FROM THE PASTOR
As I was doing some spiritual reading last week, I came upon some beautiful words which are attributed to an old prayer card with the author unknown. The title of the prayer on this card is "Thou Art A Priest Forever." Being here two months now, in my second parish as a Pastor, welcoming our newly ordained Fr. Lawrence, and looking ahead a few months to my 25th anniversary of priesthood, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to live life as a parish priest. The words seemed to hit home:
"To live in the midst of the world; without wishing its pleasures; To be a member of each family, yet belonging to none; To share all suffering; To penetrate all secrets; To heal all wounds; To go from men to God and offer Him their prayers; To return from God to men to bring pardon and hope; To have a heart of fire for Charity, and a heart of bronze for Chastity; To teach and to pardon, console and bless always."
You know, we all have our heroes in life. But they are not all found in the sports world, Washington or the movies. My grandfather, a beautiful humble little man from Palermo, Sicily, used to tell me about a priest he met far away in Italy. Grandpa used to go to his Mass and told me, "I tell you Frankie, that when that man said the Mass, his feet were not on the ground." My mouth would hang open as grandpa told me that this priest had the same wounds as Jesus on his hands and his feet. He told me that when he went to confession to this priest, he knew what grandpa was going to say before he even said it.
Well, that man who my grandpa met so many years ago is now a Saint of the Church and we celebrate his Feast Day today– October 23. He is St. Pio of Pietrelcina, more commonly known as Padre Pio. I have been fortunate enough to travel to Italy and place my hand on his tomb. I have asked him to pray for me and show me the path so many times in my priesthood. Somehow, I feel that he has never let me down. All of us can have the same relationship with Padre Pio or any of the great communion of Saints. But first, we must commit ourselves to deep prayer.
Padre Pio stated, "Through the study of books one seeks God; by meditation one finds him." I think we all know what he means. He would have told this world of 2012 to slow down, to simplify your life and to be filled with joy at every moment for our God is indeed very near to us.
Because his feast falls on a Sunday this year, we don’t really get to celebrate Padre Pio at Mass. But I can’t let this day pass without remembering how much my grandpa loved him, and thanking my grandpa for introducing the memory of this good priest to me. So, please pray for the Priests of this parish.
Forgive us when we are lazy, encourage us when we need your support; and know that every day we will pray that we might live up to the words you have read above– that together we may find our way in the Church to the living God.
Padre Pio, pray for us!
Maria Regina R.C. Church
3945 Jerusalem Avenue
Seaford, NY 11783-1631