Vol. 11, No. 20 Oct. 22 - Nov. 4, 1998


Cardinal Celebrates St. Brendan's 90th


A special Mass on Sunday, Oct. 18 with an appearance by John Cardinal O'Connor, celebrated the 90th anniversary of the founding of St. Brendan's Church. After the 3 p.m. service, an open house buffet dinner with music and dancing was held in the school building adjacent to the church.

Cardinal O'Connor, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, told the overflow crowd of parishioners that he has a "great sense of gratitude to those who came before us -- those who had the vision, 90 years ago, to build the initial church."

O'Connor also acknowledged another important landmark to Catholics around the world. "We are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the electate of Pope John Paul II," the Cardinal reminded the congregation. "One day history will show that he has been one of the greatest Popes in the history of the church."

Cardinal O'Connor took the occasion to acknowledge the presence and good works of Monsignor William O'Brien and Monsignor Patrick Boyle, the current and long-serving pastor of St. Brendan's.

"I am happy to be celebrating with Monsignor O'Brien," O'Connor said. "He lives here in this parish. Perhaps not all of you know -- he's very modest about it -- the tremendous work that he does for people who have problems with drugs, at Daytop Village. I don't know what we would do without Monsignor O'Brien."

After using his well-known sense of humor to kid Monsignor Boyle about advancing age, the Cardinal recalled the worlds that the then-Father Boyle read at the passing of Monsignor John C. McCarthy: "Always present to everybody, and he was always a priest -- and I think we can say exactly the same thing about the man who succeeded him, Monsignor Boyle."

The Cardinal's homily also emphasized the role of St. Brendan's as an "immigrant" church: "Who was it -- treated with contempt? The Irish, then the Germans, then the Italians, then years later, huge numbers of Hispanics came -- and thank God for this. And now people come from Asia -- there are many, many Filipinos here in this parish. And it will always be that way. This is the beauty of Christ -- every different group that makes up the body of Christ is a gem shining with its own beauty."

Cardinal O'Connor also traced the history of St. Brendan's Church and its pastors, noting that Saint Brendan, who was called the Bishop Navigator, is credited by some to have discovered America. The Cardinal noted that when St. Brendan found the "marina," it was paradise.

"And everybody knows," the Cardinal concluded, "that the one parish in the whole Archdiocese of New York that is paradise, is St. Brendan's."

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