Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

April 7, 2007


On an unseasonally cold April evening, a rainbow constituency of parishioners filled the parish church in Ossining, roughly half Hispanic and half "Anglo" - those who trace their ancestry back to Italy, Portugal, Ireland, and other European countries. Further variety was provided by African-Americans, Filipinos, Koreans, and people from India and Southern Asia. Readings and prayers were in English, Spanish, Portugese, Filipino, and Italian, the last in tribute to the founders of St. Ann's. John's gospel told of Jesus taking the servant role, washing the feet of His disciples and telling them, "I have given you a model". To replicate this in today's context, the celebrant, concelebrants, and some parishioners proceeded to wash and dry the hands of the members of the congregation. The parallel with Jesus was not lost in the new symbol and nor in its meaning.

A celebratory enthusiasm filled the church at the offertory procession as choir and congregation sang the hymn, "We Come to Your Feast". Four mini-choirs - Spanish, Portugese, Filipino, and Italian - added to the musical setting with devotional hymns at the Communion and as the Blessed Sacrament was taken in solemn procession to a side altar. The liturgy was like a flower unfolding. Prayer, song, and movement were a seamlessly blended act of communal devotion aimed directly to Jesus. It celebrated His institution of the Blessed Sacrament and the priesthood, which was to continue this presence for ages to come.