On My First Year as Pastor

My Dear OLQM Family,

This week marks my twentieth anniversary with this parish. Wow. How time flies!

I first arrived at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in 2004 as a parochial vicar to assist Msgr. Joseph Funaro. In 2013, I became parish administrator, working alongside Bishop Paul Sanchez in the day-to-day operations of the parish. Last year, I was honored to be named your pastor. Three roles, and thankfully, all without having to move!

As I complete my first year as pastor, I want to outline and share with you a few plans that we have for various parish programs.

The evangelization of prospective converts remains an important agenda item. The program previously known as the Rite of Christian Initiation (RCIA) is now renamed the Order of Christian Initiation (OCIA). In consultation with Veronica McCarthy, our director, we are committed to guiding inquirers, the unbaptized, and the baptized but not catechized into full communion with the Church. Our team of catechists works with these individuals to learn, pray, and support each other through the various stages of their entrance into the Church. The time from inquiry to full entrance typically takes place over two years.

In the realm of evangelization, RCIA will now be Order of Christian Initiation for Adults (OCIA).

Also in the realm of evangelization, we are enhancing our Religious Education program starting in September. In consultation with Deacon Thomas Jorge, the director, we will introduce a two-year program for First Holy Communion and for Confirmation classes. The first year will be the pre-sacrament class; the second year will be the sacrament class. This new structure will give the young learners more time to fully absorb the class teachings, develop their spiritual habits, and gain a better grasp of the faith, all in preparation for receiving the Sacraments.

We have begun to more actively engage young adults in the parish, particularly those aged 20 to 40, by encouraging their involvement in the Diocesan Young Catholic Professionals program. Fr. Henry Torres gave a presentation here this past April and was pleased with the response that he received during his visit. Since then, we have been recruiting interested members for this program.

Learn about Brooklyn Afire for young Catholic Professionals.

The preservation of the parish facilities remains a critical endeavor and long-term project. You have taken ownership of this effort by sharing your treasure so that we can proceed with necessary repairs and improvements. The list of accomplishments is long, as are the items still needing attention. This past year, we completed the roof repair on the rectory. This month, we began work on the sidewalk along Queens Boulevard. Our summer projects also include addressing the small roofs at the front of the Church on Ascan Avenue.

The preservation of the parish facilities remains a critical endeavor and long-term project.

Your support of requests from outside the parish is always commendable. From providing food and baby supplies for parishes assisting migrants to contributing to the St. Vincent de Paul clothing drives, the food drives at Thanksgiving, and the Christmas Toy Drive, your generosity toward those less fortunate is deeply appreciated. Thank you.

Lastly, I extend my heartfelt thanks to Bishop Sanchez, our pastor emeritus, and to Fr. Antonin, the members of the parish staff, the Catholic Academy, and the many volunteers who step up to serve the parish in many ways to make this a vibrant parish. And I thank you, our parish family, who come regularly to share your faith and to be refreshed at the table of the Lord with his love and grace.

God Bless!