

May 3, 2022

Dear Parishioners;
I had a good vacation in the Dominican Republic. No hitches, but more paperwork is required in order to return to the US. It’s a new world. One benefit of this trip was that I was able to renew my Global Entry interview at JFK, allowing an expedited entry to the US, while waiting for my luggage. I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by a Homeland Security officer whose uncle was a priest in the diocese of Rockville Center. The interview was a breeze, just a new photo and fingerprints. Done! Again, I wish to express my appreciation to Sr. Flo and Fr. Sheehan for holding down the fort.

1. I was surprised, on my return, to see the Easter flowers gone. That was quick. However, I was pleased to learn of your Easter generosity. Our Easter collection was $22,640. Thank you!

2. We surpassed our Cardinal’s Appeal goal of $59,000. The latest figure is $71,699. This is a remarkable response by any standard of measurement. My sincere thanks. I will be saying nothing more about the Cardinal’s Appeal from this point on.

3. Last weekend’s attendance: 5pm, 85; 9am, 96; 11am, 58. Live stream: 149 households watched live, 55 watched later. Looking ahead, my 50th anniversary mass on the 22nd at 11am will be live streamed, in addition to the 9am that day.

4. THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE IN THE CELEBRANT SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEKEND OF MAY 7-8 DUE TO FIRST COMMUNION AT 11 ON THE 8TH. Fr. John will have the 5pm and 11am.

5. Netflix will be using the church hall on Monday May 16th as a holding place for cast and crew who are not needed on the set. They have agreed to pay the parish $2000. The proper documentation and insurance certificate will be required from the production company.

6. Our Pocantico Hills Fire Department is holding a Blood Drive on Thursday, May 5th from 2-8pm. Blood donors are needed!!

7. Thank you to our 5th graders and those who supported the Bake Sale last Sunday for Ukrainian refugees. The sale raised $1,144! Even though I did not purchase any sweets, as some of you now know: the ship I was to sail on as chaplain in November (the Volendam), has been chartered to rescue Ukrainian refugees. A disappointment for me, but a most worthy mission of mercy for Ukrainian families.

8. Prior to my departure at the end of June, because of your generosity, the parish will make donations to community groups and outreach programs in the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow area, as we have done in the past. The past Renew and Rebuild Campaign, initiated by the diocese several years ago, gave some pastors free reign to indulge in cosmetic and totally unnecessary enhancements to rectory, school, and property. New bathrooms, kitchens, and furniture were acquired. For whom? Am I the only one who sees a future of empty rectories, poorly attended churches, and underused real estate? I have no idea who will replace me at the Magdalene, but I want to ensure that your generosity will benefit a much wider ecumenical community, where the needs are genuine. In June I will list the organizations and the amount of the bequests. Have no fear! These bequests will come from our operating account, not our savings, which stand at $510,000, earning 4% interest payable twice a year.

9. Archways, the quarterly magazine of the archdiocese, has chosen to profile the stained glass windows of the Magdalene in their future issue. We beat out a number of other parishes that were under consideration. A little publicity never hurts.

10. In these Flocknotes I have constantly warned about scams, etc. Last Thursday I was checking my deceased mom’s trust account balance and realized $20,000 was missing. A check, listing a creditable corporation in NJ as the PAYER, wrote a check for just under $20,000 to an unknown payee, using my mom’s Chase account number. The corporation has no Chase accounts, so how did the check move through the system? A representative for Chase said it should have been flagged immediately and apologized for this failure. My own access to this account requires a two-step authentication in order to prevent unauthorized access to the account. The money was replaced by Chase in 24 hrs. I was able to catch this fraudulent transaction only hours after it took place because I check the balance each morning online. Had I not done so, the account could have been cleaned out. Today, you cannot be too careful.

11. This month of May will be busy with two First Communions, Confirmation, 5 baptisms, 3 weddings, Mother’s Day, Bake Sale, Parish Brunch in honor of my 50th anniversary of ordination, and Memorial Day. I have been asked to be the guest speaker at the Ossining Memorial Day celebration. After May, I will need another vacation. Looking toward the future, we have received no further word about the transition that will take place at the Magdalene on July 1. If what is taking place in other parts of the diocese is any indication, it seems possible that a neighboring pastor will be named administrator of the Magdalene. My sister’s pastor in Warwick, NY has now been informed that he will also be the administrator of 2 other parishes in Florida and Pine Island NY. In my opinion, this decision reveals that the diocese has no creative plan to deal with the post-pandemic reality we are living in. If you want to destroy the morale (and health) of remaining pastors, this is the most effective way to accomplish that goal. Let me ask: in the corporate world do employees jump for joy when asked to assume the work load of colleagues (without further compensation) who have resigned or have been let go? The answer should be obvious.

A Blessed Mother’s Day to All Our Mothers and Those Who
Assume the Role of Mother, and Congratulations
to All Our First Communicants

April 26, 2022

Dear Parishioners:
My sincere thanks to all who attended and supported our Holy Week celebrations. My special thanks to our choir, lectors, ushers and our Eucharistic Ministers, who resumed their ministry on Easter Sunday. With a little practice we will master the new procedure for the distribution of communion.

1. I will be away this week, returning on Tuesday evening, of the 26th. Sr. Flo will conduct daily communion services at 8am on the weekdays I am away. Fr. Sheehan will cover the masses on the weekend of April 30-May 1.

2. Attendance on Good Friday: 105 at the service; Live Stream: 120, with 35 watching later. Easter Vigil at 8pm: 95 in person; 9am, 162; 11am, 300+. Live stream: 130 households watched live, 50 watched later

3. My sister, who attended the 11am on Easter, observed that many more people here at the Magdalene were wearing masks than in her home parish. With the Covid virus still lingering, you are exercising good sense. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, do so. Each one of us is responsible for his/her medical decisions. With the large attendance on Sunday and the implementation of a new procedure for the distribution of communion, I neglected to put on my mask for the distribution of communion. It won’t happen again.

4. The new procedure for the distribution of communion seemed to work, in spite of the larger attendance on Easter. On a normal weekend, the procedure should be a breeze. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and modify the procedure as necessary.

5. Did you know that bats are protected by both federal and state law? In NY you cannot disturb the long-eared bat hibernation habitat between Oct 1-April 30. As a consequence, we are still exploring remedies for the bats in the church attic.

April 19, 2022

Dear Parishioners:
My sincere thanks to all who attended and supported our Holy Week celebrations. My special thanks to our choir, lectors, ushers and our Eucharistic Ministers, who resumed their ministry on Easter Sunday. With a little practice we will master the new procedure for the distribution of communion.

1. I will be away this week, returning on Tuesday evening, of the 26th. Sr. Flo will conduct daily communion services at 8am on the weekdays I am away. Fr. Sheehan will cover the masses on the weekend of April 30-May 1.

2. Attendance on Good Friday: 105 at the service; Live Stream: 120, with 35 watching later. Easter Vigil at 8pm: 95 in person; 9am, 162; 11am, 300+. Live stream: 130 households watched live, 50 watched later.

3. My sister, who attended the 11am on Easter, observed that many more people here at the Magdalene were wearing masks than in her home parish. With the Covid virus still lingering, you are exercising good sense. If you feel more comfortable wearing a mask, do so. Each one of us is responsible for his/her medical decisions. With the large attendance on Sunday and the implementation of a new procedure for the distribution of communion, I neglected to put on my mask for the distribution of communion. It won’t happen again.

4. The new procedure for the distribution of communion seemed to work, in spite of the larger attendance on Easter. On a normal weekend, the procedure should be a breeze. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and modify the procedure as necessary.

5. Did you know that bats are protected by both federal and state law? In NY you cannot disturb the long-eared bat hibernation habitat between Oct 1-April 30. As a consequence, we are still exploring remedies for the bats in the church attic.

April 12, 2022

Dear Parishioners:
A reminder: I will be away from Tuesday, April 19 to Tuesday, April 26. Sr. Flo will conduct a communion service in place of the weekday masses. Fr. Sheehan will cover the weekend masses April 23-24. I thank them for their service and assistance.

1. Please consult our website for all Holy Week services. They are also posted on the door of the church. Our Good Friday Service will be LIVE STREAMED. We will re-introduce Eucharistic Ministers on Easter Sunday morning, not the Easter Vigil. The priest will distribute communion at the foot of the altar to the PARKING LOT SIDE of the church, beginning with the first row, and returning by way of the side aisle, as we are presently doing. The Eucharistic Minister will stand in front of the Baptismal Font. Starting with the last pew on the ORGAN SIDE of the church, those receiving communion should approach the Eucharistic Minister by exiting their row from THE SIDE AISLE, beginning with the last pew, and return by way of the CENTER AISLE. Let’s see how this works. It may sound confusing, but it is quite simple.

2. Now for an important update: The Vicar for Clergy called me on Friday (April 8). He asserted that the parish will remain open. This is great news for our parish. I guess my question is: Why was this not communicated to the Parish Council in response to their two letters, going back over a year, requesting information about the future of the parish? As a consequence, my last day at the Magdalene will be June 30th. I was assured that the diocese will find my replacement for the Magdalene. Considering that we are ordaining no one for the archdiocese next month, and that two of my contemporaries died over the Palm Sunday weekend, the pickings are slim. It is unfortunate that creative ideas for implementing needed pastoral initiatives continue to elude us, both locally and on the global level. How long will it take for the church to understand that business as usual is over? The fact that we have more
Catholics “shopping” for parishes should be a wake-up call that change is needed. To be honest, our diocese has never been on the cutting edge of innovation.

3. Cardinal’s Appeal: goal, $59,000; pledged, $57,005; number of gifts, 87; average gift, $655.23. We are still waiting for a major gift to be posted and for a new campaign manager to be assigned. Your response to the Appeal has been extraordinary. Thank you.

4. Last weekend’s attendance: 5pm, 66 (surprising low for Palm Sunday); 9am, 100; 11am, 108. Live stream: Watching live, 155 households; watching later, 60.

5. During the first days of Holy Week we contracted with the firm Renovata to strengthen the joints of several pews which were beginning to show weakness. Work began on Monday (April 11). After Easter, some of the pews, in need of more intensive repair, will be removed to Renovata’s workshop.

6. Update on the bats: The first bid came in at $14,000, which included sealing several points of entry in our structures. For $14,000 I will buy the bats their own condo. In the meantime they are living in our attic rent free. This issue requires more serious investigation.

7. The parish signed a contract with Pristine Properties from Ossining for landscaping and snow removal. Their first visit to the property today (April 12) for Spring cleanup was marred by several belligerent neighbors who resented the noise. They brought their screaming and yelling (their decibel level rivaled the mower and blower) onto the church property, which required us to call the police. Four patrol cars arrived from Sleepy Hollow and Mount Pleasant and took our statement. This should be an interesting summer!

8. The Travelers Insurance representative inspected both the church and rectory furnaces on April 11 for safety issues and recertified that we meet all safety requirements.

9. Once again we have been approached by Netflix to use the parish hall on a May weekday as a holding area for cast and crew. We will see if we can seal the deal this time.

ON BEHALF OF THE PARISH STAFF WE WISH OUR PARISHIONERS AND FAMILIES A BLESSED EASTER.

April 5, 2022

Dear Parishioners:
Next week we enter our most sacred time of the church year. A recap of the events: Holy Thursday at 8pm; Good Friday at 3pm with Stations of the Cross at 7pm. Our 3pm service will be live streamed; Holy Saturday Easter Vigil at 8pm; Easter Sunday at 9 and 11am. As usual, our 9am mass will be live streamed. At all our services masks are not required. However, if you feel more comfortable wearing one, do so. We are still maintaining other safety protocols: no hand shaking at the kiss of peace, host in the hand at communion, no chalice at communion, the holy water font will remain empty.

1. How to say this? I contacted the Personnel Office of the diocese inquiring why I did not receive the diocesan retirement packet. The response was indicative of a diocese adrift. The Vicar for Clergy had no knowledge I was here at the Magdalene and did not have my email address, despite the fact that I have been here almost 6 years and have received countless emails from the diocese, and continue to do so. I was promised a phone call to clarify the situation. It never came. Having spent 33 years in army units of various sizes, from battalion, brigade, division, to general hospital, I am floored by such organizational sloppiness. You can’t make this stuff up.

2. Cardinal’s Appeal update: As of last Friday (April 1) our parishioners have pledged $56,255 toward our $59,000 goal. 83 households have contributed. The average gift was $677.77. The diocesan figure does not include a major gift from one of our parishioners, which the diocese has yet to post in its system. Thank you very much for your response. I hope the diocese takes notice!

3. Last weekend’s attendance: 5pm, 83; 9am, 76; 11am, 70. Live stream: 124 households watched live, 60 watched later.

4. We will re-introduce Eucharistic ministers on Easter Sunday morning. Since our musicians will continue to occupy the aisle around the organ, we need to devise 2 communion stations that do not inhibit the flow of communicants. Suggestions?

5. My sincere thanks to the rectory staff and volunteers who worked to coordinate and mail invitations to the mass and brunch for the 50th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood on May 22.

March 29, 2022

Dear Parishioners:
Your response to the Cardinal’s Appeal has been overwhelming. The goal is $59,000. As of last Friday you pledged $53,315! We are $5685 from our goal. The number of households who have participated: 69. The average gift is $772.68. If you have not had a chance to participate, envelopes can be found in the back of the church. Our parish code for the Appeal is W511. You may place your pledge/gift in the collection or mail it directly to the diocese. If you mail it directly to the diocese, let the rectory know so that we can ensure that the parish is credited. Make all checks to The Cardinal’s Appeal. Thank you for your help.

1. Last weekend’s attendance: 5pm, 82; 9am, 87; 11am, 73. Live stream: Watching live: 155 households; watching later: 55. In the last three months our average in-person attendance has been roughly 67% of our pre-pandemic levels. What is interesting is that our live stream combined audience has increased in number to about 200+ each weekend, not including the occasional wedding or funeral. Like many corporations facing the dilemma of getting workers back into offices, we are confronted with a similar issue of how to increase in-person attendance. Time will tell

2. I would like to thank Dave Impastato, Anne Kenney, David Cartenuto, and Carol Mackey for attending the Synod meeting last Saturday at St. Patrick’s in Yorktown. I will try to collate their impressions of the dynamic and substance of the day in our next FlockNote.

3. We are still searching for a landscaper/snow removal vendor. Thank you to everyone who has given us a referral. We are still working on it.

4. Last week in one of our very young CCD classes a student read the word “Indulgence” and wanted to know what it meant. If Martin Luther were alive today, his ears would be burning, his heart would be racing, and his voice would be bellowing. Over 500 years ago the church gave out pieces of paper for a donation. These papers would remit the punishment of those in purgatory, allowing them to enter heaven more quickly, an idea that was ripe for corruption, leaving the impression one can buy one’s way into heaven on the fast track. Luther rejected the whole concept and became the leading instigator for the Protestant Reformation. The Council of Trent was our response to the Protestant Reformation, and set the tone for the next 500 years until the Second Vatican Council. Believe it or not, indulgences (plenary and partial) are still on the books. Like Limbo, Indulgences are theological constructs of another time and another place. Think of this: If Christ had to carry his cross, what makes us think we can devise a shortcut?

5. April gives us a brief respite from weddings and baptisms and allows us to focus on the great mysteries of our faith. Once May commences, we hit the ground running with weddings, multiple baptisms, First Communions, and Confirmation. I can hear the swaying palm trees calling to me before the “busy” season begins.

March 22, 2022

Dear Parishioners:

As we look forward to Holy Week, please take note of our celebrations: Holy Thursday at 8pm; Good Friday at 3pm (this will also be live-streamed this year) and Stations of the Cross at 7pm; Holy Saturday at 8pm (no 5pm mass); Easter Sunday at 9am (live-streamed) and 11am. In terms of confessions, all our religious education classes have received the sacrament of reconciliation during the last two weeks, without a hitch. If any adult wishes to receive the sacrament of Penance, please avail yourself of the time prior to the Saturday evening mass (430-5pm) or make an appointment at the rectory.

1. St. Francis of Assisi would be quite pleased with us. After a careful inspection of the church attic by a specialist, it was determined that not only do we have bats, but we also have flying squirrels. While it is commendable that we provide a home for god’s creatures, unfortunately they will need a new place to live. The remediation of this issue will be a bit more complex.  We will have to wait for warmer weather before this matter can be tackled. Today the specialists will make an inspection of the church exterior to determine how our “friends” found their way into our attic.

2. This past weekend was our “in pew” solicitation on behalf of the Cardinal’s Appeal. Envelopes are available in the back of the church. If you have not contributed, simply fill one out, mail it to the diocese, or drop it in the collection basket. Our parish code is W511. Please do not make the checks out to the Magdalene. You have pledged $48,790 toward our $59,000 goal. Consider this: 62 families have pledged this amount of $48,790!! In past years, on average, 113 families have participated in the Appeal. If 50 households pledge roughly $200 each, the goal would be reached. Also, if your company has a matching gift program, please consider contacting your HR department for the appropriate paperwork. When I was president of Mt. St. Ursula, my first “ask” from a donor was for $250,000. Not only did the school receive her gift, her company matched it for another $250,000. Not a bad take over lunch in White Plains!!

3. Last weekend’s attendance: 5pm, 68; 9am, 92; 11am, 92.  Live stream: 124 households watched live; 45 watched later.

4. As the pandemic wanes (I hope) and a number of our parishioners have returned to mass, some have asked how Carl is doing. Please feel free to contact him: Carl Schmidt, 1017 Saw Mill River Rd., Apt. 1423, Ardsley, NY 10502. Carl was such a great help to our parish as usher, custodian, and loyal parishioner over many years.

5. Since a new variant of Covid has been detected in New York, please exercise caution. Wearing a mask and/or getting a booster may be advisable. As adults, use your own judgment. I will continue wearing a mask for communion. I will not place communion on the tongue for my own protection and the protection of others on the communion line. Also, I do not see communal reception of the chalice making a comeback any time soon, if ever. The traditional handshake for the kiss of peace remains problematic. A simple nod of the head will do. For the time being, the holy water fonts will remain empty.

6. We are still soliciting vendors for landscaping and snow removal. If you know of someone, let us know.

7. Parishioners who use envelopes should have received the Holy Week schedule in their envelope packet. We will give the church a good cleaning prior to the Holy week services.

8. The scammers and hackers are out there using my name to send emails. My email is padrejav@gmail.com. There are no other letters, numbers, or special characters. I do not solicit money through email or text messages. If you are in doubt, simply call the rectory. If Dante were alive today, he would reserve a special place in hell for these scammers and hackers.

9. This Saturday (March 26) a couple of our parishioners will attend the Synodal sharing session at St. Patrick’s in Yorktown. I will be looking forward to sharing their impressions with all our parishioners in a future FlockNote.

March 15, 2022

Dear Parishioners:
Alleluia!!! The diocese finally sent us the corrected figures for the Cardinal’s Appeal. Our goal remains $59,000. You have pledged $45,190. We are more than two-thirds there. Thank you for your generosity. Let’s try to finish this off, if possible, by Easter.

1. This past week we received an interest payment from the diocese ($10,400) on the $510,000 we have on deposit. Interest is paid twice a year. While we are on the subject of finances, our collections are averaging $6000 weekly from both in-person and WeShare. This is an excellent figure. Thank you.

2. We are still looking for a new vendor for landscaping and snow removal. If you wish to recommend someone, let us know. Spring is around the corner.

3. We haven’t forgotten about the flagpole replacement in front of the rectory. Just waiting for the ground to soften. Nothing has been done about the bats in the church attic. It will be tackled this spring.

4. While masks are no longer required in church, if you feel safer wearing one, do so. I received my second booster shot this past week. Remember, children under 5 have not been vaccinated, and some are showing signs of mild Covid. We are not completely out of the woods. Within the past month we lost another parishioner (unvaccinated) to Covid. Please maintain your guard.

5. Still no word about the future of our parish. I thought that consolidation with a neighboring parish would be the diocesan direction at this time. However, the foundation for such a consolidation should have been laid months ago. When I first arrived at the Magdalene almost 6 years ago, I was informed that I should start working with St. Teresa in Sleepy Hollow to lay the foundations for a consolidated parish. It was to be accomplished within a year, but, as we all now know, it was not meant to be. I cannot see how a consolidation with a neighboring parish can be accomplished now in a matter of three months (new legal corporate name, new tax ID, new bank accounts, merged programs, new mass schedule, etc.). Perhaps, a trip to Greece might be in order, to consult the Delphic Oracle. By the way, today marks the Ides of March, which in the original ancient Roman calendar, marked a new beginning, a time of rejoicing and celebration. (We can credit Shakespeare with giving the Ides of March a more sinister twist with the assassination of Caesar by Brutus). We can only hope that our parish will have cause for celebration when all is said and done.

6. Last weekend’s attendance: 5pm, 54; 9am, 88; 11am, 77. Live stream: 142 households watched live, 70 watched later.

7. A reminder: we are no longer printing paper bulletins. Our website is our main means of communication, to include: bulletin, mass schedule, upcoming events, etc. The savings on paper, ink, and printing time are not minor.

8. Our deanery is hosting a sharing and listening session for representatives of each parish on Saturday, March 26th at St. Patrick’s in Yorktown, beginning at 930am. If you are interested in attending, let the rectory know.

9. The TV production crew from SVU, which was slated to use our parish hall for crew and extras yesterday, never showed up. There must have been a change in the production schedule. They say: “Never count your chickens before they hatch,” and I naively thought the parish could pocket a quick $3500. So much for quick get rich schemes. Maybe we should implement a 24 hr cancelation notice, as medical offices do.

March 8, 2022

Dear Parishioners:
We enter our first week of Lent, and, as is church custom, the Sunday gospel focuses on the temptations of Jesus. The humanity of Jesus is tested, and the encounter between Jesus and the tempter gives us hope that we can be as successful in meeting the temptations in our lives, as Christ was at the beginning of his ministry. It is a message of hope. Nothing is impossible!

1. After last week’s FlockNote, a parishioner, presently enjoying the winter in southern California, volunteered to pay the complete bill for the pew restoration project: $2800. I am deeply appreciative of this most generous gesture. We are very fortunate here at the Magdalene to have many parishioners so invested in the upkeep of our church.

2. It’s TV production time again. Law and Order SVU will be using our church hall on Monday, March 14, for most of the day, as a holding space for crew and extras. They will be filming at the Rockefeller Preserve. They have agreed to a $3500 fee. As always, I require a certificate of co-insurance to protect the parish from any liability. It is also a diocesan requirement.

3. As noted last week, masks are no longer mandated in church. However, please feel free to wear one for your own safety. I will continue to wear one for the distribution of communion, and for added safety, I will receive a second booster shot this week.

4. I wish I could report that the Cardinal’s Appeal figures have finally been corrected. They have not. To make matters worse, the representative assigned to us has chosen to accept another job outside of the diocese. We will be assigned a new rep. I have been promised that a corrected figure will appear on Friday’s report (March 11). Thank you to all who have contributed so generously to the Appeal. The goal is $59,000. By our calculation, not the diocese’s, we are two-thirds there.

5. Thank you to everyone who participated in the blood drive. We had 54 donors. A special thank you to Stephanie Fuller, Cathy Chulla, and the 8th graders from our religious education program who participated. The blood bank will make a donation to local food pantries on behalf of every donor.

6. This evening our religious education students preparing for their First Communion received the Sacrament of Penance for the first time. Our parish wishes them well on their sacramental journey. Thank you to Dot Meehan and our volunteer teachers and assistants.

7. The parish sent a check for $750 to assist in an appeal for the church and people of Ukraine. While the diocese had asked for a special collection on Ash Wednesday, there was not enough time to alert ushers. Besides, when some might be returning to church for the first time after some absence, being hit with a collection on Ash Wednesday, as worthy as it might be, is not the best way to put out the “welcome mat.”

8. Last weekend’s attendance: 5pm, 71; 9am, 95; 11am, 86. Live stream: Households watching live, 130; watching later, 70. Not only has our attendance increased, both in-person and online, but we welcome new attendees who are first-timers.

9. Between now and early June we have 9 weddings scheduled, 13 baptisms, 2 First Communions, and Confirmation, not to mention Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter. Fr. Sheehan will be away the first weekend in April, and I will be in the DR April 19-26.

10. Since the diocese has chosen not to communicate to us about the future of the parish, I have booked a 28 day cruise next November to the Caribbean, Brazil, and up the Amazon. I will be “working” as the ship’s chaplain on Holland America’s Volendam. The cruise leaves Ft. Lauderdale on November 19th for St. Lucia, St. Marteen, French Guiana (Devil’s Island), Bara Norte River, along the Amazon: (Macapa, Santarem, Boca da Valeria, Manaus, Parintins, Alter do Chao, Belem), Barbados, Jamaica, Bahamas, returning to Ft. Lauderdale on December 17th.
Charlton Heston once said (about guns), “You will have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.” After this trip, I think I will need a vacation!

March 1, 2022

Dear Parishioners:

Since the CDC has eased mask mandates, we will no longer require masks at mass, beginning with the weekend masses on March 5-6, the First Sunday of Lent. However, I will continue to wear a mask for the distribution of communion. Parishioners who feel more comfortable in continuing to wear masks at mass, should do so, even though Westchester County is now considered at low risk. For Ash Wednesday, please wear a mask.

1. Trying to get the Archdiocese to correct the Cardinal’s Appeal totals is proving to be a herculean task. As a consequence, I will not report the total until I see a corrected figure. Our goal is $59,000.

2. As of this writing, our Blood Drive has the minimum number of donors necessary. We had 21 donors signed up. After last Sunday’s appeal for more donors, the number of donors increased to 36, a wonderful response. There is still time to sign up on our website. While we achieved the minimum number of donors required, the Blood Bank allotted us 60 openings for donors. It is not too late. The Drive is next Sunday between 9-3 in the church hall.

3. In the next few weeks you will be hearing and reading about the word Synod. Pope Francis is asking that all dioceses and religious communities establish listening and discussion meetings in examining how the church is living up to its mission in the modern world. The general format will be: three hours of discussion in small groups, in each of the 12 deaneries of the Archdiocese. The points made by the participants will be collated, sent to the diocese, then to the American Bishop’s Conference, and finally to the Vatican.
We will have more information next week. Several members of the parish council have signaled their intention to attend.

4. Last week’s attendance: It was good to see the return of some of our loyal parishioners after this pandemic interruption: 5pm, 85; 9am, 80; 11am, 66. Live stream: 141 households watched live, 65 watched later. The in-person attendance this past weekend (Feb 26-27) was one of the highest in the last two years of the pandemic.

5. A recent professional examination of the condition of the church pews surfaced some issues, nothing major. As a consequence, to strengthen some of the weak pews, we have obtained a bid. The cost will be a little over $2000. None of the pews will be removed for the repairs. While we are on the subject of Buildings and Grounds, we have been informed that after this winter, Manor Landscaping will restrict its business to contracting, and eliminate snow removal and grass mowing. We are now searching for a new vendor. Let us know if you have someone in mind.

6. This week and next week I will be hearing the confessions of our CCD students on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

7. Fr. Sheehan has published his second book: The Unfinished Table, about 12 women who have witnessed to Gospel values in his life journey, and how the church can use their gifts in a public and better way. You may purchase the book from Amazon or see Fr. Jim after mass.

8. Finally, if the sanctuary seems bare (no flowers), it is because we are simply reflecting the penitential season of Lent for the next 40 days.