Church of the Immaculate Conception

  The Roman Catholic Community of Glenville, New York

From the Pastor's Desk

Meet our Pastor
Rev. Jerome R. Gingras
(Fr. Jerry)

In the words of Fr. Jerry...
"I am privileged to be allowed to enter into the lives and hearts of people, and to offer them consolation, share in their joy, and walk with them on their journey.  Also, as a priest, I am humbled to provide the Eucharist for my people each week, and to offer the Lord's sacraments to them."


Fr. Jerry can be reached at the Parish Office by calling (518) 399-9168 or via email

As published in the July 10th Bulletin

From the Pastor:

     The first reading today from the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that God’s law is planted in our hearts, and that sets the stage for our Gospel story of the Good Samaritan. Moses tells the people that God’s command is written each of us. As we hear the story of the Good Samaritan, it is good for us to realize that acting mercifully toward our neighbor is built into the very fiber of the human heart; all we have to do is act on it. Maybe easier said than done? Let us then ask God for the courage to do what we already know how to do! Perhaps a good question for the week is to ask ourselves what hands on mercy can we show to one another this week?

     We extend our sympathy to the family of +Rose Marie Welsh who was buried from our church last Saturday. May +Rose rest in the fullness of God’s love and may God bring comfort to her family.

     Lenny Kwiatkowski, our property manager for the past 15 years will be retiring on July 29. Over the years Lenny has been dedicated to our parish and has always been available to anyone who needed a helping hand.  If you wish to thank Lenny for his service, you are  welcome to stop by anytime during the day or send his a card with your sentiments. He will be missed! We look forward to welcoming Joseph Nally, who will be assuming Lenny’s responsibilities. Joseph begins

working here at the parish on July 18.

     Work continues in the parish center kitchen.  The repair and upgrade to the septic system is

completed as well as the interior plumbing and electrical work. The tile work on the walls is also

completed and the floor system is set installation next week. We hope all the appliances and stainless steel arrive early in August. Thank you for your support with this project. Last week, the front of the exterior beams of the church were re-stained. There is always a project that needs to be done!

       Till next week, be well, do good deeds, say your prayers, and offer mercy generously!

                                                                         Fr. Jerry

A Special Message from Fr. Jerry about the Jubilee Year of Mercy and Holy Door

     The Basilica of Saint John Lateran is the Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, and the Holy Door will be officially opened by Pope Francis on December 13, the first Sunday of the Jubilee of Mercy. The Jubilee itself begins with the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica on December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

     The tradition of a Holy Door at a church during a Jubilee year is one that dates back to Christmas 1499. It was on Christmas Eve of that year that which Pope Alexander VI declared the year 1500 a Jubilee. During that Jubilee year at the Basilica of St. John Lateran; the Cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, St. Peter’s Basilica, St. Mary Major, and St. Paul Outside the Walls all dedicated a door in the church as a Holy Door or Porta Sancta.

     A Holy Door is a rich symbol of Christ who, in the Gospel of John is the gate that the sheep enter through and go out finding rich pasture. As part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Pope Francis has requested that a Holy Door be designated as available to people for a sacred pilgrimage. In this coming Year of Mercy we are reminded that Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person reveals the mercy of God. Jesus is the Door of Mercy.

     The Door of Mercy is open for all who seek to enter. For those who pass through this door, the very act of passage expresses an internal desire for conversion as one seeks to cross over the threshold of Christ—from sin to grace, slavery to freedom, from darkness to light. Therefore the Pope has declared that entering the door of mercy in this year of Jubilee will be a sacred pilgrimage. When one crosses this threshold, one is greeted by the loving experience of a God who consoles, pardons and instills in us a future full of hope.

     For the Year of Mercy, Bishop Scharfenberger will open a special “Holy Door” at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, on Sunday, December 13 at 2 PM Mass. Several churches in our diocese have been given permission to have a “Holy Door” throughout the year of Mercy, and I am happy to announce that we are among them. As Bishop Ed says: “There are no boundaries or limitations to mercy and especially God’s mercy. It is well worth celebrating.” Our holy door will be the set of doors on the front of the church. The glass panels will depict the official image of the Year of Mercy. On Sunday, December 13 at the 11 AM Mass we will have a special ceremony to open our holy door.

     What is the significance of the Holy Door?
Since the year 1300 when Pope Boniface VIII declared the first Holy Year, the Catholic Church has regularly celebrated “Holy Years,” usually every twenty-five years (at least since 1470), except for special circumstances, like in 1983 when a Holy Year was declared to mark the 1950th anniversary of the death and resurrection of our Lord.  A major aspect of the Holy Year has been that of pilgrimage to Rome, or in certain circumstances to other major pilgrimage sites such as Jerusalem or Compostela, to make reparation for sin and to renew the conversion of one’s life. 

     A very important symbolic act performed by each pilgrim has been to pass through the Holy Door. Christ identified Himself as “the door.” In his bull Incarnationis Mysterium proclaiming a Holy Year, Saint Pope John Paul II stated that the Holy Door “…evokes the passage from sin to grace which every Christian is called to accomplish. Jesus said, ‘I am the door’ (John 10:7) in order to make it clear that no one can come to the Father except through Him. This designation which Jesus applies to Himself testifies to the fact that He alone is the Savior sent by the Father.  There is only one way that opens wide the entrance into this life of communion with God: This is Jesus, the one and absolute way to salvation. To Him alone can the words of the psalmist be applied in full truth: ‘This is the door of the Lord where the just may enter’ (Psalm 118:20).”

     Therefore to pass through the door from the outside of St. Peter’s into the basilica is to pass from this world into the presence of God, just as in the old Temple of Jerusalem, the High Priest on the Feast of Yom Kippur passed through the veil covering the doorway of the Holy of Holies to enter into the presence of God to offer the sacrifice of atonement.  Moreover, to pass through the door is to confess with firm conviction that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Lord, and the Savior who suffered, died, and rose for our salvation.  With great courage, a person freely decides to cross the threshold leaving behind the kingdom of this world so as to enter the new life of grace of the Kingdom of God.

      In opening the door, the Holy Father has traditionally struck the door three times with a silver hammer. The striking of the door also has symbolic meaning: Moses struck the rock so that water would pour out miraculously to quench the thirst of the people (Numbers 20:6); the Holy Year is a time when God pours forth abundant graces to quench the thirst of our souls. God struck the earth to free St. Paul and Silas from prison, which resulted in the jailer and his family asking for baptism (Acts 16:25); God has struck our hearts opening them to His graces, beginning with the saving grace of Baptism. As our Lord hung upon the cross, the soldier struck His most Sacred Heart, and out flowed blood and water, symbols of the Holy Eucharist and Baptism (John 19:31) which nourish each of our souls. In all, the striking of the door symbolizes the release of graces, flowing abundantly to the faithful.

     Moreover, when the door opens, the obstacles of passage to our Lord are removed. During the Holy Year, we hope and pray that the obstacles of personal weakness, temptation, and sin will be removed so that we will have a holy union with our Lord.

     As we consider the holy door and particularly the recent Holy Year, our Lord stands at the door of our hearts knocking. We must open our hearts to Him and cross the threshold of hope, striving for holiness.  

Toby Curcio needed a little time out during Mass, so his mom Valerie (dad Jason) took him to the gathering space for a little comforting. If you or your children need a little “space” during Mass, the church rockers are there for you. Please feel free to use them any time.
 
Memories from our Roamin' Pastor (during his time in Rome in 2012)

April 10, 2012 - as published in the April 15th bulletin

From the roaming Pastor in Rome:

Holy Week at Vatican City was beautiful, as you can imagine, and there is a certain feeling of awe and mystery in St. Peter’s Basilica.  On Palm Sunday, the celebration took place outside, in St. Peter’s Square, directly in front of the Vatican. Thousands of people, holding palm branches, were embraced in the arms of the semi-elliptical colonnades of the gathering space of the Vatican.  On that picture perfect morning, there was a triumphant cry from the faithful as the Holy Father made his way into the square.  It was a privilege to offer the Body Christ to many of those assembled for worship.  As I walked through the crowd on a designated pathway and holding the Eucharist, I felt like I was walking through the opening of the Red Sea! Walls of people on each side!

During the liturgy, Pope Benedict reminded us of the message of Palm Sunday, which is: “invitation to adopt a proper outlook upon all humanity, on the people who make up the world, on its different cultures and civilizations.  To look at all human kind with a wise and loving look, capable of grasping the world’s beauty and having compassion on its fragility.  Shining through this look is God’s own look upon those he loves and upon Creation, the work of his hands.”  What a different world we would live in if we practiced his humble words.

The Chrism Mass, the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper and Good Friday were all special as well.  The two most moving for me were the sung Passion on Good Friday, and the reverent and humble adoration of the Cross by our Holy Father.  Though the Passion was sung in Italian, every Christian knows the story, and the melody and the music moved me to tears.  What a powerful, unforgettable and extraordinary time of prayer!

The Easter Vigil at St. Peter’s was so well executed.  Five people were baptized into the faith. Imagine being baptized by our Holy Father! What an honor! My mind and heart kept returning to our community, I was thinking of Aquila and her daughter Kylie, who were baptized at the Easter Vigil at our Vigil.

While at St. Peter’s, I stood right next to the altar when our Holy Father prayed the Easter mass and I could see his every move and gesture; he is such a holy man.  These are the kinds of experiences the sabbatical times has offered me, ones that have touched me deeply. This has been a time of great gift and grace; please know that all of your collective intentions were on my heart during this liturgy, as well as at many others.

Finally, the Holy Father’s concluding blessing, the Urbi et Orbi, (the traditional blessing, meaning ‘for the city and the world,’ issued from the second floor balcony of the Vatican) the blessing to the world, was received with tears and cheers by the hundred thousand plus faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square.  A powerful end to a magnificent week!

Today, Monday in the Octave of Easter, finds us on our final full week of sabbatical. We are now on a retreat week, in Assisi, the home of St. Francis and St. Clare.  Once again, I will take all of your intentions with me as I walk and pray upon the holy ground of these familiar saints.  I will be remembering in a special way those preparing for Confirmation and First Eucharist and their families.

Be well, good do deeds and say your prayers! Happy Easter to all of you! See you very soon!

                                                          Fr. Jerry

 

As published in the Easter Bulletin
From the Pastor:
      For the past few months, I have been living in the ancient city, the eternal city, Rome. For sure “modern” Rome as we know it, is ancient, but there have been many more ancient places, like Canaan, Jericho, Jerusalem, and so many other civilizations that have now turned to ruin and have become gold mines for anthropologists. Every civilization, Rome included, as great as it is, begins to dwindle, decay and eventually disappear. One has only to walk under the arches of Trastevere to see the elements taking their toll on the ancient stone buttresses. No city is “eternal” as we would perhaps like to think.
     However as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Easter Sunday, we are reminded by St. Paul, that God’s city is not built by hands; it’s eternal in heaven (2COR. 5:1). In God we live forever. We are citizens of the ever new and eternal city! This is possible through the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. So as Christians, today we celebrate our Resurrection our New Life!
     Though we will spend Easter Day miles apart from each other, I am certain that we are united in the One True God and that our prayers will join together as one at the altar of the Lord. You can be certain that as I celebrate Holy Week and Easter with pilgrims from around the world here in Vatican City, my heart and my prayers will be with you.  I would like to take a moment to thank our Trustees, Bill Larkin, Dan Sliva and Maryann Haskell for overseeing the parish during
my absence; to Fran Szpylcyn, Kathy Friscic and Deacon Mike Melanson for keeping the office and matters of the church running smoothly; to our great staff for their dedication and great
competency; to our Liturgy Committee for all their work with the liturgies of Holy Week; to all the priests who helped with the celebration of mass over the past few months; to our Easter guests who will pray with the Immaculate Conception Community today and to all of you who love and support our parish with your time, talent and treasure.
     I look forward to being with all of you at the First Communion weekend masses, May 5 and 6. I am anxious to be at the place I call “home!”
       Till then, be well, do good deeds and say your prayers!
                                             Happy Easter! Fr. Jerry

March 28, 2012 - as published in the April 1st parish bulletin

From the roaming Pastor in Rome:
     The week started on a wonderful note. I receive an envelope filled with farewell notes from our young brothers and sisters in Faith Formation. The precious cargo took over a month to arrive here in Rome. The notes were great and I read all of them over and over (reminding me that it’s getting time to come home!). Here are a few of the highlights from the kids: I wrote a poem: ‘ You go to Rome we’ll be so sad so stop reading this poem and have a good trip’; I hope meeting the Pope will be nice and that your guardian Angel will be there all the way; You are the golden cup of my days, miss you!; I have a joke for you: ‘what do you call a gorilla with bananas in its ears? You call it nothing because it can’t hear you!; and finally, a surprise note from my dog Grace. Thanks, kids….and Grace!
      On Monday, I visited the small town of Orvieto and the main attraction there, the Duomo (Cathedral) and the Capella di San Brizio. The Cathedral is a dazzling triumph of Romanesque-Gothic architecture. It was built to commemorate a local miracle: a priest in the nearby town of Bolsena suddenly found himself assailed by doubt about the transubstantiation. He could not bring himself to believe that the body of Christ was contained in the consecrated communion hosts. His doubts were put to rest, however, when a piece of communion host he had just consecrated suddenly started to drip blood on to the corporeal (linen covering on the altar). The pope certified the miracle and declared a new religious holiday—the Feast of Corpus Christi.
     We had wonderful classes this week with some renowned professors. Among them Donna Orsuto, from the Gregorian University who spoke about the Women Doctors of the Church, as well as about Edith Stein, Mother Teresa, and Fr. Wojciech Giertych, O.P., the Theologian of the Papal Household. I was afraid to ask a question!  Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to celebrate mass at the tomb of St. Peter at the Vatican. What a moving experience it was to
actually touch his place of rest. After that mass at 7am, I celebrated mass at the tomb of John Paul II, with Fr. James Ebert who was in Rome with a group of people from his parish in Cohoes. I concelebrated and assisted Fr. James at mass. Fr. James was my altar server
many years ago at Immaculate Conception and now I felt like his altar server…at the Vatican no less!
     Later in the week, I was asked by my Sabbatical Director to speak to the First Year Seminarians on “parish life and spirituality: a pastor’s view of the local church and all its many challenges.” How do you deal with that package in an hour’s time! I felt very privileged to
speak to the seminarians. Their questions following the talk were very interesting, challenging and required a good dose of humility and honesty to answer. I left the meeting realizing that the Church has some good men on the journey to priesthood!
     On Saturday I visited the Benedictine Monastery of Monte Cassino which sits majestically upon a mountain top overlooking the city of Cassino. Both St. Benedict and his sister, St. Scholastica are buried in the crypt below the monastery. I was able to celebrate mass at the
tombs and as always, I prayed for all of you. The monastery was destroyed several times by wars and an earthquake and the last time the monastery was reduced to rubble was during World War II. The Americans thought the Germans were using the monastery as a main
post so they destroyed it. As it turned out, no Germans were in the monastery, just the monks and the civilians they were sheltering.  One bomb hit the lower portion of the monastery, where the tombs are located, but miraculously enough, that bomb never exploded.
     You will be reading this on Palm Sunday! I look forward to that great celebration at the Vatican along with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Till then, I will keep all of you and all your intentions close to my heart. I hope you will take the opportunity to experience and pray the beautiful days of Holy Week.
            Till next time, be well, do good deeds and say your prayers!

                                                       Fr. Jerry

 

March 20, 2012
From the Pastor:
One of the greatest lessons of Lent is: “if we are going to love as Jesus loved, we must first come to terms with suffering”. +Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, “The Gift of Peace.” I was reminded of these words when I visited Auschwitz, last Monday. It was a very dark and dismal day, perhaps the climate was appropriate for my experience at Auschwitz. Suffering was all around: it still harbored in the corners; it still lingered in the air; it still hung overhead like a cloud about to burst open with tears.

Standing on the rails that led into the camp but not out, I could only think of the people torn from their homes, separated from their loved ones, being treated worse than cattle, forced to work under the harshest of conditions, denied food, water, respect and dignity: a suffering unknown to most of us. These innocents, young and old, and all the innocent in between, had to let go of everything and everyone, and place themselves in the hands of God. They experienced the suffering of the martyrs, the suffering of Jesus.

How is it possible that this torture of humankind could have happened? How could humans inflict such immense violence upon other humans? My experience at Auschwitz made me sad. It made me shake my head in disbelief. It made me struggle with what it means to come to terms with suffering. Seeing a room filled with human hair; a room filled with shoes once worn by regular people; suitcases bearing the names of people who thought they would be reunited with their few precious possessions; touching the cold steel that pushed the remains of the dead into the fiery furnace, made me fight to come to terms with suffering --- imposed, cruel, and senseless suffering. If such treatment could be done against the Son of God, Jesus, then it is no surprise that such suffering could be done to us. But in the end, I’ve come to realize, that nothing can separate us from the love of God.

In the end, justice triumphs and God always wins. So do those who place themselves in the compassionate hands of God. My experience at Auschwitz also made me grapple with the words of the Prophet Jeremiah in today’s first reading: “I will forgive their evildoing and
remember their sin no more.” This foreshadows the final words of Jesus before he died. Perhaps the tragedy of Auschwitz offers all of us a fitting Lenten meditation.

On Tuesday, I headed for the Shrine of Our Lady of Czstochowa, two hours out of Krakow. The shrine is located on a massive plot of land, but the actual church building was surprisingly small. Pilgrims from around the world come to this holy place in search of healing, both physically, and spiritually. The image of Our Lady, said to be painted by St. Luke, was stunning. Her eyes, however, seemed so sad. I could only imagine what she was thinking as she looks at her children who come to her broken and needy. The image of Mary is in the sanctuary above the main altar in the chapel, next to the main church. You approach the image on your knees and continue on your knees around the entire sanctuary on the stone floor. I was in agony by the time I was able to stand up!  I was able to concelebrate mass with a Polish bishop in a chapel filled with pilgrims. I managed to sit in the front row, ten feet from the image of Mary. I was thrilled! I felt so blessed to be so close to such a famous piece of art and history; to be in fact, so close to the Mother of God. I thought of all of you during that mass, and I prayed for all your intentions. I also prayed for the intentions of so many of our parish who have recently gone home to God and for their loved ones who mourn them so.

On Wednesday, I traveled the Steps of Blessed John Paul II. We visited his home, where he was raised by his father, (his mother died very young) and saw the church of his baptism, a church where he served as an altar server for many years. The house was about ten feet
from the church!

On our pilgrimage we visited the convent of St. Faustina, whose vision of Jesus as the image of Divine Mercy has become known throughout the world. We saw the room where she died, the reliquary that bears her precious remains, and the huge modern Church that warmly welcomes pilgrims throughout the year. Once again, I thought of all of you (especially those of you who have a great devotion to Divine Mercy) as I knelt before the altar.  Krakow is a beautiful city, especially Old Town. The square in Old Town, surrounded by magnificent and ancient buildings is breathtaking. Somehow the pace of life seemed less hectic there compared to here in Rome. By the way, the shops were wonderful! I had a good time window shopping! Jewelry, made of amber, (natural to the region from the Baltic Sea), was in just about every window.  So once again, it has been a wonderful and exciting week and I consider myself blessed for the opportunity to be here in Europe. As I keep all of you in my prayers every day, I ask humbly that you keep me in yours as well.
Till next time, be well, do good deeds and say your prayers!
                                                                Fr. Jerry
 
 
March 14, 2012
From the Pastor:
           Last week we continued with our classes and the study of St. Paul, especially his letter to Philemon. It has been some time since I focused on St. Paul as I mostly focus on the gospel for my weekend reflections. I also had the opportunity to spend two days in Florence and to see the Duomo of Florence and the beautiful church of Santa Croche. I spent some quality time in these holy places praying for the needs of the people of our community and for the Immaculate Conception staff. I came across two blood sisters and to make a long story short, they got me a place to stay the night....at a bed and breakfast run by the sisters of Dell'Assunzione. My room was huge with five tiny twin beds. I felt I was sleeping with the ghosts of sisters past. In the morning I celebrated mass with the sisters and a young Assumption priest who is originally from the Congo; it was a wonderful experience. At that mass I remembered our homebound and sick
especially. Florence was beautiful and I especially enjoyed just walking the streets and appreciating the culture and the sights.
     Sunday I was up at 3 am and out to the airport by 4:30 to leave for Poland. The flight was turbulent, with people crying and coffee flying all over the place. Fortunately, we landed safely and on time in Krakow. I walked the city most of the day enjoying a traditional Polish meal for dinner. I managed to see many churches and even celebrated Benediction with a church filled with people. It was very moving. Again, the city of Krakow is breathtaking. Clean, filled with squares and gathering places and many wonderful shops and restaurants. Shortly I will be on my way with another priest from the North American college to see more of the city. We hope to visit Auschwitz, the Shrine of our Lady of Czstochowa, walk the path of Blessed Pope
John Paul II, learn the history of St. Faustina, and visit the local churches. Of course, I will do some shopping along the way. As I promised, I will take all of your intentions with me as I journey through this historic land.
     I understand that Immaculate Conception had many funerals last week. I remembered all these holy souls at my masses in Rome. I am also aware that the Amazing God Program is very successful and prayerful and educational. I also hear that the annual Wednesday Lenten Lunch is once again a great success as is the Knights of Columbus Friday Fish Fry! You don't need me to come home! You are doing great on your own with the guidance of our great staff!!!
             Till next time, be well, do good deeds and say your prayers. I will continue to pray for you here in Europe.
                      God bless!
                                 Fr. Jerry
 

 

 

From a weekend in Milan and Switzerland

A Letter from Rome - February 15, 2012

     Greetings to all of you from Vatican City, Rome. I am already beginning week three in Rome and during this time I have walked many miles and seen many beautiful things. Much to my surprise, the weather has been cold and more snow has fallen here than in Glenville, NY! Weather predictions for next week promise warmer weather.

     We are 28 priests from the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Australia gathered here on Sabbatical. The Sabbatical officially began with mass next to the crypt of St. Peter at the Vatican. As we passed the crypt of the Apostle Peter, we all paused and prayed the Creed. That was a very powerful moment as we were all standing as ministers of the church formed by Peter for which he gave his life. At our first mass, I remembered all of your intentions as I promised. Last Wednesday we all attended Formal Vespers at the Vatican with Pope Benedict XVI and about six thousand other pilgrims! I did get to see the Holy Father close up as he made his way down the aisle. The pilgrims cheered him and yelled his name as he waved to them along the way.

     Normally our day begins here at the college with a concelebrated mass. (I’m told there was a picture of our chapel it in the Feb. 5 bulletin - also see below) Classes consist of lectures on the Roman Missal, Preaching with the Scriptures, Discipleship and more. We had a private tour of the Vatican Museum and the exterior Vatican architecture. Fascinating and moving is all I can say. It’s like living in a history book.

     Today six of us here on Sabbatical went to the English Seminary for mass. It was another wonderful experience and another wonderful historic church. The remains of St. Thomas of Canterbury, along with young seminarian martyrs, are resting under the altar. From there we walked to the historic area of Trastevere, where, along the way, we saw the Church of St. Brigit, St. Bartholomew and the Basilica of Santa Maria. We returned to Santa Maria in Trastevere for sung Evening Vespers in the early evening. It was beautiful and very prayerful. Again, as I promised, I brought all of your intentions before the Lord and his Blessed Mother to the Basilica of Santa Maria.

     That’s the news from Rome. I think of all of you so often and pray that you are well.

           Till next time, be well, say your prayers and do good deeds!

 Fr. Jerry

Chapel in Casa O'Toole

While studying in Rome, Fr. Jerry will be staying at Casa O'Toole, the residence for priests attending the Pontifical North American College.  Below is a picture of the Chapel in Casa O'Toole that Fr. Jerry sent us this week.