Welcome January 20, 2018
I am pleased to announce that Cardinal Dolan has assigned a priest to us.
His name is Fr. Thomas DeSimone, who is from Staten Island,
was ordained in 2006, and had been assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe
at St. Bernard's Parish on West 14th Street, NYC.
He will arrive in February and we welcome him and his ministry here at
St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary.
Father Gabriel Mendy Elevated to Bishop of Gambia December 10, 2017
I have exciting news about our Fr. Gabriel. This week, our Holy Father, Pope Francis,
has appointed Fr. Gabriel Bishop of Banjul. Fr. Gabriel will go back to his home country
of Gambia to serve as the country's only bishop.
His diocese was established 60 years ago and covers the entire country. Its bishops, up to
this point, have all been Irish missionaries of his congregation. Fr. Gabriel is the first native
Gambian to be made a bishop to serve in his home country. Fr. Gabriel will have to return
home some time this month and so his last Sunday Mass will be Sunday, December 10,
at 12 Noon.
Please keep him your prayers.
Bulletin: It's Official and Town Hall Meeting September 4, 2016
You can see a new look with today’s bulletin. We are now moving to the use of one bulletin,
which will give us more space and better layout. Thank you to Jerry LePre, our past bulletin
coordinator, and now to Bob Dennis, our current one, for you commitment.
Back in July I wrote about our ongoing process to incorporate our parish under the civil law of
New York State. As you know, we have been one parish in the archdiocese and have planned
together for our liturgies, events, and activities. Now the civil incorporation has moved for-ward
with the reception of a new tax identification number which allows us to do business under the
new parish corporation. Just like the parish name, our corporation name is the Church of St. Christopher
and St. Margaret Mary; to be exact it is the “Roman Catholic Church of St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary.”
It is in this name that I opened a new operating account into which our deposits from our collections will be made.
Our financial transactions will be done as ONE parish now, not as two as the law required up to this point.
As a result of this new step would you please write any checks to the parish as “St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary
Church”? I know it is a lot to write but it will make for smooth business with the bank, and it is a re-minder of who were
are. It is also a reminder of what we want to accomplish together.
Speaking of accomplishing things together, please look for the announcement of a town hall style meeting to be held on
October 3, 2016 and October 5, 2016 at 7:00pm. Both meetings will be the same, so you can choose either one. Many
issues will be addressed including our Mass and liturgy schedule, our financial state, communication and evangelization.
More to follow!
Finally, happy Labor Day:
Almighty God, you have so linked our lives with one an-other that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives;
So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a
proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our
concern for those who are out of work. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thank You December 13, 2015
For those who were involved, and/or participated, in my installation Mass on November 22nd
I say “Thank You!” Thank you to all who offer prayers and well wishes for me, and for your kind
words and gifts. I want to repeat the thanks I offered at the end of the installation Mass. With
gratitude: I thank our rectory staff: Alfa Ferraro, Peggy Rybarczyk, Christopher Potoczki; I thank
Mrs. Catherine Falabella, Principal and the school faculty of and staff of St. Christopher School;
I was touched by the cards that were given. Thank you to Mrs. Barbara Regan, and families of our religious
education program. Thanks to Robert Butler, and Patti Beniquez, music directors. I thank Jerry LePre, for
the planning and for the Mass programs, along with Elena Brady and members of the Adult Faith Formation
for the reception. Thank you to Carolyn Volpicello for the sacristy work and for preparing the vessels and
vestments for the Mass.
Finally, I thank you, the parishioners of St. Christopher and
St. Margaret Mary. It has been a year of change and adjustment, and I know that will continue. However,
I am encouraged by the support and prayers that have been given. I thank the Parish Core Team, that help
guide us through this transition. I am privileged to be a part of your lives, and to follow in the steps of the pastors
and priests whom you have told me about and whom you esteem so highly. I couldn’t do it without you!
Installation Mass November 15, 2015
Next week on November 22nd, at a 12:00Noon Mass I will be installed as pastor of
St. Christopher - St. Margaret Mary Parish.. As we are a new parish it is fitting to have an installation,
a rite to welcome and acknowledge a new pastor. I have already been welcomed warmly by the
community and have received great support. This liturgy is also to help strengthen the bonds of the
parish community and to acknowledge the good work done here. The Mass will be a regular Sunday
Mass held at St. Christopher Church (there will be no 12:00Noon Mass at St. Margaret Mary in order
to accommodate all to participate). The Mass will incorporate the rite of installation with the proclamation
of my appointment, presentation of symbols of the office of pastor, presentation of clergy, staff, trustees,
and parish organizations who all contribute to the parish. All are invited to the Mass including representatives
of the parish groups. Thank you for your prayers to be a wise and gentle shepherd.
Thank you, plus ... October 20, 2015
Last weekend had some great events in the parish. I thank the Holy Name Society for its annual Chef Mario
Macaroni Dinner, filling our stomachs and our souls with good food and fellowship. It was also good to see
Chef Mario himself who visited from New Jersey for the day to inspire the troops. On Sunday the eating
continued after the 10am Mass at St. Margaret Mary with a parish breakfast in the Olympia Athletic Center
(OAC). The estimated crowd of almost 200 came out from the whole parish to have a great breakfast.
Thank you to the Faith Formation Group for its hard work.
Also, there is a Teen Club in our parish and it is looking for new members from grades 8-12. It had a car
wash on Saturday morning and there were a good number of hands on deck to get the cars cleaned. In an
effort to recruit more members one of our teens spoke at the 10am Mass. Teen Club meets about twice a
month, and so please check the bulletin and/or the website for dates and times.
Finally, an All Souls Mass will be held on Monday, November 2nd at 7:30pm in St. Christopher Church.
Remembered in that Mass will be those who were buried from St. Christopher Church or St. Margaret Mary
Church from November 2014 – November 2015. Also remembered will be your loved ones who died within
the last year but were not buried from either church. I would like to have the names of those who died within
the last year read during the Mass so please call the parish office at 718-351-2452 as soon as possible with
the name of the deceased.
2016 Mass Schedule Change Announcement September 13, 2015
One of the more difficult aspects of forming one parish where there was two is consolidating the Mass schedule.
I have written before about the current Mass schedule and the need to reduce that number. Currently, we have
10 Sunday Masses for both churches, and I have decided that six is a more appropriate number. We will
continue to have two weekday Masses, but one for each church.
Why have fewer Masses? I think there are two practical reasons and one spiritual reason. Practically, there are
not enough priests to celebrate Mass. You may not experience this because every time you have come to Mass a
priest has been there (with one exception, at a 10am Mass). However, there are only two assigned priests to
St. Christopher – St. Margaret Mary: Fr. Tomy and myself. We have been helped greatly by the other priests over
the years. However, they have their own commitments, responsibilities and schedules to fulfill which sometimes means
they cannot be with us on a Sunday. As a result, scheduling becomes more difficult, especially when we have two
Masses going on at the same time. Many of you have joked with me that I cannot be in two places at one time! This
is why the new Sunday schedule will have no overlap of Masses with the two churches. So, if need be, one priest
could still celebrate all the Masses. The other practical reason concerns the fewer number of people coming to Mass.
It is very, very rare for either church to have at least half of its seating capacity at a Sunday Mass (Christmas and Easter
excluded). This leads to a spiritual reason.
Having a congregation of less than half capacity of the church can hamper evangelization efforts to reach out to others
who are looking to join or re-join the Church. Having a fuller church highlights the communal aspect of our worship as
there are more members of the community there. Having more people is an encouraging sign of evangelization. When
people come and see more people, they are more likely to participate.
We have to try to think of this new schedule not as “there are only x amount of Masses in my church” and rather as
“we have six Masses to choose from.” I understand the difficulty in this mindset, but we cannot continue with the
number of Sunday Masses and half empty churches. The Archdiocese is mandating that the parishes affected from the
Making All Things New process reduce the number of Masses. Although I had consultation about the new schedule
from a team of parishioners, the decisions here are mine.
To take effect on Sunday, January 3, 2016:
St. Christopher Church ......... 9:00am (Monday-Saturday)
St. Margaret Mary Church ... 8:00am (Monday-Friday)
St. Christopher Church ......... Saturday - 4:30pm, 9:15am, 12:00Noon, and 7:00pm (note time change)
St. Margaret Mary Church ... 8:00an and 10:30am
The Merging of St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary August 2, 2015
Thank you for your well wishes on my “new” assignment: pastor of St. Christopher – St. Margaret Mary Parish I am
happy to continue to be shepherding both communities. Now I am shepherding these communities as ONE parish.
I know it will take some time to get used to thinking of us as one parish and using one name. However, I met
recently with representatives of some of the parish groups and was encouraged by their commitment to working
together. I admit that there will be changes in next year’s Mass schedule, the office hours, religious education, and
even the bulletin. There will also be opportunities and perhaps unexpected graces. I ask for your continued support
and prayers during this transition time.
I want to thank Elisa Gillick and Gloria DePietro for their years of work and commitment to St. Christopher Parish.
Both Elisa and Gloria have retired as of August 1st after giving so much of themselves for the parish – Elisa as secretary
and Gloria as coordinator of religious education and both as dedicated volunteers as well. I do not say “goodbye” to them
as they will still be around, and even help from time to time. I do give them my gratitude and wish them God’s blessings
St. Christopher – St. Margaret Mary Parish. I am happy to continue to be shepherding both
communities. Now I am shepherding these communities as ONE parish. I know it will take
some time to get used to thinking of us as one parish and using one name. However, I met
recently with representatives of some of the parish groups and was encouraged by their
commitment to working together. I admit that there will be changes in next year’s Mass
schedule, the office hours, religious education, and even the bulletin. There will also be
opportunities and perhaps unexpected graces. I ask for your continued support and prayers
during this transition time.
I want to thank Elisa Gillick and Gloria DePietro for their years of work and commitment to
St. Christopher Parish. Both Elisa and Gloria have retired as of August 1st after giving so
much of themselves for the parish – Elisa as secretary and Gloria as coordinator of religious
education and both as dedicated volunteers as well. I do not say “goodbye” to them as they
will still be around, and even help from time to time. I do give them my gratitude and wish
them God’s blessings always.
Appointment As Pastor June 30, 2015
I would like to share this joyous letter I received from Cardinal Dolan:
Office of the Cardinal
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022
June 30, 2015
Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Year of Consecrated Life
The Reverend Joseph Mc Lafferty, Administrator
Saint Christopher's Parish
130 Midland Avenue
Staten Island, New York 10306
Dear Father Mc Lafferty:
It is with joy that I appoint you Pastor of the newly combined parish of Saint
Christopher - Saint Margaret Mary on Staten Island, effective noon on August 1, 2015.
The usual term of six years as specified in the Priest's Personnel Manual is in effect.
I renew my gratitude for your fifteen years of faithful, generous priestly service,
most recently as Administrator of Saint Christopher's Parish and as Temporary
Administrator of Saint Margaret Mary Parish on Staten Island.
Reverend Monsignors James Dorney and Peter Finn, the Co-Deans, will receive a
copy of this letter of appointment. I would ask you to be in touch with them to arrange
your canonical installation, including the Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity, within
I am deeply grateful for all that you do, and particularly for all that you are: a
priest forever, blessed with gifts that enrich the souls of the People of God.
Assuring you of my prayerful best wishes as you begin this new work for the
Lord and His Church, I am,
Fraternally in Christ,
Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
Making All Things New Update June 28th, 2015
I want to update you on a few things. I know many of you have been patiently waiting for the
opening of the Mass Book for 2016 to reserve Masses. I had hoped to open it in July, but I
need to wait on a directive from the Archdiocese concerning Mass scheduling that is being sent
out to parishes affected by the mergers. As a result, I am postponing the opening of the Mass
Book to September 30 - October 2 for reservations for Masses. I have been in discussion
with our Implementation/Transition Team about this topic, and will announce the new schedule
well before the September 30th date.
The Implementation/Transition Team is the group that is assisting with issues related to bringing
together St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary. The Team consists of the same members that
were on the Core Teams from the start of the “Making All Things New” process: Elena Brady,
Joseph Funk, Joseph Madory, Bill Owens, Barbara Regan, Peggy Rybarczyk, Carolyn
Volpicello and myself. Other members may be added as we move forward. This Team will
also reach out to parishioners to help with certain issues that need to be addressed, i.e. mass
schedule, religious education programs, use of buildings, parish records, office space,
maintenance of grounds, website and bulletin, etc. Thank you for your attention to these matters,
and I will keep you posted. We pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and wisdom and as we pray
from the “Making All Things New” prayer: “God our Father, help us learn new ways to
strengthen and revitalize our parish community and to be good stewards of the spiritual and
material gifts that sustain them. Bless our work, so that our parish may continue to witness to
the truth of the Gospel, and be a sign of Your love for all people.”
FROM THE DESK OF FATHER JOE
The Roman Catholic Parish of
St. Christopher and St. Margaret Mary
Staten Island, New York 10306