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Some Things to Know

Video Conference VII with Cardinal Dolan on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 1:00    His Eminence is hosting another opportunity to gather with the priests to catch up with each other as we move into the Advent/Christmas season.  The format will be the same as the six previous conferences.  Information is enclosed with this mailing.  A topic or question may be submitted to [email protected].  On the day of the conference, send a text message to 917.576.0930.

Virtus Training   In our diligence toward a safe environment, we require that the anti-harassment training be completed every year. Last week, everyone should have received a link for the online.  The deadline for completing the training is Monday, November 30.  Here are the instructions.  Click on  Enter your username to log in to the VIRTUS platform.  You may recover your password by clicking on “need login information” under the login section of  For assistance or more information, contact Ella O’Sullivan (ella.o’[email protected]).

Building Maintenance and Winter Preparation   With the cold weather soon approaching, it is always helpful to ensure that all necessary and preparatory steps have been taken to protect parish buildings and property from the elements.  In the past, the archdiocese experienced over $12 million in property losses, a significant amount of which was the result of weather-related damages.  Now is the time to work closely with your maintenance manager before winter sets in to get your property and buildings in shape to avoid an emergency situation.

Annual Report on Sacramental Participation   Based on feedback we have received for the Status Aninarum website, here is some further insight into the previous instructions that asked users to verify the parish name which was listed at the top of the Stats section.  Select your parish from the Select Parish dropdown box at the top of the section. Parish name, address and deanery will be displayed at the top of the form and then the user can begin entering parish statistics.  If you do not see your parish in the dropdown box, call the Data Systems Center at 646-794-3385 before proceeding.

Also, always remember to click the Submit button to save your statistics.  Upon clicking the Submit button you will receive a message saying: Thank you, your data has been saved.  We are grateful to receive this completed report within the next few days.

Talking Points for Pastors and Bulletins   As you make your requests for Christmas contributions and for next year’s Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal, you may see a value in saying to your people that none of their donations to the appeal or to the parish will be used for settlements from sexual abuse complaints about our priests.  As many families do when they are faced with large unexpected expenses, the archdiocese has borrowed for purposes of justice and healing up to $100 million, which we will pay back from non-parish originated funds. It may help your people to know that no funds received in collections or appeals will be used to settle complaints.

ManUp New York Committee   In collaboration with ManUp Philly ministry, the office of adult faith formation will be hosting a ManUp New York conference next fall. This will take the place of our biennial men’s conference with opportunities to hear inspiring speakers, the sacrament of reconciliation and more. Part of the planning process involves putting together a committee of men. To create an event that best serves our archdiocese I invite you to nominate male youth ministry leaders, young adult ministry leaders, men’s group leaders, and business leaders in your parish to be part of the committee. Please submit the name and contact information of your nominations to Elizabeth in an email, using email address: [email protected]. With your assistance I am sure it will be very fruitful. To learn more about ManUp Philly go to

Announced and Unannounced Masses   In response to a number of inquiries, here are a few points to help with the understanding of Mass offerings within the archdiocese.

  • In 1982, Cardinal Cooke accepted the recommendation of the Senate of Clergy to increase the offering that was being accepted for an announced Mass from $5 to $10; and that an unannounced Mass offering be raised from $2 to $5.
  • The issue was raised once again in 2003 when the offering for an announced Mass was increased from $10 to $15; and that of the unannounced Mass remained at $5.  This is the current practice today.
  • It is understood that those who cannot afford these amounts or make any offering would not be denied the opportunity of having Mass offered for their intentions.
  • Although parishes may not ask for more than the archdiocesan standard, they can accept less if it is a hardship for parishioners.
  • Since September 1997, it has been permissible in the archdiocese for a priest to celebrate “collective Masses”, one Mass for the intention of several donors when there is an unavailability of single-intention weekday Masses.
  • Every pastor has the serious obligation to offer the Mass for the people of the parish (Missa pro populo) on Sundays and holy days of obligation observed in the archdiocese in accord with canon 534 and should be listed in the bulletin.  Missae pro populo are the personal obligation of the pastor.  If these are delegated to a visiting priest or a parochial vicar, then, in justice, the appropriate stipend for an announced Mass must be given.

Bishops for Confirmation   As you prepare for the 2021 confirmation season, know that each auxiliary bishop maintains his own schedule and wishes to be responsible for his particular area.  A master schedule is maintained at the office of the vicar general.

  • Bishop Edmund Whalen is in Episcopal Region I (Manhattan) with residence at St. Stephen the Martyr Rectory.
  • Bishop Peter Byrne is living at Holy Cross, Bronx.  His area is Episcopal Region II (Bronx, Westchester Sound Shore and Yonkers).
  • Bishop John O’Hara is in residence at St. Agnes, Manhattan and St. Charles, Staten Island and concentrates on Episcopal Region III (Staten Island).
  • Bishop-emeritus Gerald Walsh lives at St. Joseph’s Seminary and has Episcopal Region IV (Central and Northern Westchester, Putnam and Rockland).
  • Bishop Gerardo Colacicco lives at Holy Cross in South Centerville and is covering Episcopal Region V in the Hudson Valley (Dutchess, Ulster, Sullivan, Orange).
  • Bishop-emeritus Dominick Lagonegro is living in Newburgh and Bishop-emeritus Josu Iriondo resides at Our Lady of Esperanza in upper Manhattan and are also available to confirm.  Bishop-emeritus Jenik is fully retired and living at the Egan Pavilion of the St. John Vianney Residence in Riverdale.

If you are intending to invite a bishop from outside the archdiocese, make note that you need to request permission beforehand from the vicar general.  When listing this confirmation in your parish registry, kindly include the words “cum licentia Ordinarii” together with the date of the letter of consent.

McGrath Institute Digital Free Resources   Here is an excellent resource from Professor John Cavadini of the University of Notre Dame, a chief theological advisor to the USCCB’s committee on doctrine and the executive director of the McGrath Institute for Church Life.  His Eminence asked that this information be passed along to our priests.  I am sure that Monsignor Les Ivers will endorse this from his involvement in the Sacred Heart Institute.  The resource has two components:

  1. a retreat experience with lectures and a study guide that you can use with your priests;
  2. a professional development series designed for parish priests to use in their parishes with their parish teams.

This video provides a brief description of the program:

Here is your link to the full resource containing the videos, worship aids, reflection questions, spiritual contemplation, and resources that accompany each lecture.  Here is the link to the website:

Advent Day of Recollection for Priests will be held on Wednesday, December 9 via Zoom.  Leading us in our reflection will be Father Michael Caruso, SJ, past president of St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. Stay tuned for more on this.

Reconciliation Monday Dates   Advent Reconciliation Monday will be held on December 21, 2020 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM in all the parishes of the archdiocese and the Diocese of Brooklyn.  Lenten Reconciliation Monday will be observed on March 29, 2021 from 3:00 to 9:00 PM in the archdiocese and the Dioceses of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre.  Promotional material will be available as we get closer to the date.

No One to Answered the Parish Telephone?   With modern technology today, an urgent contact with a priest should be easily facilitated, especially whenever there is no secretary at the parish office.  Different churches use different systems, such as commercial answering services, a dedicated “duty priest” mobile phone, call forwarding, etc.  What should be avoided is any parish system where no priest can be contacted for several hours for a crucial matter.

Eulogies at Funeral Masses   November, the traditional month of the faithful departed is a good month for us to be reminded about the use of eulogies at funeral liturgies.

  • Eulogies, stories, and favorite songs are most appropriately shared during the visitation at the wake service or at the reception following the funeral.
  • Experience shows that sharing personal remarks at the Funeral Mass can be inopportune for a number of reasons:
    • It can create hard feelings if hurtful things of the past are raised or create discomfort in ill-advised attempts at humor.
    • There are also concerns in view of past experiences that eulogies can overshadow in length and attention the Funeral Mass itself, especially if those offering words turn the Church’s rites into a celebration of life that focuses only on the accomplishments of the deceased’s past, with scant attention to our faith in the resurrection.
  • With that said, in a desire to be pastorally sensitive to the family of the deceased, the following norms have been established after consultation with the presbyteral council and the approval of the cardinal:
    • The pastor of the parish may allow a reflection by one individual. This can be nicely done prior to the beginning of the funeral Mass, before the collect or after the communion prayer.
    • The personal reflections should be limited to three minutes and be presented to the pastor or presiding priest in writing in advance of the service.
    • The next point is essential:  the eulogy stresses the faith of the deceased.

In all things, pastoral kindness is required.                      

Social Justice Work within the Archdiocese   When he met with the membership of the Archdiocesan Council of Women Religious, His Eminence asked the sisters for some resources that they use in their work for social justice that might be helpful to parishes.  Enclosed are suggestions for climate change, care of the earth, sustainability immigration, human trafficking and respect for life in which the sisters engage.

Use of Missals and Hymnals at Mass   During the time of the reopening of our churches, we had been advised to remove these from the pews.  At the request of the college of consultors, our chancellor, John Cahill was able to determine that missals and hymnals may now be used, but must be sanitized after each Mass.  This is based upon new information about how the coronavirus germs are spread.  If you wish, you may, of course, continue single-use worship aides.  All are reminded to respect copyrights whenever reproducing Mass texts, readings and music.