SERVICE TO COMMUNITY AND TO CHURCH
Saint Gregory the Great Church serves the Catholic community in Harrison, providing a deeper love and respect of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit among men, women, and children of our parish and our community. All persons are welcome to contact the Parish House at 914-835-0677 for an appointment to speak with a priest or to obtain additional information on how to participate more fully in the spiritual and service life of the Parish.
Our principal ministries include Worship, Education, Service, and Fellowship.
Our Worship Ministry covers daily and Sunday mass, holy days of obligation and special feast days. It includes our liturgy, and our efforts to involve children, teens, and families in worship. It covers those moments when we meet for the Eucharist on joyous occasions such as baptisms and weddings, and sorrowful ones such as funerals and memorial services.
Our Education Ministry covers Catholic education provided through the Early Childhood Education Program, CCD classes for our elementary age children, a family catechesis program, High School Youth group activities, and programs for Catholic adults including bible study and Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).
Our Service Ministry urges us to imitate the life of Christ by serving others in need. Our parish conducts and supports: blood drives; clothing drives; food drives; Christmas giving tree; and, youth service projects. These projects, among other activities, commit us to do good things to help others in the world around us.
Our Fellowship Ministry brings us together as Catholics to enjoy each other’s friendship and to strengthen ourselves as a parish community. Special events such a Parish breakfasts, luncheons, annual Dinner Dance, carnivals, parish sponsored trips to shows, shrines, and area attractions, and sports programs for CYO are all examples of activities that bring us together as one community. We work together as a Saint Gregory Parish Family because we are one Catholic community – comprised of young and old, people of different demographics and resources, but one in commitment to our belief in our faith and our church. We work together as a family to improve our Parish and the community around us.
Activities and organizations that fulfill the goals of these ministries include the following.
This is a consultative board of lay people working with the Pastor toward shared responsibility and ministry in the parish. The Council discerns the needs of the parish and then suggests policies regarding liturgy, spirituality, finances, religious education and social functions for the parish. The Council is comprised of the Pastor, a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, appointed members, and ex-officio members, i.e., Religious Education Coordinator and other selected lay persons.
The Parish Council advises the Pastor on parish matters which include, but are not limited to: planning; activities; faith-sharing; outreach; communication; community-building; fellowship; finance; religious education, vocations; and evangelization. The Council is divided into committees such as executive, spiritual life and liturgy, education and formation, social ministry, parish life, and fund raising. Committees include parishioners who are not members of the Council. Saint Gregory’s Parish Council has about 13 appointed members and about 8 members who serve ex-officio. The appointed members serve three year terms and ex-officio members serve by virtue of their official staff position within the parish. The Parish Council meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Lower Church.
The Code of Canon Law requires that each parish have a Finance Committee whose duty it is to aid the pastor in the financial administration of the parish. This includes review of the parish finances, aid in the preparation of the annual parish budget, overseeing maintenance and repairs, and evaluating future programs for raising funds. The finance committee meets periodically.
Vicariate Council of Central Westchester
The Vicariate Council is one of the primary consultative bodies in the Archdiocese. It is composed of 19 areas of the Archdiocese called Vicariates. St. Gregory is in the Central Westchester Vicariate which consists of 32 parishes. Two representatives from each parish are members of the Vicariate Council. It is made up of the Episcopal Vicar appointed by the Archbishop, the Director of Parish Councils for the Archdiocese, and a Chairperson selected from among the parish representatives. The Vicariate Council is the liaison between our parish, other parishes in Central Westchester and the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council (APC) presided over by the Archbishop. Members discuss general church matters and concerns in the Archdiocese, the APC and in their local parishes and report back to the Pastor and the Parish Council.
Ushers welcome those who come to the church and they are in charge of the proper order at Mass. They take up the collection and care for any emergency that may occur during the Mass. Any person sixteen years and older is welcome to join. This important ministry strengthens the bond of community in the “Body of Christ.”
Boys and girls of our parish may become altar servers in the fourth grade, and serve both priest and the congregation. They provide a strong witness to all those present. In their devotion to the Eucharist, they serve at weddings, funerals, Sunday Mass, and special services such as Benediction, Stations of the Cross, Confirmation, and First Communion.
Lectors lead us in the Word of God by proclaiming the various Scripture readings to the Community. The task of proclaiming the Scriptures is an ancient and important ministry in the Church. Any qualified parishioner can become a Lector for Mass. Husband and wife teams and young persons are encouraged to participate in this liturgical ministry. A Lector reads the first two readings and, usually, the Responsorial Psalm after the First Reading.
Special Ministers of the Eucharist
The service of the Eucharistic Minister is twofold: to share the Body and Blood of Christ with those who are gathered for Mass; and, to bring Christ to those who are not able to attend Mass – the sick and homebound. Eucharistic Ministers bring Holy Communion to homebound persons if a request is made so that the person may realize his or her union with the whole Church. In sharing the Eucharist with others, the Eucharistic Ministers realize that it is not only Christ they are sharing, but also themselves.
All are invited to become music ministers and offer their gifts to the assembly in the following ways:
Contemporary Choir – Open to all from junior high school through adults. Meetings and rehearsals are held twice a month in the Church in preparation for the 10:00 a.m. Mass each Sunday. Anyone who can sing or play an appropriate musical instrument is welcome to join.
St. Gregory Choir – Open to all adult members of the congregation. They meet for rehearsal once a week in the evening in the Church under the leadership of Professor Pierluigi Sampietro and sing each Sunday at the 11:30 a.m. Mass and at special liturgies and celebrations throughout the year.
The Liturgy Committee meets periodically to formulate plans for special liturgical events and to discuss overall plans for the liturgical and spiritual life of the parish.
The Parish of St. Gregory the Great looks upon religious education as a total parish experience, involving not just the child, but also the parents, families, catechists and priests, that form our parish community of faith. Our parish believes that religious education is getting to know Jesus and learning what is expected of those who choose to follow Him in the Catholic tradition.
The Religious Education Program of St. Gregory the Great reflects an integrated learning experience composed of catechesis, prayer, sacramental preparation, traditional Catholic doctrine, biblical studies, liturgy, community building and other dimensions of vibrant church life. Through the light of faith, we hope to develop in those entrusted to our care, a deeper relationship with God. Parish volunteers serve as catechetical instructors and communicate God’s love to the children of our parish, by proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.
The reading and studying of the Bible are vital for an authentic Christian life, for in the Bible, God “meets his children with great love and speaks to them.” The Bible Study Group generally meets on Wednesday evening in the Lower Church for a discussion of the Scriptures and its message to the daily lives of the participants.
Baptism is truly the most precious gift children receive as they come into the world to begin their life’s journey. It initiates them into the life of the Spirit, union with Christ, and membership in God’s family, the Church. It also frees them from Original Sin.
The Parish of St. Gregory the Great conducts a one-session Pre-Baptismal Preparation instruction to help parents prepare for and celebrate the Baptism of their child in a joyful and meaningful way. Through a process of prayer, reflection and discussion, this session explores the theology of Baptism, the history of Baptism, the signs and symbolism of Baptism, and the rite of Baptism.
Arrangements for the Baptism of children should be made at the Parish House with our parish priests. Pre-Baptismal instruction arrangements should be made by calling the Director of Religious Education at the Parish Center. Godparents are cordially invited and encouraged to attend this session as well.
Annual Archdiocesan Appeal
Each parish of the Archdiocese is asked to raise a designated amount of money (through gifts or pledges) for the pastoral, educational, and charitable works of the whole Archdiocese. The Annual Appeal usually takes place in the spring.
Bereavement Support Ministry
This ministry is to help anyone who has lost a loved one. It provides an atmosphere where you will find others who are also grieving … who would understand. It is an opportunity for you to ask questions, for others to listen to you if you care to share, and for you to listen to helpful ideas from those who have also lost a loved one. You will realize that others are also experiencing anger, loneliness or depression never felt to such depth before. There is time for informal conversation. Support, encouragement, friendship, and hope are offered. Please call the Parish House if help is needed.
Knights of Columbus – Harrison
The Knights of Columbus, Father Edward F. O’Sullivan Council #2579, is composed of men 18 years of age and older. New members are progressed through the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Degrees to full membership. The Council Hall is located at Halstead Avenue and West Street in Harrison.
The Council supports many charities, including their annual scholarship, Rosary Hill, phone bills for Pregnancy Life Call, priests in foreign countries who have served St. Gregory’s, the Harrison Beautification Program, the Harrison Council for the Arts and others. They entertain any request for a donation to your choice of a charity.
Social activities are the installation of Officers’ dinner, Annual Christmas dinner, Children’s Christmas party, testimonials for one of their senior members, dinners for special occasions (St. Patrick, etc.)
Columbiettes Council #2579 is the woman’s auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus. New members progress through the first degree and major degree to full membership. They support local charities including: transcription for the blind, Rosary Hill, senior citizen and boy’s club activities and contribute to the needy at Thanksgiving. They are also involved in hosting various parish functions and help support the parish.
Legion of Mary
The Legion of Mary is a worldwide apostolic organization of spiritually disciplined lay Catholics with a spiritual director working through the Holy Spirit to evangelize in bringing non-practicing Catholics back to the church.
Members meet once a week to pray. Members give at least two hours a week for works of the Legion. Members go in pairs to bring comfort to the sick, handicapped, nursing home residents and hospital patients. They pray with them, administer the Eucharist and are always ready to teach the rosary, distribute spiritual literature, books, and religious articles. The Legion of Mary is the extension of the heart and hands of the Pastor.
Inter-Congregational Layman’s Committee (ICLC)
The Inter-Congregational Layman’s Committee promotes cooperation among the participating religious denominations in Harrison and coordinates inter-congregational programs to support this effort.
Respect Life Group
Meets on Mondays.
Rosary Altar Society
The Rosary Altar Society meets monthly in the Parish House and starts with the Rosary. The Society’s purpose is to encourage praying the rosary daily and increase devotion to Our Lady. A team of ladies clean and decorate the church weekly and prepare special cloths, candles and vestments for church services. Once a year they raise money for altar accessories and for the less fortunate and partake in the Annual Communion Breakfast.
Third Order of Saint Francis
This is a Secular Lay order of Franciscans, who, under the guidance of Fr. Matthias Wesnosfke, OFM Cap as Spiritual Assistant, strive to live the gospel in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi. They come from all walks of life, married, single or widowed, laborers, professionals, housewives, executives, etc. – all who want to grow in their relationship with Christ. Franciscans meet monthly, on the 2nd Tuesday of every month in the Lower Church, to replenish themselves spiritually and study God’s way. They learn to improve their prayer life, sacramental life, devotional life and their relationship with others. The world is their arena of activity. Franciscans reach out to people in need. They volunteer their services in parochial and community areas and promote family life, youth activities and spiritual guidance.
St. Gregory’s basketball program is for grades 3 through High School (boys and girls) and runs on Saturdays and Sundays from mid-November through mid-March. The teams compete on an intramural level with neighboring parishes and also enter tournaments. The children are instructed by a dedicated group of parish and parental volunteers who teach and guide them in the principles of good sportsmanship. Emphasis is on playing as a team and having fun.