A Letter from Father Derivan
Almost 90 years ago, in 1927, St. Theresa Parish was established as an Italian national parish by Monsignor Bonaventure Filitti. Some time ago I received a letter from a long-time parishioner (who spent the better part of her ninety years here in this parish). At her suggestion we are celebrating our 90th year from the Feast of St. Theresa this year, October 1, 2016 to her feast next year October 1, 2017.
How much has changed in the world and right here in our community since the day when our parish was established! Our parish was begun when the Great Depression was looming. It faced hard times, but the determination of our parishioners continued and grew. That determination showed itself especially when the terrible fire destroyed the original church on February 7, 1965. The pastor then, the beloved Monsignor Mario Ponsiglione, knew that he could depend on his parishioners to build a new church literally from “the ashes.” And how correct Monsignor was! If anything, the determination of St. Theresa’s parishioners grew stronger. Those parishioners then—some of whom are proudly still here--built our beautiful new church which stands forth in our community as a testimony of our faith in the Lord who is Father of us all.
But an anniversary is not just a "looking back." It is a looking ahead." Those parishioners ninety years ago knew what their job was, namely to build a church. Those parishioners 50 years ago knew what their job was, to rebuild their church. And now we have our job, the job of continuing to build up our parish by welcoming all, by encouraging those who have been away to “come back home,” by showing our children that this is and always will be their “second home,” and by proclaiming that the Lord is truly alive in this parish and this community. St. Theresa Parish did not disappear when tragedy struck. And St. Theresa Parish will not disappear as the years go on. With God’s good grace, with the intercession of our dear St. Theresa, and with the continued dedication of our people, we will continue to be Christ’s shining light in this community. St. Theresa said that her goal in life was to love Jesus more than He has ever been loved before. This is our goal, today and tomorrow, as a parish and as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We want to welcome all of you and invite you to become part of this beautiful parish. A visitor said to me, “Father, there is a warm feeling here. I feel welcomed, like part of a family.” That is exactly what the Lord wants us to be and what we try to be—a family in Christ. The job of every parish is to help people meet the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what we try to do and we invite you to join us in that effort.
Come and join the family!
God bless you!
Father Thomas B. Derivan