This past week has been a difficult moment in American history. As you are well aware, hurricane “Harvey” has wreaked great havoc on southeast Texas, Louisiana, and other areas of our southern states, causing extensive damage through terrible winds and a huge volume of water. Watching various news reports on the situation there, it was almost unbelievable to see the massive amount of destruction wrought by nature. Virtually every family and every institution in its path suffered greatly from the destruction brought on by this catastrophe, including some old and some newer Catholic churches and schools. Thank God that so many service personnel and volunteers were ready to help the afflicted in this situation. It’s not over yet, as floodwaters are still to come. It will take a great number of years to restore that region to some semblance of normalcy. Very shortly, we will be called upon, once again, to help our brothers and sisters who have suffered so much loss, both in material and other ways. That collection will be taken upon the weekend of September 9th and 10th, and I ask that you be especially generous, for I know that these same people would respond in like manner if we were the victims. Let’s pray that God will send comfort and solace to those who have lost so much in so short a period of time.
Irene Hey, our parish Director of Family Life Ministry, is leaving that post to serve in the dual capacity of Parish Manager and Director of Family Life Ministry at another parish. She has done superb work since taking over the position of ministry director, and has brought about a renaissance in the formation of so many programs that help keep our families together and working on the goal of building up the Body of Christ in our midst. We will miss her service here and wish her much success and happiness in her new positions. She and her family will still remain active members of our parish.
Our new Director of Family Life Ministry is Mary Somerville. Not a stranger to St. Vincent Ferrer, she has three sons who also worked in our parish at different times as employees in our Maintenance Staff. We know that she is well-qualified to fill in the shoes of her predecessor, and we extend her a warm welcome and the promise of our full cooperation in her new role.
Fr. Peter Szydlowski has returned to Poland, after four weeks here, to finish up his work on his doctoral program in Psychology. We thank him for his kind service to our parish during his stay and hope that when the time comes to defend his dissertation, he’ll be able to do so with flying colors!
I recently managed to squeeze in a quick three-day hop to Burlington, Vermont, for the celebration of Father Jay Haskin’s 50th anniversary of priesthood in his former pastorate. Quite a few priests came as did many well-wishers and family members who know him from his many years of fine priestly service in Vermont. Fr. Jay will return to us at the end of next month, and, as always, we look forward to his return.
Beginning this weekend, we welcome Deacon Matthew Hawkins (no relation to our Father Charles Hawkins!) to our parish for the rest of the academic year (as we have other deacons from the nearby St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach) prior to his priestly ordination for the Orlando diocese next May. He will, as with the other deacons in the past, assist us on weekends with preaching, baptizing, working with our teens on Sunday evenings in the Life Teen program, and in visiting the sick. I know that you’ll make him feel welcome.
Our biggest news for the week is the upcoming ordination to the permanent diaconate of our Pastoral Associate, Robert Laquerre. Bob has served as a valuable assistant in our parish and as a liaison for me in numerous circumstances. He has been fervently preparing for his ordination these past five years, and will give particular service to his home parish of Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles (my previous pastorate) in Royal Palm Beach. He has taken all the various prerequisite courses at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, and has excelled in them (graduating summa cum laude this year). Now comes his big day! Henceforth, Bob will be known as “Deacon Bob,” here and throughout the diocese, as he assumes an even greater role of service to the People of God. We congratulate him and wish him all the blessings needed for his continued work in our parish and his weekend assignment in his home parish. You can read more about many more of his accomplishments in the latest edition of The Florida Catholic.