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paragraph ending graphic Clergy Corner paragraph ending graphic Hands to Work, Hearts to God
paragraph ending graphic Around the Parish paragraph ending graphic Sunday School News
paragraph ending graphic Vestry Report paragraph ending graphic Carpenter's Kids
paragraph ending graphic Women of Christ Church paragraph ending graphic It's Never Too Late ...
paragraph ending graphic Serendipity paragraph ending graphic Christ Church Way
paragraph ending graphic In Memorium - Joy Woodall paragraph ending graphic Agriculture Group
paragraph ending graphic Spring Fair paragraph ending graphic Special Occasions
paragraph ending graphic 2006 Summer Camp    
Clergy Corner

By the time you receive this edition of the Tower Chimes, the church will be knee-deep in its preparations for Holy Week and Easter.  Normally this issue would contain a meditation by me on some esoteric aspect of the Easter mystery.  I can assure you that this will be accomplished by other means, so not to worry.  Instead, I would like to focus on something a little more “practical.”

The death of a member of the Church should be reported as soon as possible to, and arrangements for the funeral should be made in consultation with, the Minister of the Congregation.”  BCP p. 468

The deaths of recent prominent parishioners of Christ Church have given me a lot of pause to think these past few weeks.  While it is not my intention to draw upon any specific examples, I wanted to raise the issue of funeral arrangements in general with all of you.  If you have never given the idea of your (inevitable) funeral some thought, I would like you to consider parts or all of the following:

  • Like a legal will and completed health care proxy forms, discussing your desired funeral arrangements with both your family AND your parish priest is just a smart thing to do.  Often when a parishioner dies (especially suddenly) family and clergy spend a lot of time feeling their way around the sometimes delicate dance called “trying to figure out what you would want.”  Priests are notoriously unreliable when it comes to paperwork, so make sure that you write things down and give a copy to your family in addition to the parish secretary.
  • Episcopal clergy are authorized to perform either of the two funeral services found in the Book of Common Prayer (pp. 468-504).  You will find the list of Bible readings on pp. 494-495.  You might choose to honor one or two of your friends and family by asking them to read a lesson (remember to include your “church family” in that list as well).  Whomever you choose, please try and pick someone who has a reasonable chance of getting through the experience.  Leading the intercessions is also an opportunity to involve a loved one.
  • “Baptized Christians are properly buried from the church.  The service should be held at a time when the congregation has an opportunity to be present.”  BCP p. 490   The presence of the coffin at the funeral service is ideal.  Please note that the Prayer Book expressly forbids open caskets during the service.
  • A note about eulogies:  as Saint Paul said, “All things are lawful, but not all things are beneficial.”  Eulogies have never really been a part of the Episcopal/Anglican tradition (the Prayer Book makes no provision for them at all) and have only crept into our churches over the last generation.  Most of the time they are either too long or awkward.  If you would like a theological reason to avoid eulogies at your service, just remember that a Christian funeral is not a celebration of your life; it is a celebration of our faith.
  • “The liturgy for the dead is an Easter liturgy.  It finds all its meaning in the resurrection.  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we, too, shall be raised. BCP p. 507” With that in mind, when choosing music for your funeral try to move beyond “In the Garden” and “Amazing Grace.”  If you need help picking appropriate hymns and other music, try making an appointment either with me or Tom Sarff.  Both of us have been involved with hundreds of funerals over the years and we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t.  Secular music, while appropriate at wakes and receptions, is generally not allowed at funerals in Christ Church.
It is my hope that you read this in the spirit in which it was intended: helpful advice from someone who has been down this road a few times before.  Should you wish to discuss things further, please speak to me at your convenience.

Fr. Clarke paragraph ending graphic

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Around the Parish

The month of March brought us some sadness as we mourned the passing of Joy Woodall, a faithful parishioner and a good friend to those of us who were fortunate enough to have known her and worked with her at Spring Fairs and in the parish office. Joy was a fixture at Christ Church and we shall miss her.

The Serendipity Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper was quite a success, with a steady stream of customers coming by to enjoy the pancakes and sausage cooked to perfection by the “sultans of sweat,” Hal Reiersen and Victor Stanwick. It was so good to see Helen Sigman, Pat Scire (with sons Dylan, Zacharay and Adam in tow), Dominic and Margaret Elia and their adorable son, Jonathan.

Special thanks to Fr. Clarke for organizing last month’s visit from the Concordia College Choir and the Lenten Quiet Day.  Special thanks also to Lesley Shannon, who coordinated the food for Quiet Day, including her wonderful home made lentil soup.

Everyone at Christ Church is grateful to Peter Raff and Susan Fowler for organizing the “Hands to Work, Hearts to God” days at Christ Church. Last month, a willing group of parishioners painted the basement and also polished the altar rail. Thanks to you all!

A warm welcome to our two new choir members, Agnes Thompson and Andy Hardin. Thank you both for enriching the beauty of our Sunday worship every week.

Although Andre Black is no longer with us, his spirit is. On February 25, at the New York City PSAL Indoor Track and Field Championships, the Official’s Association awarded a special plaque to the winners of the boys and girls long jump (his favorite event) in honor of Andre. The award was presented by his mother, Shirley. On March 11, 2006, the USATF-Metropolitan Track and Field Officials Association awarded medals to the top six competitors, boys and girls, in Andre’s memory. The awards were presented by Buster Black.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to Nancy Beveridge, who underwent an emergency appendectomy last month.

It was standing room only at the Third County Courthouse at Historic Richmond Town on March 13th when our Junior Warden, Nick Dowen  gave a special presentation to the Women’s Auxiliary about the great Irish tenor, John McCormack. Nick is an avid collector of “78” recordings, and used records from his personal library to highlight his talk.

Congratulations to Kate Schneider who recently earned her MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business. Much to the delight of her family, Kate will be returning to New York where she will be working for SONY Corporation as Associate Director of Business Development.

Last, but surely not least, best wishes to Mark Hewitt II as he continues to complete the necessary requirements to attain the rank of Eagle, the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America. His proud mother, Charlotte, was in attendance at Snug Harbor last month to cheer him on in the completion of his Eagle project.

That’s all for now. May the joy of this blessed Easter season fill your hearts and your homes. paragraph ending graphic
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Vestry Report

Members of the Vestry met on Monday, March 13 for the regular monthly meeting. The following is a brief overview of important issues that were discussed at that time.

  • Susan Fowler, chairperson of the Plant & Equipment Committee, reported that representatives of the Landmark Conservancy had visited and toured the church in light of our request for a $10,000 grant. These representatives have suggested that we begin to solicit contributions from members of the congregation for restoration of the stained glass windows.
  • We have received a number of resumes and applications for the Youth Counselor vacancy; it is hoped that the position will be filled within the next few months. The Fundraising Committee, chaired by Alleida Mitchell, has set dates for various fundraising activities that will take place during the year. The first one, Family Games Night, has been scheduled for Friday, September 8th.
  • The Search Committee has interviewed several candidates and hopes to have three candidates ready to be interviewed by the Vestry by the middle of April. The Vestry will make the final selection of the candidate who will be our next rector.
  • The Investment Committee has recommended that the Boody stock be sold, in light of the poor dividend return. The committee has also recommended that Citibank continue to manage our portfolio until a new advisor has been selected.
The next meeting of the Vestry will take place on Monday, April 10th. In the interim, approved minutes from the February Vestry meeting have been posted on the parish house bulletin board for those who wish to review them. paragraph ending graphic
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Women of Christ Church

What can you do with one dollar a week?  Not much, you would say. But the Women of Christ Church found out at the March meeting that one, only one, dollar a week is not insignificant when used by the partnership of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and The Diocese of Central Tanganyika to help as many of the two and a half million orphans of Tanganyika. What $50 a year can do in their hands is unbelievable: it provides breakfast, books, and a uniform for one child for a year. We learned of this from The Episcopal New Yorker. Valerie Quinlan and Shirley Elfers obtained more information and we are prepared to ask others to join us in taking part in this project. (See article in this issue of Tower Chimes for more information.)

Other points of interest at the March gathering were the presence of Ginny Spadaro and Anne Devlin; Patsy Parese was able to make the coffee and visit with us. Shirley Elfers reported that the returns from the Annual Appeal are coming in slowly.  Thanks to all who have already responded, and a nudge to you others!

Our time together began with the Eucharist and the Litany of Healing in the chapel. Fr. French also had time to take part in our meeting, announcing the Lenten schedule of Bible studies on Thursday evenings, the Quiet Day and the visit of the choir from Edmonton, Canada, at the Sunday service on March 19

Lunch was green and white in observance of St. Pat with a cake baked by Fr. John, one of his best.

NOW TAKE NOTE: THE APRIL MEETING IS APRIL 6. This is due to the fact that our usual day falls on Maundy Thursday this month. So join us ON APRIL 6, to see your friends, eat your lunch, and be part of our worship. paragraph ending graphic
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The atmosphere was cold at the most recent meeting of Serendipity at the home of Lisa Rhoades and David Nygard, as we decided to buy a new refrigerator for the kitchen. The old one has done yeoman service for several years but it is now on its last legs and its replacement is a matter of some urgency. A new one should be delivered some time during the next month and in the meantime, some alterations to the cabinetry above the present refrigerator will be completed to allow for the increased height of the new unit. Serendipity has approved an expenditure of just over $2000 for the new refrigerator and we tabled discussion of the need for a new freezer until a future meeting.

The St. Patrick’s Day brunch on Sunday, March 12 was another great success – so much so that people did not have room to sit down. Karen Smith is to be congratulated for pulling everything together. Although we don’t yet know what our profit was, we took in over $300, which along with profits from the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper and last year’s May Ham Dinner will help us pay for the new refrigerator.

At both of these very successful events we discovered that the church no longer has enough card tables and chairs. Trevor Mills and Karen Smith will be investigating prices and quality before purchasing eight new ones – another venture made possible through the overwhelming support of many parishioners for the ventures of Serendipity.

Of course the agenda included discussion of our plans for the British-themed May Ham Dinner, the ninth one to be organized by Serendipity. We’ve recently had German, Irish and Italian meals and some members of the parish with strange accents thought it was time for a British dinner.

Consequently, on Saturday, May 20 we hope that many parishioners and friends will be tucking into a cold fresh curried pea soup, the roast beef of ole England with Yorkshire pudding and gravy, and real mashed potatoes and some great vegetables, as well as a Stilton-Walnut salad. If Joan Rock and her daughter, Gytha, have their way, the trifle will be as great, if not greater, than it was at the British take-away that we had a couple of years ago at Snug Harbor, to aid the College and Camp Scholarship fund of Christ Church.

Forget tea under the trees! Instead there’ll be cocktails from a paying bar, organized as usual by Kim Davis, under the spreading branches, with free canapés. All parishioners will soon be asked to join in sponsoring all of the items on the menu, from 25 cents for a tea bag or a lettuce leaf, to a side of roast beef for $25. Before we even began our publicity, one lady in the community sent us $100.

Several weeks ago, Colin Reed was discussing the event with Helen Martin and she suggested that we have door prizes. She would have really enjoyed it and laughed about our plan, in her honor, to have over 20 small door prizes, two of which she contributed. If you come to the dinner and win a bottle of British Stirling after shave lotion you’ll smell better because of Helen Martin. We laughed loudly as we joked about what a woman could do with it! Helen was filled with fun and laughter and she will be sorely missed. paragraph ending graphic
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In Memorium — Joy Woodall

(On March 13 our dear friend and longtime parishioner, Joy Woodall, passed away at the age of 83. During her Requiem Mass on March 18, two of her long time acquaintances, Barnett Shepherd and Romaine Gardner shared their memories of Joy. We, in turn, would like to share them with those of you who were unable to attend Joy’s service that day.)

I first met Joy Woodall in 1983 when her husband John Woodall, a retired history professor from Wagner College, became Editor of the Staten Island Historian. I would visit their home on Dudley Avenue regularly to review our work on the publication. Discovering common interests with the Woodalls, Nick (Dowen) and I both developed close friendships with John and Joy. John did the talking. Joy listened carefully, was the hostess, and advised at strategic moments. Our circle of friendship expanded to include my mother Marjorie. She was a contemporary of John’s and also from the old South. My aunts, Coleen and Cissie, joined the circle. We had Christmas dinner at the Woodalls’ home every year for ten or twelve years. After the deaths of my mother and John we continues this Christmas tradition at Joy’s and included other friends.

My friendship with Joy, especially in recent years, grew and strengthened. She was a nurturing person, always expressing an interest in what I was doing and encouraging me in my thoughts and work. She was fun to talk with. Relaxing. Her ability to listen was a real gift and one of the greatest benefits of true friendship.

She was gifted intellectually and well-read. She was shy in public, but open and giving in her home. I liked to hear about her childhood on Cape Cod and her adventures in Manhattan as a young single woman. She was up to date on current events. She had a sense of tradition and perspective in her thoughts which I was eager to experience.

I thank God in my prayers today for the life of Joy Woodall. She will be missed by her family and friends gathered here today in our church. One life lived, one friendship made is a brief interlude in our individual lives. But her keen insights, her gentle ways, and her caring manner will be remembered and will offer sustenance to us in the years ahead.
Barnett Shepherd, March 18, 2006  

My lasting image of Joy goes back to 1980. Shortly after John retired from teaching European history at Wagner College he became very depressed. He was troubled still by the death of his brother, by what he would do and where he would live the rest of his life, and, I suppose, by the fear that he would incur the same kind of maladies of his own father. He tried everything to overcome his depression but nothing got him out of it. I visited John in the hospital, and as I was walking down to his room, walking slowly toward me was John, dressed in his pajamas and an old robe, looking straight ahead, being led by Joy, who had hold of him and seemed almost to be holding him up with that look on her face of loving concern.

That is my image of Joy…always at John’s side, always loyal, always helpful, faithful to a fault…in sickness and in health.

Joy rarely talked about herself, about her life before John. It was years after first meeting her that she talked to me about growing up on the Cape, about her father and his work as an artist. When she talked about her past, it was about her life with John in Salzburg at the Salzburg Seminar; in Paris where John was doing research; here at Christ Church, dearly loved by John and Joy.

Joy had a phenomenal memory. She remembered details of events I had long since forgotten. I had almost forgotten about one event which she remembered. We referred to it as the “J dinner” at our house, attended by James and Joan, June and Jane, John and Joy…and Romaine and Lyle.

She loved Whitman’s Sampler candy which came in a rather fancy box…which I think she liked as much as the candy.

Although Jane and I occasionally had afternoon tea with Joy after John’s death, and found her to be well-informed about world events, and even excited about current politics, she was an old-fashioned unreconstructed liberal. It is the Joy who was always at John’s side that I will always remember.
Romaine L. Gardner, March 18, 2006 paragraph ending graphic

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Christ Church Spring Fair
on Saturday, June 10th

It’s time to start setting aside your unwanted “goodies”, clean out your attic, your closet or your garage. Anything in good condition can be saved for our White Elephant at the Spring Fair.

Do you have something really nice that might be just the ticket for the Silent Auction? Do you have an excess of nice baskets that we could use for raffles? Or maybe something to go in those baskets? Or could you put a nice basket together for us? Lots of questions – but now is the time to start thinking about it.

This year our Fair will be held on Saturday, June 10th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We’re looking for volunteers to help at the Fair to run certain events, such as the jewelry table, silent auction, etc, or to just volunteer to help out. If you have any suggestions or ideas about how to make our Fair better please contact Gene or Gytha Darconte through the church office or at 718-442-8075. And yes, you can even speak to us in person!

Margaret Harris and Janet Schneider will be taking care of the cake table and would like to remind you that we are selling home made goodies only. If you don’t have the time to bake, rather than buy at a store, donate the money to the Fair. We will definitely make good use of it. Victor Stanwick is still cooking those hot dogs and hamburgers that only taste that good at a Fair. Shirley Black will be running the 50/50 raffle and Spider Webb is in charge of admissions. You will also have an opportunity to buy a ticket for a brand new TV!

No event would be complete without Colin Reed selling those bargain-priced greeting cards (he uses photos taken on Staten Island), homemade chutneys, etc.

Just to remind you, the proceeds from our Spring Fair go entirely to the daily operating and maintenance of our gorgeous church. When you receive your admission raffle tickets please try to sell them to your friends and neighbors. Don’t forget, the prize is $500- and who couldn’t use that?

And if you forget the date, we will be reminding you through the Tower Chimes and the weekly bulleting.

See you at the Fair – rain or shine! paragraph ending graphic

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2006 Summer Camp

(Made available by the Lehmann Family Fund You may recognize it as the Christ Church Camp & College Fund)

This year we have two-week summer camp scholarships available for use at Incarnation Episcopal Camp in Ivoryton, CT, one week at Incarnation Camp through the NY Summer Youth Conference, and two-week YMCA day camp located at Camp Pouch here on Staten Island.

The one-week camp through NY Youth Conference is intended for those entering grade seven through the first year of college. The theme for this year is Walk in Love, which will explore the ways we can live Jesus’ love. Basically it is a crass between a spiritual retreat and a summer camp. The scholarship for this camp includes chartered bus transportation. If you would like to hear about it first-hand please talk to Titus Zayzay who attended last year when the theme was Water and the Living Spirit.

The two-week Incarnation Episcopal Summer Camp is in Ivoryton, CT and is the world’s oldest Episcopal camp. It is located on 700 acres, surrounding a mile-long private lake. The staff at Incarnation Camp offers a full range of recreation, sports, and art and nature activities for children 7-15 years old. Bus transportation is included in this scholarship also. Ask Olisha James or Evelyn Zayzay about their experiences there. They have first-hand knowledge and I am sure they would love to share this with you.

The scholarship committee is also offering a two-week session at Staten Island’s YMCA day camp (located at Camp Pouch) which also includes bus transportation on a daily basis. On this one you can talk to Eva Black and she can fill you in on last year’s experience.

If you are interested, please see anyone on the committee: Gytha Darconte, Colin Reed, Trevor Mills, Paul Smith or Father Clarke. paragraph ending graphic
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"Hands to Work, Hearts to God"
Days at Christ CHurch

The call is out to all engineers, carpenters and craftspeople to come to Christ Church on Saturday, April 29th to help replace the stairs between the church and the parish hall. In order for the new wheelchair lift to be installed in the cloister the stairs will be made broader and shallower, so everyone will be able to move between the parish hall and the church more easily.

The wheelchair lift, which was made possible with funds donated to the church by Evelyn More and designated for this purpose by her daughter, Marilyn Swearingen, and also through an additional donation from The Women of Christ Church (ECW), will make it possible for people in wheelchairs and with walkers to bypass the stairs and raise or lower themselves from one building to the other.

If you’re able to help please contact Peter Raff (917-930-4038) or Susan Fowler (718-720-1169). paragraph ending graphic
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Sunday School News

First and foremost, a belated “thank you” from the Sunday School children and staff to those who came out to support us during last year’s St. Nick Holiday Fair. The Sunday School raised $120, which we spent to help stock the church Food Pantry.

We received over 30 items for our Holiday “Glove Tree” including some lovely hats and scarves. These were donated to the Safe Horizon Women’s Shelter on Staten Island. Our “Lunch with Santa” was also a delightful event – all of the children were able to take a picture with Santa and receive a gift.

Plans for our Easter and Spring events for 2006 are as follows:

Easter Sunday – April 16th
9 a.m. to 10 a.m. – Easter Egg Hunt

Donations of plastic eggs and candy that will be used for the “hunt” are most welcome. Please leave your donations in the parish office, or give them to me or one of the Sunday School teachers on Sunday morning.

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Easter Gathering for Youth – fun and games
Sunday May 7th
Mother’s Day Plant Sale

We also look forward to seeing you at the Spring Fair. There will be games and prizes for our young visitors, sponsored by the Sunday School. Also, please look for upcoming announcements about the Sunday School involvement in Staten Island Community Days - we need your support to make this annual event a big success.

The Sunday School is also in need of the following supplies: Magic Markers, Construction Paper, Drawing Paper, Pencils. Donations are most welcome.

Thanks for your support! paragraph ending graphic
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Carpenter's Kids

War, pollution, terrorism, global warming - our world is so full of troubles that you can't do anything about, worrisome things for now and for our dear grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Well, folks, let me introduce you to a place where our little efforts CAN help.

It is called “Carpenter's Kids,” and the problem it addresses is that of the current scourge of HIV/AIDS in Africa, where there are plenty of other problems, too. But one small, insignificant dollar a week adds up to $50 in a year. For one elementary- school-age AIDS orphan in Tanzania, it will supply the following items, for an entire year: attendance at school, books, uniforms, and breakfast. Figure up how much that would cost here, and marvel.

Bishop Roskam of the Diocese of New York has scoped this plan and finds it worthwhile. She met with Bishop Mdimi Mhogolo of Central Tanganyika, and together they launched this partnership which will link parishes on both sides of the world willing to enter into a multi-year engagement to support these children who have nowhere else to go for help.

The Women of Christ Church were alerted to this program by Valerie Quinlan and Shirley Elfers, and several people expressed an interest in participating at our March meeting. We are going to register for several children as individuals, and hope that others in our congregation will want to join us. Do give me your name, and we will get on board as a parish sometime during the month of April.

It seems such a small thing – just one dollar a week for a couple of years or so, to do so much good! paragraph ending graphic
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It's Never Too Late
to say "Thank You."

I’d like to take this opportunity to say a belated “thank you” to all of those parishioners who, without ever being asked, chose to donate items for the St. Nick’s Fair raffle.

Thanks to your generosity, the Fair did turn out to be a lovely social event, although the profits were not as large as we had hoped for.

The vendors who attended told me that although they may not have made much money they still had a very enjoyable day.

Again, I would like to thank you all for your support and your attendance that day. paragraph ending graphic
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"Christ Church Way "

Sunday, May 7, 2006 will be a red-letter day in the history of Christ Church New Brighton. At 12 noon on that day the portion of Franklin Avenue in front of Christ Church will be named “Christ Church Way.” in an official action of the New York City Council.

      The brainchild of longtime parishioner Trevor Mills when he was a member of the Vestry, the naming of Christ Church Way will be attended by Council member Michael McMahon, who will unveil the new street sign. Every parishioner is urged to witness this important event. paragraph ending graphic
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Agriculture Group to Meet at
Christ Church on April 8th

“Just Food,” the Community Supported Agriculture program on Staten Island, is holding two informational meetings at Christ Church – one for the general public on Saturday, April 8 from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and one for food pantries and other food-oriented organizations on Thursday, April 20 from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

This group joins with a regional farmer in a mutually beneficial partnership in which members receive fresh produce by purchasing shares in the farmer’s harvest at the start of the growing season.

If you would like more information please speak with Susan Fowler or Victor Stanwick. paragraph ending graphic
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Special Occasions

Serenade to Present "Master Piano Trios"

On Sunday, April 9th at 3 p.m. the Serenade concert series will launch its 2006 season at Christ Church with a program entitled “Master Piano Trios.” Nathan Brandwein, piano, Madeline Casparie, cello,  and Valerie Quinlan, violin, will perform Beethoven’s “Trio in C Minor, Opus 1, No. 3” and Schubert’s “Trio in B-Flat, Opus 99.”

The concert is free to the public and a “Meet the Artists” reception will follow in the parish hall, immediately following the concert.

For further information please call 718-372-3668 or send e-mail inquiries to

Parish Register
April Birthdays
1—Matthew Ambroggi; 6—Harry Bernardez; 10—Michael Devlin; 17—Siaber Zayzay; 18—Celestine Zayzay; 24—David M. Wood, Daniel Wood; 26—Mary Boody; 30—Nancy Sherman;
April Anniversaries
6—Linda & Hal Reiersen; 12—Carol & John Brown; 25—Laura & Henry Kennedy
If your special day is not in our records, call the Parish Office at 727-6100 so it can be added. paragraph ending graphic

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