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Some Things to Know

Salus Infirmorum   Monsignor Thomas Bergin, Father Brian Brennan, Monsignor John Brinn, Father Harry Burke, Father Patrick Curley, Monsignor Michael Curran, Father Richard Dillon, Monsignor Peter Finn, Father Hugh Grace, Father Bernard Heter, Father Jack Hunter, Father John Kostek, Monsignor George Kuhn, Father Owen Lafferty, Father Richard LaMorte, Father Thomas Lynch, Father Angelo J. (“AJ”) Micciulla, Monsignor Edward McCorry, Monsignor Hugh McManus, Monsignor Thomas Modugno, Father Philip Quealy, Father John B. Sullivan, Monsignor Edward Weber.

Requiescat in Pace   Father Richard Seagraves, Charles F. Smarsh,

XXXVII Convention of Pastors   This annual gathering of pastors and administrators will not be held this year.  Considering the importance of the three priesthood retreats on October 4, November 8 or November 29 in which every priest is expected to participate, the inability of pastors taking two weeks away from parish ministry at this time of the year, and the uncertainty of the coronavirus conditions in New Jersey as the weeks go on, it seemed like a prudent decision to make.  If you have not yet registered for the priesthood retreats, contact the office of the vicar for clergy.

Office Holidays   On Monday, October 11, the Catholic Center will be closed in commemoration of Columbus Day.  You may always leave your message in the department’s voice mailbox and it will be returned on the next business day.  To reach the chancery after hours and on weekends, call Community Answering Service at 877-582-2996.  Add this number as “Chancery Emergency” to the list of contacts in your mobile telephone.

Last Will and Testament, Health Care Proxy, Funeral Mass Arrangements   Each time we call attention to the need for a Last Will and Testament, priests do have one drawn and a copy deposited on file with the office of the vicar for clergy.  When doing so, you might consider naming a brother priest as executor.  One can only imagine the pain that survivors endure when one of us dies without a Will.  A Last Will and Testament is required of all pastors.  But it is desirable for all of us.  Included in this month’s combined mailing are forms for health care proxies and plans for the funeral Mass and burial.

Celebret and Testimony of Suitability:  Which is which?   All across the country, in just about every diocese, letters of suitability have become more important than ever when planning to perform temporary ministry outside the archdiocese.  Two documents are available.  Which is which?

  1. Testimony of Suitability   This is sometimes referred to as a letter of good standing.  Its use began after the implementation of the Dallas Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002.  It is required in every diocese within the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico prior to an event.  It is sent from the office of priest personnel to the diocese where the event is located.  The way these are processed has changed and takes a longer period of time to respond to them.  You may email your request to [email protected] in a timely manner, usually two weeks to allow for preparation of the proper documentation.  With your application, include the event, time, date, location, diocese, email and address of the Ordinary.  Without it, a priest may be met with an embarrassing refusal.
  2. Celebret   This word comes from the Latin and means let him celebrate.  Prior to the Dallas charter, it was used within the USA and abroad.  But now, it is required when traveling outside the country.  The universal law of the Church (canon 903) stipulates that a priest is to be permitted to celebrate the Eucharist, even if he is not known to the rector of the church, if he presents commendatory letters, not more than a year old, from his own Ordinary, stating that he is in good standing and requests that appropriate hospitality be extended to him.  You may email your request to [email protected] in a timely manner, usually two weeks to allow for preparation of the proper documentation.  With your application, include the event, time, date, location, diocese, and when you will depart and return.  Without it, a priest may be met with an embarrassing refusal.

So, to summarize, if traveling within the country, be sure you have a testimony of suitability from the office of priest personnel (646-794-2930).  Whenever you leave the country, secure a celebret from the office of canonical services (646-794-2929).  Don’t leave home without them.

St. Joseph’s Seminary 125th Anniversary   Promotional material for this milestone in the seminary’s history is included in this month’s mailing.  There are a number of activities, including a car raffle.

Annual Meeting of the Board of Trustees   All parishes are required annually by New York State Religious Corporation Law and the Archdiocese of New York Uniform By-Laws to hold an annual meeting of the trustees by the second Wednesday of November (this year, it is November 10) at the parish corporation’s principal office.  At this meeting, the pastor, as corporate secretary and treasurer and the two lay trustees shall review and accept the annual financial report.  Following the meeting, kindly send the year-end financial report to the finance office.  The minutes of the annual meeting must be kept on file at the parish office.

Priesthood Sunday USA   September 26 is the national observance of Priesthood Sunday USA which was inaugurated in 2002.  This is the time each year to express appreciation and gratitude to all the priests who have served God’s people.  It is a way to allow Catholics to recognize good priests who, day in and day out, do an outstanding job in serving them in parishes across America.  The focus is on the place of the priesthood as a central reality in the life of the Church.  The shortage of vocations makes priests less visible and, consequently, less prominent.  Ask your people to remember their priests and to thank them for what they do to bring the Lord to the faithful through the sacraments.  Visit the Serra International web site at  Also, visit the archdiocesan web site,

XLIV Columbus Day Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Monday, October 11 at 9:30 AM and reflects the millions of men, women and children who came to America in pursuit of freedom and opportunity, and the faith that helped them endure hardship and adversity.  You may wish to promote this Mass with your parishioners in your upcoming bulletins. The parade celebrating Italian-American heritage will begin at 11:30. Admission is free, but tickets are required to enter the cathedral until 9:15.  To reserve tickets, please visit the Eventbrite here.  With questions, contact the Special Events office here.

Line of Duty Death   In the unfortunate event of the death of a parishioner who is serving in the United States military or those in uniform on the police or fire departments who die in the line of duty, pastors are asked to notify the office of the vicar general with funeral arrangements.

Year End Financial Statements   Now is the time to work with your accountant, bookkeeper and associate director of parish finance (AD) to complete and submit all financial statements.  Include a balance sheet and income statement for each parish entry (church, school, cemetery).  In addition to the financial statements, be sure to complete the trustee sign-off sheet.  Finally, fill in the Board of Trustees Annual Meeting Minutes and keep these in your parish files.  If we can assist in any way, you may always call Marcus at (646) 357-0164.

Eucharistic Revitalization   The USCCB is launching a nation-wide initiative on “Eucharistic Revival” in light of the great need for enhanced catechesis on and devotion to the Most Holy Eucharist in the Church.  To get out in front of this initiative, the presbyteral council is hosting a Eucharistic forum at Dunwoodie on the day of the annual Mass for deceased priests on Thursday, November 4.  The forum will follow the memorial Mass and luncheon beginning at 12 noon.  Presenters will be Father Joseph Lienhard, SJ (Fordham University), Father Herald Brock, CFR, and Dr. Charles Camosy (Fordham University).  The enclosed flier contains more information and invites all priests who wish to attend to reply to [email protected].

Presbyteral Council Selections   Now that summer is over, it is time to think about choosing priests to fill vacancies on the presbyteral council.  Terms are for three years.  His Eminence has underscored the importance of this council in his administration.  He expressed his hope that priests would make themselves available to serve on this senate and he urges the widest possible engagement in the selection process.  He wants to be assured that the make-up of the council is truly representative.  Your active participation is clearly desired.  Deans are encouraged to discuss these vacancies with their constituencies.  Areas open for election or reelection are Bronx East, Bronx Northeast, Bronx South, Education Priests, Manhattan Central Harlem, Manhattan West, Staten Island, Ulster County, Westchester Central, Westchester Sound Shore, Westchester Yonkers.

Eucharistic Forum 2021 On Thursday, November 4th, 2021 at St. Joseph’s Seminary, following the Annual Mass for Deceased Alumni and a luncheon, the Presbyteral Council will sponsor a forum starting at 2:00 PM with three speakers: Father Joseph Lienhard, S.J. of Fordham University, who will present on the theme “The Eucharist Believed – A Revitalized Understanding”; Father Herald Brock, C.F.R., who will address the topic “Eucharistic Coherence as a Call to Conversion”; and Charles Camosy, Ph.D. of Fordham University (and Visiting Scholar at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Fall 2021), who will speak on the topic “Eucharistic Coherence as a Matter of Personal Conscience.”

Status Animarum   From the Latin meaning state of 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 sacramental report. Every year, we collect Mass attendance numbers, sacramental figures, religious education and regional or parish school enrollment, staffing and volunteer personnel data for each parish church and worship site.  In view of the fact that we are still involved in the “culture of planning” throughout the archdiocese, be as accurate as you can with your report.  The Mass attendance numbers will be reported for Sunday, October 17, 2021, the Twenty-Ninth Sunday of the Church Year, including the anticipated Masses on Saturday evening.  For the sacramental and other data, report for the time period requested.  The information that you provide is helpful for parish planning in the archdiocese and for responding to the reports that are required by the Holy See and the Episcopal conference.  We will be grateful to receive your statistics by Monday, November 15, 2021.  The information for the Kenedy Official Catholic Directory is always sent to you separately and will be coming shortly.

How Early May My Christmas Vigil Mass Be Scheduled?   In 2020, during the exceptional time of pandemic and international emergency, the first Mass of Christmas was permitted to be celebrated no earlier than 2:00 pm on December 24.  However, it is to be noted that for 2021, observing the commonly held opinion that evening is defined as four o’clock or later, the first vigil Mass of Christmas may be celebrated on Friday, December 24 no earlier than 4:00 pm.   A related question arises that priests are permitted to celebrate no more than three Masses on December 24 and three Masses on December 25.

Solemnity of All Saints   In 2021, the Solemnity of All Saints falls on a Monday and is not a holy day of obligation. Even though it outranks a Sunday in the table of liturgical days, the Mass of precept (obligation) takes precedence in these cases. Thus, evening Masses on Sunday, October 31 should celebrate the Thirty-First Sunday of the Church Year. The Liturgy of the Hours, however, strictly follows the liturgical ranking of days in the table. And so, Evening Prayer I of All Saints should be celebrated on Sunday evening, October 31. It is, however, permissible to celebrate Evening Prayer II of the Sunday in communal celebrations of the faithful.

Scheduling of Masses for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day   This year, the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) falls on a Saturday and is immediately followed on Sunday by the Feast of the Holy Family. If pastors schedule Mass on the evening of Saturday, December 25, the Nativity Mass during the Day is celebrated.  The obligation for the Nativity may be fulfilled from the evening of Friday, December 24 through Saturday, December 25.  For example, one may attend the Vigil Mass of the Nativity, or Mass during the Night (celebrated at any time), or morning/afternoon/evening Masses on December 25.  The obligation for the Holy Family may be fulfilled from the evening of Saturday, December 25 through Sunday, December 26.  For example, one may attend afternoon/evening Masses on December 25 (even though the Mass texts will be for the Nativity), or morning/afternoon/evening Masses on December 26.  A suggestion is not to schedule Mass on the evening of December 25.  The situation with the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God on Saturday, January 1, 2022 is more straightforward.  In the United States, the obligation to attend Mass on the Solemnity of Mary is abrogated when this celebration occurs on a Monday or a Saturday. In this case, because the Solemnity occurs on a Saturday and is not a day of precept this year, the Vigil Mass of the Epiphany is celebrated.

Director of the Real Estate Division   His Eminence has appointed Paula Roy Carethers to succeed David Brown, who headed the office for 32 years.  Paula has had a 20-year career spanning the public, private, and non-profit sectors in advancing ambitious, mixed-used and mixed-income projects.  Her appointment was effective September 8 and she will carry on the tremendous legacy of David.  He will continue as a consultant to the archdiocese.

Franciscan University Catechetical Institute   This program forms those who form others in the faith, something many dioceses are challenged with using online field-level ministry formation workshops, done by gifted presenters from multiple countries, who seek to provide the best training available in their respective ministry areas.  The CI works with an individual diocese to recognize its needs and fully accommodate various scenarios, including cluster parish situations, missionary circumstances, and geographical challenges. Over 90 dioceses have partnered with them, with over 17,000 people in ministry using the workshops.  Employing a mentor (coaching) model, the content is engaging and the platform very robust.  See the material enclosed with this mailing.

Indoor Sports   As was mentioned on Friday’s videoconference, all indoor sports activities are suspended during the months of September and October.  They will resume again in November.

Just One More Thing   Me: “What’s the Wi-Fi password?” Bartender: “You need to buy a drink first.” Me: “Okay, I’ll have a Coke.” Bartender: “Three dollars.” Me: “There you go. So what’s the Wi‑Fi password?” Bartender: “youneedtobuyadrinkfirst No spaces, all lowercase.”