A Message from Msgr. Frank - March 20, 2016
An extraordinarily sad occurrence affected our school the week before last. A young fifth grader, Kaytlan Morrell, suffered a severe asthmatic attack at home and died. Our hearts go out to Kaytlan's mother and her family. Kaytlan's sister Kayla graduated from St. Thomas just last year and another sister Kaiya is in our second grade, so this family's ties to our school are extensive. Kaytlan's loss is keenly felt throughout our St. Thomas School family with, of course, a special impact on her own 5th grade class.
I wish to note the care and sensitivity with which our principal, Valery Gigante, has responded to this tragic situation. Not only has she shown her concern for the Morrell family, but Val also took immediate steps to provide the counseling services to help our students cope with the sorrow and confusion they feel at the death of one of their own. With the assistance of Dr. Marian Hobbie, an assistant superintendent in our Diocesan Education Office, and Dr. Steve Baron, the psychologist provided to our school by the West Hempstead School District, numerous persons with counseling skills from nearby schools were immediately made available to speak with both students and teachers. These people were extremely generous in their quick response. Both Val Gigante and Irene Peplinski, our human services director, made contact with the Morrell family to offer whatever assistance might be needed. I also heard from Bishop Murphy who wished to extend his prayers and condolences as well.
It will undoubtedly take some time to absorb the impact of Kaytlan death. It is most fortunate that we have these caring people and these resources to assist us in our experience of bereavement.
We have had another sad loss as well. Our school's computer teacher Patricia Connors lost her husband Dennis suddenly Saturday a week ago. Please keep Trish in your prayers and may Dennis rest in peace.
With Palm Sunday, we arrive at the week that commemorates Christ’s saving death and Resurrection – the goal of our Lenten journey.
Since we are in Cycle C for the Sunday readings, the Passion we are hearing this year is St. Luke’s which is perhaps the most appropriate one for this Year of Mercy.
Luke is the evangelist who records two of Jesus’ most powerful parables of mercy, the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son. In his Passion narrative Luke includes words of Christ that show how he himself embodies the mercy portrayed in these parables. First there is Jesus’ prayer to the Father concerning those who are crucifying him, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” A few verses later, Luke records Jesus’ encounter with the repentant thief who asks Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. Jesus’ response is, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” In these words, Jesus manifests the mercy of the father of the prodigal and the Samaritan who stopped to aid the man beaten, robbed and left abandoned by the roadside.
In His peace,
Msgr. Frank Maniscalco, Pastor