Nunca Les Olvidaremos

by Juanita Berrado

Yo soy una hermana del Obispo Garmendia. Asisti a su funeral con mi esposo Miguel, un sobrino y dos sobrinas. Desafortunadamente debido a la edad y a las enfermedades nuestros hermanos y hermanas no pudieron venir de Espana.

El amor y afecto que recibimos de todos con ocasión de la muerte de nuestro hermano ambos en Santo Tomas de Aquino y la Catedral de San Patricio estarán con nostros para siempre. Estuvimos hablando por muchos días de las muchas bondades que le dieron a mi hermano y debido a ello nos la dieron también a nosotros. Sabíamos que la gente le amaba pero cuando lo vimos nosotros mismo lo pudimos comorobar en nuestros corazones. En los pasados años cuando vino de vacaciones a casa nos habló de su gente y como ellos se amaban. Solamente lo pudimos entender hasta ahora.

En particular, agradezco a las hermanas Dominicas de Hawthorne con su equipo de trabajo y voluntarios. No hay lugar en el mundo sus sean como los de Rosary Hill. El amor y el cuidado gentil dados a Francisco en los pasados 2 años y medios son indescriptibles. Fue un consuelo grande al escuchar que el Lunes en la tarde del 14 de Noviembre la Visita de la estada de la Virgen de Fatima a Rosary Hill de salir la imagen fue traida al cuarto de Francisco. El murio el miercoles a las 11:10 a.m.

A cada uno y a todos van nuestras oraciones. Nunca les olvidaremos.

Induction of Justice Lucindo Suarez

On Wednesday, January 10, 1996, Lucindo Suarez was inducted as a Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. Bishop Francisco Garmendia gave the Invocation and Opening Address, speaking about his long friendship with Justice Suarez, and stressing importance of Natural Law in the realm of Justice.

Judge Lucindo Suarez
by Most Rev. Francisco Garmendia

Today is Lucindo Suarez’s Day. It is the day of his Judicial Induction to the Supreme Court of the State of New York. It is also a great honor and satisfaction for me to give this invocation.

The name Lucindo tells us that our dear Judge will be committed to be what his name Lucindo means: a light. I have known Judge Suarez for many years. I officiated at his marriage to Hilda at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in the Bronx. I knew then that their future would be an excellent one. They have two beautiful daughters, Roslyn, whom I baptized, and Roxanne.

As Isaiah was chosen by God, so too, Lucindo has been chosen by God to bring justice to the people of the State of New York. It is no small matter to be chosen. This commission or call to service requires a sense of personal obligation, a sense of public trust on the part of the elected official which gives meaning and dignity to his public life.

Lucindo, this call to service exhorts you to dedicate yourself to the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. A wisdom which proclaims God’s rightful place in human affairs, a wisdom so memorably expressed by the Father of our Country in his Farewell Address: “Of all the dispositions and habits that lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports; reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national or state morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles.”

Judge Lucindo Suarez, you will be dealing with the application of the Natural Law, which is written and engraved in each and every human being, because it is human reason ordaining them to do good and forbidding them to sin. But this command of human reason would not have the force of law if it were not for the voice and interpreter of a higher reason to which our spirit and our freedom must be submitted.

The Natural Law, the Creator’s very good work provides the solid foundation on which human beings can build the structure of moral values to guide their right choices. The Natural Law that you will be providing will give the necessary basis for the Civil Law with which it is connected whether by reflection that draws conclusions from its principles or by addition of a positive and juridical nature.

Where then are these rules written, if not in the Book of that Light we call the Truth? In it is written every just law; from it the law passes into the heart of the man who does justice, not that it migrates into it, but that it places its imprint on it, like a seal in a ring that passes onto wax, without leaving the ring.

The Natural Law is nothing other than the light of understanding placed in us by God; through it we know what we must do and what we must avoid. God has given this Light or Law at the Creation.

Dear Lord, we pray that Judge Lucindo Suarez will provide courageous leadership in his new position as a Justice of the State of New York. May he follow the example of Jesus in giving special concern for the poor, and may all his actions be guided by a deep love of God and neighbor.

I wish you, Judge Suarez all the blessings of God and the love of our Blessed Mother.

We Will Never Forget You

by Juanita Berrado

I am a sister of Bishop Francisco Garmendia. I attended his funeral with my husband Michael a nephew and 2 nieces. Unfortunately, due to age and illness, our other brothers and sisters were unable to make the trip from Spain.

The love and affection we received from everyone. on the occasion of our brother’s death, both at St. Thomas Aquinas Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We will spend many days and evenings talking about the many kindnesses that were given to our brother and because him to us. We knew his people loved him, but when we saw it openly displayed, it went straight to our hearts. In years past, when he came home on vacations, he would talk about “his people” and how loving they were. But we could not understand until now.

In particular, I would like to thank the Dominican Sisters of  Hawthorne along with their staff and volunteers. There is no place in the world like Rosary Hill. The love and gentle care given to Francisco these last 2-1/2 years is beyond description.  It was especially consoling to hear that on the evening of Monday, Nov. 14, the “Visiting Statue of Fatima” came to Rosary Hill and before leaving was brought down to Francisco’s room.  He passed away on Wednesday the 16th at 11:10am.

To each and every one our prayers. We will never forget you.

Inquiries and Testimonials

You may email inquiries and testimonials by clicking on Email Ann Noonan

Bishop’s Words Still Echo

Bishop Josu Iriondo
New York Daily News/March 23, 2011

It has been five years since the passing of my friend Bishop Francisco Garmendia.

The Basque bishop came to New York as a young priest in 1964. He told those at his first homily in New York: “Your joys will be my joys, and your sorrows will be my sorrows.”

His generosity, commitment and dedication to the less fortunate continue to serve as an example to others who follow in his path.

If he were alive and well, I believe Bishop Garmendia would lead one of his public prayerful processions on March 25 to commemorate the tragedy that occurred at the Happy Land Social Club 21 years ago.

On that fatal morning in 1990, a dollar’s worth of gasoline and two matches were used to torch a nightclub where 94 people were partying.

Sixty women and men were widowed, and 106 children were orphaned.

On the morning of March 26, 1990, the late John Cardinal O’Connor, who served as the archbishop of New York, and Bishop Francisco Garmendia, who served as the pastor to St. Thomas Aquinas Church on Crotona Parkway, led a prayer service in front of the remains of the Happy Land club.

They gathered to pray for those who had died, and offer comfort to the community that survived.

The 87 fatalities were part of a human tragedy of people from different heritages, including Hondurans, Garifunans, Puerto Ricans and other New Yorkers.

They all had families and friends who loved them and cherished them and miss them dearly.

On the 10th anniversary of the Happy Land Social Club tragedy, Bishop Garmendia lovingly asked the crowd to “Give great applause for those angels who are here among us.”

I invite those who will pay their respects this year at the Plaza of Eighty-Seven, the memorial across the street from the club site, to also recall the spiritual, psychological and concrete blessings offered by Bishop Garmendia during that difficult period and each year that followed.

The love and kindness he displayed for our South Bronx community is unforgettable – especially his pastoral care for the surviving family members of the Happy Land tragedy.

His compassion for the preciousness of all human life, and his reminders of our mission as witnesses to Christ’s calling to help those in need, are very much alive in our hearts.

The Resource Center for Community Development, a social service agency now known as The Hopeline, was begun in the basement of St. Thomas Aquinas rectory by Bishop Garmendia.

Thankfully, it was in place at the time of the tragic Happy Land Social Club fire.

During that relief effort, Bishop Garmendia let people know, “We are trying to deal with the needs of the people as they arise.

“At the moment, these include helping newly arrived immigrants, the poor and those who do not speak English.”

The Hopeline continues to- grow as it serves the needs of many through its food pantry, clothing bank, citizenship orientation and literacy programs.

The Hispanic Catholic Charismatic Center, also founded by New York’s first Hispanic bishop, began 1899 Daly Ave.

It is now located at St Anthony of Padua – bursting with young new members, and providing spiritual renewal and ministries to the corporal and temporal needs of the Hispanic community.

It is wonderful that on June 29, there will be a street naming in memory of Bishop Garmendia.

I look forward to celebrating this occasion and also to commemorating the anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood that same day.

So many of us have been blessed by Bishop Garmendia’s examples of generosity and by his dedication to the evangelization of the South Bronx and the Hispanic community.

I encourage all South Bronx residents to pray for all of the lives we have lost and for the,families and friends who continue to grieve those losses.

Let’s recommit ourselves to serving those who live among us, and treasuring the memories of those who taught us how to love our neighbor.

Bishop Josu Iriondo is an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York.

Recalling the Priestly Gifts of Bishop Garmendia

By Kathleen Keefe
January 2006

I did not have an appointment to see Bishop Francisco Garmendia that winter morning 13 years ago when I rang the bell at St. Thomas Aquinas. It was a “cold call,” as they say in sales. A family in desperate spiritual need asked me for the kind of help only a priest can give. The mother of the family would only speak to a Spanish-speaking priest. The bishop’s name came to me in a flash. “Fine,” she said. “I will speak to the bishop.” I headed straight for the South Bronx to request a meeting with the bishop.

I remember thinking thar bishops aren’t available like parish priests might be. How mistaken I was. He came into the waiting room immediately and met with me for almost an hour, writing down all the necessary details about the family. He assured me he would call the family that day and bring them in to begin their journey back to the sacraments. I was deeply impressed. Actually, I was overwhelmed by his humility, his confidence in God’s mercy and his burning zeal for souls.

How did this priest, who possessed the fullness of the priesthood, accomplish so much for souls?  It would not be long before I learned that his secret was prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, where the Santcifier sanctified him during those countless hours he kept watch in intimate communication with the Eucharistic Lord; the confessional, where he spent untold hours dispensing the mercy of God to souls, his unabashed love for Mary, his Queen and Mother: and his willingness to embrace suffering in silent union with the Crucified One.

As I left the bishop that morning, he asked me to return the following Tuesday at the same time. It was the first of many spiritual visits during which I explained the apostolate’s work of Divine Mercy among priests and families. He arranged for me to meet with the heads of the parish organizations to bring the devotion to the Merciful Jesus to the Hispanic community of New York. He not only opened the door to the devotion, but he personally involved himself in all aspects of the work of Divine Mercy, never refusing any invitation to proclaim God’s mercy to the people. He recognized the powerful effect of Divine Mercy in the work of evangelization, particularly in the healing of families.

The impact of one’s personal witness, the bishop believed, was vital to moving hearts to respond to grace. He stressed the importance of responding to the grace of the present moment. During our second meeting, as we spoke of the work of priestly renewal through the mercy of God, he revealed the great weight he carried in his heart for priests and the priesthood. He posed this question: “What does it mean when Jesus asks a priest to be his companion on the Cross?”

“It means,” I answered, “that such a priest has been specially chosen by God to suffer the Passion of Christ in an extraordinary way in order to accomplish the will of God.”

“Thank you,” he replied, and then, in a barely audible voice, added, “I am that priest.”

When I left that day, I knew, by God’s grace, that I had been allowed a fleeting look into the mystery beyond my comprehension. It was never mentioned again but his personal witness became the bedrock upon which he was to accomplish a great work of Divine Mercy in the hearts, homes and parishes of New York. In November 1993, the bishop celebrated Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas before a packed congregation from throughout the Bronx and Westchester as he called for the re-evangelization of families through the mercy of God and prayer for priests.

Blessed images of Our Lady of Guadalupe had been visiting the homes of parishioners to prepare the way for the eventual enthronement of the Merciful Jesus in every home.  Moral miracles abounded in the weeks and months that followed that Mass as laity with devotion to Divine Mercy were emboldened to go the extra mile to bring the mercy of God not only to their families but to the neighborhoods of New York, including nursing homes, hospitals and prisons.

Bishop Garmendia tapped into the basic goodness he saw in every person. even the most abject, and he called them to greatness in the service of God.

In January 2002, I met with the bishop to discuss the work of priestly renewal that had been evolving since the year 2000. Once again, he pledged his support with his customary enthusiasm, offering his assistance in anv way possible. Divine Providence would determine the basis of his help. It came in a most unexpected fashion one week later when the bishop suffered a serious fall after leaving the adoration chapel at St. Thomas Aquinas. Thus, his active ministry as an auxiliary bishop of New York came to a close as he undertook a new ministry of suffering in his painfuI ascent to the summit of Calvary to live out his companionship with Christ as a living crucifix.  Several months after his fall, during a brief visit to the nursing home, I had the joy of witnessing the bishop unite his sufferings to Jesus through Mary for his brother bishops and priests and for the Church.

During a period of recovery in October 2002, he blessed the founding of Regina Cleri (Queen of the Clergy) Oratory of Divine Mercy, an apostolate to uphold the Eucharist, Mary and the Priesthood. His words that day are a summary of his whole life: “There will be joy in giving everything to God for His priests if you allow Our Lady to be born in your hearts. Ask her in the prayer af the Rosary to be born in your hearts: it is then the heart of Mary leading you. That is the only way you will persevere.”

In June 2003 Bishop Garmendia went to live at Rosary Hill in Hawthorne in the loving care of the Dominican Sisters and assisted by a group of his faithful friends. During this time of suffering, he ministered to the sick and dying and taught all what it means to be a companion with Jesus on the cross. Those of us who knew and loved him are confident that his work continues from heaven.

Kathleen Keefe is Director of the Peace Through Divine Mercy Associate

An Unsung Pro-Life Hero

by John Burger
Human Life Review, Winter 2006
When Bishop Francisco Garmendia was laid to rest last November, eulogists and obituary writers focused on the fact that he was the first Hispanic bishop in the Catholic Archdiocese of New York. They described his social concern – he had founded a social-services agency- and noted his pastoral care for families after a fatal nightclub fire. They spoke about his holiness, his gentleness, his humility, and his low-key personality. He was vicar of the South Bronx at a time when it was a veritable hell on earth; they mentioned the regular religious processions he led through a major park in the Bronx.But there was one aspect of his life that was completely overlooked by the eulogists in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and by writers of tributes in the Spanish and English, language press: his great concern that women were aborting their children, and doing so at an extraordinary rate.As a bishop, Garmendia took seriously the implications of being a “shepherd.” He was not a pro-life ‘star’ as New York’s Cardinal John O’Connor was during the same era – but as a Catholic and as a priest he was devoted to Christ and His Blessed Mother, and he brought his concerns about the abortion catastrophe to them.

Francisco Garmendia was a native of the Basque region of Spain, born in Lazcano in 1924. He was one of eleven children in a devout Catholic family; they were led by their parents in daily recitations of the rosary. Two of his sisters would enter religious life. Francisco experienced a call to the priesthood at an early age and entered the seminary in his adolescence.

As a member of a religious order called the Canons Regular of the Lateran, he soon found himself in South America.  Based in Salta, Argentina, he would ride his horse into the mountains several times a week to bring the sacraments to the Indians.

Around the same time, thousands of miles away in the New York suburb of Yonkers, Betty Cleary and fellow members of the lay evangelization movement the Legion of Mary went knocking on door. It was 1964, and they were discovering more and more Spanish-speaking Catholics in the neighborhood of St. Peter’s parish – immigrants who were not, for some reason, coming to church.  Word traveled up the hierarchy that St. Peter’s needed a Spanish-speaking priest.

That word translated into a new mission for Padre Francisco Garmendia, who soon became known to Miss Cleary and others at St. Peter’s as Father Francis.

“I remember the first homily he gave when he arrived,” Miss Cleary said: Your joys will be my joys, and your sorrows will  be my sorrows'”

Father Francis arrived in New York on Sept. 8, celebrated by the Church as the birthday of Mary.

After 13 years of working with immigrants in New York Father Francis was named an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese. Archbishop Fulton Sheen, well known to Catholic television audiences in the 1950s and living his final years in New York City, wrote to him on the occasion: “Welcome to the greatest fraternity on earth!” Bishop Garmendia’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary was apparent in the motto he took as a bishop: “I am all Thine, My Queen and My Mother, and all that I have is Thine.” Cardinal Terence Cooke named Bishop Garmendia his Vicar for Spanish Pastoral Development; in 1986 Cardinal John O’Connor appointed him Vicar of the South Bronx.

There were two other priests, native New Yorkers, consecrated bishops in the same ceremony as Bishop Garmendia in 1977. One would go on to become the archbishop of Newark, N.J., and later Washington, D.C.: Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. The other was Bishop Austin Vaughan, a longtime auxiliary bishop of New York who, like Bishop Garmendia, had a grave concern about what America was permitting to be done to unborn lives. He was the first Catholic bishop in the United Stats to be arrested for his pro-life activities: He took part in Operation Rescue blockades of abortion businesses.

Bishop Garmendia was concerned too, but he took a different approach. “He was concerned that innocent babies were being killed and that was an injustice,” recalled Msgr. Philip Reilly, founder of the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. “He was concerned that mothers were being exploited. He was aware of his responsibility to reach out to the Spanish so they wouldn’t be taken in by false promises.”

A Man and His Mission

Garmendia’s territory, the South Bronx, has long been viewed as a lawless place. There have been periods of in history when buildings burned and crime reigned in the streets. It’s an inner-city place of high-density population, with many people living in low-income housing projects.  There are high concentrations of immigrants,  particularly Latin Americans. Gangs and the illegal drug trade plague some neighborhoods.

There is also a particularly high abortion rate. In 2001, the year Bishop Garmendia retired, there were 21,706 live births in the Bronx, 20,356 abortions, and 2,289 “spontaneous terminations, according to New York City’s Health Department. In the city overall that year, there were 91,792 abortions – including 29,684 by Hispanic women, and 44,213 by black women. In 2004, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were 20,854 live births in the Bronx, 20,594 induced abortions, and 2,139 spontaneous terminations.

Rosary Procession Planned for Crotona Park

This Catholic New York article from May 16, 1991 tells about Bishop Francisco Garmendia’s Annual South Bronx Rosary Rally.


Los inicios de la Línea de la Esperanza

[1997] EN MUCHAS PARTES del sur del Bronx, los residentes inner city son dejados a su propia defensa.

Los presupuestos estatales y locales restringen las ayudas continuas a los focos de pobreza.

Para empeorar la situación, está probado que gran número de residentes consideran que ciertos programas de algunas agencias son intrusión del oficialismo, por falta de información o ausencia de comunicaciones.

Las organizaciones religiosas, privadas y voluntarias deben tomar la asistencia de los necesitados que slip through the cracks.

En Centro de Recursos para el Desarrollo Comunitario es un segundo hogar para muchos. Es una organización privada, sin fines de lucro, destinada a nutrir el desarrollo de servicios y programas que van desde clases de inglés como segunda lengua para adultos, a torneos de bdsquetball para jóvenes.

El Centro toma una posición holistic al enfrentar las necesidades de las personas, considerando sus realidades espirituales, psicológicas, sociales, culturales y económicas, dentro del marco de la Iglesia Católica Romana.

El Centro ofrece su ayuda a todos, sin considerar su religión, raza, edad, sexo, u origen nacional. Aqui estamos para ayudar a resolver problemas tales como vivienda, inmigración, prevención de suicidios, abuso de drogas, cuidado de niños y cuidado prenatal.

El Centro también opera la Línea de programa spinoff que ofrece ayuda telefónica a personas necesitadas de asistencia o consejería.

La Línea de la Esperanza, un servicio bilingüe, está patrocinado por el Vicariato del Sur del Bronx. Sus servicios son gratuitos.  Voluntarios especialmente adiestrados operan una centralizada consejeria telefínica y centro de información bajo la supervisión de un equipo profesional con contactos en diversos campos de la salud y servicios humanos que incluyen niños fugados o abusados, personas desaparecidas, y empleos.

La Línea de la Esperanza usualmente es el primer contacto de los necesitados con el Centro de Recursos. Algunas veces la información es dada por teléfono. Otras, se aconseja acercarsze a la oficina. En todos los casos, las entrevistas son confidenciales, de apoyo, y respetuosas.

Betty Cleary’s Remarks on June 29, 2011

Dear Friends:

Isn’t it a beautiful day and how appropriate to celebrate and honor our dear friend Bishop Francisco Garmendia who has a special place in heaven as in our hearts. A warm welcome to Bishop’s nephew and his wife representing the family members in Spain. Bishop entered so many lives in a casual way. He knew immediately what each one needed. Like Jesus the Good Shepherd, he loved his flock, called each by name, fed us with knowledge of God, gave us Hope and taught us how to minister to our fellow men. He was a Spiritual father, friend and confidant to all.

On September 8th 1964, I met Father Garmendia outside the Chapel of St. Peter’s Church in Yonkers. As a member of the Legion of Mary, I along with Eva O’Neill were assigned to visit the Hispanic families moving into our parish. Msgr. Voight, our pastor, anxious that their Spiritual needs be attended to, requested the chancery to assign a Spanish speaking priest, Eve and I continued to volunteer under Father Francis’s direction in various ways such as CCD, preparation for First Holy Communion, Christmas Shows etc. Eve, in time moved upstate. I continued to volunteer while working full time. Occasionally I would do typing for Fr. Francis. I became familiar with many of his Pastoral Ministries before and after his reassignment to South Bronx parishes, and eventually to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Early in June of 1977 Bishop called to say he had been called to visit Cardinal Cooke who presented him with a question: “Would he accept the Office of Bishop?” I interrupted him and said. “What did you do?” He said, “I cried,” and then the Cardinal asked me again and I said, “Yes, but please do not take me from my people and put me in an office.” Cardinal Cooke said, “No, you will never be taken from your people. Your home will always be at St. Thomas Aquinas.”

How proud we all felt at this great honor to our beloved pastor not only a Bishop but also the first Hispanic Bishop of the South Bronx.

In the Fall of 1984, I took early retirement from the Telephone Company. A few months later, Bishop called to say he had been Appointed by the Cardinal to be Vicar of the South Bronx and would need a secretary. I told him I had no experience as a Secretary. My knowledge of Spanish was limited but I had grown to know and love the Hispanic Community from my work with the Lay Apostolate. He knew this and so I agreed and began my work at St. Thomas Aquinas I have never regretted it.

What are some of my many memories?

Joys and sorrows become a part of every family. Fr. Francis became a part of my family during his three years at St. Peter’s up to his last days at Rosary Hill. He officiated at weddings, christened new babies, visited our sick and said funeral Masses for loved ones. Not just for my family but to all his people. How blessed we were to know him.

One of my oldest memories is of a nephew about l3years old. He stopped at our home after Mass and asked me very directly, “If Fr. Francis died today, he would go straight to heaven right?” He was so serious. I answered, “I think so,” but it stayed in my mind and in the years ahead it was confirmed by many people who felt as he did about Fr. Francis. He was special; he cared about each individual soul.

I remember Bishop telling this story many times: When he first came to the South Bronx he went out for a walk and met a gentleman who asked him where did he live. He answered, “I live in the South Bronx.” The man said, “Oh! The South Bronx, is the devil’s playground?” Father responded, “Oh no, you are wrong, we will make it Our Lady’s Playground.” And he did.

I think every Catholic in the South Bronx has a Rosary, a Miraculous Medal, or a Divine Mercy medal given to them by Bishop. They participated in Rosary Processions, Rosary Rallies, Legion of Mary Praesidiums, Home Consecrations to Our Lady of Guadalupe, Divine Mercy Devotions, Right to Life Marches etc., etc. What a beautiful testament of the faith of our good Pastor and his beloved Hispanic people.

He also served as Chaplain on Pilgrimages for the handicapped to shrines in Europe, St. Anne’s in Canada and The Holy Land. The Pilgrimages were founded by Mrs. Mary Varick who was healed of cancer of the leg at St. Anne’s. In thanksgiving she promised to take other handicapped on Pilgrimages in spite of the fact that she still suffered from the effects of childhood polio.

Bishop loved his priesthood. There are endless accounts of his promptness to visit the sick or the deathbed of one of the faithful no matter what time of day or night. How comforting for families to know that their loved one was safe in the arms of God who first gave them life.

Many of you have memories of Bishop. Write them down and send them to Fr. Labrado or Fr. Alexis at St. Thomas. God willing, in the near future, a history of the Catholic Church in the South Bronx will be written. There have been and still are many shining lights in our midst. Bishop was a close friend to many of them. Mother, Teresa, Fr. Cizek, a Fordham Jesuit who was in solitary confinement for 5 years in a German prison camp, Cardinal Cook, Cardinal O’Connor, Mary Varick some of whom are already known as ‘Servants of God.” We hope & pray for this recognition to be given to our Bishop Garmendia.

I am sure that Bishop is so proud and grateful to each and everyone who has placed so much love and effort in order to make this a memorable day in the history of the South Bronx and in particular St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.

One last request: Love, pray and offer your help to your new Pastor Fr. Labrado and Fr. Alex, your wonderful office staff, and the volunteer parishioners who worked so hard to make this event possible. Also don’t forget Rosa Graziani and Miriam Rodriguez along with the sick and those recuperating from surgery.

God bless you all and enjoy the rest of the evening.