On this 7th Sunday of Easter, Year B. May 16th, 2021.

Dear Sisters and Brothers of Saint Therese Parish,
As many of you might already know, we had a delightful pastoral visit last Saturday evening with our Bishop John Barres. He travelled from Rockville Centre to Montauk, the furthest region of the Dio-cese, to say both the 5PM English Mass and the 8PM Spanish Mass and to greet the people both be-fore and after. He was accompanied by Father Lachlan Cameron who is the Director of Campus Min-istry and Religious Formation for the Diocese. Before arriving at Saint Therese they stopped for an ice cream cone here in Montauk and at the lighthouse where they were welcomed by Cindy and Tom Dess. The Bishop wanted his visit to be unannounced, low key, no fanfare -just a pastoral visit. By all accounts he was very well received, and I personally appreciated his words of support. Thankfully our parishioners at Gurney’s found us a table for dinner at such short notice. As you might imagine, eve-rything in Montauk was booked solid and I would not ask the Bishop and Father Lachlan to endure my cooking!
This pastoral visit reminded me that we are part of a larger local Church. The Diocese of Rockville Centre is vast and the needs are many. Sometimes being so far from the center of things might make us feel disconnected. I’m sure that’s why Bishop Barres came -to let us know that we are very much connected.
And we are connected to the world wide Church with Pope Francis as our Shepherd. I think he has set the tone that the Church must be “manifestly filled with mercy”. In our welcoming, in our decision making, in our pastoral outreach, in our sacramental life, in our teaching, mercy must be the ground-note. And who of us doesn’t need that?
This morning I read a newly released document from the Vatican, issued “modo proprio” (on the Pope’s own initiative), in which Pope Francis is formally creating a new official ministry of CATE-CHIST in the Catholic Church for those who teach the fundamentals of the faith to children and oth-ers, opening the position to “men and women of deep faith and human maturity”. There will even be an official ceremony of institution for each of the catechists either at the Cathedral or in the local par-ish church. Stay tuned.
Finally, how do you like our new banner on the lawn by the Parish Center welcoming and inviting summer folks? Jerry McKeon did all the work in getting the banner printed and delivered and then he, Tom Genovese and Alfred Bennet (our parish’s facilities custodian) put it up -with just a little bit of unsolicited advice from a few of us passers-by! So a big thank you. The summer season is beginning. May it be safe and peaceful and fruitful.
Blessings and peace,
Father Bob