Our Lady of Mount Carmel RC Church

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

At the end of March I received a phone call from Bishops Barres and Brennan, asking if I would consider becoming the pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, without hesitation I accepted. Of course a few friends of mine have expressed concern that this is a big undertaking, but it is my belief that if God did not want me to be here at this time, the bishop would not have offered it to me. This will be a time of transition for all of us, and we should all thank Fr. Benet for being here as the Administrator, assure him of our prayers as he begins the next stage of his ministry to the people of Sacred Heart parish

For those who may not have Googled my name as of yet, my background included time in the world of Academia, where my focus was on History, and as such I value the past greatly. Our parish has a great history, from the converted garage on Waverly, to the construction of the current church and rectory, and the later addition of the Parish Center. There have been many good and holy people who have come to worship God and live as a Faith community over the years, and we honor their legacy by coming together as a parish community, not only on Sundays, but in our lived Eucharistic lives, through the activities we share.

As time goes on, we can share our visions of the future of the parish, but for now let me share this one vision of mine; that this parish will be an active center of the community, where those parishioners currently attending, those who have stopped attending, and those who have never come here before, will experience many opportunities to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ. While we are called to value the past, we are also called to look towards the future, to have a vision of where we are heading, but to value the present, this time we are living in, and the people with whom we are called to be in relationships. Most of us have experienced those times when we hear that someone we knew as a child was graduating from High School or College, and we thought, “Where has the time gone?” When we reflect back on the years, we either envision the milestones in that person’s life, and how we watched them grow up, or we realize that we were so busy elsewhere and with other things, that we missed being a part of their life. It is the same with the life of Faith we are called to, we need to participate in the life of the Church, and on the local level that is the parish.

As I have shared part of my vision for the parish, I also want to share the responsibility of the parish. Jesus tells us “For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” (Luke 8:17) With that in mind, the financial matters of the parish will be published in the bulletin on a regular basis; because it is my belief that members of the parish community not only have a right to know, but a willingness to work towards solutions. Two weeks ago, as I sat in the new pastors’ workshops, someone from the diocese asked if I had really been out painting my office here, something that many of you have already heard. As a pastor, I cannot ask anyone to do what I am not willing to do myself. We all have wonderful ideas and dreams, things that will build up the Kingdom of God here in Patchogue; together we will work to make those dreams a reality.

Fr. Henry