March 26, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

I wish to share with you the following reflection: WHY DO WE SING ? in preparation for our Holy Week Liturgies and Easter.

For nearly six decades, the Catholic Church has been encouraging the faithful to raise their voices and sing. A priest asked several people why they sing the Liturgy. Here are answers from the people in one family: The eleven-year old boy answered that he sings because his mother sings; because that is what he is supposed to do when he is in church; and because he likes to sing—music speaks to him! His fourteen-year-old sister answered: “The content of the music tells the story of Jesus being alive; the story of Jesus comes through the words of the music better than just the words, and I remember them afterwards; and my Mom sometimes tears up when she is singing.” And the Mom answered; “It is the ‘right’ thing to do; because when I was a young girl, first I learned to do it before I knew it mattered or whether it mattered; and when I sing today seldom is there a time when I don’t get some healing from the music—the text raises my level of awareness.”Some people sing the Liturgy because they pray better. Throughout Holy Week and on Easter Sunday music will play a pivotal role in our Liturgies. Think of Jesus chanting the Jewish Liturgy with his disciples and the “hymns” he sang with them before going to the Garden of Gethsemane.

The American Bishops' important and useful document Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship, opens with a wonderful chapter on “Why We Sing”. To quote just one section: “Music is therefore a sign of God’s love for us and of our love for him. In this sense, it is very personal. But unless music sounds, it is not music, and whenever it sounds, it is accessible to others. By its very nature, song has both an individual and communal dimension. Thus, it is no wonder that singing together in church expresses so well the sacramental presence of God to his people.’ (STL, 2).

We are Easter people and Alleluia is our song! Join in with us and sing our special liturgies beginning next weekend, Palm Sunday, and throughout the Easter Season.

Fr. Tim

March 19, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

This weekend we celebrate Laetare Sunday! Today is named for the entrance antiphon which sings: “Rejoice, Jerusalem!” (Laetare means “rejoice.”) Yes, we rejoice in the salvation the Lord is giving us as we continue entering into the discipline of Lent.

I encourage you to attend Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at 7 p.m. As practiced today, the Stations represent fourteen events experienced by Jesus as he walked to his place of execution at Calvary. We genuflect, sing the Stabat Mater, expose the Blessed Sacrament and have a brief reflection by a parishioner.

On Saturday, March 25 the Church celebrates the Annunciation of the Lord (see page 3), “a mystery that belongs to the temporal rather than to the sanctoral cycle in the Church’s calendar. This feast commemorates the moment in the history of time, the moment when the Second Divine Person of the most Holy Trinity assumes human nature in the womb of the Virgin Mary''---The Church's Year of Grace, Pius Parsch

May the following reflection put a smile on your face and lift your spirits during the Season of Lent.

One cold winter evening a priest was walking through a dangerous neighborhood. A man hiding in the shadows didn’t recognize him as a priest because the priest had his topcoat buttoned up to his chin. The man came out of the shadows with a gun and asked the priest to give him his wallet. When the priest opened his coat to get it, the man with the gun saw his Roman collar and apologized. He said, “Sorry Father, I didn’t know you were a priest. I can't steal from you. Just go on your way.`` The priest was so relieved he reached into the coat pocket and pulled out a cigar. He said, “Thank you, my good man. Let me give you a cigar.” The robber said, “I appreciate that Father, but I can’t take it. I gave up smoking for Lent.” Well, the obvious point is that whatever spiritual practice we choose to take on during Lent, it is supposed to change us, it is supposed to make us better people. Changes come in many ways. Some are good, some are not. Some are gradual, some occur with amazing speed.

[Fr. Joe Robinson’s Guiding Light: Reflect on The Word. Cycle B]

Fr. Tim

March 12, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

Lent could be a challenging time for many. Challenging because it requires GREAT DISCIPLINE. What word is embedded in DISCIPLINE? Disciple. If we wish to be better disciples, we must take control of our thoughts and actions. The real challenge for all of us this Lent is to make it more meaningful than we did last year. These forty-days do something to discipline yourself. Here are some suggestions:

If you wish to practice Voluntary Acts of Self Denial may I suggest the following:

1. Participate in daily Mass
2. Spiritual studies
3. Lenten devotions
4. Stations of the Cross
5. Saying the Rosary
6. Deeds of mercy and kindness

If you enjoy reading may I suggest the following books:

1. Inspiration from Pope Francis. This collection of homilies written by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio between the years 1988-2013 offers readers a unique glimpse into Pope Francis’ character and nature.
2. Mary: Help in Hard Times. This combination of history, stories, and prayers is an approachable and practical Marian guide bringing inspiration and hope to those who feel overwhelmed or worn-down.
3. Christ Our Midst. This book tells us how to find Christ in the people around us.
4. Inner Peace: Wisdom from Jean-Pierre de Caussade: How do we find peace of mind in our stressed-out life?
5. Secrets of the Spirit: Wisdom from Luis Martine. How do we develop a deep, loving relationship with God?
6. Why Go to Confession? Reconciliation and the beauty of God. Clear, honest, and pastorally sensitive answers help readers better appreciate this sacrament of personal encounter with the mercy of God.

To order, call Pauline Books & Media at 1-800-876-4463.

Let us keep in our prayers those who are suffering from emotional and psychological illness, the sick, the homebound, the institutionalized, and those serving in the military. They, too, face challenges, great and small.

Fr. Tim

March 5, 2023

Dear Parishioners,

Silence. Some welcome silence in a very ‘noisy’ world. Some do not welcome silence, especially for a long period of time, because it makes them nervous.

Have you ever considered “sacred silence” now that we are in Lent? “Sacred silence '' allows us to encounter the Divine, to be with the Lord whether it is in front of the Blessed Sacrament, in an empty church, or out in nature . In the revised GIRM (#45), we read, “Sacred silence also, as part of the celebration, is to be observed at the designated times.” This means that silence is an integral and important part of every liturgy . It is called “sacred” for in this silence we meet God, the Holy One.

During Lent we will be experiencing periods of silence at Mass during the penitential rite, after the readings from the Scriptures and the homily, and at Communion time. Yes, most of us don't know how to handle silence. We just wonder why nothing is happening or we let our mind wander thinking about all sorts of things. Often we are in too much of a hurry to get Mass over with.

Perhaps in periods of silence we could close our eyes, look inside ourselves and sort out our feelings. We would focus more on the presence of Jesus all around and within us. We could say quietly, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” “Lord, I just heard your Word in the Bible readings at Mass. What is it that you are saying to me personally? What answer do you want? What isYour will for me today? Come more deeply into my life.”

A brief contemplative experience can then become ours with a small effort. The liturgy of the Mass over the years can help form us in the likeness of Jesus and bring real peace and joy into our lives. This can be done if we appreciate sacred silence, especially during these forty days.

Deserts and mountains are places where we find silence. During Lent, we visit both: last week the desert, today the mountain. Every relationship needs maintenance and renewal, and our relationship of Faith in God and with His church is no different.

Perhaps we can ask ourselves these questions to open up a deeper experience of the Lord this Lent: What can I offer the Lord Jesus? What is he calling me to surrender?

During this holy season, may we silence ourselves as we prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery of our salvation this Easter.

Adoramus Te Christe (We adore you, O Christ)
Fr. Tim

February 19, 2023

Dear Parishioners:

This coming Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. The Church begins its penitential season known as Lent. It has been a part of the Church year from the earliest days beginning at the Council of Nicaea in 325. Forty days were chosen as the time of preparation because it was symbolic of the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness before embarking on his public ministry.

Have you abandoned your New Year’s resolutions? If so, the Church gives us another chance by offering Lenten “resolutions” to pray, fast, and give.

Prayer nourishes our spirits. Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where he fasted and prayed for 40 days. During Lent, we are called to concentrate more on prayer and conversion. Whether private prayer, family prayer or communal prayer, all work together to deepen your prayer life, not only during this season, but also all year long. Suggestions for Prayer: participate in daily Mass or in other forms of prayer such as Morning and Evening Prayer, or the Stations of the Cross; pray before meals; get up a little earlier to pray; visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. As disciples, we seek to follow St. Paul’s call to “pray always.”

Fasting disciplines our bodies, helps us seek the Lord with greater intensity and puts us in solidarity with those who suffer.

Almsgiving enlarges our hearts as we commit ourselves to the good of others. One can donate food to our local pantry or deposit money into the poor box; volunteer at our local food pantry, at a homeless shelter or nursing home; and donate new clothing, including children’s items.

Remember …The goal of Lent is to grow closer to God and reawaken to the bounty of God's Love; to be reconciled with God, self and neighbor; and to look beyond ourselves to the communal good of the Church and the world.

According to Kevin W. Irwin, “The season of Lent is meant to refocus our vision on the sacrificial life, death, and glorious resurrection of Jesus. It is meant to clarify our vision of what is truly important in our lives, that is our conversion to Christ in the community of the Church. It reestablishes priorities so that we may live in harmony with our identity as a people called by and converted to the Lord.”

As a parish family, let us journey together by participating in the many Lenten events and activities offered. Please accept the 2023 Lenten Insert and refer to it during Lent.

Don’t forget to get your ashes!

Fr. Tim

February 12, 2023

Dear Parishioners:
Today is World Marriage Day. It is an opportunity for us to reflect on married love as a cornerstone of the church and society. The love of a husband and wife is rooted in the selfless love that Christ has for the Church. We give thanks and praise to God for couples who “promise to be true in good times and bad, sickness and health, richer or poorer”. Let us pray for all those couples who are preparing to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage in our parish and your families this coming year. There are 8 weddings on my calendar for 2023 and 5 in 2024.

Each year the Archdiocese celebrates the longest married couples. An announcement was published in a previous bulletin. No one responded. In some parishes, couples are recognized at a designated mass with a reception to follow. Since my arrival, I have been impressed by the number of married couples in the congregation each weekend and in “their'' pew. This weekend, at each mass, we will recognize the oldest married couple who was married sacramentally. In addition to this, a blessing will be given to all married couples.

This Tuesday, February 14, we celebrate Valentine’s Day. The history of the holiday—and the story of its patron saint—is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition . One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and was put to death. Still others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop, who was the true namesake of the holiday. He, too, was beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome. In honor of one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and, through later folk traditions, this day has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world. St. Valentine’s Day has been observed for 1,527 years.

Also this Tuesday, February 14, the Church remembers Sts. Cyril, and Methodius. These brothers left a unique legacy in the Cyrillic alphabet which is descended from the written system the missionary brother devised to record prayers and liturgies in Old Slavonic. Their work overcame barriers of language and divisions between churches to make the Gospel and liturgy accessible to new populations.

Fr. Tim

February 5, 2023

Dear Parishioners:

The Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal 2023 has begun. Many of you faithfully participate in the Cardinal’s Appeal every year, and for that, I am very grateful. For those of you who did not participate last year, are new to the parish, or have never participated, please prayerfully consider this invitation.

The combined annual “goal” for all parishes in the archdiocese is $21,000,000; it is critical that we reach this “goal” because more accurately, it is not a “goal” but rather the “budget” needed to support the ministries and outreach that the Appeal funds. Indeed, all Catholics in the Archdiocese, from our “hidden gem” to Staten Island and Ulster County are called to participate. The Cardinal’s Annual Appeal helps:

~$9M in assistance to financially vulnerable parishes – providing the operational budget for parishes to remain a refuge for their communities through the sacraments and ministries
~$5M to Charitable Outreach, Pastoral Support – including administrative costs for Catholic Charities and funding for the programming of the Young Adult Outreach, Hispanic Ministry and Black Ministry offices.
~$4M to Evangelization, Communications, Catholic Education – providing resources and ministries like the GoodNewsRoom, Youth Faith Formation, and Religious education.
~$2M to Care for Retired Parish Priests – providing a refuge in their old age to those who served the Lord and us faithfully for many years.
~$1M to the Seminary – providing the formation of the next generation of priests so we may never be without the source and summit of our faith, that is, the Eucharist.

Now, for the need, our parish goal for the Appeal this year is $64,100. Last year, we were able to reach 132.45% of our goal with 123 families of our parish participating . You should have received a letter from our Archbishop, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, with a pledge card to make your gift. If not, you can pick up an envelope from the back of the Church. My invitation for each one of you is that you take that pledge card, ask the Lord how He wants you to be generous with this Appeal, and then return the card before on our Commitment Weekend on March 5th.

Please know of my sincere gratitude to you.

Fr. Tim

January 29, 2023

Dear Parishioners:

Today we celebrate the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. As the crowds doubted who Jesus was because of his simple origins, so will others doubt who we are unless we courageously live the gospel. Most of us aren’t called to “professionally” preach the Good News. All of us, because of our baptism, are committed to living it.

Commitment to living the gospel takes on many different spiritual practices, including the Beatitudes. Our commitment comes from the short reminders about the characteristics that one will find in a follower of Christ, characteristics that will help spread the Good News in this life and lead to eternal blessings in the next. Jesus shows us the way to be in the world without being of it. The blessings come when we model our lives on the life of Jesus.

Moses went up a mountain and received the Law. Now Jesus teaches on a mountain. When Moses went up the mountain, no one was allowed to go with him; but Christ went up the mountain and invited everyone to join him. In three weeks, Christians will be invited to ascend the mountain of the Lord as we begin the Holy Season of Lent on Ash Wednesday.

These past two weeks I have been busy meeting a variety of deadlines, mostly in preparation for Holy Week. Before our lovely poinsettia plants disappeared, multiple deadlines ensued: the Pastor’s 2023 Cardinal’s Appeal Stewardship Letter, the 2022 Contribution Statement, ordering ashes, palms, and the Paschal candle, the submission of the Easter Schedule, including the Easter Greeting to the DP Murphy Co.

Yes, we are in Ordinary Time. During this Time, we read about extraordinary events occurring in our gospel readings and many events here at The Magdalene, including our newly formed Bible Study group, “Walking With Purpose”. What a blessing to have approximately 20 women joined.

Fr. Tim

January 22, 2023

Dear Parishioners:

The month of January brings the “post holiday blues,” the barrenness of the winter months, depression, the reality of paying off the credit cards and receiving correspondence from “Uncle Sam” on behalf of employers.

The month also brings many liturgical celebrations and national holidays. During the Octave of Christmas I wore many white vestments, sang the Gloria and many Christmas carols as the sanctuary remained beautifully decorated in celebration of Our Lord’s Birth.

For 50 years Pro-lifers held their Annual March For Life in Washington, DC. January 22nd, 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of Roe vs.Wade, the Supreme Court decision striking down state laws prohibiting abortion in our country. This is the first march after the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Let us continue to pray and support pregnant women, as well as for a greater reverence of all human life. There are numerous articles written, opinions expressed and laws enacted concerning abortion. Is it a personal issue? Is it a private issue? Is it a moral issue ? Is it a religious issue? The issue centers around life, therefore, it is a human issue. Despite the “issue(s)”, the Church teaches that ALL life is precious at the moment from conception to natural death.

A Prayer for Life
Father and maker of all,
You adorn all creation
with splendor and beauty,
and fashion human lives
in Your image and likeness.

Awaken in every heart
reverence for the work of Your hands,
and renew among Your people
a readiness to nurture and sustain
Your precious gift of life.

Grant this through our Lord
Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in
the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever.

January 15, 2023

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

This week two significant 'happenings' are occurring: The Birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Let us pray for all Christian People, that God might lead us to overcome the scandal of division that scars the body of Christ. Significant progress over the past 50 years is good, but there is much more to be done. Taken together these two celebrations call us to be open to God's grace as we pray for greater tolerance and a willingness to overcome those historic divisions.

As promised, I will be submitting a variety of reports. In the next column is the 2021-2022 Annual Financial Report. Overall, we did well. If we wish to continue, we need for those who call the Magdalene their spiritual home to support us so that we can support others, especially those charitable Not For Profit organizations in the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow Communities. It was because of your commitment to the offertory, we were able to assist our needy brothers and sisters.

At the end of January, I will be hosting a meeting with our Liturgical Coordinator, Carol Mackey, to plan our Lenten & Easter celebrations. Part of this meeting will be devoted to taking inventory of the liturgical items that need to be replaced or updated. All interested parishioners are welcome to join us. Please see future bulletins for date, time, and place.

The liturgy is the responsibility of the entire community of faith. Let us always be willing to give our very best as we adore and praise the Lord during our celebrations of Sunday Eucharist, Solemnities, and Feasts.

Fr. Tim

January 8, 2023

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

The Christmas Season comes to an end this Monday with the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord. The Baptism of the Lord marks Jesus' mission. As we move into the new year, let us pray that we fulfill Jesus' mission. In our baptism, we become "heirs" and "co-partners" in Christ, in his death and resurrection.

At this time, I would like to thank the following parishioners who have given their time during the Advent & Christmas Season.

~ Carol Mackey for offering a wonderful Advent Morning of Prayer
~ Stephanie Fuller and her crew for organizing the annual Holiday Market. The proceeds raised were $2,251 and donated to the Kids Club of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.
~ Dotty Meehan, catechists and students who reenacted the nativity in their own special way.
~ Mike Bassett, Frank O'Donoghue, John Petry, Mike Doran, Stephen Kelly and Susan Fiorella for setting up the inside and outside creches. Thomas Matthew, Peggy Malone, Michaell Zachensky and Susan Barry for decorating the church.
~ The Eucharist Ministers, Lectors, Altar Servers, and Ushers who performed their tasks in such a meaningful manner.
~ John Dominick, the choir, Lindsey Minerva, the string quartet, Kelly Oram for their time and sacrifice that they have made and continue to make so that our parish worship might truly be a sacred action of the Christian Community.
~ Marianne Scott for her behind-the-scenes oversight that seamlessly provides a sense of welcome.
~ The anonymous donor for gifting us with an Automatic External Defibrillator.
~ The many acts of kindness that were shown to me.

In the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing a variety of reports. Today, I share with you the Sacramental Report (see next column). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. I will do my very best to provide you with an answer. Please remember these numbers were generated prior to my pastoral assignment. Overall, The Magdalene is doing well in all of its ministries, community outreach and most importantly in devotions.

For those who remain uncomfortable being a part of the congregation, I hope that you might seek an opportunity to receive Holy Communion at Mass. The Eucharist remains central to the life of all Catholics.

Fr. Tim

January 1, 2023

Dear Parishioners and Friends:

How wonderful it is for all of us to have a clean slate as we begin the first day of 2023! Even if you don't make any New Year's resolutions, this is an exciting time. It is a time that we can forget our past mistakes and look forward to new opportunities.

Do you know how long the Christmas Season lasts? With all of the pre-season preparation, some determine it to be over on December 26, which is so evident when we see the Old Tenenbaums on the side of the curb. The Christmas season begins on Christmas Day and concludes with “the Commemoration of the Baptism of the Lord. This feast is a fitting climax to the season of expectations and hope in the comings of the Lord in Advent and his manifestations of all nations in Epiphany '' (Kevin Irwin). Although the Christmas tree is NOT a religious symbol, the creche is. In Italy, it remains up until February 2nd. We should enjoy this wonderful season with family and friends, basking in the splendor of the season and reason. We will begin another important liturgical season, Lent, next month on Ash Wednesday, February 22nd.

In upcoming weeks, I will be sharing with you:
● 2022 Financial Report
● 2022 Sacramental Report
● 2022 Christmas Collection
● 2022 Christmas Thank You Note
● 2023 Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal
● 2023 Lenten Schedule
● A Mailing from DP Murphy
● A “Wish List” of Liturgical Items

We are still in need of a Parish Administrator and Director of Religious Education. These positions are part-time.

I wish to alert you about reports of email and text scams that use the name of the pastor to solicit funds in the form of gift cards or cash donations. Such requests are fraudulent. Do not reply and report them immediately as spam. Please note: Official electronic communications from the parish will always come from domain.

Fr. Tim

“Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound. ”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe