Celebrating St. Augustine's Day in my new assignment

My first two weeks as pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel have gone smoothly.  I think I am going to like this place.  Only have had to call John, the previous pastor, twice about a few questions.  The people have been very helpful.  Laura, the office manager, and Vilma, the parish secretary, are both very professional and on top of things, as is Allen, the facilities manager.  Last Thursday I spent a few hours with the parish school principal.  Despite the building being 100+ years old, it has been kept in great shape and the parent have supported a good number of improvements in recent years.  This summer all of the floors were sanded and re-finished, a lot of painting was done, and a whole raft of other things were brought up to current code.  The teachers are all top-knotch!

So many people in the parish are enthusiastically involved in either the parish, the school or both in some cases.  Liturgy is handled very well.  There could be more singing, but that is an East Coast thing, I think.  We'll have to work on it.  The only thing that at this point has me kind of worried is the number of the faithful attending weekend Masses.  There were fewer than 900 each weekend, spread over 2 Saturday evening and 5 Sunday Masses.  I know it's August, so a lot may be on vacation or off on weekend trips.  So it may pick up after Labor Day.

This past Friday the four of us went to Manhattan for supper to celebrate the feast days of St. Monica and St. Augustine.  We went over by ferry.  I had not been on the ferry for at least 40 years.  The sky, the skyline and the weather on the way over were gorgeous.  I had not seen the Statue of Liberty in many years.  It was lovely.

Jim Cassidy, Jorge Luis Cleto, and our summer guest, Deacon Ubaldino Corrales, OSA from Panama was with us.  We went to a Peruvian restaurant in Greenwich Village.  We had a very leisurely (nearly 3 hours?) supper and then went back to the friary.  Saturday morning we concelebrated Mass on the Feast of St. Augustine.  I preached.  For the rest of the Masses over the weekend we substituted Mass for the Solemnity of Saint Augustine for the regular Sunday Masses and the hospitality committee ran a coffee and donut social after each of the Masses.

On Friday morning I visited 5 elderly parishioners in their homes, people who have been faithful members of the parish for many years, many for most of their lives.  3 of them in their 90s.  I feel it is important to bring the sacraments to such people and to maintain contact with them, especially since some of them were very active and vital members of the parish when their health was better.  I'm also convinced of the importance and the power of intercessory prayer, and I believe that people like this can continue to contribute much to the parish community by their prayers on our behalf.  I will continue to do so next Friday.  I keep picking up new names from others of the parishioners.

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