Saint A`s

by user









Saint A`s
Bulletin # 511245
Number of pages sent: 21 (including this cover sheet)
Date of publication: June 20 or 27, 2004
John Fruner 718.236.0124 Ext. 44
This is our Feast Newsletter.
We are requesting 1,500 copies.
Either June 20th or June 27th is our intended date to distribute the newsletter.
Thank you.
Saint A’s News
of Saint Athanasius Roman Catholic Church
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn
Volume 2 Issue 1
St. Athanasius Roman Catholic Church
2154 61st Stret
Brooklyn, New York 11203
Phone: 718.236.0124
E-mail: [email protected]
Parish Web Site:
St. A’s Mission Statement
We, the Parish of St. Athanasius, are a
faith-filled worshiping Roman Catholic
community, where Jesus Christ is recognized as Lord and Savior in our journey and made present through our joyful celebration of the sacraments, our
proclamation and living of the gospel,
and our loving outreach and service,
especially to those in most need. We
acknowledge the need for God’s grace
in our unfinished lives. We acknowledge
our incompleteness and pledge our faith
lives to work for the creation of a community where the equality of God’s
people that flows from Baptism is celebrated with hope and passion. We
pledge our commitment to the creation
of a community where seekers and
questioners are welcomed, where the
forgotten and marginalized are recognized, where God’s people are refreshed, reconciled and renewed.
St. Athanasius School
6120 Bay Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11204
St. Athanasius Religious Education
6120 Bay Parkway
Brooklyn, New York 11204
June 2004/Feast Issue
My dear Parishioners,
We have heard “To Jesus
through Mary” but I bet many of us never
heard “Through Anthony to Jesus.”
These are the words of Pope Pius XI in
1930 on the occasion of the seven-hundredth anniversary of Saint Anthony’s
death. This extraordinary saint who remains a great master of spiritual life, a
living example of virtue and holiness, is a powerful intercessor
before God.
Still today Saint Anthony continues to be that which he
was during his life: a light and a guide for alls. To this day he continues to preach the message of salvation: serving others as we
foster a personal relationship with God.
Those who have visited the Basilica in Padua where Saint
Anthony’s tomb is located, can testify to the fact that, for many,
Saint Anthony is truly an invitation to return to the Lord, to convert,
and to begin a new life. Throughout the year, many pilgrims come
to pray at the tomb of Saint Anthony. They entrust him with their
suffering, their worries, their hopes, and when they leave, they
take with them great consolation.
Our prayer to Saint Anthony is simple and direct, yet, it is
without a doubt a path to draw closer to God that is within
everyone’s grasp.
Today as we dedicate our new shrine to St. Anthony, we
hope to communicate in a simple and direct way that Saint Anthony leads us to God.
Saint Anthony is probably most famous throughout the
world as the saint who finds lost objects, from everyday items to
important documents, to faith itself. Today, let us invoke Saint
Anthony’s aid in the search for what has been lost in our lives as
we search to find peace:
Glorious Saint Anthony, for centuries you have exercised
the God-given power to find what was lost. Help me to recover
God’s grace. Let me find whatever I have lost, showing me the
presence of God’s goodness. Amen.
Remember, your friend Saint Anthony
will listen to what is in your heart.
Saint Anthony, pray for us!
Msgr. David L. Cassato
Fr. Richard Long...A Renaissance Man
St. A’s News Staff
John S. Fruner
Pastoral Associate
Associate Editors
Paula Lobello-Raiola
Anna Cali
Contributing Editors
Fr. Richard Long
Parochial Vicar
Elaine Sarcona
Joanne Bruccoleri
Bensonhurst Cluster Lay Minister
Lay Ecclesial Minister Candidate
Joseph Barbieri
Lay Ecclesial Minister
Contributing Writers
Msgr. David Cassato
Fr. Bryan Patterson
Parochial Vicar
Amalia Anzalone
Sal Cali
Patricia Deasy
Donna Karim
Jessica Karim
Michael Panicali
Anna Maria Romamo
Jacqueline Santulli
Gina Sarcona
Layout & Design
Rose Ann Pollani
SoHo Publishing
St. A’s News is a publication of St. Athanasius
Roman Catholic Church. Any letters or articles submitted become property of ST. A’s NEWS. All letters must be signed by the55
writer. We reserve the right to edit and/or
shorten any letter or article. All inquires or
letters should be addressed to:
Attn: Editor
2154 61st Street
Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204
by Patricia Deasey
Anyone who has ever
been to our parish knows the
laughter of Fr. Richard Long.
Many times, as I sit in the church
waiting for Mass to begin, I hear
the laughter coming from the
sacristy and I know that Fr. Long
will be the celebrant for that
On a recent Sunday afternoon, I sat down with a more
somber Fr. Long. He shared many things about himself that I had
not known before. He was a navy brat who was born in New York
City on the upper West side. He attended schools in New York,
California and Europe. He holds an MBA from New York University, and MA from Columbia University, Master of Divinity from
The Seminary of the Immaculate Coneption, in Huntington Long
Island. He was a banker for eight years working in Human Resources and International Development before entering the priesthood.
Fr. Long was ordained in 1990 and was assigned to Little
Flower parish in Flatbush. After that he was assigned to St.
Brendan’s Parish. He lived there for five years. During this time,
a very close friend of his became very ill and Fr. Long was there to
help out with the care giving. He also had two elderly aunts who
required much of his care giving skills.
He joined us here at St. A’s in 1999. When I asked him
what he liked most about life here, he said “I love the vitality of the
parishioners and the unpredictability of life here.” He expressed a
wish to see unity here between the different language groups. Fr.
said that since he arrived here there has been great strides made
in that area but he would like to see even more in the future.
When I don’t see Fr. for a few weeks I always tease him
about lying on the couch and eating bonbons. The fact is that just
listening to what he does makes me tired. He is in charge of the
Altar Servers, Eucharistic Ministers, Rosary Society, Liturgy Committee, In-home Pre-Cana, and Baptismal Classes. This is in addition to saying masses, sick calls and adult education at the
Nazareth Institute. He is also involved in CCD and RCIA and
teaches weekly to grades 4, 5 and 6. He has been teaching at St.
John’s University for a few years and this past year taught at St.
Francis College in Brooklyn Heights.
I asked Fr. about the priest scandals in the Church, his
answer was “People at St. A’s have been loving, kind and supportive to all of the priests here in this parish.”
When I asked Fr. Long what he enjoyed doing in his free
time (with all he does, I can’t imagine when that could be) he told
me that he enjoys music, gardening, coaching soccer, swimming,
working out, opera, ballet, theatre, tennis and horseback riding.
Fr. also speaks French and Spanish.
Continued on next page
Fr. Long is not a stranger to grief. A few years ago he lost both his mother and father and his aunts. He
was also diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago. He received chemotherapy and radiation and is doing fine
today. These were very difficult times for Father.
Fr. Long is very involved with the in-home pre-cana. When I asked him to explain to me what it was, he
said that the in-home pre-can was started in this parish about four years ago. Msgr. Ferrarase and Fr. John
O’Connor were instrumental in initiating it in our parish. He cannot talk enough about the three wonderful
married couples that he works with on this. He said that he is present in the rectory at the first meeting. He
doesn’t join them again until their last meeting. Then during the next four weeks they meet at different homes
and discuss different things that may occur during married life. He is then present at the last meeting where
Mass and the sacrament of Reconciliation are celebrated and then they have a little party. Fr. said that “Many
couples do not attend church and are hungering for knowledge.” He said the down side of this ministry is that
you form friendships with these couples and then they move away. He said that on many occasions he has
heard from priests that these young people that have relocated to Staten Island and New Jersey call to tell him
what wonderful parishioners these young people have become. Pre-cana is offered twice a year, once in the
Spring and once in the Fall.
Fr. Long ends our time together with a quote from his favorite author, T. S. Eliot: “As Christians we move
from one dimension to the next and in that moving we learn with hope for the future.” Whether it be sickness,
joy or love, St. A’s taught me to love, hope and be blessed, says Fr. Long. I think we are very blessed to have Fr.
Long at St. A’s.
Farewell to Father Bryan
By: Gina Sarcona
Father Bryan Patterson wasn’t always Catholic. He was baptized a
Lutheran at 17, but before that he had no official religious affiliation. He
stayed a Lutheran for 10 years and then after going on a Lutheran retreat to
St. Mary’s Convent, he was introduced to the writings of St. John the Cross
and St. Theresa of Avila. A little later one, while working for a Japanese
company, he started to go to a Carmelite church during his lunch time. Eventually he left his job and went to the Island of Saint Lucia. There he became
Roman Catholic.
Father Bryan Patterson has been at St. Athanasius Parish for 3 years.
He likes the people, the school, the beautiful church, and is especially fond
of Monsignor Cassato. He speaks Italian, Spanish and English fluently. He has said Italian masses, Spanish masses, and, of course, English masses. He is currently trying to learn Chinese and has a collection of
dictionaries in a variety of languages in his office.
Father Bryan also comes every Thursday at 12:30 to talk to the 7th graders about life and God It is
my opinion that the way he explains things are very appealing to us because he does it with humor.
Unfortunately, Father Bryan will be leaving this summer to go to Rome to continue his theological
studies and work for a doctorate. When he was last studying in Rome, the program was for 5 years. The
first 3 years is for the S.T.B. degree, a Bachelor’s degree in Sacred Theology. Here in the United States
though, the S.T.B. is the Master of Divinity, (M.Div) which priests earn before ordination. The S.T.B.
requires an academic Bachelor’s degree. The next 2 years is designed for the Licentiate in Sacred
Theology, S.T.L., which here in the United States is the Master’s degree after the Master of Divinity. (Th.M.,
or M.Th.) The director wanted to change the S.T.L. program to a 3 year program, but Bishop Daily needed
Father Bryan to return to the Brooklyn Diocese to minister here at St. A’s. Father Bryan’s credits in the
S.T.L. program are only available for 5 years after he left and if he doesn’t go back now he will have to
repeat classes in this degree program. When Father Bryan goes to Rome he will be there for 2 years
because he needs to brush up on his Greek and Hebrew. His area of concentration is Scripture.
Father Bryan, we will all miss your preaching and enthusiasm. Thank you for everything. You have
changed our lives forever!
By The Cookbook Committee
It was one of those ideas that seemed so great at the time. You know how that goes, “Oh, what a great
idea, let’s do a cookbook.” “How difficult could it be?” “We’ll just collect some recipes and type them.” “Piece of
cake.” Having been on the committee, let me tell you how very wrong we were. Having just come from the post
office and mailed off the cookbook to the printer, I thought I would share some of what went on with all of you.
First, we had to get people that would be willing to type, if we received any recipes. Of course at that time,
we had no idea what was involved, so it wasn’t difficult to get four people to do the typing. Then we had to sell
Msgr. on the idea. Now, Msgr. loves fund raising, and he even likes projects but Msgr. doesn’t much care for
spending money. If he was the mayor of NY we would have all the money we needed. Anyway, we got him to go
along with the idea and even sound a little happy about it. We asked for recipes, they came in maybe two a week,
for a long time. We had decided we would get 100 before we started typing. We got 100, started typing, and then
they started to come in at 25 a day. We couldn’t get ahead of them. We were going crazy. Calling each other on
the phone, “Where should I put clam dip?” What category does quiche go under? Months of being hunched over
the keyboard, typing recipes. Making phone calls for left out ingredients or oven temperatures. Comparing
recipes for cheese cakes and seeing if any of the 16 recipes received were the same. Always typing, typing,
typing. Finally, 350 typed recipes….send it to print. Not yet, we have mounds of papers to fill out in order to send
it to the printer. Finally, all done…..we can relax now.
So, our Faith and Family Cookbook will be for sale in the Fall. Please look for it. It has many wonderful recipes. We have recipes from Fr. Jaime, Msgr. Cassato’s favorite recipe and many others. When you see the
book, remember all the work that went into it………..and the LOVE!!!!!!!!!!
by Michael Panicali
St. A’s parishioner Annette Buonpane found herself in a crowd of what some estimates say was tens of thousands of
people, braving the temperatures of an unseasonably warm Sunday in May.
Some might call it crazy, but for Annette, participating in this year’s AIDS Walk in Central Park was how she could put her
faith in action for a cause that has become close to her heart.
Anette says it is “mind-boggling how widespread” the AIDS epidemic has become. Moved by what she has learned about
the effects the disease has had on certain parts of the world, from as close as the borders of New York City, to as far away as
southern Africa, she decided she needed to take some action to raise money to provide medication to countless people who
simply do not have access to any, for research, and for relief to children who have lost parents and whose lives have been
dramatically altered by the disease.
With determination to help however she could, Annette asked Monsignor Cassato to publicize her attempts to raise money
and her need for sponsors. By walking on May 16th, Annette raised approximately $250, with help from six sponsors.
While the walk was at times hectic and Annette found it difficult to navigate through the massive crowds, she definitely
describes it as an exciting, and most importantly, very worthwhile, endeavor.
“Most people really don’t know how bad it is and what the predictions are,” Annette explains, after recently seeing an
episode on Oprah which took viewers to the frontlines of one of the worst AIDS crises in the world, and after obtaining
information from AIDS.com.
“It is an every day occurrence that people sit down with their kids and tell them that they are going to have to leave them
shortly,” she says. “There are thousands of orphans right here in New York City.”
The walk began at about 9:00 Sunday morning and was launched by “WICKED” actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth’s
rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” It ended some three hours later and according to Annette was populated with young
people under age thirty, which was a very positive sign.
Annette, who at one time sang in the St. Athanasius choir, had plenty of practice going into the walk – on average she walks
three times a week from her home close to the church, all the way past the Verrazzano Bridge, via the bike path hugging the
shoreline. Some days she even goes to the 69th Street pier. Her son Rocco had the chance to walk with her, and the music
enthusiast was delighted to hear Chenoweth perform at the opening ceremony.
While everyone cannot participate to the extent that Anette and Rocco did, Annette encourages parishioners to pray and to
make donations to organizations like God’s Love We Deliver, which provides meals and clothing to people living with AIDS
and HIV.
Annette’s actions and the $250 she raised clearly provide an illustration that we can make a difference, one step at a time.
St. A’s Church is rededicated as part of its 90th Anniversary Faith and Family Celebration
John Stephen Fruner, Pastoral Associate
“The rite for the dedication of a church and an altar is rightly considered to be
among the most solemn of liturgical services. A church is the place where the
Christian community is gathered to hear the Word of God, to offer intercession and to praise God, and above all to celebrate the sacraments, and it is a
place where the Eucharist is kept. Thus the church stands as a special kind
of image of Christ.”
From the revised order of The Dedication of a Church and Altar, May 29,
1977, Solemnity of Pentecost.
May this day stand as a new beginning! Rededicating our
church, confirming adults, passing on The Elijah Cup, singing in Italian, Spanish, Latin and … of course, English- all on Memorial Day
Weekend when the rest of the world is barbequing, picnicking or lounging on the beach. Here in Bensonhurst, we burned incense, poured oil on our new altar, reverently placed
relics that were once in our High Altar, Blessed Mother Altar, St. Joseph Altar and portable “temporary” altar
placed in the sanctuary on the First Sunday in Lent of 1966 (which stayed there until January 2, 2004) while
packing the church on the Solemnity of Pentecost, the birthday of the Christian church. May this day stand
as a new beginning!
What a surprise when Bishop DiMarzio called and asked Msgr. Cassato if he could celebrate our
11:30a.m. Mass for Pentecost. Nikki Milo our DRE didn’t know what to say, Steven LaPlante, our Director of
Music, sighed most likely thinking, “get trilingual music together in a week?” while Fr. Long got on the phone
to order some flowers, and choose more altar servers. I can guarantee no one on the staff was saying: May
this day stand as a new beginning!
In preparing for this rite, I kept picking up on the underlying message of this celebration: Christ is
always the center of our lives and our prayers. Christ is the center of who we are and all we do. When
one enters our church, he or she sees this illustrated as we have chosen to keep the Crucifix and Tabernacle
in the center of the sanctuary. Christ is the center of our lives and our prayers.
What we saw during the celebration is the similarity between the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
(R.C.I.A.) and our rededication ceremonies. We began with an allusion to our own Baptism in the Sprinkling
Rite. This rite began at the church doors and stopped at our font. If Christ is the center of our lives and our
prayers, Christ is also our new beginning. In Baptism we entered the church. We journeyed towards the
altar to share the Eucharist and from the Eucharist we celebrate the other sacraments. We are the ones who
have become holy through the use of this church. We called on all holy people and our models as we
sang The Litany of the Saints. We are part of a larger church, not just St. A’s but (now those of us who are old
enough can remember this term) the Church Triumphant- the saints in heaven- the Communion of Saints so
dear to us as Roman Catholics and especially to those of us who have Latin blood! As Steven our Music
Director chanted the ancient Litany, I thought of all who preceded us, who are rejoicing at the beauty of this
renewed church building and the way it is being used today.
Placing the relics that have been here in our church for years, solemnly putting them inside our altar
reminded me of Revelation 6:9 “When the Lamb broke open the seal, I saw under the altar the spirits of those
who had been martyred because of the witness they bore to the Word of God!” What a witness St. A’s is in this
changing neighborhood! May this day stand as a new beginning for all the people of Bensonhurst!
After all was done, after the books were finally put away, the vessels purified, I sat in the empty church,
still so fragrant with chrism and incense and thought: What an appropriate day to rededicate our church!
Bishop DiMarzio uniting everybody around this new marble altar, asking the Holy Spirit to come down upon this
holy table, this church and our newly confirmed- Erica, Lindsay, Jamie, Michelle, Laura and Salvatore- made
this church truly a living place of Christ’s presence. Christ is truly the center of our lives and our prayers.
Renovated and renewed; may this day stand as a new beginning! Amen!
In December, Donald Clark spoke to us about beginning a new ministry here at St. A’s, the Catholic Social Justice
Ministry. As a result of his article in our December issue, Jacqueline Santulli collected signatures and composed a letter that
was sent to Councilman Felder, informing him of the Catholic Community’s concerns. Here is the letter that was sent:
Dear Councilman Felder,
As long time residents of this area, we have seen many changes, some good and some bad. We have seen
neighbors come and go and although it has affected the balance of our neighborhood, we have stayed silent until now. It is
with mixed emotions that we address this letter to you. As a councilman, you are an elected official who must listen to the
voices of all the people you serve. We’re hoping that you will read this letter and realize that there are many hard working
voting tax payers living in this area. We do encourage nor do we ever condone any behavior that would cause harm to anyone
regardless of his or her beliefs. We are upset that our new neighbors who have just moved here are trying to impose their
rules and way of life on us.
The St. Athanasius Baseball field has been a place for the youth of this community to gather and to play baseball. It
has been in existence for over 50 years. Suddenly it has become the object of discussions because people do not like either
the noise or the lights. The answer is we provide is: Why buy a home near a ball field if you do not like the sound of children
playing ball?
Church bells ringing all around Brooklyn, which is called the borough of churches, call people to pray throughout their
day, in the same way that other religious sounds call people to prayer and prepare for the beginning of weekend prayer. The
melodies are beautiful and people of all faiths know that a House of Worship is near. All of a sudden, new neighbors are
opposing the sound of our Church bells. We have not complained about the horn that announces the start of the Sabbath nor
the collection of garbage on Palm Sunday, at an additional expense to the city, which proclaims itself in financial constraints.
While it is the custom of the Jewish faith tradition to begin the Sabbath with this horn, announcing sunset, we respect the
tradition. The key word here is respect. We give it to others and we expect it in return, which we are not getting. In order
for a community to grow and prosper, all residents must live and work side by side in harmony. We must teach our children
that in spit of our differences, we are all the same and all children of God.
Trying to impose the will of one religious tradition, denying the rights of another, does not make for good community
relations. We do not feel that we are over reacting because we have seen what is taking place in our neighborhood and in
other surrounding areas. The remaining Christian residents living in these areas are not even given a thought politically. We
would like you to know that we will stand together like never before so that our rights as Christians are not taken lightly. As
voters, we will be heard!
The attached list illustrates just a small portion of the Saint Athanasius Church Community. We will continue to make
our voices heard to you and all in elected office.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We are in City Council District 44 Brooklyn. City Councilman Simcha Felder is presently elected to serve
the entire district. If you want to see specific demographics about our area,
visit http://www.gothamgazette.com/searchlight2001/dist44a.html
To contact Councilman Simcha Felder, please write, call and email him at:
4424 16th Avenue, Brooklyn New York 11204; 718.853.2704 or 212.788.7357.
Email can be sent: [email protected]
It is necessary that you include your name, address and phone number in order to receive a reply.
This e-mail was received after our annual Parish Retreat at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, Long Island. Msgr. wanted to share it with the
Dear Msgr. Cassato,
I want to take a minute to express my feelings about the week end Retreat we just were on. It was a true
Christian community in action. Every one was so full of love, true Christian love. All you heard was “Let me
do it for you. I’m getting up can I get you any thing?” Fr. Ted, Rose Lamicella, Joe Barbieri and John
brought a lot to the weekend. Their Christian love comes out in every thing they do and you Msgr. set the
pace. Thank You and may God Bless You all!
Your Brother in Christ,
Bill Holliday
By Anna Maria Romano
Confirmation is celebrated as a parish with children of Saint Athanasius School along with
other children in the Religious Education Program from our parish. There were 65 candidates this year.
They were confirmed on May 2, 2004 by Bishop Edwin Broderick, D.D.
Confirmation completes Christian initiation and gives the candidates the opportunity to commit
themselves as Christians in the world. Since they were baptized as children, their parents and godparents made the decision for them to baptize and so Confirmation gives them the opportunity to affirm
their baptism.
This is how the process begins here at St. A’s: In the month of January prior to their confirmation,
the candidates begin preparing to receive their sacrament by doing some Christian service. They decide whether they
choose a new name or be confirmed with their baptismal name. Candidates also attend a one-day retreat from 9am to
2pm at Saint Francis Friary in Staten Island. One of the friars and their staff leads the retreat. Rehearsals are conducted under the direction of Mrs. Milo our Director of Religious Education and Mr. Marino, our parish school’s 7th grade
teacher. During the Mass, students led the Intercessions. The music was led by our Parish Choir under the direction of
Mr. Steven LaPlante our Choir Master. We would like congratulate them all!
Kristen Acciarito, Thomas Agostino, Gina Auricchio, Michael Bluemke, Jacqueline Biagini,
Michael Bulla, Alyssa Bonsignore, George Bullock, Gabriella Caruso, Antonio Caleca, Kristina Castaldo,
Richard Clapso, Annabella Cristino, Alexander Cona, Mayra Cuate, Richard Cruz , Caitlin Cunningham,
Michael Csmereka, Melissa Daif, Nicola Diomede, Tiffany De Russo, Nicholas Giampalo, Alexandra De Simone,
Peter Giamporcaro, Angela Fonterosa, Matthew Gradilone, Veronica Franza, Salvatore Leone, Victoria Geritano,
Marc Lijoi, Megan Golembiewski, Michael Lobifaro, Kastalia Granizo, Joseph LoMonaco, Stefania Guardavaccaro,
Ivan Lucero, Tiffany Kushner, Salvatore Mari, Francesca Livreri, Anthony Meijia, Caitlin Long, Maximo Melo,
Stephanie Rose Longo, Michael Monaco, Angel Mak, Eric Papaleo, Kristen Napolitano, Marco Restuccia, Tara
Nunnari, Andrew Sabatelle, Stephanie Ossorio, Steven Salas, Lucy Jo Paquette, Carl Sanon, Francesca
Regalbuto, Joseph Santermo, Beata Samosiuk, Christian Ray Santiago,Gina Sarcona, Anthony Scivoli, Liko
Sherman, Kennth Smith Jr., Alisa Marie Sorice, Michael Wereszczynski, Stephen Woskoska.
By Anna Maria Romano
An additional effect of the revisions of Vatican ll includes preparing teens and adults
for confirmation in an adapted version of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.)
process. Nikki Milo,our DRE, also ministers with Joanne Jensen and Rosemary Principe,
one of our Lay Ecclesial Minister Candidates. It has been the custom in the Brooklyn Diocese to celebrate confirmation on Pentecost Sunday, administered by the pastor. This year,
Bishop DiMarzio surprised us and requested to come to celebrate Mass at St. A’s in order to get a sense of parish life
in Brooklyn and Queens. Since Bishop DiMarzio was scheduled to rededicate our newly renovated church in April,
Msgr. Cassato suggested he also celebrate this rite on the same Sunday.
Next year, in order to give our older candidates a sense of the wider church, Bishop DiMarzio is beginning
adult confirmation celebrations in our cathedral in the spring of 2005. The parish will prepare its adults and then
gather them around the bishop to celebrate confirmation. Nikki and John, our Pastoral Associate, are suggesting
that our Bensonhurst Cluster prepare all our teen and adult confirmation candidates at the same time, pooling all
the resources of the parishes of St. Finbars, St. Dominic’s, Sts. Simon and Jude, St. Mary, Mother of Jesus,
Regina Pacis and St. Francis Cabrini. More on those developments in our Christmas issue as the plans are still
“on the drawing board,” according to both Nikki and John. Erica Dzedovich, Lindsay Errigo, Jamie Fregara,
Michelle Riddle, Laura Somma and Salvatore Tramontana celebrated Confirmation and although they had
anticipated being confirmed by their very own Pastor, “Msgr. Dave,” they were also delighted to be confirmed by
the Shepherd of their Diocese.
During the second year of Religious Education children are prepared for their First Confession and Holy Communion under the direction of Mrs. Milo our Director of Religious Education. Since Vatican II, parishes have hired Directors of Religious Education commonly called DREs. Mrs. Milo laughs because many DREs chuckle and say DRE really
stands for “directly responsible for everything!” The catechists who prepared the children for First Confession and Holy
Communion are Lisa Donlon, Maria Lobifaro, Marie Woodward and Jessica Mari.
Students begin their religious formation by receiving First Confession now called Reconciliation
which takes place in February and usually during Lent. They then proceed to prepare for their First Holy
Communion by having a retreat with students in our parish school. During this time, they make their own
communion banner, watch a movie about communion, learn their songs, and reenact the Last Supper.
After this is a time to practice in church three days a week for almost three weeks. Due to the amount of
children we celebrated four communion masses dividing the children up according to their class. W e
would like to congratulate them all and their families. Here are all our First Communion Children:
Anjelica Acuna, Ashley Grullon, Matthew Almonte, Christopher Grullon, Nicolette Amato,
Jessica Kocan, Raffaele Ameno, David Joseph Koppelman, Tiffany Andron, Andrea Lal,
Anthony Anzalone, Anthony LiBassi, Giuseppe Argento Jr., Alexa Mandaro, Michelle Azzarelli,
Julia Martucci, Alexa Battaglia, Nicole Merlo, Jessica Bliluios, Giovanni Messina, Marcin Boryszewski,
Stephanie Montalti, Christopher Cali, Christian Ortega, Joseph Salvatore Caltabiano, Michael Perretti,
Daisy Careres, Ryann Prezioso, Dawn Marie Casal, Colette Prideaux, Nicholas Cona,
Jeanna Polanco, Robert E. Cosme, Teresa Pratti, Rosamaria Crastullo, George Raiola, Irene Cuccaro,
Leeanna Rivas, Amanda Delgado, Kayla Russell, Jessica Delicati, Robert Salem, Dylan Diaz,
Maria Scalici, Nathalie Diaz, Nicky Scalici, Alyssa DiLollo, Mary Seddo, Andrew Elnomany,
Zhon Sherman, Sabrina Ann Fasano, Michal Skubal, John Ferraro, Ivette Solis, Lorraine Ann Fleischer,
Salvatore Tranchina, Eva Luz Fontanez, Joseph Valentin, Nicholas Galasino, William L. Vargas,
Michael Girgenti, Lesly Ann Velazquez.
By Anna Maria Romano
I was fortunate to really get to know Mrs. Nicolette Milo, Director of Religious Education (DRE) here at Saint Athanasius She is a very busy woman.
Nikki, as we call her, is a mother of three children and a grandmother of one
granddaughter. She was happily married to Luigi Milo for 22 wonderful years
until his passing in 1995. She will be marking her 10th year anniversary here at
the Religious Education Office in September 2004.
Let us see how she got to this point. Italian born; she attended Visitation Academy Elementary School. From there she went to New Utrecht High School. She
then decided to become a catechist, therefore, she completed her Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Catechist certification under the supervision of Ms.
Suezanna O‘Connor at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Nikki became a catechist there
and taught sacramental preparation classes. Her other duties consisted of assisting Ms. O’Connor in her
office and being the coordinator of the sacramental classes. Mrs. Milo was there for about 15 years. She then
came to St. A’s. Here she started as an assistant to our then DRE Mrs. Marilyn Trabulsi. Nikki became the
DRE in 1999 after Mrs. Trabulsi retired. As the DRE her duties are nameless, but you would never think that
because she is very good at what she does, always helpful, cordial, and pleasant to everyone who comes in
or works with her. Next time you see her, stop to say hello, even if for only a minute, as I am sure Nikki is
running to her next meeting, catechist gathering or Bensonhurst Cluster DRE planning sessions.
This is the day which the Lord has made; we will
rejoice and be glad in it. - Psalms 118:24
April 25, 2004...this was certainly a day to rejoice! Miss Anna
Maria Lopardo’s second grade class received their First Holy Communion at the 10AM Mass; we were blessed to share in the joy that morning
where Monsignor David Cassato lead us through this Holy Sacrament
in his wonderful, special way making us feel proud to belong to Saint
Athanasius Parish.
Our Leader of Song, John Fruner, along with Doug Marinelli
and Mark Fredericks, brought the gift of music for everyone to enjoy.
The children looked magnificent; the presence of God’s love beaming
from each beautiful face. They were perfect, heart-warming, guided by
the compassion and dedication of Miss Anna Maria Lopardo and Mrs.
Nickie Anastasio, whom the children clearly adore. Our principal, Mrs.
Lorraine Garone-Tesoro shined with pride, calming some with whispers of confidence as they approached the altar.
We appreciate in a special way all of you who help make our children better people every day. Congratulations to the
Communion Class of 2004 and may God’s love be ever present in your life and in your hearts; Anjelica Acuna,
Michelle Azzarelli, Marcin Boryszewski, Christopher Cali, Dawn Marie Casal, Irene Cuccaro, Jessica Delicati,
Amanda Delgado, Dylan Diaz, Andrew Elnomany, Sabrina Fasano, Alexandra Gorchkova, Anthony LiBassi, Alexa
Mandaro, Julia Martocci, Nicole Marie Merlo, Giovanni Messina, Michael Perretti, Colette Prideaux, George Raiola,
Kayla Russell, Robert Salem and Michael Skubal.
by Paula Lobello - Raiola
Parish May Crowning
On May 17, 2004 Our parish had the May crowning. The weather outside was cold and misty We were sure that
it was going to rain. But, as the children from Saint A’s arrived, some in their First Communion outfits and others in their
Confirmation robes, The feeling of joy was upon us. Parishioners and people from the neighborhood began coming
together in the schoolyard as some of the children handed out candles. This gathering consisted of the Rosarians ,
members of GISA and many from the Spanish community .The children were all excited and practicing and getting ready
to recite the Hail Mary. Father Long huddled with the children as they prayed together. Before long the schoolyard was
filled with people gathered around a beautiful statue of the Blessed Mother. We were all there to pay tribute to Mary.
Monsignor Cassato lead the group with the Rosary .We gathered to reflect upon the luminous mysteries of our faith. The
Rosarians started the first decade which then continued with members of GISA and the Spanish community reciting the
second and third. The children from the parish that received First Holy Communion and Confirmation also did a wonderful
job of leading us into the fourth and fifth decade. Once the Rosary was completed, our candles were lit . The statue was
raised and carried as everyone followed in a procession to the church. Everyone sang Ave Maria as we entered. The
church was absolutely beautiful and very bright and luminous. It was truly a celebration.. Everyone was singing and in
great spirits as we paid homage to our Blessed Mother .We continued with the Exposition and the Benediction of the
Blessed Sacrament. As the Blessed Sacrament was taken out of the tabernacle it was placed in the original Monstrance from the “little church”. Mosignor
Cassato spoke about his life in Canarsie and how all the classrooms had a
May altar and a statue of Mary. He emphasized how important it is to pray
together with our families and that we should pray to Mary for peace, the
peace that should begin in our own homes. He stressed how we should
always turn to Mary for motherly love as he does. The celebration concluded
with everyone singing Immaculate Mary as they held up the candles. It was
such a wonderful occasion that should not be missed next year. VIVA MARIA.
Gentle mother, peaceful dove, teach us wisdom, teach us love.
We would like to thank Joe Barbieri for his contribution in the refurbishing
of the beautiful Monstrance.
by Anna Cali
Quest’omelia e’ stata predicata dal nostro Diacono Dante Colandrea ai fedeli Italiani della nostra Parrocchia di Sant’Atanasio
durante la Messa Italiana delle 11.30 trasmessa per Radio Maria.
Oggi, 23 Maggio, 2004 celebriamo la settima Domenica di Pasqua mentre in Italia si festeggia l’Ascensione del nostro
Signore Gesu’. Siamo lieti che tramite Radio Maria entriamo nelle case di molti fedeli italiani i quali per varie ragioni non possono
essere presenti con noi in chiesa. Ma noi preghiamo sempre per loro perche’ sono per noi e per la chiesa fonte di forza e di coraggio.
Io personalmente ho costatato da vicino i volti di queste persone ogni volta che portavo loro l’Eucarestia; dopo il saluto iniziale, che era
accompagnato sempre da un sorriso, notavo spesso la loro radio intonata su Radio Maria. Personalmente devo eloggiare questo
programma perche’ da’ modo a noi italiani di essere sempre uniti nelle preghiere ed essere presente, se anche solo nello spirito, a
queste celebrazioni domenicali.
Generalmente le mie omelie sono basate quasi sempre sul Vangelo, ma oggi lo Spirito mi ha spinto invece a riflettere sulla
prima lettura dal momento che parla non soltanto di uno dei primi martiri, ma anche uno dei primi diaconi. Sono molto orgoglioso di
essere diacono, ma devo confessarvi che ci sono alcuni momenti in cui mi domando se ne sia degno. Ma voi sapete che Dio oltre tutto
ha un buon senso umoristico, e cosi’ un giorno mi ha pescato fuori dall’acqua ed io ogni giorno cerco di servirLo con tutte le mie migliori
capacita’. Sono certo che condividerete con me che tra la morte di Stefano e quella di Gesu’ ci sono molte similiarita’. Gesu’ prima di
morire sulla croce disse: “padre nelle tue mani affido la mia vita”. Stefano invece disse: “Signore Gesu’, accogli il mio spirito”. Gesu’
prego’ al padre dicendo: “Padre perdona coloro perche’ non sanno quel che fanno”. Anche Stefano grido’: “Signore non tener conto del
loro peccato”.
Ci sono due temi che mi vengono in mente a riguardo del martirio di Stefano. Il primo e’ che egli non aveva paura di esprimere
la sua fede in Dio e per questa ragione ebbe il coraggio di affrontare la sua condanna e percio’ fu ucciso. Noi per nostro conto
possiamo dire: “bene io probabilmente non saro’ mai martorizzato”. Ma se guardiamo in giro e vediamo cio’ che sta succedendo in
questo mondo, non so se siamo esclusivanmente protetti. Ancora oggi c’e’ gente che muore per la loro fede. Ricordiamoci di cio’ che
sta succedendo in Iraq e altri vari paesi. Uomini e donne muoiono perche’ hanno fede nel nostro sistema di vita, nella nostra liberta’ e
nella giustizia per tutti.
L’altro motivo che dobbiamo anche considerare e chiederci e’: “cosa farei se mi trovassi nella situazione di Stefano?
Probabilmente non saremmo martorizzati a causa della nostra fede come e’ successo a Stefano, la ragione per cui fu ammazzato fu
che professo’ la propria fede apertamente contro gli Ebrei di allora. Ma egli lo fece perche’ credeva e aveva fiducia in Cristo Gesu’ ed
inoltre credeva fermamente che l’insegnamento di Gesu’ doveva essere vissuto da tutti.
Nel momento in cui Stefano veniva lapidato si trovava un’altro uomo che avevano ordinato l’esecuzione. Il suo nome era
Saulo e se leggete alcune righe ancora dagli Atti Degli Apostoli saprete che Saulo dopo la morte di Stefano lavoro’ totalmente per la
distruzione della chiesa e dei cristiani, andando per le case e arrestando uomini e donne facendoli chiudere in prigione. Vi immaginate
che questo stesso uomo, dopo la sua conversione, divenne il Paolo che tutti noi conosciamo come uno dei piu’ grandi discepoli di
Gesu? Questo mi fa pensare che qualsiasi sia una cattiva situazione, con Dio c’e’ sempre speranza. Oggi giorno sembra che il mondo
vada alla rovescia e che siamo ritornati ai tempi delle persecuzioni. Ringraziamo Iddio che viviamo in un paese dove possiamo ancora
manifestare la nostra fede senza correre il rischio di essere lapidati come e’ successo a Stefano. Possiamo ancora partecipare alla
Messa e praticare la nostra fede cristiana. Ma devo confessarvi che non so’ se oggi e’ prudente in altre parte del mondo dire che siamo
americani, anche se molti di voi siete rimasti con la cittadinanza italiana senza correre il rischio di essere molestati. Noi viviamo in una
societa’ democratica e insistiamo che ogni essere umano sia libero di vivere la propria vita; questa e’ la ragione principale di questo
Amici carissimi, pensate per un momento se Stefano non avesse agito come egli ha fatto? Il cristianesimo dove si troverebbe?
Ancora nei sotteranei? Egli non ha esitato a perdere la propria vita perche’ ha vissuto il Vangelo letteralmente ricordandosi di cio’ che
Gesu’ predicava: “se perdi la tua vita su questo mondo per causa mia la salverai e ricordati che se il mondo ti odia, sappi che ha odiato
a me prima”.
Stefano ha creduto in Gesu’ ed e’ per questa ragione che ha pagato con la propria vita. La societa’ in cui viviamo oggi ci vuole
far credere che tutto e’ ammesso in questo mondo anche l’autorizzazione ad uccide con l’aborto e di togliersi la propria vita se siamo
affetti da un male incurabile. Proprio Domenica scorso il Papa ha nominato altri sei santi. Quello che mi ha colpito di piu’ e la nuova
santa, madre di quattro figli, che nel 1962 perse la vita perche’ non volle abortire la bambina che aveva in grembo (e che oggi e’ viva
grazie al sacrificio di sua madre) poiche’ aveva un tumore uterino ed i dottori le avevano sconsigliato di continuare la gravidanza. Ma
ella rifiuto’, anzi ordino’ ai dottori che se dovevano decidere tra lei e la bambina voleva che salvassero la figlia.
Sull’esempio di Santo Stefano e della nuova Santa Gianna Beretta Molla, anche noi dobbiamo divenire apostoli della parola
e dell’azione, con la nostra coscienza, con il nostro coraggio, e con la nostra pieta’ ardente. Forse ci sara’ chi sgrignera’ i denti contro
di noi, chi si tappera’ le orecchie per non sentirci, chi ci ricoprera’ non di pietre ma di sarcasmi, di insulti e di ogni genere di persecuzioni.
Ma noi non perdiamo la nostra serenita’ ne’ la nostra fiducia. Preghiamo per coloro che lottano contro di noi con la speranza che tra
i nostri avversari di oggi sorgano gli alleati di domani.
Ravviamo la nostra fede che e’ quella degli Apostoli, approfondita ed isplicita da secoli di vita della chiesa. Ma non limitiamoci
a professare con la bocca le verita’ indispensabili. Meditiamo come Gesu’ ci ha invitati a fare sui misteri della gloria del padre e del
figlio, della glorificazione del Salvatore e della sua presenza nascosta in noi.
La nostra speranza ci manterra’ in un atteggiamento di attesa, aspirando ad entrare piu’ intimamente nella conoscenza e
nell’amore del padre e del figlio e poter anche noi un giorno gridare come Stefano: “ecco, io vedo i cieli aperti e il figlio dell’uomo
che sta’ in piedi alla destra di Dio”.
A reflection on the Ministry of The Permanent Deacon,
The Reverend Deacon Frank J. Rosati
Ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in 1977.
Evelyn is Deacon Frank’s wife.
The Deacon is chosen by the Creator to be a Permanent Deacon.
To those who walk in darkness, the Deacon is asked to be their beacon.
The Deacon must prepare for the harvest by planting the seed of love,
working side by side with Jesus as the seed is nourished from above.
Asked to accept this challenge will be the Deacon’s greatest chore,
although the Deacon may be successful, the Deacon will be asked to do much more.
Endowed with patience and vision, the Deacon will respond to every call,
ready to lend assistance to those who drift and fall.
Listening to the needs of all, the Deacon’s attention shows care,
accepting all responsibility and the burden that it bears.
When overwhelmed with anxiety, discouragement may take its toll,
the Deacon must be faithful to the vocation until reaching the heavenly goal.
The Deacon must accept disappointments, also at times be misunderstood,
but this should not allow the Deacon to be discouraged from doing good.
Jesus has called the Deacon by name, will that person accept God’s invitation?
Remember, it was God who chose you from the first day of formation.
di Pasqua Santoro Gaudioso
A Message from G.I.S.A.
San Giuseppe e’ lo sposo della Vergine Maria, padre putativo di Gesu’, il santo patrono della chiesa universale ed
anche il santo patrono della G.I.S.A. (Gruppo Italiano Sant’Atanasio).
Come sempre, ogni anno, la G.I.S.A. ricorda San Giuseppe con un’annuale festa religiosa e con un dinner dance.
Quest’anno la Santa Messa e’ stata celebrata Venerdi’ 19 Marzo alle ore venti nella chiesa di sopra, ed hanno
concelebrato il nostro Monsignore David Cassato e Padre Steven Aguggia, vice cancelliere della nostra diocesi. La
chiesa era affollata da tanti fedeli che, riuniti intorno alla mensa Eucaristica, davano omaggio a San Giuseppe tanto
amato dagli Italiani. Alla fine di questa Messa non sono mancati i tradizionali taralli offerti dalle famiglie della nostra
parrocchia, che dopo essere stati benedetti sono stati distribuiti a tutti i fedeli.
Subito dopo la Messa tutti i membri del comitato G.I.S.A. si sono affrettati ad andare nell’auditorio della nostra
scuola per dare il via ai preparativi per il dinner dance che era stato organizzato per il giorno successivo. Per fare in
modo che questa festa avesse un grande successo come gli altri anni, si e’ lavorato per varie settimane facendo
massima attenzione anche ai minimi dettagli. L’auditorio della scuola e’ stato trasformato in un luogo di festa decorato
con mille colori festivi. Tutto questo era stato preparato poiche’ la G.I.S.A. il giono successivo avrebbe ospitato ben
trecento persone per questo dinner dance. Monsignore Cassato, i sacerdoti che abitualmente celebrano la Santa
Messa per noi, il nostro diacono e le suore di San Giuseppe (del nostro convento) sono stati invitati e ci hanno fatto
dono della loro presenza partecipando alla festa. Non sono manchate personalita’ del mondo politico: erano presnti
infatti l’assemblyman Peter Abbate, l’assemblyman Colton ed il consigliere comunale Vincent Gentile. La serata e’
stata allieta dal complesso di Nino e Angelo Ingrati che hanno tenuto viva l’intera serata con il loro repertorio.
Quest’anno la G.I.S.A. ha onorato per l’immenso lavoro la Signora Pasqua Gaudioso, segretaria del gruppo. Un
certificato di merito dall’assemblea dello stato di New York presentato dal nostro assemblyman Colton accompagnato
da un bel fascio di rose, hanno commosso la signora Gaudioso a tale punto da lasciarla senza parole. La sorpresa ed
il piacere sono stati enormi; la signora ha detto che non se lo aspettava. Un secondo certificato di merito e’ stato
presentato dal consigliere comunale Vincent Gentile a tutto il comitato G.I.S.A. per il lavoro svolto nella comunita’
Italiana di Sant’Atanasio. Tutti i membri del comitato hanno accettato con piacere questo riconoscimento per il loro
Un’altro anno, un’altra festa. La tradizione continua e San Giuseppe rimane per noi un grande santo!
Dopo oltre vent’anni la nostra tradizionale processione del Venerdi’ Santo e’ ormai conosciuta da tutti. Ed e’
proprio in questo santo giorno che tante persone, pur abitando lontano dalla nostra comunita’, si accingono a
venire a Bensonhurst per partecipare a questa importante manifestazione religiosa. Organizzata come al solito
da nove chiese della nostra comunita’ di Bensonhurst questa processione raccoglie tutti i fedeli di queste parrocchie
di Brooklyn. Quello che distingue questa processione dalle altre, organizzate il Venerdi’ Santo, e’ la moltitudine
di persone che affollano i marciapiedi per osservare i fedeli che recitano il santo rosario mentre camminano. E
molti spettatori rimangono quasi immobili davanti a questa marea di persone che, spinta dalle fede in Cristo,
cammina con una candela accesa in mano il lungo percorso che porta alla parrocchia destinata alla cerimonia di
chiusura della processione.
Come ogni anno la procesione e’ partita dal cortile della scuola Shallow Junior High School sulla
sessantacinquesima strada e dopo oltre due miglia e’ poi arrivata alla nostra chiesa di Sant’Atanasio. Era
infatti il nostro turno di ospitare tutti i fedeli davanti alla nostra chiesa per la cerimonia di chiusura. Quest’anno
il percosso e’ stato molto piu’ lungo degli atri anni, ma questo non ha scoraggiato nessuno. Infatti persone di
ogni eta’ erano presenti ed ansiosi di camminare. Si e’ stimato che hanno partecipato ben ottomila fedeli. Una
cifra molto piu’ alta degli altri anni. Sia la popolarita’ di questo evento religioso che la necessita’ per i fedeli
cristiani di manifestare la propria fede in quel che e’ forse il piu’santo giorno dell’anno che ogni anno spinge
sempre piu’ persone a partecipare.
Continued on bottom of pages 14
By Paula LoBello-Raiola
Maryann and I have know each other since we were very young.
I have seen many people our age move out of the neighborhood; some
who have remained do not attend Mass anymore. What impresses me
about this girl is that she has remained loyal and faithful to her parish from
a very early age through this day and God has certainly rewarded her with
a pure heart and a lovely singing voice. I believe that God touched her
with this gift for a reason; to help us understand the beauty of prayer in a
way that reaches everyone, every age, through her voice.
Maryann was born on July 1, 1963 and enjoyed a happy childhood with her family; parents, Josie and Joseph and sister Luann. Both
girls are graduates of Saint Athanasius School. Maryann went on to Saint
Brendan’s for one year and then continued high school at Nazareth where she graduated in 1981. She attended the
Center of Media Arts in Manhattan for two years and then over the next three years, worked for the Home Reporter and
Spectator, along with the Brooklyn Graphic, working on layouts, advertising and entertainment. Maryann moved on to
Independence Savings Bank for the next ten years and the Bank of New York for three years. For the last 7 months she
has been working at the American Stock Transfer and enjoys it very much. She met and fell in love with Izzy and they
married on June 29, 1999.
Maryann grew up in a very musical family; her father played the piano, music filled the air in her house. She was
a shy girl in school, never pursued music lessons and didn’t know how to read music. At 14 years old, she attended the
10am Mass with a friend and loved the folk music, so they decided to join the group. She would practice at the home of
Pat and Connie Costagliola and after one year, became a leader of song. When Maryann was 19 years old, she took
singing lessons for about six months, but contributes much of what she had learned from Pat and Connie. One fond
memory was singing at the Lutheran Home. Two years ago, she joined the choir, learning so much more under the
instruction of Steven LaPlante and last year took a class at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. The choir organizes
“Lessons in Carols” traditional Christmas songs along with the choirs of St. Finbar’s and St. Mary Mother of Jesus. She
also takes great pleasure in Cantoring, leading the community in prayer, for the last 1 1/2 years and singing at the Easter
Vigil and Midnight Mass. The opportunity to praise God with song is incredibly fulfilling and joyful for Maryann and it’s
very rewarding when people approach her to say how much they enjoy her singing. Maryann, your voice is so rewarding
to us; your singing brings life to the Mass and this is our chance to give back to you for the joy you bring to so many of us
here at Saint Athanasius Parish. Thank you for every song you sing and being the lovely person you are!
St. Athanasius concluded their 2003-2004 Basketball season at their annual breakfast and awards
ceremony on April 24. The proud coach, Jim McCaffrey, presented the Girls Bantam players with their championship jackets that can be worn with pride. He spoke highly of the girls’ determination and hard work
throughout the season that brought them the B.C.B.A. champs. St. A’s other divisions did well also, such as
the Gym Rats and Boys Bantam making it to the finals.
NYS Senator Martin Golden and Assemblyman William Colton also attended and acknowledged the
dedication and contributions by the coaches, staff and parents. NYS Senate “Certificate of Achievement”
citations were presented to the coaches for their hard work.
Several other awards were presented to individuals (players, parents, coaches) who have contributed to
the success of the program through achievement, talent, sportsmanship, unselfish contribution of time and
skills, and/or unrelentless energy, etc. Because of their extraordinary efforts, it makes for a better community and neighborhood to live and raise our children. Thank you St. A’s for being the conduit to make this
By Sal Cali
Fred Felleti mi fa sentire fiera di essere italiana. Ammiro l’orgoglio che ha per le sue origini ed ha lavorato tanto durante tutti
questi anni per mantenerle accese nelle nostre famiglie qui alla Parrocchia di Sant’Atanasio. Unitevi a me per questo meritato onore ad
uno dei nostri eroi.
Ferdinando Felleti e’ nato e cresciuto a Roccella Ionica, in provincia di Reggio Calabria. Il 5 Maggio 1955 all’eta di 17 anni, e’
arrivato negli Stati Uniti con sua madre Giuseppa e con sua sorella, Anna, piu’ giovane. Aspetto’ di avere la possibilita’ finanziaria per
poter andare a scuola per ricevere il certificato di parrucchiere dallo Stato di New York che poi ha ricevuto nel 1959. Ha lavorato al
Continental Beauty Salon a Kings Highway in Brooklyn. Nel 1962 Fred fu arruolato come militare nelle truppe degli Stati Uniti e fu
mandato in Germania fino al 1964. Quando ritorno’ dal servizio militare continuo’ la sua carriera da parrucchiere al Svea Beauty Salon
a Bay Ridge in Brooklyn. L’anno 1966 porto’ amore e matrimonio a Fred e la sua gentile signora, Rosaria. Nel 1968 Fred ebbe
l’opportunita’ di acquistare la Svea, il salone di bellezza, e di farlo diventare suo. Che tempi felici erano questi! Nel 1978 inizio’ a
lavorare al Continental Unisex Haircutters che poi nel 2002 quando cambio’ il nome in “Upper Cutz”. Il Signore ha benedetto Fred e
Rosaria con quattro meravigliosi figli: Paul ha 37 anni, Rita 33, John 28 e Laura ha 26 anni. Tutti e quattro hanno frequentato la nostra
scuola di Sant’Atanasio ed ora godono una vita felice e piena di successo. Fred e Rosaria sono anche fieri della loro nipote Alexa, sei
anni, figlia di Rita e suo marito Jafson Carvajal. Fred si e’ unito alla nostra parrocchia di Sant’Atanasio nel 1964. E’ stato a capo del
servizio di sicurezza della nostra scuola per circa 20 anni. Nel 1978 Fred si iscrisse alla G.I.S.A. (Gruppo Italiano Sant’Atanasio)
un’organizazione creata per i fedeli di lingua italiana a scopo di offrire programmi religiosi, culturali, e sociali per persone italiane e per
aiutarle a inserirli nella societa’ americana. Nel 1982 divenne poi il Presidente di questo gruppo. Fred condivide il successo della
G.I.S.A. con tutti i membri del comitato: Pasqua Gaudioso, Serafina Galati, Maria Perniciaro, Maria Porcu, Lina Milano, Nicoletta
Lorusso, Anna DiGiacomo, Santo DiGiacomo, Franco Battista e Amalia Anzalone. Questo comitato esecutivo e’ sempre a lavoro per
creare nuovi eventi religiosi e sociali: il dinner-dance per San Giuseppe (santo patrono della G.I.S.A.) a Marzo, il triduo pasquale e
l’annuale pellegrinaggio alla chiesa di Don Bosco (un santo tanto amato dagli italiani) a West Havestraw, New York, a Maggio. Infatti
molte persone che non abitano piu’ nella nostra comunita’ ritornano per questi eventi. G.I.S.A. ha la riunione generale la terza Domenica
del mese alle 4.30 del pomeriggio nell’auditorio della nostra scuola e accoglie sempre nuovi soci. Per ulteriori informazioni su G.I.S.A.
potete telefonare al 718.236.0124.
Da molti anni Fred e’ attivo come consigliere della nostra parrocchia ed e’ anche socio di Holy Name Society. Ogni
Domenica alla Messa delle 11.30, celebrata in lingua Italiana, Fred svolge il suo compito di lettore e ministro straordinario
dell’eucaristica. Nel Dicembre 2002 Monsignore Cassato insieme a Fred e alla sua famiglia si sono recati al Comune della citta’ di
New York dove Fred fu onorato dai consiglieri comunali con un certificato di merito per il suo contributo alla comunita’ italiana. Fred,
tu hai tanto da essere orgoglioso e noi siamo tutti fieri di te! Un semplice grazie non e’ abbastanza. Il piu’ che noi possiamo fare e’
seguire le tue orme, cioe’ il percosso che tu hai tracciato cosi’ bene per noi, con la speranza che sia trasmesso nella mente dei nostri
bambini insieme all’orgoglio ed ai valori della comunita’ italiana che tu hai aiutato a mantenere vivi in tutti questi anni. Che Dio ti
benendica con tanta buona salute!
Continued from Page 12
Prima dell’inizio della processione, quando eravamo tutti radunati nel cortile della scuola aspettando l’inizio della processione, il nostro
vescovo Nicola Di Marzio camminava tra’ la folla cercando di incontrare i fedeli dei vari gruppi religiosi di tutte le parrocchie che
partecipano alla processione. Tutti erano felici di incontrare Sua Eccelenza per scambiare una parola o semplicemente un saluto. Poi
il nostro Vescovo, mettendosi a capo della processione, ha camminato per tutto il percosso pregando con noi e ogni tanto lasciava la
processione per salutare coloro che non hanno potuto partecipare e guardavano la processione dalle loro finestre.
Il gruppo G.I.S.A. (Gruppo Italiano Sant’Atanasio) era presente come al solito con le numerosi croci di legno che i fedeli portano a turno
come segno che la processione e’ la testimonianza di Cristo crocifisso. Il nostro Monsignore David Cassato ha anche lui camminato
tutto il percorso con il resto dei fedeli, ed essendo uno dei cappellani della polizia della citta’ di New York ha assicurato una forte
presenza di polizziotti per la sicurezza di tutti i fedeli in questi tempi difficili per la pace. Padre Steven Aguggia, vice cancelliere della
nostra diocesi, e’ stato quest’anno il sacerdote incaricato di predicare alla folla nella cerimonia di conclusione. Padre Steven con le sue
parole potenti ha descritto il ruolo che ogni cristiano deve assumere non solo durante la Quaresima ma per tutto l’anno. Durante questa
predica la strada di Bay Parkway, bloccata al traffico dalla polizia della nostra citta’, sembrava una tipica piazza italiana gremita di
persone per una festa religiosa. Sul palco, preparato accanto alla nostra scuola, il Vescovo ha dato il benvenuto a tutti. Non sono
mancati numerosi fotografi di vari giornale ansiosi di cogliere momenti particolari da poter poi pubblicare.
This year more than 215,990 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Nearly 40, 110 will die of the disease, yet there
two million breast cancer survivors. In order to survive this disease, they need access to medical care, screenings, education and treatment… and ultimately a cure. Please join the American Cancer society in making its own strides against breast
cancer. There is a walk on October 17th at Prospect Park Brooklyn. To organize a team, gather friends and family to walk
or to get some more information about how you can help, call Marlyn Bristol at 718.237.7850, choosing option 3, then
extension 9126. Tell Marlyn you saw this in St. A’s Newsletter.
by Paula Lobello - Raiola
Fred Felleti makes me feel so proud to be Italian! I admire the pride he has
for his heritage and how he’s worked so hard to preserve it for our families all these
years at Saint Athanasius Parish. Please join me for this well-deserved tribute to
one of our own heroes:
Ferdinando Felleti was born and raised in Roccella Ionica, Province of
Reggio, Calabria. On May 5, 1955 at the age of 17, he arrived in the United States
with his mother, Giuseppa and younger sister, Anna. He waited to earn enough
money to go to school so that he could get his New York State Hairdressing license
and in 1959, received his Hairdresser’s license from the State of New York. He
worked at the Continental Beauty Salon on Kings Highway in Brooklyn. In 1962,
Fred proudly served in the United States Army where he was stationed in Germany
until 1964. He returned home and continued his career as a Hairdresser at the Svea Beauty Salon in Bay Ridge,
Brooklyn. 1966 brought love and marriage for Fred and his lovely wife, Rosaria. In 1968, Fred had the opportunity to
buy the Svea Beauty Salon and make it his own. What a happy time this was! In 1978, he worked at the Continental
Unisex Haircutters through 2002 and then it became “Upper Cutz.” God blessed Fred and Rosaria with four wonderful
children; Paul is 37, Rita is 33, John is 28 and Laura is 26 years old. All are graduates of Saint Athanasius School
and enjoy successful, happy lives. Fred and Rosaria are the proud grandparents of Alexa who is 6 years old, daughter to Rita and her husband, Jafson Carvajal. Fred joined Saint Athanasius Parish in 1964. He ran the security
program for St. A’s School for almost 20 years. In 1978, Fred joined GISA (Gruppo Italiano Sant’Atanasio), an organization created for the Italian-speaking parishioners to provide religious, cultural and social programs to the Italian
people, helping them to blend into American society. He became President in September, 1982. Fred shares GISA’s
success with his committee members; Pasqua Gaudioso, Serafina Galati, Maria Perniciaro, Maria Porcu, Lina Milano,
Nicoletta Lorusso, Anna DiGiacomo, Santo DiGiacomo, Franco Battista and Amalia Anzalone. The executive board is
always planning new religious and social events; the Saint Joseph (Patron Saint of GISA) dinner/dance in March, the
Easter Tridium and the annual retreat to Don Bosco Shrine (a saint highly loved by the Italian people) in West
Havestraw, New York in May. In fact, many people who have moved out of the community return to enjoy these
events. GISA has their general meeting on the third Sunday of each month at 4:30pm in the school auditorium and
would love to welcome new members! For more information on GISA, please call (718) 236-0124.
For many years, Fred has been an active member of the Pastoral Council and is also a member of the Holy Name
Society. He is a Lector and Eucharistic Minister every Sunday at the 11:30am Italian Mass. In December, 2002
Monsignor Cassato joined Fred, along with his family, at City Hall as he was honored by the City Council of New York
with a Citation for his many contributions to the Italian community. Fred, you have so much to be proud of and we are
so proud of you! A simple “thank you” just isn’t enough. The best we can do is follow in your footsteps, the path that
you have so beautifully laid out for us and instill in the minds of our children the pride and values of the Italian community which you have helped preserve all these years. Dio Ti Benedica, con buona salute!
Teacher’s Experiences
by Paula Lobello - Raiola
At Saint Athanasius School, we are very fortunate to have incredible leadership from our principal and an outstanding
team of teachers who guide our children, helping them to grow into strong, confident and faithful people. These special
teachers have such lovely things to tell about their experiences, their backgrounds and what they’re most proud of this
year. They are happy to share those experiences with all of us:
Mrs. Lorraine Garone - Tesoro, Principal: “I was born on Thursday, July 19, 1956, the oldest child of Carol, my mother, and
Anthony, my father. I enjoyed a happy childhood with my sister, Dolores and my brothers, Anthony and William. My husband,
Joseph and I have been married for 23 years and we have one son, Matthew who is 17 years old. We are parishioners at St.
Clare in Staten Island. I knew I wanted to be a teacher since the age of 5. I remember sitting in my classroom in Kindergarten
dreaming about the idea of it all and I grew to pursue that dream. I began teaching shortly after graduating college in 1978.
I’ve taught at Saint Therese of Lisieux, Saint Thomas Aquinas (Flatlands), Saint Mary Mother of Jesus, Saint Joseph By The
Sea High School and Our Lady of Guadalupe. After teaching for 20 years, I then became Principal of Saint Athanasius
School. I was encouraged by my colleague, Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, to pursue a career change and I’m glad I made that
change; I love my ministry here at St. A’s!”
Tina Ilowite, Nursery and Art: “I have lived in New York (Long Island) most of my life until recently. I am now a New Jersey
resident. I have worked at St. A’s for nine years now and love my job, both teaching Nursery and teaching Art. I also get to
work with the students in the Aquinas program as one of its coordinators. Working with the whole school is lots of fun!”
Angela DeLessio, Pre-K: “As the school year comes to a close, I am proud of the accomplishments the Pre-K children have
made in class. The children have grown in so many ways academically and socially. I can still remember the first day of
school in September when they had to let go of “mommy’s hand” and take my hand. This year, the children have done many
hands-on projects in class, especially at holiday times. This Spring, we watched how caterpillars changed into butterflies and
planted sunflower seeds for Mother’s Day. The children are currently preparing for their Step-Up ceremony in June. I am very
proud of the Pre-K class of 2004. They are certainly ready to move on to Kindergarten.”
Nickie Anastasio, Kindergarten: “I was raised in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn and moved to Bensonhurst after I got
married. Teaching young children at St. A’s has been a wonderful experience for me. The children are so eager to learn and
it is amazing to see the progress they make from September to June. My friends in Kindergarten always bring a smile to my
face. These young children are so loving and full of spirit. They are always ready to give a hug and make you laugh. Of the
many activities that take place in Kindergarten, sharing my picture books is one of my favorite. It is a wonderful feeling to
watch the faces of young children and to hear the sound of their laughter. I am always stressing the importance of reading. I
am delighted when my students bring in their own books and ask me to read. I have taught many students over the years here
at St. A’s, and it is always nice to hear the memories they have of Kindergarten. As another year comes to a close, I am proud
of all my Kindergarten friends. We all worked hard helping each other to be the best we could be. This year, many of my
friends are leaving Kindergarten reading and this is a great accomplishment. I expect great things from them as they continue
their journey to 1st grade.”
Louise Russo, Third Grade: “I grew up in Brooklyn. I went to school at Sts. Simon and Jude, St. Edmund and St. John’s
University in Queens. I have been teaching 3rd grade for sixteen years. I am proud of the wonderful job my class did on their
play this year, “Strong Words, Big Words.”
Maria MacCormack, Fourth Grade: “I grew up in St. Agatha Parish in Sunset Park, a wonderful parish, I am proud to call
home. For the last 15 years I have been blessed by teaching at St. Athanasius School. Not a day goes by without my students
bringing a smile to my face. We have many meaningful experiences praying, reading and writing together. This school year
I am very proud of my Fourth Grade students for organizing and hosting two different “Mix-it-Up” lunches, one for Grades 4 to
8 in November and one for Grades K to 4 in February. My students worked hard to make everyone feel comfortable and
welcome. They enthusiastically shared their school spirit. The Fourth Grade Assembly was a tremendous success. My
students shared their knowledge and celebrated our wonderful state in words and songs. They are a very talented group.”
Lori Young, Sixth Grade: “I was born in Brooklyn at Maimonides Hospital and lived in Bensonhurst until the second grade.
Then we moved to Staten Island and I grew up in Huguenot and still live there today. I attended St. Joseph Hill Academy High
School and then I attended Iona College in New Rochelle, New York; I lived there for the next four years. I have been teaching
at St. A’s for 2 years, which has been wonderful! Our proudest moment this year would be our play, “Casey At The Bat.” This
is a well-known poem that we brought to life. Everyone worked really hard and it was a great success!”
Continued on Page 20
Perfil de un Feligrés- Hugo Muñoz Díaz
por Michelle E. Villalta
Hugo M. Díaz nació el día 22 de febrero de 1976 en el estado de
Aguascalientes, México. El es el cuarto de 5 hijos nacidos al matrimonio de
Roberto Muñoz y Rebeca Díaz. En 1997 Hugo emigra a los Estados Unidos
en busca de un mejor futuro y se establece en la ciudad de New York. Como
muchos inmigrantes, tuvo que hacer una variedad de trabajos cuando recién
llegó a este país, incluyendo lo que hace actualmente, la plomería. Vivió en
Queens hasta el 2002 cuando se mudó a Brooklyn, donde se convierte en
miembro del Coro Hispano de San Atanasio como guitarrista, una pasión
que cultiva desde que es adolescente. Otro de los intereses de Hugo es la
pintura, un talento que descubrió hace como 5 años y lo cual lo llena de una
gran satisfacción. En el 2003, se matriculó en un curso de arte básico en la
institución llamada “Art Instruction Schools,” con el fin de aprender más acerca
de la pintura y el dibujo. Hugo fue el ganador en la categoría de pintura del
Séptimo Festival de la Expresión Mexicana celebrado por la Asociación
Tepeyac de N.Y.C. el año pasado. El 15 de mayo del 2004 organizó su
primera exposición en la Asociación Tepeyac, y en Julio habrá una muestra
de sus trabajos aquí en San Atanasio. Al preguntarle porque pinta, los ojos de Hugo se llenan de entusiasmo
y responde: “Porque me deja ser libre.” En el futuro, le gustaría hacer de la pintura una mayor parte de su vida.
Parishioner Profile- Hugo Muñoz Díaz
by Michelle E. Villalta
Hugo M. Díaz was born on February 22, 1976 in the state of Aguascalientes, México. He is the fourth of 5 children born to
Roberto Muñoz and Rebeca Díaz. In 1997 he emigrated to the United States in search of a better future and established
himself in New York City. As many immigrants do, Hugo did a lot of odd jobs when he first arrived in the States, including
what he currently does for a living, plumbing. He lived in Queens until 2002 when he moved to Brooklyn, where he becomes
involved with the Spanish Choir of St. Athanasius as a guitarist, a passion he cultivated since his teenage years. Another one
of Hugo’s interests is painting, a talent he discovered about 5 years ago and one that fills him with a great deal of satisfaction.
In 2003, he enrolled in a basic art course in Art Instructions Schools hoping to further his knowledge in the field of painting
and drawing. Hugo was the winner in the category of painting of the Seventh Festival of Mexican Expression celebrated by
the Tepeyac Association of N.Y.C. last year. On May 15, 2004 he organized his first exposition at the Tepeyac Association,
and in July there will be a showing of his works at St. A’s. When asked why he paints, Hugo’s eyes fill with wonder and he
says: “Because it lets me be free.” In the future, he would like to make painting a bigger part of his life.
by Sal Cali
The St. Athanasius Youth Program kicked-off its 59th Baseball Season this past Sunday with their annual
parade through the streets of the St. A’s community to their home field on 53rd Street. What a day it was, glorious
spring weather and the St. A’s minor league division, the Athletics, winning their home opener.
The ball players, coaches and parents started the day at the special baseball mass where Monsignor
David Cassato asked all to pray for good season and peace. Monsignor had everyone’s attention, as usual, with
one of his funny and inspiring homilies and of course, that day was about baseball. Monsignor stressed the
importance of doing the best you can.
Following the mass, many of the St. A’s organizations, community groups and elected officials marched
with the ball players in the parade. The Junior ROTC Color Guard of the Theodore Roosevelt Educational
Campus led the parade and the Bishop Kearney and the Midwood H.S. Marching Bands provided the music.
Young and old were out to support the youth of our community including members of the American Legion Post
#14 driving vintage automobiles.
The parade concluded at the St. A’s baseball field where our elected officials offered many words of
praise for the Youth Program. Peter Abbate, NY Assemblyman and a long time supporter of our Youth Program
threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Other speakers included US Congressman Anthony Weiner, NYS Senator
Martin Golden, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, NY Assemblyman William Colton and City Councilman Simca Felder.
Many thanks go out to the directors, coaches and parents, whose hard work and dedication makes the
St. A’s Youth Program a success.
Holocaust Survivors Bring History to Bensonhurst
by Marie Elena Giossi of The Tablet
The Tablet, the Brooklyn Diocese’s weekly paper, gave St. A’s permission to reprint this article.
We additionally thank Marie Elena Giossi for helping us in obtaining the permission for this reprinting.
SYMBOL OF SORROW: Sima Budman, leader of the Holocaust Survivors Club,right, holds up 85-year-old Yolana
Lieberman’s arm to show students at St. Athanasius school
the permanent mark “A-8068” branded there during the Holocaust.
Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at St. Athanasius school, Bensonhurst,
came face-to-face with history last Friday morning when five Holocaust survivors
visited the school to talk about the atrocities they lived through during World War II.
Members of the Holocaust Survivors Club, Lyuba Abramovich, Boris
Gelfand, Faina Ryzhikova, Sima Budman and Yolana Lieberman, were invited to
speak to about 80 students about their personal experiences during the Holocaust, which the students are studying in their history
Budman, leader of the Holocaust Survivors Club, which is affiliated with the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst,
introduced the four women and one man.
Gelfand told how he watched the Nazis kill his two brothers, his parents, and grandparents. He then joined the Russian
army to fight Hitler. As he spoke, everyone’s eyes were mesmerized by the front of his suit, where he wore dozens of gold medals
earned while defending his homeland. Ryzhikova spoke of her teenage years which were spent working seven days a week and
living in a house with six other Jewish families. Although she escaped death, the experience has been seared in her memory much
like the number 1080 was branded on her left arm. Unlike the others, Lyuba Abramovich is fluent in English and recounted her
experience in her own words. She described herself as a happy young wife and mother living in the small town of Slonim in
Belorussia, now Belarus, in the early ’40s. But her happiness was abruptly extinguished on June 22, 1941, when Hitler invaded
Russia. “Almost all the houses were wooden and they burned as matches,” she said with a heavy accent. “This day we lost
everything in five minutes. Everything that had been acquired from generation to generation. I grabbed my child and ran away in the
burning streets. I was looking for a place to live, to raise my child. I found only a room in the evening. We had no money, nowhere to
change and no food. But the coming days were worse than this.”
Germans occupied her town and forced everyone to wear stars of David. In five short months and two attacks, the Germans carted both her husband and her 13-month old son away never to be seen again.
“My husband was killed in the first action. In the second action I lost,” she paused to wipe away her tears, “my child and my
friends. After that I only wanted to be killed.”
Instead, she joined an underground movement, smuggling weapons to partisan soldiers whom she later joined in fighting
the Germans. Years later, she was called to be a witness against the mayor of Slonim who was a general in the Schutzstaffel (SS).
He sent 45 Jews from her small town to their deaths. Her testimony sent him to jail for life.
She remarried, but never had any more children, and worked in Belarus for many years. Now she resides in Bensonhurst
and is happy to live in a free country.
Time ran out before 85-year-old Yolana Lieberman, known in the Nazi death camps as A-8068, had the opportunity to talk
but she did pull up her sleeve to show the permanent, albeit faded reminder of the atrocities she survived in Auschwitz, where her
family and friends died in a crematorium. She has lived in Bensonhurst for 28 years and takes comfort in knowing that unlike her
parents, siblings and millions of others who died in the Holocaust, her final resting place will be in a Long Island cemetery next to her
husband Solomon.
“There are some people here today who suffered at the hands of bullies you couldn’t even imagine in your wildest dreams
and worst nightmares,” St. Athanasius’ Principal Lorraine Garone-Tesoro told the students. “They’re here to let you know about what
they suffered, how they survived and how they lived through their experiences.
“This is an opportunity that you may never have again in your whole entire lifetime, and it’s very important that you listen
with open ears and an open mind.”
Incidences of swastikas being grafittied in neighboring communities and tire slashings in Jewish areas prompted State
Assemblyman William Colton, a St. Athanasius graduate; Msgr. David Cassato, pastor; and other community leaders to address
acts of intolerance and prevent more from occurring.
Msgr. Cassato suggested bringing Holocaust survivors who live in the community to area schools.
Like many of her schoolmates, sixth grader Corrada Spatola was shocked and saddened by the terrible portraits the
survivors painted with their words.
“The assembly was very emotional but it made me understand more about what people
went through in a very painful and hard time. “Just because you are of a different race or have different beliefs does not mean you
should be put through so much agony and hatred. We are all God’s people, therefore we should all be treated equally,” she said.
On May 9th, ay 8:37a.m., 3:37p.m. and 11:37p.m., Sr. Camille D’Arienzo spoke about the Holocaust
visitors to St. A’s School. She gave us permission to reprint the text of her commentary.
The upper classes in St. Athanasius Elementary School experienced an unforgettable “Show and Tell” when
five Holocaust survivors paid a visit to their Bensonhurst School. They listened to their stories about atrocities during
World World II when Hitler was in power. They told of the horrors of concentration camps and the destruction of their
lives, as they had known them. Several showed the children the numbers branded on their arms.
The Pastor, Msgr. David Cassato, and principal, Mrs. Lorraine Garone-Tesoro, welcomed the opportunity to
sensitize the school children to the sufferings of their neighbors. The impetus came from swastikas and tire slashing
in nearby community.
A six grader showed she’d learned the intended lesson when she said, “The assembly made me understand what
people went through in a very painful way. Just because you’re different doesn’t mean you should be put through
so much agony. This is Sister Camille D’Arienzo.
Heart Share
By Donna Karim
After watching endless hours of news footage on the War in Iraq, listening to all the tales of woe in this world of ours, and reading story after story
detailing all the crimes of inhumanity; I have finally discovered something that
has restored my faith in humankind. This discovery came quite unexpectedly at
the 5:30 p.m. Mass one Saturday, several months ago.
While sitting in the front pew as my family and I usually do, I watched in
awe as five adults with special needs entered the Church accompanied by one
amazing woman. Something about this woman inspired me to learn more about
her, and the exceptional work she was doing.... and so I did.
I’m sure
you’ve seen them at the 5:30 Mass and perhaps you gave them a polite nod, or
perhaps you did not. Hopefully after reading this article, you too will feel a little tug at your heart just as I did. Her name is
Freda Simpson and she works at HeartShare Human Services of New York - Torre Residence located at 1966 54th Street.
With permission from the Residence Manager, Maria Matrascia who runs the Torre Residence, I set up an interview with
Freda. As an added bonus, I got to meet the absolutely adorable residents that accompany Freda to St. Athanasius each
week. Their names are: Robert Giallombardo, Bernadette Camuso, Nora Sebesta, Ana Cruz, and Joseph Graziano. It was
brought to my attention that only 4 out of 5 of them attend Mass for the religious aspect, there is one (who shall remain
nameless) who attends because she thinks “Father Monsignor” (as she calls him) is “cute.”
HeartShare is an organization which provides assistance in the daily living of its residents. The Residence Manager,
as previously stated is Maria Matrascia. Her Assistant Manager is Zaleata Forde. Clinical and Support Staff is on duty at the
residence, as well as 16 Residence Counselors on the “Front-line” with the residents. Maria has been with HeartShare for 11
_ years and has watched 12 individuals adjust to a new environment without their biological families and become a “real”
family at HeartShare. “They truly have become real brothers and sisters,” says Maria. HeartShare’s Vision Statement is as
follows: “HeartShare is committed to providing services of the highest quality that truly meet the needs of individuals with
developmental disabilities, their non-disabled peers, and their families. These services will be provided with integrity, professionalism and respect and in a manner that honors the unique needs, values and choices of the persons being served. All
staff will be held accountable to the agency, to their supervisors, and, most importantly, to the individuals and families served.”
Freda Simpson has been with HeartShare since May of 1986 where she began as a housekeeper in the Dr. White
Residence. Shortly after that she was doing double duty as both housekeeper and Direct Care. She then heard of an
available position in The Torre Residence where she has been employed since 1992. Her responsibilities include clinic visits
with the residents, community walks, and teaching daily living skills such as personal hygiene and cleaning their own rooms.
Freda, named for Freedom as she tells me, has found a way to join her biological family with her HeartShare family without
ever neglecting either one. “She’s one in a million,” says Maria “she does it all and never complains.” She is the mother of four
children, Jabarr, Attise, Jamel, and Phillip III, who range in age from 36 to 5. She has two granddaughters; Jalisa ,7 and
Kimberely, 4 months. Freda and her husband, Phillip II have been together since she was 15. She has her Associate’s Degree
and is currently working on her Bachelor’s at Touro College with a 3.87 GPA. She has always been an advocate for those who
couldn’t speak for themselves having had a mentally retarded sister born with Hydrocephalus ,whom she helped her mother
care for. Unfortunately, her sister Mona Lisa lived only 10 years. Freda recalls her mother being constantly pressured to give
up her baby and so she decided to be a voice for those who could not speak for themselves. Thank God for people like you
Freda, you should be very proud of yourself, we are certainly very proud of you!
Bishop Kearney High School congratulates these students who have achieved academic excellence during their second
and third quarters, ending in March 2004:
Principal’s List: Anna Centola, Tricia Del, Agata Lesniewski, Christine Saracino.
First Honors: Melissa, Cambria, Alexandra Ciervo, Graceann Cotroneo, Marissa Elkins, Elizabeth Foglia, Alessa LaSala,
Katarzyna Lesniewski, Kristen Raimonda, Paula Valerio.
Second Honors: Ann Catherine Barbaro, Maria Lucia Davi, Victoria Hamill, Rosemarie Marchese, Keri Lynn Papaleo, Sarah
Schackne, Elyssa Simon, Sharon Simon, Gina Utano, Christina Weigert.
Fontbonne Hall Academy congratulates the following students who have also achieved academic excellence during the
second trimester: Maria Lobifaro, Victoria Topoleski and Maria Corollo.
Xaverian High School congratulates its student scholars who have achieved honors in the last marking period:
Nicholas Lepore, Michael Longo, Paul Sclafani and Steven Ossorio.
Xavier High School congratulates Christopher Riso, James Riso and Vincent Russo for achieving academic excellence
during this past marking period.
Touro College conferred the degree of Master of Science in Education to Fran LaSala, one of our Lectors on June 13, 2004.
Fran is a Special Education Teacher.
Bishop Kearney High School granted High School Diplomas on Rachel Gonzalez, who will attend Iona College, Maria
Lucia Davi, who will attend St. John’s University, Marissa Elkins, who will attend Pace University, Alessa LaSala, who will
attend Hofstra University, Ann Catherine Barbaro, who will attend Hofstra University. Additionally, Marissa, Alessa & Ann
Catherine all graduated as members of the National Honor Society.
Xaverian High School granted a High School Diploma to Joseph Guadagni who goes to Yale University on a scholarship.
St. Edmund’s High School granted a High School Diploma to Luis Guida who goes to Kingsborough College.
Fordham University conferred the degree of Master of Arts in Theology and Master of Clinical Social Work to Pastoral
Associate John Fruner on May 25, 2004. John graduated Magna Cum Laude with a G.P.A. of 3.87. In September John will
begin a Ph.D. in Theology at Union Theological Seminary, where he was awarded a full scholarship. John, of course, will
continue to minister here at St. A’s during his studies.
Teacher’s Experiences
Continued from Page 16
Dolores Marino, Eigth Grade: “Hi! I grew up in Mill Basin, Brooklyn and still live there. I attended St. Bernard’s Elementary
School, Bishop Kearney High School and S.U.N.Y. Geneseo where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Education. I then moved on
to Brooklyn College where I received my Master’s degree in Education. I have been teaching in St. A’s for 7 years. They have
been the most rewarding years of my life. I have been the 8th grade homeroom teacher for 3 years which affords me the
opportunity to bond with the 8th graders during special times such as Ring Night, Yearbook prep., Prom and Graduation. I am
most proud of the 8th grade production of “St. A’s, Class of 2004, 20 Year Reunion.” They created the play based on their
dreams and experiences. It was both hilarious and touching.”
Fran Fidilio-Fanto, Learning Center: “I was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and have been an active member of
Saint Mary Mother of Jesus parish for many years. Presently, I am one of the coordinators of the Children’s Liturgy of the
Word at my parish. I attended St. Mary’s Elementary School and St. Edmund’s High School. I received an Associate Degree
from Kingsborough Community College, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Brooklyn College, where I majored in Social Studies
with a minor in Education. I received a Master of Science Degree in Education and have permanent state certification in
Reading and Social Studies. I am proud to say that I have been a part of Saint Athanasius School since 1986. My first class
was the second grade. Since then, I have taught fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes. I have been working as
Learning Center teacher for eight years, teaching students from first grade to eighth grade. Presently, I am the coordinator of
both the Aquinas program and the Student Council. I love my job, I guess that’s why I’ve stayed so long. I always get a little
sad this time of year, because I have to say good-bye to our eighth grade class. My consolation is that there is always a new
crop of students waiting to be taught.”
Fly UP