Category Archives: News

Fr. Fred’s Weekly Letter, May 24, 2020

Dearest Parishioners of Sacred Heart Church,

Greetings from Father Fullum, Deacon Peter, the Sisters of the Convent, the Parish Pastoral Council and myself!

On this coming Monday, May 25th we will celebrate, with heartfelt and reverent gratitude, Memorial Day, and all the beloved, deceased members of the United States Armed Forces throughout the ages, who sacrificed their lives to protect and defend our Country. In addition, as Father Zannon reminded us each year on Memorial Day, we also remember the mothers, sisters, wives and girlfriends of the men who lost their lives. In so many ways, these women lost a part of their life too. Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let Perpetual Light shine upon them, may they rest in Peace….

A very wonderful, and unexpected announcement was made on this past Thursday that the churches for the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens would REOPEN beginning next Tuesday (May 26th), the day after Memorial Day! This is truly a gift to each one of us, who have longed for simply going into our Churches to pray, and spend time with Our Lord, the Blessed Mother and all the Saints! I would like to make known to you the regulations from Bishop DiMarzio, so that as a parish community, we may participate in the life of the Church at this time, even in these limited ways. Some of these directives may sound very frustrating and unreasonable, but they are TEMPORARY and necessary as we continue to move forward in a safe and realistic way. God bless you all for your continued support and cooperation (and patience!).


With love, blessings, and gratitude,

Father Fred +

MAY 21, 2020


Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio is please to announce the Diocese of Brooklyn will slowly work towards going back to normal by opening the doors of the churches on May 26, 2020 for private prayer and devotion as well as for funerals and limited celebrations of baptisms and weddings. The following directives will apply in general and individual churches should prepare further directions which the faithful must adhere to when visiting a church.

  1. As of Tuesday, May 26th, Sacred Heart Church will be OPEN Monday to Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
  2. Only TEN people are allowed in the Church at one time. We ask that you limit your prayer time in church to ½ hour or less out of respect for others waiting outside. Ushers will be present to assure that social distancing rules are observed and to ensure that there are no more than 10 people in the Church.
  3. The left handicapped ramp door entrance of the church, will be the only entrance available each day. Please exit through the right handicapped ramp door.
  4. The Church has been completely and professionally sanitized and disinfected including sacristies, the main body of the church and pews, choir loft, vestibule, bathrooms and church basement. The Church will be cleaned every morning.
  5. Anyone who feels sick in anyway must stay home. Parishioners should take their temperature before leaving their home to ensure it is not 100 degrees or higher.
  6. The Sacred Heart Garden will be OPEN at the same time the Church is open, however, no more than six people are allowed (one at each concrete bench and one standing on the brick Pathway to Prayer). NO ONE IS ALLOWED ON THE GRASS.
  • You may NOT enter the Church without a mask. Please bring one from home.
  • Hand sanitizer stands are available as you enter the Church. But you are encouraged to bring sanitizer from home.
  • Only ONE restroom will be available.
  • The Church will be marked off with painters’ tape to mark the ten spots where one may sit or kneel to pray.
  • Lighting Candles will be allowed but NO touching of the statues.
  • There will be NO Holy Water in the fonts.
  • Song Books will be removed from the pews and stored away.
  • Bulletins will NOT be distributed. They will continue to be uploaded to the parish website (
  • DO NOT leave any holy cards or literature in the vestibule of the Church.
  • Brick Order Forms, 50/50 Envelopes or The Tablet will NOT be available.
  • There are to be NO communal devotions in the Church (Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Stations of the Cross). Only private recitation is allowed.

Funeral services (not Mass) will be permitted, but are strictly limited to 10 people.
Holy Communion WILL NOT be distributed at these services. Masks must be worn during a funeral service by all in attendance.
Baptisms and Weddings may be celebrated with 10 or fewer participants wearing masks and the Pastor must receive approval by the Office of the Chancellor.
Anointing of the Sick may be celebrated with usual safety measures in place.
Confessions may take place by appointment only. Please call the Rectory to arrange a time with a priest. Both priest and penitent must wear masks.

Novena to the Holy Spirit

Dear Parishioners,

After Jesus ascended to heaven, His apostles, together with Mary His mother, and other members of the original Christian Church continued to pray together until the great feast of Pentecost when, in accordance with Jesus’ promise, “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” These nine days of prayer reported in the Acts of the Apostles were the first novena on which all later novenas have been based.

As the Sacred Heart Parish community, I would like to invite you to pray this Novena to the Holy Spirit beginning tomorrow Friday (May 22nd) and ending Saturday (May 30th). Please offer the following prayer once each day to renew the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit in your soul.


Oh, Spirit of WISDOM, preside over all my thoughts, words and actions in my life.

Spirit of UNDERSTANDING, enlighten and teach me.

Spirit of COUNSEL, direct my inexperience.

Spirit of FORTITUDE, strengthen my weakness.

Spirit of KNOWLEDGE, instruct my ignorance.

Spirit of PIETY, make me fervent in prayer and good works.

Heavenly Spirit, make me persevere, in the service of God, and enable me to act on all occasions with goodness and kindness, charity and joy, with long-suffering, mildness and fidelity.

Let the heavenly virtues of modesty, humility and chastity, adorn the temple you have chosen for your abode.

Spirit of HOLINESS (Fear of the Lord), by your all-powerful grace, preserve me from the misfortune of sin. Amen.

May the Holy Spirit renew your hearts and minds.

Fr. Fred+

Fr. Fred’s weekly letter, May 17, 2020

Dearest Parishioners of Sacred Heart Church,

Greetings from Father Fullum, Deacon Peter, the Sisters of our Convent and myself!

A prayerful reminder that as we approach the end of the Easter Season, this Thursday is Ascension Thursday. Soon it will be Pentecost! The Ascension is the glorious, triumphant entry of Our Lord into His Heavenly Kingdom, and return to the Eternal Father. He will no longer be visible with the physical eyes of His Apostles and disciples. Now, they (and we) will “see” Him with the eyes of Faith, especially in the Holy Eucharist.

Please offer up in your prayers this week those who have died…We remember Salvatore Lombardo, and especially our own Sister Margaret Raibaldi, CSJ, who served Sacred Heart Parish so faithfully and with such zeal and love. Sister Margaret retired the year before I arrived, so I never worked with her, but I did experience her legacy and presence in the many wonderful projects and traditions she established for our parish. I am so grateful for the few times I met her these past three years I have been here as Pastor. Instead of a letter from me this week, I have asked Father Fullum to write a reflection about Sister Margaret. On behalf of Sacred Heart Parish, I would like to offer our heartfelt gratitude to her and our prayers for her eternal peace and joy with the Lord Jesus for whom she served so well.

With love and blessings,

Father Fred+

By now, most of you know of the passing of Sr. Margaret to her eternal rest. She arrived in Sacred Heart Parish about 35 years ago and at that time was given the job description of “bringing Christ’s love and compassion to all the members of Sacred Heart.” Over the years she has fulfilled that challenge with dedication and love. She immediately set up the Food Pantry which was very small at that time, and as you know has now grown to feeding over 150 families and unfortunately that number still increases.

Sister then turned her attention to the homebound. She set up a St. Vincent de Paul Society where all the members had to be Eucharistic Ministers. Her idea was to take care of both the spiritual and physical needs of the homebound; and she met once every month to see how both these needs were being fulfilled. For those who have lost a loved one she would send a sympathy card for one year, every three months, to remind the families that they were being prayed for and she especially prepared and invited them to share in our special All Souls Mass. Along with this, she set up the Bereavement Ministry to help people through their difficult times. She conducted mid-life seminars, trained lay couples to give Baptismal instructions, conducted in-home Pre-Cana sessions, set up and taught the RCIA program and set up special classes for adults needing the Sacrament of Confirmation.

As part of the Liturgy Committee she instituted the idea of the Christmas Giving Tree, the Blessing of Expecting Parents, the special Thanksgiving Celebrations, the Crowning of Mary, and the Blessing of Animals. The day after 9/11 she organized a truck and went down to Ground Zero with food to feed the first responders.

She was my right-hand helper. Anytime there was a need for a new program or a new committee, Sr. Margaret would organize it. These are just a few of her accomplishments in those 35 years. Her last basic project was the creating of a committee to make prayer shawls for the sick and homebound.

Sr. Margaret was a dear personal friend; I called her every night since she retired and she was always interested in the events taking place here at Sacred Heart and in the people and their problems. I will truly miss her but we must not be sad, because I am sure that when she presented her job description to Jesus our Lord, He said to her, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter now into your Father’s kingdom.”

Fr. Fullum

Dearest Parishioners of Sacred Heart Church, May this beautiful Ascension hymn bring you closer to the mystery of the Hidden and Glorious Jesus and fill your spirit with peace.

Fr. Fred’s Weekly Letter, May 10, 2020

Dearest Parishioners of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish,

Greetings from Father Fullum, Deacon Peter, the Sisters of the Convent, and myself! A Blessed and Happy Mothers’ Day to all biological mothers, adoptive mothers, Godmothers, and all women who nourish and care for us as well! A heartfelt word of gratitude and blessing to you all!

As we begin the beautiful month of May, we are reminded as Catholics of our devotion to Our Blessed Mother Mary. Devotions to her began during this time over the centuries because it is the season of blooming flowers which we offer as symbolic gifts of our love and childlike affection for her. From a secular point of view, it is also why Mothers’ Day was chosen on the second Sunday of May each year. The month of May honors our spiritual Mother, AND those women God gives to us who love us like a mother. This week, our parish lost two women…Irene Salayka and Barbara Donnelly. We pray, through Mother Mary’s intercession, that they will experience eternal peace, and their families feel the hope of the Resurrection.

In the summer of 1971 (when I was seven years old), I became very sick with spinal meningitis, (an infection in the fluid of the spinal cord). I was placed in Long Island Jewish Hospital near my home in Floral Park. I have few memories of my experience there except for: a high fever and nausea, a team of doctors and nurses holding me down while awake and lying on my stomach while they extracted the infected fluid from my lower back (so I wouldn’t make any sudden movements and risk paralysis), and making a mosaic tile trivet for my mother when I recovered. The most vivid and profound memory, however, was seeing my mother come into my room the night before my procedure wearing a (now VERY common image) protective mask. Only later would I discover that the doctors and nurses were not sure if I would last that night, and she and my father actually came to say goodbye to me. However, I remember feeling protected and loved. Even though she had to leave (for fear of infection), I did not feel lonely or afraid. I knew I was going to be well again…simply by her presence.

Forty-six years later in June 2017, soon after I underwent another medical procedure (this time a seven-hour lower back operation), I was invited to a special Mass at Holy Name of Mary Parish in Valley Stream, N.Y. In attendance was Ivan Dragicevic. Ivan is one of the six visionaries of the apparitions of our Blessed Mother with the title Our Lady of Medjugorie in Croatia which began in 1981 and continued for many years later. The site of the apparitions (the parish Church of Saint James and the surrounding region) has become one of the most popular destinations for Catholic pilgrimages in the world and a center of conversion and prayer, especially for young people. After Mass, Ivan began to lead the Rosary kneeling in front of a beautiful statue of Mary, with all present (about 500 people). After the Sign of the Cross, he stopped praying verbally, and we all sat in silence for many minutes. Ivan then stood up and announced, through an interpreter, that the Blessed Mother was present in the Church! She had been speaking with him…HERE…in Valley Stream…in front of us all! He said, “She blesses all here present, with a motherly love, especially the priests.” Since there were only four priests, I felt overwhelmed with joy and gratitude for that unique recognition by Our Lady present in that Church where
Heaven touched earth for those few minutes. At that moment, the image of my mother wearing a face mask, all those years ago in my hospital room flashed through my mind…I felt protected and loved once again by Our Blessed Mother’s presence, as I did by my mother’s. Love…the greatest gift of Mary to us, because Jesus is Love, and she gives us Jesus. It is the greatest gift we can give to one another.

With love, blessings and gratitude for your continued generosity and support.

Father Fred +

P.S. A prayerful reminder that on Sunday, May 10th at 1:00 p.m., Deacon Peter and I will “live stream” on the Sacred Heart Facebook Page, from inside the Church, a May crowning of the Blessed Mother, and a Mothers’ Day blessing for all biological and adoptive mothers and godmothers, and all women who lovingly nourish the physical, emotional and spiritual life of us all. Please join us ONLINE for this special event!

Announcement from Fr. Fred, May 4, 2020

Dearest Parishioners of Sacred Heart Church,

I am happy to announce that next Sunday, May 10th at 1:00p.m., Deacon Peter and I will “live stream” on the Sacred Heart Facebook Page, from inside the Church, a May crowning of the Blessed Mother, and a Mothers’ Day blessing for all women of our Parish. We will bless all biological and adoptive Mothers and all women who lovingly nourish the physical, emotional and spiritual life of us all. Please join us ONLINE for this special event!

Sincerely in Christ,
Father Fred +

P.S. Please remember to return your Mother’s Day envelopes/intentions before this Sunday, May 10th, Mother’s Day.

Fr. Fred’s Weekly Letter, May 3, 2020

Dearest Parishioners of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish,

Greetings from Fr. Fullum, Deacon Peter, the Sisters of the Convent and myself! Hope You and your Families are well. Please be assured of our thoughts and prayers for each one of you every day. A Blessed and Happy Good Shepherd Sunday! (The Forth Sunday of Easter) The Good Shepherd is one of the most ancient, and beloved images of Jesus for the early Church, especially during the persecutions of the Second and Third Centuries A.D. It was painted on the walls of the first catacombs in Rome and it brought a great sense of security and protection to the first Christians, our ancestors. Even though many of them knew and embraced their fate, they lived in fear, but still trusted in the Eternal Pastures the Lord Jesus would lead them to after they left the pastures of this world. With this awareness, our sincerest and heartfelt sympathy to all families who have lost a loved one this week or recently. We remember especially Clorinda Mecca, Daniel Linfante (whose two children are enrolled in our Faith Formation/CCD program), Rosetta Taravella, and Mary Agnes O’Brien. May Jesus, the Good Shepherd, lead them to eternal peace and the joy of Heaven.

Fr. Fullum continues to slowly improve! He has opened up and sifted through his ENORMOUS mountain of mail and even has been able to take brief walks each day. I am also feeling well and try to do a little shopping for him and me once a week. I am so grateful to Our Lord for His many gifts to us… most especially for all of You!

Knowing that many of us live with greater or lesser degrees of fear, I would like to share with you how I “deal” with anxiety and fear. One of the best tools I have used in my own life is “present moment awareness.” I pray for this gift after I receive Holy Communion at every Mass when I return to the presider’s chair for a few precious moments of silence before the final prayer.

Present moment awareness is to make yourself aware of what day, time and situation you are in at any given moment, especially when you’re feeling anxious or fearful. Since anxiety and worry usually stem from the imaginary images in your head about the FUTURE, then to replace those images as soon as possible with the REALITY of one’s surroundings of the PRESENT will banish those future oriented pictures…which usually paint an untruthful and worse case scenario. The reason the images are untruthful is because, from a spiritual point of view, they come from the evil one, who Jesus calls, “the father of lies” to destroy our peace and faith in God. When we begin to live in our heads, we miss the real beauty (and real pain) of what is true. Our “gut” and “heart” react to real or imaginary dangers or fears with worry. Sometimes we call it “butterflies.” They can’t distinguish the two. WE have to train them! So, to bring yourself into the present moment, then imagining Jesus with you in that moment, can bring peace and relief from fear and anxiety. We can feel a lifting of those destructive emotions. I don’t practice this successfully all the time, but it is a wonderful habit that has helped me through my life since college. I pass it on, and hope it will help you too. I plan for the future, but I try not to let a distorted image of the future from the evil one control me. Here is my favorite prayer next to the Our Father and Hail Mary. It is the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr. You may know the first few lines, but here it is in its entirety…

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things (and people) I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as the pathway to peace.
Taking as Jesus did this sinful world AS IT IS, not as I would have it.
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to his will.
That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.”

May the Good Shepherd protect you from anxiety and fear so you may experience His presence now and each moment we are given to love and serve Him and one another.

With love, blessings and gratitude for your continued generosity,
Father Fred+

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