“A Morning of Prayer for America,” organized by the Rockland County Catholic Coalition, was held today at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point.
The services began with the Exposition of Blessed Sacrament and concluded with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, celebrated by Fr. Brendan Gormley, of St. Barnabas in the Bronx.
Fr. Brendan formerly served in St. Paul’s in Congers and was very active in the prolife movement in Rockland County.
In his Independence Day homily, Fr. Brendan spoke of the two gifts of God that are also cherished American values — the right to life and the right to be free. He said that the freedom to choose and decide is truly a gift that makes us human, but that real freedom lies in choosing what we ought to do and not merely what we want to do.
Fr. Brendan acknowledged that sometimes, as a society, we make bad and tragic choices, like Abraham, the subject of the first reading of the mass. However, “the journey of the great country we love so well is not over,” he said, “It’s only the beginning of the story,” and with faith in God’s forgiveness and mercy, we should “trust that God can accomplish amazing things far beyond our comprehension.”
Father call us to be faithful, and with courage and prayer embrace the vocation God has set for us: to bring our country into the presence of Jesus. And as God healed the paralytic in the gospel and forgave his sins, He will heal our country to its very core.
The final blessing at the mass was offered by Fr. Kenneth Riello, a newly ordained priest who has been assigned to St. Theresa’s in Staten Island. Fr. Riello grew up in North Rockland, and he said that Msgr. Harrington, one of the leaders of the county’s prolife community, was a great inspiration to him.
The lector at the mass was Richard Bruno. Music was provided by Eileen Peterson, Monica Peterson-St. John, and Peter and Maryann Partridge.