Tioga County parishes offer wide range of devotions - Catholic Courier

Tioga County parishes offer wide range of devotions

NEWARK VALLEY — Devotional opportunities are in ample supply throughout Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick parishes — particularly at the start of each month.

This Aug. 4, First Friday eucharistic adoration will take place from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Newark Valley’s St. John the Evangelist Church, with the final hour to feature prayers for vocations. The next morning, a First Saturday Mass will take place at 9 a.m. at St. James Church in Waverly.

These monthly events are attended by numerous parishioners from the four Tioga County churches: St. John the Evangelist, St. James, St. Patrick in Owego and St. Margaret Mary in Apalachin. According to Katie Gillio, interest in them has grown thanks to the dedication of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick clergy over the past several years.

“Bishop (Salvatore) Matano has sent us very holy priests,” said Gillio, whose family has belonged to Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick since 2013. Currently, Father Jeffrey Galens serves as pastor and Father Steven Lewis as parochial vicar for the parishes, which are located in the Diocese of Rochester’s southeast corner.

Tioga County parishes feature many eucharistic initiatives

In addition to First Fridays at St. John the Evangelist, Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick offers eucharistic adoration every Tuesday from 12:30 to 6 p.m. at St. Patrick and every Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m. at St. James. There also are several opportunities for rosary recitation and confession during the week, as well as occasional Latin Masses on Saturdays.

Parishioner Maria Howard noted that regular adoration has had a deep impact on her spiritual life.

“Adoration just changes you over time. For me, it wasn’t some sudden thing,” she said. “God works on your heart over time, and I just grew with the help of people.”

Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick offers special eucharistic events in addition to the regularly scheduled ones. On June 11, an annual Corpus Christi procession featured more than 120 people walking through the streets of Owego, honoring the Blessed Sacrament through prayer, readings and Benediction.

In addition, Gillio noted that a 40-hour eucharistic devotion — featuring a guest speaker, Holy Hours, praise-and-worship music, and Liturgy of the Hours — is scheduled for Oct. 5-7 at St. Patrick Church. Gillio added that a series of talks is being planned, in conjunction with the ongoing National Eucharistic Revival, on how men can improve their spiritual lives.

Pro-life activities take place throughout the year

Another strong focus at Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick involves pro-life causes. For example, the parishes regularly conduct “spiritual adoptions,” coordinated by parishioner Julie Durand. This initiative involves Rosary for Life recitation numerous times over a nine-month period for one or more unborn babies, “adopted” by the parishes, who are in danger of abortion. Periodic updates appear in the Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick bulletin during that time, chronicling the growth of the fetuses.

Tioga Catholics engage in pro-life activities beyond parish boundaries as well. Gillio noted that her husband, Michael, is part of a group that prays regularly near an abortion clinic in Vestal near Binghamton. In addition, groups from Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick have made many January trips to Washington, D.C., to take part in the annual March for Life.

Gillio — who, with her husband, has nine children ages 3 to 22 — noted that they are among several large families who belong to Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick. The Gillios also are part of a homeschooling coalition that includes families from the Syracuse Diocese.

New initiative offers prayers for vocations

An additional area of involvement for Gillio is her coordination of Mothers of Lu, a women’s group whose members pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life from within their own families. Begun in October of 2021 at Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick, the coalition meets monthly for the concluding hour of First Friday adoration at St. John the Evangelist, praying the rosary and taking part in Benediction.

Gillio explained that Mothers of Lu is open not just to mothers but grandmothers, aunts and godmothers as well. She said she encourages participants to pray not only for their own children to adopt religious vocations, but also to pray likewise “for your nieces and nephews and godchildren and cousins.”

She added that the clergy of Blessed Trinity/St. Patrick have been integral in growing vocations, based on the way they model priestly life to young people.

“They come to our house and eat pizza with us,” Gillio said. “They’re relatable and like to do normal things, but also gave their lives to Christ.”

Tags: Catholic Beliefs, Eucharistic Revival, Tioga County News
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