I cannot imagine how time flies so quickly. It has already been 5 years since August 2008, when the Prior Provincial asked me to serve the people of God at Our Lady of the Assumption in Bloomingburg, New York. Following in the footsteps of the Carmelite Friars who had served the parish for many years, I said yes to my Provincial. Much like the other Friars who served before me, I began to learn how to work with the people of the parish and to do what was necessary to keep it running smoothly and help it continue to grow.
Our Lady of the Assumption offers many programs and activities to nourish both the physical and spiritual needs of the people. People come to the church not only to pray but to search for peace; the true peace that the world cannot give. Today, everyone is busy and working hard to survive due to the economic downturn. Yet, the people here at Our Lady of the Assumption want to keep the traditions and history of the parish, which have passed through many generations, alive. As Parochial Vicar, it is my job to support activities and programs and make them happen, so that people can fully benefit from and understand what it means to be a part of our parish community.
Two years ago, I began to work with the parishioners to plan for the Centennial of the Parish, marking 100 years of its existence. A large undertaking, the preparation involved many people and research of the life and history of the parish. Part of our research included speaking with a former parishioner who is now 102 years old. Present for the Centennial Mass, she shared with us that her father was responsible for building our lovely outdoor Marian Shrine back in the 1950’s, which stands adjacent to our church building today.
We were delighted that His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Most Rev. Dominick J. Lagonegro, Vicar of Orange County, Very Rev. Mario Esposito, O. Carm., Prior Provincial of the Province of Saint Elias, fellow Carmelite Friars and friends of Our Lady of the Assumption were able to be with us for the Centennial Mass. It was a joyous celebration, following a long year of preparation. Every face radiated with joy. We experienced a lovely blessing from the hand of God. A reception followed after the breaking of the bread, where people once again had an opportunity to greet and talk with His Eminence and other guests. It was truly a blessed day for me personally and for the entire congregation of Our Lady of the Assumption. It is an honor for me to be a part of the long, rich history of the parish and the long history of ministry of the Carmelite Friars as well.