Letter to the People of Our Lady of Good Counsel

Dear friends,

We are grieving. As a parish we are grieving. We Augustinian friars are grieving. More than one parishioner has said to me, “This is like a death in the family.” I don’t think that the simile is overdramatic. This hurts. For all of us.

At the same time, to combine quotes two of our parishioners: “But nobody has died – we will get through this if we support each other – and no matter what, Jesus is still with us.”

I have been telling people how proud I am of the parishioners here at OLGC. In a number of conversations in the past week after the announcement, first came shock and some very raw emotional reactions.  Then in a very short time the conversations shifted to the need to form a task force to try to help the parish community to get through all of this, to prepare to welcome the new pastor whoever he may be, and to make the transition as smooth as possible for all concerned. I think that nothing could have made me feel prouder as a pastor then to hear our parishioners express that sentiment!

By the time you read this letter, the Parish Council will have met and that task force will have started to form and to begin its work. I will keep you posted through our normal means of communications (Mass announcements, OLGCSI.org, the OLGC Facebook page and Flocknotes*) regarding activities of this task force.

Father Emeka. Although Fr. Aquilino and I will be here at OLGC until the end of June, we are sad to say goodbye to Father Emeka during the second week in May. We will have a simple farewell Mass and hospitality for Father Emeka on Sunday, May 8, which is also Mother’s Day.

Deacon Joe Murray. A bit of happy news is that Joe Murray, OSA, who entered the Augustinians from our OLGC parish community, will be ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 18 at Villanova. He will celebrate his First Mass/Mass of Thanksgiving here at OLGC the next day, Sunday, June 19 at 3 PM. This will be a happy occasion and I hope that many of you will join this celebration. 

Father Jack Denny. My next assignment will be parochial vicar (assistant pastor) at Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. My friend Father Jack Denny, OSA is pastor there. Father Jack and I worked together in 2008 and 2009 at St. Margaret’s Church in Maggie Valley, North Carolina where he was pastor at that time.  Please keep Father Jack in your prayers.  He has just been diagnosed with cancer. 

On Sunday, June 26 we will have a special Mass and event to mark these 118 years.  Bishop O’Hara (who hopes to be with us for the Mass) refers to it as a “Mass of Thanksgiving” which is an appropriate title.  The Augustinians have much to be thankful for in the years we have journeyed with OLGC.  We will invite all friars who have been assigned to OLGC in the past to be part of this occasion. 

Let us continue to pray to Jesus and to Mary, Our Lady of Good Counsel, for each other and for the entire parish during this challenging time. 

Fr. Liam

PS, *to sign up for Flocknotes, please text OLGCSI to 84567, or visit: