December 3, 2023
As we enter a new liturgical year, on this the First Sunday of Advent, the theme is watchfulness . We are called to be watchful and alert while we await the coming of Christ at the end of our lives or at the end of the world. The Advent scriptures contain a warning:”Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (MT 24:42). This is not meant to haunt or alarm but to instill in us a sense of urgency and anticipation. Our watchfulness is in doing the will of the Lord.
We are grateful for those of you who have been attending mass here at the COTM, watching from the pews, and especially for those of you who watch via livestream. We are here for you spiritually. As a follow up to Mr. Ed Sudol’s presentation on the Weekend of November 4 and 5, please consider writing a review about The Church of the Magdalene by going to our website www.churchofthemagdalene.org . By doing so, you can help increase the visibility of our parish and help it to grow.
There must be a lot of people looking for what we take for granted at COTM, who would join our parish if they knew about it. Your review, expressing how you feel about our Church, can help them and the parish at the same time.
You’ll be able to read your review, as well as those of others, if you search for “Catholic Churches in Sleepy Hollow” on your cell phone or computer’s browser.
November 26, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends:
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King, which is now placed at the end of the Church’s celebration of “Ordinary Time” to bridge the transition to Advent which begins next Sunday. Let us use this week to reflect on the following three questions:
Why is Jesus called Christ the King? What is the meaning of Christ the King? Christ the King is one of the most important titles of Jesus. Even though Jesus Christ was not a king in the earthly sense. He is the divine King of the Universe, who unites all of creation with the Father .
Why is this Sunday called Christ the King? The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, commonly referred to as the Feast of Christ the King, Christ the King Sunday or Reign of Christ Sunday, is a feast in the liturgical year which emphasizes the true kingship of Christ .
What is the meaning of the feast of Christ the King? As waves of nationalism and secularism were on the rise across the globe, Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King in 1925 as a reminder that Christ reigns above all earthly rulers . While temporal powers will fade away, Christ’s reign and his kingdom remain eternal.
On this Sunday, we hear in Matthew’s gospel the separation between the sheep and the goats. The sheep will be on the right and the goats will be on the left. Although the sheep are accepted and the goats rejected before the supreme Christ, they share two things in common. First, both call Jesus, “Lord.” Matthew’s Jesus has made it clear that “Not everyone who says… ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (MT 7: 21).
We ‘separate’ ourselves from God when we fail to practice the Church’s corporal works of mercy. We will inherit the kingdom because we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the ill, and visit the prisoner. We tend to God’s people.
May Christ reign in your hearts!
November 19, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends of The Magdalene:
This week millions of Americans will enjoy a feast of turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, and other traditional and ethnic foods. Enjoy!
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? We invite you to express your thanks by attending our Thanksgiving Mass at 9:00 a.m. and join in singing one of the most popular songs of the day:
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing; He chastens and hastens His will to make known; The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing; Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own. Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining, Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine; So from the beginning the fight we were winning; Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine! We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant, And pray that Thou still our Defender will be; Let Thy congregation escape tribulation; Thy Name will be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Inserted in this weekend’s bulletin are the 2022-2023 & 2021-2022 (for comparison) Sacramental and Financial Reports. I will be seeking input from Members of the Finance Committee and Parish Council to assist me in improving the financial picture. We need to continue our Mission and this can only be done if both weekly attendance and contributions increase. Fr. Daniel Cardo, SCV comments, “The Eucharistic Revival is not about teaching more people about the truth of the Eucharistic, it is about being revived by the Eucharistic.” I encourage you to make that invitation to your extended family and friends, and even co-workers, to begin attending Mass here, especially if you know any Catholics who live in Pocantico and who are not attending Mass regularly.
Numbers, numbers, numbers. It is not all about numbers. It is about not letting a brother or sister continue in a life without the public worship of God and the chance to be united to Him by Holy Communion and the Sacraments. Income is down and expenses are up just like yours, and we’ll need to find ways to keep up. Please see me personally if you have any questions about the numbers.
Also inserted in this weekend’s bulletin is an update from our Music Ministry. Remember… “Those who sings, pray twice”
November 12, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends:
In preparation for the upcoming holidays, emails are inundated with holiday specials, our mailboxes are now flooded with holiday gift catalogs; local stores, restaurants, village streets are now decorated; and the 80 feet tall and 43 feet wide Christmas tree has now arrived at The Rockefeller Center Plaza.
We all get caught up and could also be caught off guard by scourges in person and behind the screens of our electronic devices, hacking and scamming. Yes, they can be described as thieves in the night and thieves in the daylight.
Since I have arrived, I have received numerous emails from parishioners informing me that they have been receiving emails from me asking for money and/or gift cards. Most of you are aware of it and have not responded; some have alerted me first and asked me if this request was valid. Recently, the scammer was too specific in their request, which makes me think that there is a real person somewhere in the area and providing specifics pertaining to the ministry here at The Magdalene. PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND!!!
If I need to make an appeal, I will either:
1. Make an announcement publicly in the bulletin,
2. Send an appeal letter personally to your residence,
3. Approach you in person.
Modern-day technology has its perks. But digital tools have also given dishonest scammers many more ways to exploit people. Scams of all kinds are increasing, and older adults are a frequent target for scheming crooks. Grandparents are the most popular victims. To my ‘seniors’ in the parish, PLEASE DO NOT RESPOND. According to one news article, in 2021, more than 92,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of $1.7 billion to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
Imagine if these creative minds would spend their time finding a cure for cancer or performing some kind of humanitarian effort to win the Nobel Peace Prize! I would be happy to support that cause (and ask you to do the same).
November 5, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends:
With 18 days to go before our nation celebrates Thanksgiving Day, I wish to share with you, in part, the following Thank You Notes sent to The Magdalene over the past months:
Society for the Propagation of the Faith/Sept. 7 On behalf of the Office of the Propagation of the Faith, I thank you and your parish family for the generous response of the check in the amount of $1,450. Rev. Msgr. Marc J. Filacchione
Word Central Kitchen/September 8 Thank you for choosing to donate $900 on June 27 to support our work around the globe. I share our heartfelt gratitude from the entire WCK family (This endeavor was sponsored by the children in our 7th Grade Religious Education Program ). Sincerely, Erin Gore
Neighborhood House, Inc/Fall 2023 On behalf of the Board and members of the Neighborhood House, we thank you most sincerely for your contribution of $200 to the 2023 annual appeal… Our biggest supporters are individuals in the community like you,… Marian Randazzo
Religious of the Sacred Heart/October 3 Thank you for your gift of $200 to the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary. It is your support that helps us continue living Gospel Values, building solidarity with the people around us, lending our hands, minds, and hearts to shaping a better future together… Your bonds with us are a continual source of inspiration. Sr. Rosamond Blanchet, RSHM and Catherine M. Wilkins.
Pocantico Hills Fire Department/October 17 This letter will confirm the receipt of a donation made by The Church of the Magdalene in the amount of $500 to our neighbor, the Hilltop Engine Company. The 2022 & 2023 donation will benefit the men and women who respond to the emergencies of its residents of Pocantico Hills and surrounding communities.
Immaculate Conception, Irvington/October 26 On behalf of the parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church, I wish to express our thanks for supporting our Sesquicentennial Journal (150th Anniversary). Your donation of $200 is greatly appreciated. The Magdalene can only respond to the needs of charities and other worthy organizations with your Weekly/Monthly Offertories and support.
PS: Free Copies of November’s The Word Among U s are available at the back of the church. Please take a copy.
October 29, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends:
Over the past three years, the Church convened what is known as a synod, a process of listening and dialoguing. Included in this process are bishops and laity helping the Pope in the governing of the universal Church by rendering their counsel. Listening Sessions were held in every diocese in the world so as to grow in our “journeying together.”
The theme of the Synod is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission .” These three dimensions are profoundly interrelated. They are the vital pillars of a Synodal Church. There is no hierarchy between them.
The Holy Father reminds the Synodal Assembly that the Holy Spirit is the Synod’s protagonist, no one else, and calls for expressing one’s self freely, while respectfully listening to all, as he addressed the Opening of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod on Synodality, which opened on October 14? in the Vatican.
Pope Francis reminds us of the words from Venezuelan theologian Raphael Luciani in his book Synodality: A New Way of Proceeding in the Church , “The people of God must be listened to, in their particular place and time, in order to know what the Spirit is saying to the Churches”. (RV 2:7) By listening to the people in their own places, each Church can find ways of proceeding that respond to the particular reality where ecclesial life and mission evolves.”
Whatever the fruit is from this ecclesial gathering, we pray that the Church will continue to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and use the three dimensions of the Synod to heal, nourish, and welcome ideas for a better and stronger Church and for God’s people.
October 22, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends,
Today, the second to last Sunday in October, is recognized in the universal Church as World Mission Sunday. This year’s theme for Pope Francis’ message for World Mission Sunday, “Hearts on Fire, Feet on the Move,” is a reminder that we are called to carry the flame of Christ’s love and put our faith into action, serving as His witnesses.
How blessed is The Magdalene to have Croton Residents, Mike and Sharon Lavery, who continue to answer Francis’ call! The Laverys were both born in Missouri and came to live in New York after a 3 year detour to Guatemala where they served as lay missioners with the Maryknowll Fathers and Brothers. In Missouri, Mike was news director of a radio station and continued with work in communications in Guatemala and in Maryknoll, NY. In 1991, he became executive director of Instructional Television for the Archdiocese of NY. Sharon is a registered nurse, always preferring community-based work over hospital. She has cared for people with AIDS both in and out of jail, the mentally ill and addicted, immigrant mothers and babies, and most recently, in the homes of people in treatment for cancer. Sharon is the Co-chair of our Social Justice Committee and Altar Guild. The Lavery's son and daughter lived in mission with them in Guatemala. (See today’s special bulletin insert.)
Parishes have invited priests, deacons, religious brothers and sisters into their pulpit to make an appeal for their organization. I have invited the Laverys to speak at all the Masses this weekend to share with us their years of serving as Lay Missionaries.They have responded to the love that God has planted in their hearts by offering their lives in service to God.
God created us and extends a personal call to mission to each one of us. Our unique call from the one, true God compels us to praise God in the work of faith we do and the labors of love we performed.
In our Gospel this weekend, the Pharisees and others were trying to trap Jesus by placing him in an untenable position. But Christ’s answer to their question leaves us with another. What is it that we are to give to God?
Today’s Second Collection is taken up to support the Society for the Propagation of The Faith, founded by Blessed Pauline Jaricot, and its vital role in sporting the church’s missionary work worldwide. Your prayers and sacrifices on World Mission Sunday will directly aid more than 1,100 mission dioceses globally, including regions across Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, Latin America and parts of Europe.
May God bless you and your generosity!
WORLD MISSION SUNDAY
October 22, 2023
October 15, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends,
Most Parish priests wear many ‘hats’ and in doing so, we try to make ourselves available to ALL our parishioners. One of the hats I wear is dedicating time in teaching Grade 3 in our Religious Education Program. If I had to choose a class, I think Grade 3 would be the most ideal class. We connected last year as we celebrated First Penance & First Holy Communion. This is a blessing to both me and the Parish. I am happy that the majority of all the children returned. It is my prayer that my presence will also help to increase the ranks of our illustrious group, the Altar Servers.
The Magdalene’s Parish Religious Education Program (PREP) is intended to assist parents in fulfilling their obligation in the formation of their children in the Catholic faith.
There are a few changes to enhance the Program. One change is investing in new materials for our children. Second, we would like to purchase additional new smart TVs. As you know, technology plays a vital role in our lives. Flyers are available on our website and in the back of the church. We are soliciting for help. If you are interested, please see me or Maria Crisafi.
We will continue with our Family Mass which is scheduled once a month on the second or third Sunday of the month at 9:00 a.m. The beauty of gathering not only as a biological family but also as a spiritual family is to see your child participate as young Lectors/Readers, altar servers, ushers, Gift Bearers and Petitioners who take a very active role in this liturgy. After Mass, a grade serves refreshments in the Weaver Parish Hall.
All families are expected to attend Mass every Sunday and on Holy Days of Obligation. The Church teaches that parents are the primary educators in the ways of the Faith.
October brings three seasonal events: carving pumpkins, picking apples, and enjoying the fall foliage. Enjoy one, two or all three activities with your family and friends.
October 8, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends,
This weekend America celebrates a holiday that has become very controversial: Columbus Day. On some calendars it remains “Columbus Day” and on others “Indigenous Peoples Day” and on some calendars “Columbus/Indigenous Day”. Should the controversy lead to the removal of this Federal Holiday from our calendar? The controversy stems from the oppression Native Americans.
In the gospel for this Monday (LK 10:25-37), Jesus explained the idea of who our neighbors are; they are people we know and love, but they are also strangers we do not know. Our neighbors are those of other races and creeds, those whom we perceive as different from us, yet are made in the image and likeness of the same God. Our neighbors may or may not be sons and daughters of immigrants who ‘sailed’ or those who came by foot or plane. They now call America their new home. Combining both the name of their new homeland with their native homeland such as Irish-American, Italian-American, Polish-American, German-American, Latin- American, African-American, French-American, they hold on to culture and history, a whole series of past events connected with someone, something, or some place.
Let us not OPPRESS our fellow AMERICAN brothers and sisters, but BLESS them with our welcoming love and compassion.
PS: Take a look at the beautiful pictures from our picnic, consisting of a wonderful “melting pot”.
October 1, 2023
Every October is dedicated to our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of the Rosary, an obligatory Memorial celebrated on October 7. Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic and presented him with the holy Rosary as a means to convert those who did not believe in the Christian faith. Although this vision is attributed to legend, the Dominicans are credited with developing this national prayer. Pope St. John Paul II added the Luminous Mysteries in 2002. The mysteries of the Rosary trace key moments along the journey, intense moments of joy, light, sorrow, and glory. When we pray the Rosary, we contemplate the mysteries of Christ in company with Mary [2023 Sourcebook: For Sundays, Season, and Weekdays]. Below is a diagram on how to pray the Rosary. Please pray the “beads” this month with your family.
Every October is also Respect Life Month. It is during this time, we consider more deeply why every human life is valuable and reflect on how to build a culture that protects life from conception to natural death. Let us pray always and especially during October more intensely not only for the right to life and an end to abortion but also for the full scope of life issues such as capital punishment, euthanasia, and immigration. [2023 Sourcebook: For Sundays, Season, and Weekdays]
St. John Paul II writes, “Never tire of firmly speaking out in defense of life from its conception and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend the dignity of every human person with courageous determination. Christ is with you: Be not afraid!”
PS: Free Copies of October’s The Word Among Us are available at the back of the church. Please take a copy.
September 24, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends:
"The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few." (MT 9:37) At this time, I am writing asking for Parishioners to come forward and assist in some aspect of liturgical ministry. Ministry is the work of the people. Would you prayerfully consider joining one of the following five (5) ministries:
Eucharist Ministers serve as ministers in the celebration of the Eucharist by assisting the priests in the distribution of the Body and Blood of Christ when there is a need. The ministers are trained in the rubrics of the Mass and are directed by the parish priests of any liturgical changes affecting the distribution of the Eucharist.
Lectors proclaim the Word of God through study, prayer, and practice. Others can only hear the voice of God at Mass if the ministry is proclaimed well. Lectors will be provided with a workbook containing all Sunday Mass Readings for the liturgical year. In addition to the above, Lectors also read the Prayers of the Faithful and announcements.
The Choir leads the liturgical singing at the 11:00 a.m. Mass each Sunday, plus occasional services such as Lessons and Carols, Christmas and Holy Week. The music is drawn from choral anthems, motets, hymns, and chants appropriate for the Liturgy. Prior choir experience is a plus, but not required. "Those who sing, pray twice."
Ushers are Ministers of Hospitality who serve a very important function at all our parish services and liturgies. The member's role is to greet, welcome, and provide for the comfort and well-being of all who enter our church. They take up the weekly collection, and in general cast a watchful eye on many of the details that enhance the sanctity of the particular service. All one needs is a willingness to join and a brief training session.
Altar Servers provide a vital service by assisting the priests at the altar at Mass, the heart of our faith. This is a wonderful opportunity to honor God and to be of service to The Magdalene.
If you're interested, please contact me.
God bless and thank you,
September 17, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends:
Here in Pocantico Hills, the Magdalene has now resumed its regular liturgical, educational and social activities. The Mass Book & Parish Calendar are filling up. I encourage all of you to get involved; and if there is an activity or event you wish to sponsor, for the benefit of the Parish and/or our Community, please see me.
Our Religious Education program will begin this week with the Commissioning of our Catechists at the 11:00 a.m. Mass. One of this year’s new highlights is purchasing new instructional materials and resources for our children. Parents, please remember:
1) The Church teaches you are the primary educators in the ways of the Faith. Remember to bring your children to Mass.
2) The family who prays together stays together.
I am happy to announce our newest group. The Social Justice Committee has been organized over the summer. We look forward to hearing from them. Other committees have been meeting to plan their yearly activities. One of which is the Hospitality Committee who will be taking Sunday Brunches up a notch with special themes. Twenty-eight Women have signed up for Walking With Purpose.
I have made and will continue to make an appeal to those who wish to participate in our liturgical ministries. If I handed you a manilla envelope during the summer…Please consider becoming a Eucharist Minister, Lector, Usher or altar server. A brief description of each ministry and other parish groups will be posted in an upcoming bulletin.
The Installation of our Parish Lay Trustees, Mrs. Maureen Ball and Mr. Michael Bassett, will take place next Saturday at the 5:00 p.m. Mass. The 2022-2023 Fiscal Year has ended August 31. Our Financial Committee and Accountant will be preparing the yearly reports.
With all of the planning and happenings, I will be taking the remainder of my vacation time this week. See column 1 for the days when masses will not be offered.
September 10, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends:
After summer and Labor Day, children will be meeting old and new classmates, teachers and administrators. Parents will now have to resume the responsibilities of checking homework and attending school events.
The world of academia keeps evolving for the sake of educating and protecting our children whether in the private, public or parochial sector. As you manage, please accept the following prayers by Emily Seuvel.
Prayer for teachers, educators, and administrators ( Based on Galatians 5:22-23 )
Dear God, I pray for teachers, educators, and school administrators as they begin the new school year. Thank you for the men and women who have dedicated their careers to teaching and leading. I pray that the classroom and school buildings can be a place where love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control flourish. I pray for teachers who have to manage and engage online learners. May they all have energy, creativity, and an abundance of compassion. Protect their mental and physical health as they work hard to create safe places of learning. Amen.
Prayer for students and learners ( Based on 2 Timothy 1:7 )
Lord, I pray for students and learners. Give them minds that are eager to learn. Give them courage to ask good questions, confidence to take risks, and the discipline to focus and study. I pray for quality friendships and safety in and out of the classroom. I pray for the kids who struggle with anxiety and fear; may they feel your perfect love surround them, and give them the courage to get through each day. I pray that learning is engaging, valuable, and exciting. Give the students focus and direction as they prepare for what lies ahead. Amen.
Prayer for parents ( Based on Proverbs 22:6 )
Perfect Parent, I pray for parents and caregivers of the students. May they have clear minds to juggle busy schedules of work, home, and school. Release them from fear and anxiety as they send kids off to learn, and give them grace and wisdom. I pray a special blessing upon the parents and caregivers who have students with special needs; give them guidance as they advocate for their children. And I pray that their homes are safe places of love and acceptance so that the children may know their worth and value. Amen
September 3, 2023
Dear Parishioners & Friends,
This weekend we will experience the national holiday of LABOR DAY. For some, it is a day that marks the end of the summer season. For others, it marks the beginning of the new school year. For all of us , it can be a day on which we reflect on the significance of WORK or LABOR in our daily lives. Is work for us a word that connotes negativity: a curse, boredom, or resentment? Or is work for us a way to develop ourselves, to serve others, and to somehow continue the work of God's creation, thereby connoting positive attitudes? What is our attitude toward work?
Recently, I was asked by the manager at a funeral home to come and bless the funeral home. I was thrilled that she asked. I took with me the Book of Blessings and proceeded to bless the various waiting chapels, lobbies, offices (not the embalming room), etc . Listen to the beautiful introduction prayer that precedes the blessing:
In his own life Christ Jesus clearly showed us the dignity of labor. When He became incarnate, the Word of the Father was known as the carpenter's son and willingly worked with the tools of his trade. By working with his own hands, he transformed toil from being an inherited curse for sin into a source of blessings .
If we do our work, whatever it may be, and offer it to God, we purify ourselves and through the labor of our hands and minds, we build up God's Creation. Our work enables us to practice charity and to help the less fortunate, so that joined to Christ the Redeemer, we grow in his love.
Let us bless the Lord, then, and pray that he will shower His blessings on all who will work in this place and all who have worked that was done throughout the summer (see pg 3).