1CORINTHIAN CHAPTER 2, VERSES 1–5
“Friends, when I came and told you the mystery that God had shared with us, I didn’t use big words or try to sound-wise. In fact, while I was with you, I made up my mind to speak only about Jesus Christ, who had been nailed to a cross. At first, I was weak and trembling with fear. When I talked with you or preached, I didn’t try to prove anything by sounding wise. I simply let God’s Spirit show his power. That way you would have faith because of God’s power and not because of human wisdom.”
To my lovely Parishioners, my dear Brothers and Sisters from St. Gregory the Great, Bellerose,
How time flies! It seems like it was only yesterday when Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio sent me, newly ordained to priesthood, to you, my first parish. With the warm welcome, this parish quickly became my family and together we experienced the joy of Baptisms, first Communions, Confirmations, and celebrations of the Eucharist as well as the sadness of praying by the bedside of a loved one, anointing them with the soothing oil of God’s tenderness, and the indescribable grief at the prayer service in the funeral home, yet filled with hope for eternal life. United in faith and love for Christ, we went through many different things together, in smooth and rough waters. In the end, we became closer to one another as a parish family. I leave with the great treasure of your trust in sharing your lives with me and the precious memories of our togetherness.
I give my heartfelt thanks to everyone.
Msgr. Edward A. Ryan, Pastor: You made me a wonderful home in Bellerose and made me feel the same way I feel when with my family in Poland.
Fr. Johnson Nedungadan: You showed me what real brotherhood is. You taught me, by example, that priests should always take care of the sick, just like the Good Shepherd who cares for every sheep in His flock, strong or weak, faithful or lost. I value your counsel.
Fr. Oliver Onwubiko: I always enjoyed the time you are here. During this Covid 19 pandemic, your help has been most valuable.
Deacons Arthur Cutter and Robert Zeuner: I appreciate your service at Holy Mass. I’m grateful also to the lectors and extraordinary ministers and ushers.
Sr. Patricia Anglin, O.P.: You help our young people gain more knowledge of our faith.
Ms. Lynn Alaimo, Academy Principal: You always welcomed me with a big smile.
Mr. Bart Haggerty, Director of Music Ministry: I always enjoyed your music selection and also the Latin chants. Your singing and the choir’s enhance the celebration of the Eucharist.
Mrs. Patricia McMenamin, Parish Secretary: You always helped me with the altar servers. Thank you also for helping me obtain the Baptismal Certificate of my great grandmother who was born in Pittsburgh, PA and baptized at St. Stanislaus Kostka R. C. Church.
Mrs. Lois Brady, Parish Receptionist: You never failed to inform me whenever a package from my family in Poland was delivered at the rectory.
Miss Jennifer Kalin, Parish Receptionist: You always gave me messages about a meeting with parishioners and sick people.
Mr. Peter Varol, Bookkeeper: You always helped me with my tax return and financial issues.
Angela Jaramello, Housekeeper: You kept my rooms always neat and clean, with the floor shining like a mirror! (My thanks to your husband, Gustavo, for efficiently doing repairs in my room.)
Maria, Rectory Cook: Whenever I saw your car, I knew it was time to carry the shopping bags from the vehicle to the rectory kitchen, which I happily did.
Altar Servers (Ryan McMenamin, Gabriel & Mikaela Tanlioco): You all did a great job!
The Choir and the Folk Group: You help the congregation lift up their hearts with your singing.
“Those who sing, pray twice,” St. Augustine said.
Sincere thanks also to:
St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy, for the nice time I had talking with the teachers, staff, and students.
The Religious Sisters, for your prayers and support. Special thanks to Sr. Faustina who sings energetically the Alleluia!!! during Mass.
The maintenance crew, for doing their job in the church.
The Eucharistic Adoration group and helpers from St. Gregory and elsewhere (Tireless Coordinator, Edwina Dayao-Yevoli), for your devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. We loved our “FaceTime” with Jesus at Adoration every Tuesday and first Friday of the month dedicated to the Divine Mercy, and at our first celebration of Divine Mercy Sunday last year. (Sorry, none this year due to the pandemic.)
All groups from the parish including the Renaissance, Athletic Association, Golden Age Leisure Club, for the delicious cake and cold milk you always set aside for me on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the Craft Group, for the lovely sweater and shawl you knitted for my mom.
All my brothers and sisters who always delivered food and brought flowers for me to plant in the garden. Richard Lawlor, for always asking me how I am doing. You made me feel like a true brother in a family.
My Knights of Columbus brothers, for showing me how to be truly humble and how to truly love and pray.
The organizers and volunteers of the Annual Parish Festival, for a very enjoyable festival of rides, food, music, dancing, singing, and camaraderie. I always enjoyed being there!
And most certainly, to the members of our parish family and beyond, for all the loving care and generosity you gave me. Your gifts of prayers, words and gestures of support and encouragement, and many other forms of gifts are blessings I am forever grateful for.
As a parish family, we have focused a lot on the Eucharist and how to stir deeper devotion to Jesus in the Holy Sacrament. In my three years here, we have tried to bring even more life and energy to our services by, among other things, following the tradition of using bells and incense. Change is never easy. It sometimes hurts, causes confusion, or even stirs within us our deepest fears. May God give us the grace of an open heart and an open mind for our spiritual growth.
My dear parishioners, if I inadvertently left out someone in the list above, if there was anything I did that displeased you please forgive me. There was never any intention to offend. I apologize.
Know, my lovely parish family, that you will always hold a special place in my heart and that no matter where the Lord might call me to serve in the years ahead, I will always remember you and your loved ones in my prayers. You inspired me to be a parochial vicar “trying to do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.” You helped me appreciate more the gift of laughter. Less uptight. More Smiling. Joking. I will be forever grateful that you respected my service during the celebration of Holy Mass. I am thankful for your patience, understanding, faith and above all…love.
Please always remember the immense value of the Sacrifice of the Mass. Receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation (Penance) and the Eucharist as well as Eucharistic Adoration and praying the rosary are most pleasing to God who gives us true peace and joy. Let us praise, worship and thank God each day of our lives!
May God abundantly bless you all!
Fr. Szymon Galazyn
Parochial Vicar, St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church, Bellerose, NY