My dear parishioners,
I hope this letter finds you well and enjoying your summer. As many of you know by now, I am your new pastor. St. Philip’s has a special place in my heart since I was ordained a priest here in 2013. Never did I ever imagine I would return here as pastor. I am most grateful that Bishop Sweeney has appointed me as your humble servant. The past month has been a whirlwind of activity, new people to meet and minister, new staff, new projects and just getting to know this great parish. Fr. Nico and Msgr. Flanagan have been most helpful and gracious to me; I am so glad to have such good priests with me. I have been touched by the warm welcome of all the people I have met before and after Mass.

Change is never easy, and I ask that you have patience with me as I become more settled and accustomed to the rhythm of life here at St. Philip’s. All of you have been in my daily prayers since I arrived on June 29, 2021. Some good things are occurring here at St. Philp’s. Beginning September 10 & 11, the 9:00am Mass will be returning for Friday and Saturday mornings. On September 10, there will be a Mass of the Holy Spirit as we welcome our school students back with them joining us. On September 11, there will Mass remembering the tragic events of 9/11/01. I encourage all to attend that Mass and pray for peace. As we continue to return to “normal” more things will be returning. This is an exciting time, and I am so blessed to have all of you on this journey with me.

Many years ago, a wise priest once told me, “A parish is like a large rowboat, everyone gets in and takes an oar.” This statement is so true. While I may be in charge, it is only with the help of the good people of St. Philip that we continue to go forward and be the presence of Christ in Clifton. I encourage all to take up an “oar” and row with me. We are on this great adventure together!

Fr. Monteleone

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