Our Parish History (Chapters 1-25)
Our Parish History (Chapters 1-25)
Chapter 1 – In the Beginning!
The rain which beat steadily upon the barn roof did not dampen the spirited enthusiasm of the small congregation. They prayed aloud; they sang; they listened intently to the homily spoken by their pastor, Father James Coffey.
It was Sunday, October 30, 1955 – the Feast of Christ the King; the newly founded parish of St. Pius X, Plainview, New York, Diocese of Rockville Centre celebrated its first Mass.
Twenty-five years a priest, and for many years, a philosophy professor at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, Father James F. Coffey had received a directive from Archbishop Thomas Molloy to establish a new parish to administer to an already mushrooming community of Plainview. Actually, at that time, the boundaries included part of Plainview, Old Bethpage and extended to northern Melville.
Father Coffey chose St. Pius X, then newly canonized, as the patron saint of the new family of Christ. St. Pius X had been extremely devoted to the Eucharist and, even as Pope, was devoted to parish work.
Through the generosity of the Hartmann family, farmers in Plainview for over a quarter of a century, Father Coffey was able to obtain the use of an empty barn on Old Bethpage Road (now the Plainview Reformed Church). During those pioneer months, the barn had served as temporary quarters for Mass and Saturday Confession.
Soon, Father Peter A. Chiara was assigned to assist the new pastor and his family of God. Father Paul E. McKeever (also from the Immaculate Conception Seminary) assisted us on Sundays. Since there was no parish rectory, the two priests had found temporary living quarters in nearby parishes.
Chapter 2 – Many Firsts!
And so, the beginnings of parish life – first Baptisms, Christmas Mass 1955, children taught about their faith at St. Martin’s in Bethpage and at Our Lady of Mercy in Hicksville. Our parish family coming together through the Rosary Society, Holy Name Society, Legion of Mary, Ushers, Altar Boys, Men’s choir and the Youth Council. The parish grew and so did the idea of a more permanent edifice in which to “restore all things in Christ”.
29 Washington Avenue became a household word. February 1956 saw a Rectory which acted as a home, a meeting place, an office and a chapel for weekday Mass. The first St. Pius X parish census tallied about 700 families with 1300 children under 18 years of age (more than half below school age and only a handful in teenage).
All of the parish organizations helped our family community to wax strong. The Holy Name Society promoted Catholic action. Members visited the sick, established a men’s choir and organized the census. The Rosary Society, a spiritual and financial boon to the parish, held its first Communion Supper, the 1956 Spring Dance, and sponsored cake sales. In 1956 the Youth Council was considered an innovative parish organization. The youth of St. Pius X were envisioned from three aspects of development: religious, personal and social.
Religious education and hobbies/crafts for older children were taught by parishioners in their homes. Sports activities were played in “borrowed” neighboring gyms; our younger children visited the Sisters of Mercy in Syosset for their religious instruction.
August 1956 became a “fireworks display” of family enthusiasm, complete enjoyment and indisputable cooperation. An all-explosive effort: the first Jr. Roundup.
The “temporary” church of St. Pius X was becoming more of a reality. Archbishop Molloy had allotted over seven and one half acres of diocesan land on Washington Avenue to our new parish.
Chapter 3 - The Diocese of St. Agnes is Created
Meanwhile, St. Mel’s Church in Queens had overgrown its “temporary” church and was planning to construct a larger building. With tasteful ingenuity and an abundance of forethought, Father Coffey, Father Fleming (pastor at St. Mel’s) and the diocesan building administration agreed to dismantle, in sections, the original St. Mel’s church and transported the building from Queens to Washington Avenue, Plainview.
Late Spring and Summer 1956 evidenced much hustle and bustle on Washington Avenue. Our parish priests had their parishioners uppermost in their minds. Together, and with several of their artistically talented friends, including Father Harold Buckley (who had designed the striking cross for Pope John Paul II’s New York visit), the interior and exterior of our church building assumed a more artistically spiritual and symbolical connotation ……..
Stand outside the front doors of our Church and witness the artistic glass panels as they point to the all-embracing A-line of the façade; then, to the simple cross atop the roof. Gaze at the dramatic sculpture of Christ on His cross, extending His hand to us, over the altar as He reaches out to you.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”
One year to the day, on October 28, 1956, our new church was dedicated by the Vicar General, Monsignor Hoar. At this same time, our parish family embraced its second young curate, Father James B. Richter. It was the feast of Christ the King.
With the death of Archbishop Molloy in the late fall of 1956, and the division of the diocese of Brooklyn, a new See was created: The Cathedral of St. Agnes at Rockville Centre with a newly appointed Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg, DD.
Chapter 4 – Our First Confirmation and a new Pastor!
1957 started out as a most blessed year. The Legion of Mary whose apostolic work in the parish was performed with great dedication, arranged for a parish-wide blessing of 600 homes on Epiphany Sunday. The first Eastern rites liturgy was sponsored by the Holy Name Society as well as their first annual retreat, held at Sag Harbor. The DIGEST commenced publication in September of that year as Father Coffey stated, “This paper will be a chronicle of the events of one unit of the Mystical Body of Christ. May it contribute to the glory of God and the salvation of souls.”
The Rosary Society packed them in at St. Martin’s auditorium with its first fashion show. November 11 witnessed Bishop Kellenberg confirm our first Confirmandi with the chrism of salvation.
The family of St. Pius X was increasing in members and it became evident that the children required a central location for their religious and secular training. A fund-raising campaign for a school was soon underway. Our goal: $200,000. There was such an enthusiastic and cooperative agreement and support from our clergy and our parish family. It was no surprise that over 300 people eagerly participated in the appeal.
Father Coffey’s talent to organize his children to the service of God on earth was obvious to our parish – as well as to our Diocese. Spring 1958, Bishop Kellenberg requested that Father Coffey expand his leadership and organizational expertise to develop a much needed preparatory seminary in our new Diocese of Rockville Centre. Its name: St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary in Uniondale. Once again, Father Coffey chose St. Pius X to guide his youth in the service of the priesthood. And once again, Father Peter Chiara would be his assistant.
It was June 1958 and the family of St. Pius X in Plainview greeted their new pastor, Father Charles A. Boyd, a former spiritual director of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception. With his appointment were the blessings and promises of not only a continuation, but an enrichment of parish life. A young, newly ordained priest, Father Louis I. Newman also entered our lives. Together with Father Richter and our new pastor, Father Boyd, Father Newman became deeply involved in our parish community.
Chapter 5 – The First Parish “Block Rosary”
Our Youth Council continued to expand and develop. In addition to the sports program, the “busy bakers” were cooking up a storm; the sewing classes were competing with “the new look” in fashion. Activities and sessions continued to meet in our homes as well as in neighboring schools and parishes. The Rosary Society formed the first parish “Block Rosary” and, by way of comparison, at the annual fashion show held at St. Martin of Tours, tickets were only $3.00 each (500 people participated!!!
Two original plays were performed at Christmas time by the newly organized Pius Players.
October 8, 1958 documented the death of Pope Pius XII. The World as well as our little world was deeply saddened. Prior to his death, Pope Pius XII had already begun to promote a series of liturgical reforms to enable and encourage Catholics to actively and intelligently participate in sacred worship. His successor, Pope John XXIII would create dramatic changes in the Church.
“Through Him and with Him and in Him,
we live and move and have our being.
Through the Sacraments we share His life.
Through our mutual love for each other and
through our human social endeavors we are
also more closely united in our parish and in our
community. Our faith and other graces which
we are so privileged to have, we should share
with all our neighbors……..therein lives
the unity of our parish.”
Father Boyd, DIGEST October 1958
Chapter 6 – New Beginnings!
Youth Council Bowling and a Teenage Club were organized in1959. The Pius Players performed their first three-act drama, THE LITTLE FOXESon the stage of St. Martin of Tours auditorium. There was a “waiting list” for the Spring Dance and St. Pius X had “school fervor”. Father Boyd entitled this new chapter in our lives “a dream come true”.
“Behold I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and he who believes in Him will not be put to shame.”
1 Peter 2:4-6
August 15, 1959, the feast of the Assumption, the cornerstone of the new school building was placed in position. St. Pius X School opened its doors in September with 500 seats available and 700 applications. It was a most difficult task. Six Sisters of Mercy with Sister Mary Walter as principal were included in the first teaching staff. Four classrooms in the upper section of the school were to be used as a convent for the Sisters.
From the beginning, our school was to be a religious training center for all children in the parish. For those children who would not be able to attend the school, the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) was established to undertake their religious training. Pius X in Acerbo Nimus (1905) had ordered the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine to be established in all parishes in every diocese in the world. At his namesake parish, twenty-four lay and religious teachers plus assistants became involved in this important work. A pre-school religion class was also instituted.
The leaves were falling; once again, it was the feast of Christ the King. And once more, our parish family celebrated. October 25, 1959 witnessed the dedication of St. Pius X School; and the Sacrament of Confirmation was bestowed upon 250 fifth and sixth graders.
“The Lord shall sit, a King forever;
The Lord shall bless His people in peace.”
Communion, Mass of Christ the King
Yet another feast of Christ the King – October 30, 1960 celebrated St. Pius X’s Fifth Anniversary as a parish family. The decade of the 60’s would bear witness to an intense questioning of human values and social unrest.
Federal aid to schools was fast becoming a fierce issue. The Marian Year was observed in 1961 and our Holy Name Society had scheduled a Marian program for the parish. Father Newman entertained us with his first musical, MY FAIR LADY featuring a talented and energetic cast of teenagers. This delightful and eye-appealing parish “first” was to be overshadowed by the death on April 22 of our much beloved and revered pastor, Father Charles Boyd.
Chapter 7 – Welcome to our third pastor, Fr. O’Mara!
June 1961, Father George F. O’Mara became the third pastor of our young parish. Around the same time, Father Daniel Fagan, a newly ordained priest, joined St. Pius X as a special Sunday Mass assistant.
By 1962 the Holy Name Society had grown in membership to 440 men. 431 Rosarians attended their annual Communion Supper that Fall, and the role of the “liberated” woman was tested as a Rosarian theme for the year ...”The Catholic Woman in the Community”. The C.C.D. opened its classes to the largest enrollment to date. St. Pius X School had felt the impact of the “baby boom”, and a new school wing was added.
It’s May 1962; Bishop Kellenberg established THE LONG ISLAND CATHOLIC newspaper as the voice of the Catholic press in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Our parish monthly, the DIGEST, adopts its masthead symbol signifying the Christian family: the Mystical Body of Christ. Fathers Richter and Newman, after many active years in our Plainview parish accept reassignments. And in June, our St. Pius X family welcomes our new assistant pastors, Fathers John F. Whelan and James P. Kelly.
The Feast of Christ the King and St. Pius X parish rededicates itself ____
“TO RESTORE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST”.
“It is the whole complex sense – perceptible efficacious signs,
which God shares His life with men through Christ
and in the Holy Spirit; and by which men, through Christ
and in the Holy Spirit, return due homage of worship to God.”
Chapter 8 – 1963 – We rejoiced and we cried
It’s 1963. St. Pius X School eighth-graders celebrate their first graduation. On a lighter note, nevertheless, in a summer bursting with fun-filled activity, our parish holds its first annual Bazaar. It is aptly named “Fun for the Family”. Not to be “out-funned,” the Holy Name Society treats us to their first annual Golf Classic. However, the Youth Council stamped the backs of hands of over 4,000 exuberant parishioners and visitors who participate in “the greatest Roundup in parish history”.
When St. Pius X School reopens that September, its enrollment has burgeoned to over 900 students and 18 classes. We establish our first School Board and Parent-Teacher Council. The Diocese felt the necessity to create four Diocesan High Schools. They organize a Diocesan-wide Building Fund Drive whose success extends over our two counties of Nassau and Suffolk.
Parish participation in the Inter-county Blood Bank commences in November 1963. However, some of the “blood” is drained from the nation and the world with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the death of Pope John XXIII.
In 1964 the Pius Players undertakes a theatrically professional and scholarly production of Shakespeare’s MACBETH. Performed in an arena-type setting within our auditorium, the witches boiled their brew before audiences which included hundreds of students. Later that year, the group presents another literary great – Sheridan’s THE RIVALS.
Once again, on the feast of Christ the King, our parish family celebrates its tenth anniversary, in a Mass concelebrated by Msgr. Coffey with the present and former clergy of St. Pius X R. C. Church, Plainview, N.Y. At this time, our parish family bade a grateful and fond farewell to Sister Mary Walter and warmly greeted its second school principal, Sister Mary Christopher.
December 1965, ten years after the founding of our parish, Pope Paul VI closed the final session of Vatican II. Earlier he had made a memorable visit to New York. Vatican II left its imprint on the world. The Council defined the Church. The role of the Bishops was more influential and laymen were not only more active, but more instrumental in leadership within the Church.
Chapter 9 – Vatican II and Changing Times
“The Church, Holy and Catholic, which is the Mystical Body of
Christ, is made up of the faithful who are organically united
in the Holy Spirit through the same sacraments, the same faith
and the same government.”
Vatican II Documents
The “changing times” in the Church was a prominent theme. Modifications were made in the Lenten days of Fast and Abstinence as stipulated by Pope Paul VI in his “Poenitemini” Apostolic Constitution issued on Ash Wednesday in 1966. Ecumenism was being implemented in our own and in neighboring religious denominations.
The Rosary Society’s guest speakers dealt with “the pill” and the rehabilitation of drug addicts. Holy Name Society guest speakers spoke on drug addiction and the elimination of indecent literature from newsstands and schools.
“Why the Catholic School?” was another timely topic. The role of the Church and State became a strong issue as evidenced by the Blaine Amendment. Nonetheless, Santa continued to wow the kiddies at the annual Youth Council Christmas Party. Our C.C.D.’s 155 adult teachers and supervisors tutored over 1,950 students from grades pre-school through 12 in the tenets of their Catholic faith.
In 1966 our parish added a much needed convent to our plant. The original convent could be used as another wing for the school.
“Parish Renewal” became the theme for 1967. “Aggiornamento” – Catholic action on the parish level- the Church in action attempting to carry out the proclamations of Vatican II.
Youth Council Bowling celebrates 10 years of successful activity by increasing in numbers from 20-30 young bowlers to 298 (ages 10-18). Baseball enjoys an enrollment of 390 boys, while girls’ Softball becomes a “rising star”.
The Track program triples its roster of young runners; and Basketball, both boy’s and girl’s, flourishes. Skiing becomes an “in” Youth Council activity and CYO Baseball, Basketball and Track make a firm commitment in St. Pius X Parish. However, Personal Development classes declines in number from 20 classes to 11 (the younger age group was diminishing).
“Christ commanded His apostles to preach
to all peoples the gospel message so that
the human race might become the
Family of God.”
Vatican II Documents
Chapter 10 – Change – in our Culture, in our Liturgy and in our Lives
A new curate, Father Thomas Reynolds, makes St. Pius X his home. However, during this same time, the Youth Council and our parish were forced to accept the transfer of a much loved and respected Father James P. Kelly.
In 1968, as changing developments within the Church continued, Father O’Mara appointed the first Parish Council, School Board and Parent-Teacher Council. The laity was to undertake a more advisory role within the Church. Our pastor programmed an ecumenical “first” – a Vacation Bible School which was co-sponsored by several Plainview Christian churches. The Rosary Society undertook a task of monumental proportions – an ecumenical Interfaith Fashion Show. 862 persons attended.
From very public to intimate, the home Mass was becoming a meaningful and popular sharing of the Sacrifice within our parish. In addition, 58 families hosted a Christmas party for 64 boys from St. Mary of the Angels Home. During this year, Sister Christopher was reassigned and St. Pius X School prepared to welcome its new principal, Sister Mary Kieran. On the level of parish staff, Father John Whelan accepted another Diocesan position and we were assigned Father John Mott.
1969 continued to develop liturgical changes. Variations were made in the Canon of the Mass. The vernacular Mass replaces the Latin Mass in order to make the Liturgy more meaningful to the majority of the laity. Changes also took place within St. Pius X School. A gym program for the boys and girls was initiated and the P-T C discussed the moral aspects and obligations of sex education within the school program.
This was a big year for the Youth Council Track program. We held our first intramural track meet and took second place in the annual CYO boys relay carnival. We were enjoying a very active sports program. It certainly was a good time to purchase nine and one-half additional acres for recreational purposes.
The birth rate continues to decline. By 1970 we witness a shift in age groups. At this time, about 850 students were enrolled in St. Pius X School. A similar number of children received their religious education in the C.C.D. Fathers Mott and Reynolds accept transfers from St. Pius X in 1970; Father Eugene Murphy joins the staff on a temporary basis.
Very early in 1971, our parish was assigned two curates: Father Francis Casey and Father Edward Olszewicz. (Father Ned, as he affectionately became known.) Father Ned became a strong proponent of Bingo in the parish. In previous parish assignments, he had successful experiences in raising parish funds through Bingo. Our parish debts had increased; however, the number of families within our parish had not kept pace with the parish need for additional financial support. Several new adjoining parishes had been formed by the Diocese, and our parish, once overflowing with young parents and babies, was obviously maturing. Oftentimes, among some of us, the subject of retirement had become a topic of conversation.
Chapter 11 – Serving our Teens: A Teen Club and Our Folk Group
After four years of many educational innovations and much dedication, Sister Kieran accepts a new position and we are introduced to Sister Adrienne Ryniewicz who becomes the fourth principal of our school. Also in 1972, Father Casey, for reasons of health, is reassigned and Father Robert Lane becomes our new assistant.
“Laymen should not limit their cooperation to the parochial or
diocesan boundaries but strive to extend it to inter- parochial,
inter-diocesan, national and international fields.”
Vatican II Documents
By 1973, our C.C.D. program listed over 900 students. The teenagers were growing in number and our parish family sought to initiate the Teen Club and Folk Group to help fill their needs. The “Family Life” program was implemented at St. Pius X School, and on a nationwide level, the Right To Life movement gained momentum. There seemed to be a decline in membership in parish organizations and societies. Perhaps, some families whose children had grown, felt that “service” to their parish was not necessary anymore; …...or perhaps, because of the upward surge in living expenses, many mothers had to go to work outside the home, and fathers were forced to take on second jobs in order to support their families.
It was decided that the Holy Name Society should be retired from the parish. In order to maintain an auxiliary service to men in our parish, the Men’s Club was formed. 1973 can also be remembered as the year the “Butler Buildings” moved to Pius X.
In the following year, Father Matthew Fitzgerald was assigned to St. Pius X to replace Father Lane. He would be instrumental in reviving a feeling of active sharing on the parish level. At this time, the charismatic movement was being felt in our parish.
1975 – a “Holy Year”, whose focus was on the local church rather than on Rome. All people rather than only all Catholics; and interior renewal of man rather than on triumphal exterior events. At St. Pius X, as we celebrated our twentieth anniversary, Project 20 was underway - to raise funds to refurbish our entire plant.
As a result, Father Fitzgerald established the Parish Action Club, designed to bring families together to work, play and pray – for ACTION. To fulfill the needs at another age level, our parish began its Pre-Cana ministry.
Chapter 12 – A More Active Role for the Laity
It was becoming more obvious that young men and women were not entering the religious vocation. The teaching Sisters all over the nation were decreasing in numbers and services. Many of these women sought fulfillment in different areas of their religious ministry. By 1976, the remaining Sisters of Mercy at St. Pius X School gave formal notice of resignation.
Our school was kept alive in actuality and in spirit by a dedicated staff of lay people with Mrs. Joan Kawecki as principal. The School Board, teachers and parents of the school children had devised many methods to maintain the high scholastic reputation at St. Pius X. A second Bingo was also begun to financially assist St. Pius X School. Six Sisters of St. Joseph then came to reside in and to assist our parish. Gradually, the convent also had become a House of Prayer, our Spirit Life Center, reaching beyond the actual parish. Its director: our much loved and respected, Father Bob McGuire, S J.
“Just as in one body we have many members,
yet all the members have not the same function,
so we, the many are one body in Christ.”
St. Paul - Romans XII: 4-5
Chapter 13 –Our First Eucharistic Ministers
1976 was the year our parish appointed 14 women and 13 men as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. Our parish also received the spiritual services and friendship of a priest from Malaysia, Father Louis Stanislaus.
Winter 1977 saw the reassignment of our pastor, Father O’Mara. After 16 years of service to St. Pius X, Father O’Mara, in his retirement years, was assigned as Chaplain of the Cenacle Retreat House. The Diocese named Father Joseph P. Minturn as our new pastor. Concurrently, Father Minturn also served as head of cemeteries in the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Father Minturn reactivated the Parish Council and inaugurated an increased donation campaign. He continued to refurbish the parish plant and he took the opportunity to obtain a much-needed parish census. The results showed our parish families had numbered around 1,600.
New committees were established: the Liturgy Committee and the youth-oriented Antioch Group. We witnessed our first Mass of the “Anointing of the Sick”; and some of us accepted Communion in our hand.
On November 3, 1977, after a long illness, the St. Pius X parish family was deeply saddened to suffer the loss of our Father Ned.
Chapter 14 – First Bishop’s Appeal & the First Children’s Liturgy
In 1978, the first annual Bishop’s Appeal gained over $6 Million for the Diocese. Our parish achieved and pledged/collected its assigned goal of $29,500. St. Pius X School also achieved beyond – we established our successful Nursery and Kindergarten classes. However, ’78 turned out to be a year of notables, coming and going. Father Fitzgerald left our parish for Air Force duty, and we were pleasantly introduced to a newly ordained Father Lawrence Penzes. The St. Vincent de Paul Society had been organized in the Spring. And in the Fall, our parish participated in a lively Adult Education program conducted by Father Penzes.
Father Larry also began the special Children’s Liturgies which became an integral part of our parish life. Father Daniel Fagan, who had given our parish 16 years of love and service, accepted assignment as pastor of St. Mary’s in Roslyn. Pope Paul VI died on August 6. However, his successor, Pope John Paul I died 35 days after his coronation. Pope John Paul II, Polish by birth, and the first non-Italian in 450 years was then elected to the Papacy on October 16, 1978.
Chapter 15 – Our parish nears a Quarter Century!
By 1979, nearing the quarter century mark, St. Pius X parish priests finally were able to reside in a Rectory in close proximity to the rest of the parish plant. The school wing originally used as our first Convent, then, as part of the upper wing of our School, now became a well-appointed Rectory.
The Bishop’s Appeal once again met its goal. The Liturgy Committee helped to effect changes in our Mass schedule. And, at the request of many parishioners, a Monday night Novena was added to our weekly services.
On the entertaining side, the parish pulled together as a family and ran a financially successful Bazaar. By the Fall, our Parish Council, at the request of the Pastor, Father Minturn, held a town meeting which aired the opinions, suggestions and requests of the many parishioners who had participated.
1979 was the year Pope John Paul II’s travels included a long visit in the U.S.A. To many from St. Pius X, this was the second “once in a lifetime” opportunity to assist at a Mass celebrated by a Holy Father. We also welcomed into our parish family, Father Roland Brodeur and Sister Mary Madden (who served as parish minister of religious education). We are proud to announce the ordination into the priesthood of one of our parishioners, Father Michael Boughton, SJ.
Chapter 16 –Our 25th Anniversary: A time to reflect
With the approach of our 25th anniversary, Family Ministry is established in parishes throughout the nation as the Bishops’ plan of pastoral action for the family. 1980 marks the Twenty-Fifth Jubilee of the parish family of St. Pius X. Although some members of our parish family had returned to the Father’s house; some have departed from their original family to carry our gospel to other parts of the world; yet, in our first 25 years, the family of St. Pius X has discovered …………
“that the family is the domestic church;
that the parish exists solely for the good of souls;
that the parish is an obvious example of the apostolate on a community level;
that the laity should accustom themselves to working in close union with their priests;
that Christ commanded His apostles to preach to all peoples the message
so that the human race might become the family of God;
that by charity, prayer, example and works of penance,
the Church community exercises a true motherhood
toward souls who are led to Christ,
in order that all may be one,
even as Thou, Father,
and I in Thee.”
Vatican II Documents
Chapter 17 – Celebrating 25 Years as a Parish Family (Part I)
1980 celebrates our Silver Jubilee of the founding of the Family of St. Pius X Parish, Plainview, New York, Diocese of Rockville Centre. A year which is dedicated to all members of our parish family. Coincidentally, the Catholic Church has launched the Decade of the Family. What better way for our parish family to celebrate the Year of the Family! We establish the Liturgy Committee, Youth Ministry, Antioch Youth Program, Handicapped Program in Religious Ed., Respect Life, Charismatic Prayer Group, Widows & Widowers. St. Vincent de Paul and K of C broaden their horizons with enough good works to fill a 7-day week.
January 22, 1980 marks the seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous abortion decisions with another March for Life. Pre-Cana, Family Ministry, Youth Ministry, Antioch Group - all of us fully participate in the year of the family. Our Ski Club waxes their runners (and sharpens their skates) to engage in many winter sports. This was Lake Placid’s year for the Winter Olympics. Our School Board sponsors a series of “Family Nights” which focus on proper diets to feed the family. Sessions are designed for families with young children.
All over the world, as well as in our parish family, we take special time to re-instruct our family in the option procedure regarding “Communion in the Hand”.
Chapter 18 - Celebrating 25 Years as a Parish Family (Part II)
The Bazaar Committee vows and wows to “do it again!” with their goal set at $50,000. Under the leadership of Father Brodeur, we are offered an unforgettable two weeks in Germany/Austria/ Switzerland, including an Oberammergau Passion Play. In June, a dozen of our youth participates in Diocesan Family Day at the Nassau Coliseum with Bishop McGann and Cardinal Suenens. Sister Mary Madden retires from her position as parish Minister of Religious Education. Father Larry Penzes introduces our parish family to his adopted Laotian family: Pengsy and her three daughters – Saysana, Phoutasone and Vonekham, who will make their new home at our parish House of Prayer (Convent). God bless them!
And what a memorable Silver Jubilee celebration! To add to our party, the Town of Oyster Bay graciously honors our parish and its 25th Jubilee by re-naming the corner of Old Country/ Manetto Hill Roads for 2 weeks in October: St. Pius X 25th Anniversary.
“The family is the first and basic human community. It is a sphere of life, it is a sphere of love. The life of every society, nation and state depends on the family, on whether the family is a true sphere of life and love in their midst. Much has to be done. Indeed, everything possible has to be done to give to the family those means that it needs: means for employment, means for housing, means to support itself, care for life which has been conceived, social respect for fatherhood and motherhood, the joy given by children born into the world, the full right of education and at the same time the various types of help needed for education. Here is a vast and rich program on which depends the future of the individual and of the nation.” Pope John Paul II
Chapter 19 – Good News and Sad News
The Bishop’s Annual Appeal continues to achieve beyond our assigned goal: $29,500. By attaining our goal, our parish will receive a 62.5 % return. We will earn an additional 50 cents for each dollar collected over the assigned goal. Bazaar 1981 is a smashing success. Our St. Pius X Family displays its generosity to those in need by answering life-supporting requests: “St. Pius X Donors and Volunteers (K of C, St. Vincent De Paul) raise the Blood Supply by 89 Pints!!” Or, by generously packing Food & Household Baskets for the Needy/Poor – four times a year.
St. Pius X School students rate high marks for their gold medal participation in Science Fairs, Spelling Bees and Speech Contests, Math Bees and the “Olympics of the Mind”. Striving to provide “the best in sports for our youth”, the Youth Council offers a Floor Hockey program for Boys and Girls, to commence in the winter.
Father Louis Stanislaus, a veteran international traveler, invites us to join him in August for a European Holiday, including a Papal audience. In October, at a concelebrated funeral Mass, we pray farewell to our former pastor, Father George O’Mara, a priest for 46 years.
May 13, 1981, frightening news from Rome announces an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II has been made. The pope has been severely wounded. Later, John Paul would forgive the Turkish terrorist.
Bishop John McGann, DRVC, announces a special Holy Year 1982, to coincide with the Silver Jubilee of the founding of our Diocese of Rockville Centre (DRVC).
A new electric basketball scoreboard is installed in the gym, thanks to the generosity of The Plainview Funeral Home. The Knights of Columbus celebrates its 100th Anniversary. Our newly formed Clown Ministry transports its Christian message in a unique way via talents of the artist, actor and musician. Not all people are ready to accept it. Fortunately, the Church is broad enough to allow space for this special talent. In August, Youth Ministry presents a performance of GODSPELL. Stanley Cup winners, the New York Islanders, say, “Hello” and sign autographs at this year’s Bazaar. Fathers Minturn and Stanislaus celebrate their Silver Jubilee in the priesthood. Not to be slighted, Father Brodeur commemorates his Fortieth Anniversary. And our Parish Council establishes the Respect Life Committee.
1982 has been a strong and exemplary year of renewal in the Church and at our parish as witnessed in our Liturgy Committee, Prayer Group, RCIA, Marriage Encounter, Christian Awakening and Antioch Program. Our family sings praises to the Lord at the Saturday evening Folk Group and Sunday morning Choir.
“The future is in your hearts and in your hands. God is entrusting to you the task, at once difficult and uplifting, of working with Him in the building of the civilization of love… Let yourselves be taken over by the light of Christ, and spread that light wherever you are.” Pope John Paul II
Chapter 21 – Embracing the New
Computer Technology (“Computer Fever”) arrives at St. Pius X School. (The St. Pius X DIGEST editor was first on line, outside Room 5, ready to learn the techniques of the micro-computer.) St. Pius X parish commits to become more vitally active in our Lay Ministry. Special attention is to be focused on the handicapped and the elderly. For example, our Parish Council got right to work by building handicapped ramps and designating more handicapped parking spaces. A Senior Citizens’ Club is activated.
Once more, our parish reaches our Bishop’s Appeal pledge goal of $29,500. St. Pius X enjoys a “Sports Nite”: Basketball- Hockey Dinner with guest speaker, Rolland Melanson of the Islanders.
March 25, 1983 Pope John Paul II and Catholics all over the world “opened the holy doors in the Vatican Basilica to be a sign and symbol of new access to Christ, the Redeemer of all humanity, Who calls all men and women without exception to a better understanding of the mystery of redemption, and invites them to share in its fruits, especially by means of the Sacrament of Penance”. (Pope John Paul II)
Chapter 22 – 1984 Kick-Off!
1984 Kick-Off!! St. Pius X joins marchers in the 10th anniversary remembrance Right To Life March on January 22. Under the leadership of Father Minturn, the St. Pius X Development Fund totals 615 pledges. Total monetary amount: over $442,000. Although we hadn’t attained our original goal of $500,000, we are extremely grateful to the families/individuals who have supported this campaign.
Chapter 23 – Diocesan High Schools Close
After intense investigation, our Diocese of Rockville Centre decides to close two of the four Diocesan High Schools: Maria Regina and Holy Family. (Also on the list is St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary whose enrollment has markedly decreased over the last years.) Declining enrollment is the basic issue. St. Agnes HS and St. Anthony HS have more than adequate seating capacity to assume the dispossessed students; tuition for next year will be determined by these schools. The faculties of Holy Family, Maria Regina and St. Pius X Prep are encouraged to apply for positions at St. Anthony and St. Agnes High Schools, and in other Catholic high schools in our Diocese.
St. Pius X school parents, teachers and counselors continue to present their views on the teaching of sex-education without values in our junior and senior high schools. “Teens need counsel, not instruction in contraceptive use.” (Wayne Prospect)
Chapter 24 – Welcomes and Farewell
St. Pius X welcomes our new Associate Pastor, Father Zachary Callahan, as we are asked for prayers for Father Stanislaus during his illness. St. Pius X School’s first graduating class of 1959 celebrates its Silver Jubilee. Congratulations to 83 teens who receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. At year’s end, our parish welcomes Father Tex Violette who is “on loan” to us while he continues his studies in Dramatics and Voice. His primary duty at St. Pius X on this assignment is to serve on the Liturgy Committee. September 1984, our dear friend, Father Stanislaus earns his eternal reward. The U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Letter on War and Peace is entitled : “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response”.
Chapter 25 – Sale of Property
1985, Father Minturn and our Parish Council inform us about the financial crisis we are facing in our parish. We have been asked to increase our weekly offerings. Nevertheless, in a meeting with our pastor, our parish Financial Committee and Bishop Mc Gann and his financial staff, it has been decided that the vacant property belonging to our parish will be marketed, and the property sold. Monies realized from this sale will be used to wipe out our parish debt and to help to place the parish on a pay-as-you-go basis.