My Dear Parish Family:
The outpouring of love that we have seen since the announcement of Father Arthur Dennison’s death has truly been moving. Our 7th pastor who served us from 2002-2011 died on Friday, April 23 in Key West where he had resided since 2013. The news could not make it into last Sunday’s bulletin because they had already been printed, but once we made the announcement on social media, seeing the comments and messages people were leaving was edifying. I wanted to share a few of the messages with all of you:
- Father Dennison thank you. I met you when I was in high school and I will always remember the lessons you taught us. Thank you for being such a good mentor, a friend, and a role model.
- Father Dennison influenced & changed the life of my family. He was a role model. He will be greatly missed.
- I am forever grateful and blessed to have been married by Father Dennison in 2002. Our marriage is still growing strong almost 19 years later. Thank you for your kindness and support Father. You are loved by many and will be dearly missed.
These are but three of the hundreds of messages we have received. It’s a reminder to the priests of this parish that in everything we do, we are somehow touching the hearts of our people by communicating to them the Divine. After each Mass last Sunday, as I announced the passing of Fr. Dennison, many you would come up to me to share with me your favorite story about Father. This is the one that touched me the most: A family who is faithful to Mass every Sunday told me how Father welcomed them when they first registered their eldest child in our school. They weren’t parishioners at the time, but I could see the mother of the family welling up with tears as she tried to explain what a difference the welcoming embrace of Father made a difference in the faith life of their family. They were never the same again after that initial encounter.
Father Dennison’s funeral will be held in Key West this coming Wednesday in very “low key” Mass, as the Archbishop told his priests. We offered a Memorial Mass for Father last Wednesday here in the parish and we continue to lift him up in prayer and pray for the repose of his soul. As I said in this space last week, please never cease to pray for your priests.
As we turn the page of the calendar, we find ourselves in May, the month of Mary. Our Lady has protected us during the last year, and we will honor her with an outdoor rosary in the grotto of the rectory on May 10, and then again with a big celebration for Our Lady of Fatima on May 13 led by the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary. We also commend to Our Lady the children who made their First Communion yesterday and those who will be receiving it on May 15. May she keep our little ones always close to her beloved Son
God bless you all,