Bishop Colacicco Offers Graymoor Mass at Atonement Assembly 


Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo J. Colacicco celebrated Mass March 11 to conclude the five-day Atonement Franciscan Assembly at Graymoor in Garrison.

The assembly, featuring discussions and guest speakers from outside the Franciscan Friars of Atonement community, came as part of Pope Francis’ call for synodality and as efforts have begun to renew and revive Graymoor.

The assembly examined the future of the friars’ ecumenical ministry, social ministry, pastoral ministry and the future of the formation of religious life. A report was submitted to the Office of the Synod at the Vatican in Rome.

Bishop Colacicco opened Mass by saying he had a tough act to follow as he substituted at the Mass for Cardinal Dolan, who was ill, the morning after a concert at Graymoor by six-time Grammy winner Amy Grant.

“In the midst of all the changes and uncertainties of life, who is the constant, who is the one who is always present but our Lord Jesus, and we thank God for the gift of our faith and we celebrate that faith today, most particularly in our jubilarians who have said yes and continue to say yes each and every day,” he said at the start of Mass.

Following the final prayer of the Mass, Bishop Colaicco blessed 2020, 2021 and 2022 jubilarians for the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.

Bishop Colacicco, who grew up about 25 miles north of Garrison in Poughkeepsie, gave thanks for the welcome he received and shared his stories of his visits to Graymoor with his family and the late Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Pernicone for Italian Day.

“That was a yearly event for my family, and it was here on this Holy Mountain during that day of devotion, of prayer, of family, of faith that my own personal devotion to St. Anthony of Padua was born at that shrine, where I was instilled with the grace to be able to say yes to my own call on this mountain on those very important days in my youth,” he said.

Bishop Colaicco added he was humbled to carry Bishop Pernicone’s crosier in celebrating Mass.

“Please God, when you look upon this crosier that has been on this Holy Mountain for many many years, you will never forget where you came from and upon which you built your lives, and it is upon that foundation that you are able to be blessed to look forward,” he said.

Father Brian Terry, S.A., minister general of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, delivered the homily and reflected back on the readings at Mass from the Book of Numbers and St. Paul to the Romans that serve as the religious community’s foundation. The reading from Romans states, “We also boast of God through our Lord  Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received atonement.”

“It is Jesus who brings us all together, but part of what this is for us, these readings, you have to keep reading them,” he said. “You have to keep proclaiming them because if we’re not speaking words of At-One-Ment to be about unity, who is.”

Father Paul Wattson, S.A, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, and Mother Lurana Mary White, S.A., foundress of the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, passed these readings to future generations of friars and sisters to continue preaching.

“So this Lent, of all Lents, has to be a time where let’s leave a bunch of stuff behind,” Father Terry said. “The Holy Mountain gets bigger and bigger every day because people come here for healing, with problems. They can leave the stuff behind, so they have a possibility of a new future. 

“Isn’t Lent about fasting on the things that destroy us, and feasting on the new things that could make us more alive?”


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