Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I’m delighted to share with you that Fr. Benjamin Ogbunuko arrived at St. James this past Wednesday
ready to begin his assignment as our new Pastoral associate.

This is Fr. Benjamin’s first experience of parish ministry in the United States and he has expressed
his interest and desire to be with us.

I know that you will give him a warm welcome when you get to meet him in person.

Let us pray for him as he begins this ministry here with us. We also pray for all the priests who
went to their new assignments this past Wednesday as well.

Welcome, Fr. Benjamin! We are delighted that you are here with us!

Although summer already began on June 21st, Independence Weekend has always felt like the real beginning of the summer season for me. As a child I spent most of my summers in Staten Island in a two-bedroom bungalow owned by my maternal grandparents. In that bungalow resided my grandparents, my mother and father, my two brothers and sister, my aunt and her two children. We always arrived on the 4th of July Weekend. Coming from the city it was a great change of pace and lifestyle for all of us. There were regular barbecues, eating outside, fresh pears and peaches from my grandfather’s trees. It’s where I learned to ride a bike, which I was never able to ride in Manhattan.

I remember vividly that my mother always thought that the summer went so quickly that she referred to it as JulAugust.

My four grandparents always enjoyed that weekend because it celebrated the United States, which gave them a chance at a better future, since they came from poor areas of Italy. They gave their grandchildren a great love for our country.

God bless the United States of America! May we be active in fulfilling our responsibilities as American citizens as we recall the freedoms and rights we enjoy, which we so often take for granted.

Fr. Mariusz left on Friday to begin his vacation in Poland to visit his family and friends. I’ll be taking my vacation in August. I’ll see you in September. Of course, I will be here throughout the month of July.