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Some Things to Know

Media Coverage of Our Schools   The department of education regularly notifies school families about the good news in Catholic education.

Praying for our Recently Deceased Priests   During the COVID-19 shut down, eleven priests went home to God: John Bida, Harry Byrne, Frank Damis, Leonard DiNola, Richard Guastella, James Healy, Lawrence Lucas, Peter Miqueli, John Monaghan, Joseph Murphy and John Ruvo. After the quarantine was lifted, they were followed by Michael Cedro and Joseph Dietz. His Eminence will be offering two public Masses, one at the chapel of the John Cardinal O’Connor pavilion on Monday, November 2 at noon only for the priests in residence; and a second Mass on Thursday, November 5 at St. Joseph’s Seminary at noon. If you anticipate attending, and staying for lunch, call Father William Cleary, vice rector at (914) 968-6200; or email [email protected] or [email protected].

Announcements Mailbox   If your email address has recently changed, notify the data center at 646-794-3380 or email [email protected].  This will ensure that you receive important information from the chancery without interruption.

Christmas Mass in Time of Pandemic   When planning the celebration of Christmas for your parish, keep in mind that:

  • The Solemnity begins at 4:00 PM on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24, which is the earliest hour a Mass can be celebrated.
  • Instead of moving Mass times, offer a mid-evening Mass on Christmas Eve, such as 6:00 or 6:30 PM.
  • The Solemnity is the full day on Friday, December 25, so consider scheduling a Mass in the afternoon or evening on Christmas Day.
  • If your parish has a regular help-out priest, consider offering simultaneous Masses on your parish campus, such as a Mass in the gym or parish hall at the same time as in church.
  • If you live stream to another area, be sure the space is contiguous to the church proper (such as the narthex).
  • Be creative in your communications (e.g., automated phone call to parishioners).
  • Utilize your social media; put an ad in your local newspaper with Mass times. 
  • Communicate all that your parish is doing to keep people safe.
  • Propose a tentative Mass schedule, and survey parishioners concerning what Masses they plan to attend. Depending on responses, adjustments to the Mass schedule can be made ahead of time.
  • Coordinate Mass times with neighboring parishes, and publish the joint schedule weeks in advance.
  • Begin talking now about Mass options for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Encourage parishioners to spread out among the different Masses.
  • For music, consider using non-aerosol instruments (i.e. organ, piano, hand bells and other percussion, strings), microphones for cantors and small groups, and instrumental improvisations on Christmas carols rather than congregational hymns.

The 48th Annual March for Life is scheduled for Friday, January 29, 2021. The Respect Life Office is waiting to determine what will be possible in terms of sending buses and pilgrims from the archdiocese. This will depend on COVID-19 restrictions and decisions made by the National March for Life organization. Please check the Respect Life Office website for ongoing updates.

The Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP), co-founded by our late, beloved John Cardinal O’Connor, has a webinar on November 10 at 12:00 noon focusing on the scourge of pornography as it is impacting teens and young adults, especially during the pandemic.  Bishop James Massa, auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn and rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary is one of the three bishops of the USCCB that regularly attend the conference calls for RAAP.  Bishop Massa has asked that the word be spread throughout the archdiocese.  Kindly share.

Executive Health Exams (EHE)   In the interest of overall bodily wellness, we want to remind all priests to schedule their 2020 annual comprehensive physical through Executive Health Exams (EHE).  To date in 2020, more than 195 priests have completed their exams. 

The American Medical Association has frequently stated that a comprehensive physical performed annually is extremely important for ongoing wellness and for detecting/mitigating latent health conditions at an early stage.  If you have not yet scheduled your 2020 comprehensive physical exam with EHE, you may contact their office directly at 212-332-3700, or 800-362-8671; or online at  EHE, at all its locations, continues to adhere to all CDC COVID-19 safety and hygienic protocols for both its employees and patients, including screening, testing and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). All EHE facilities also undergo a deep cleaning on a regular basis.  If you have any questions on the EHE annual physical program, please contact Mr. David Caulfield, at 646-794-3052.

The Kenedy Official Catholic Directory (OCD)   Each pastor should have received correspondence from the OCD either by email or letter requesting updates for the 2021 edition of The Official Catholic Directory.  If you have not received this, contact Mary Meade at the office of canonical services at [email protected] or (646) 794-2935.  Visit to review and update your organization’s information. This needs to be completed by November 4.

Status Animarum   From the Latin meaning the state of the souls, this accounting is a register of people living in a parish and events related to them.  Today, we refer to it as the annual report of sacramental participation. A memo will be sent tomorrow with instructions on how to access the new online report.  The official count was to have been taken yesterday, including the anticipated Masses on Saturday evening.  This new automated process will make things easier for everyone involved.

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.

All Souls’ Day Masses at our Cemeteries   Ordinarily, adhering to the long tradition of honoring our beloved dead on All Souls’ Day, Mass was celebrated November 2 at the allied cemeteries of the archdiocese:  Gate of Heaven, Hawthorne, Westchester County; St. Mary, Port Chester, Westchester County; Ascension, Airmont, Rockland County; (First) Calvary, Long Island City, Queens; Resurrection, Staten Island.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions and small chapels at cemeteries, we will not be offering them this year.  At various times, take an opportunity to visit the beautiful, peaceful cemeteries to remember those who have gone before us.

From the Development Office   Renew + Rebuild rebates are disbursed on a quarterly basis and are calculated on cash received, not pledges.  Since the archdiocesan fiscal year operates from September to August, the disbursement schedule reflects the fiscal year calendar. “September” rebates have been disbursed for money raised in the months of July and August; “December” rebates for money raised in September, October and November; “March” rebates for December 2020, January 2021 and February 2021; “June” rebates for March, April and May; and “September” rebates for the months of June, July and August 2021.

WeShare Sign Up Campaign   To date, year-over-year offertory for fiscal year 2020 has declined by only 9.8% due to the pandemic.  This is a remarkable accomplishment made possible by your efforts and the generosity of parishioners.  By focusing on the opportunity provided by online giving and utilizing the support offered by WeShare, we were able to minimize the impact of the lockdown on finances.  As you know, online giving comprised 10% of annual offertory in recent years.  During the months of the pandemic, online offertory increased to 21% which is a significant achievement.  We are still at risk of another outbreak of COVID-19.  If another lockdown is enforced, online giving may prove to be invaluable to our parishes once again.  To that end, we have scheduled a WeShare Sunday for November 22.  We are not asking parishioners to make additional donations, just to change the way the donations are made.  We are asking each pastor to review the material that was sent yesterday and provide their comments.  If your parish does not want to participate in this initiative, let me know via email by Tuesday, October 20.  The efforts made in April and May had a positive impact on our parishes.  It is important to maintain this momentum.