Since we’ve resumed our regular Mass schedule (just about), our parishioners have noticed a number of repairs and improvements to the St. Mary’s compound, both at our beloved Church on Bryant Avenue, and at Msgr. Ryan Hall on Round Hill Road. Here at the Church, we have repaired the railings leading up to the Rectory and down the stairs to the street, as well as at the handicap entrance. Air conditioning is also being serviced. Our beautiful cross overlooking Roslyn and the light which illuminated it, were both in need of repair. These have been removed, and the light fixture has already been replaced. A new cross, with the same dimension and design as the old one, is being fashioned, and will soon reign once again over our Church in the very near future. Just before the lockdown, we benefitted from the new boilers down at the Hall. Fortunately, the air conditioning is in working order for what looks like a hot summer to come! Moreover, a beautiful new confessional, worthy of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, has been constructed in the Hall, adjacent to the Sacristy. (As you know, it used to be located in the food pantry, and I was tempted to offer penitents a care package after each confession!) It features a sturdy screen for those who prefer to kneel behind it, and comfortable seating for those who prefer face-to-face confession. Lovely works of art, including Rembrandt’s “Prodigal Son,” Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper,” and Michelangelo’s “Pieta” add dignity to the space where the soul finds healing and reconciliation with our Lord. And if you were wondering what we would do with the old Church cross that can no longer withstand the elements outside, it will be restored and returned, but this time to Msgr. Ryan Hall, thereby linking the two campuses of our historic Parish.
On another note, we believe it is absolutely essential that the young people, who have so diligently studied and otherwise prepared themselves, should receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Communion, and Confirmation. Granted, the situation is less than perfect; in order to conform to the social distancing policy of the Diocese, we’ve had to limit the number of people who may attend. Given the size of the Church, the celebration of the Sacraments has moved to the Hall. We even had to request that Bishop Barres grant me special permission, or “delegation,” to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation, lest a delay cause us to wait months in order to schedule a bishop to come.
As you can imagine, the restrictions under which we’ve had to live over the past few months do not mean that we’ve been inactive. Sad to say, we’ve seen the passing of dear friends who were so integral to the life of the parish. Further, we felt the loss that resulted from lack of regular access to the Sacraments. I’m sure you will agree that this has been one of the cruelest forms of spiritual deprivation to us as Catholics. The Eucharist, we believe, is both the source and the summit of our lives. Everything we are proceeds from the enduring love and presence of Christ, and it all leads back to him.
As we enter into a well-deserved summer respite, let’s carry with us the joy of knowing that God sustains us through thick and thin. Let us pray for the new Fr. Rafal Borowiejski, that he be blessed with many years of fruitful ministry, beginning at Our Lady of Victory in Floral Park.