My name is Father Gerard Gentleman, and it is with a joyful heart that I come to Saint Rose of Lima Parish as your new Pastor. I am honored by the confidence that Bishop Barres has in my worthiness to serve as your Pastor, and I am grateful for the encouragement that Bishop Andrzej has given to me as well. I happily look forward to our years together.
I have just completed 12 years as the Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Hicksville. Prior to that appointment, I served as Chaplain of Holy Trinity Diocesan High School for seven years, following my first assignment as the Associate Pastor and temporary administrator of St. Kilian Church in Farmingdale. I have been blessed to be engaged in a variety of ministries to youth in our Catholic Schools, Religious Education and Faith Formation, Youth Ministry and Catholic Scouting. I served for 12 years as the Chaplain of our Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, and I am currently serving as the Associate Chaplain of the National Catholic Committee on Scouting and will begin a three-year term as the National Chaplain next April.
Although I have Nassau County family roots, I grew up in Ronkonkoma. I am a graduate of Connetquot High School in Bohemia and the State University of New York College at Fredonia, where I obtained a BFA in Theatre Arts Performance. I attended the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington and received a Master of Divinity and a Master of Arts in Theology.
I am the oldest of the five children of my parents, Fran and Jerry. My parents, siblings, their spouses and my nieces and nephews are a source of great happiness in my life. As you get to know me, you will come to know them as they are often the subject of my stories.
I chose to share the passage from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, taken from today’s second reading, because it expresses a wisdom that I hope will continue to shape our relationship. While I trust that I have much to offer you, I know that I will depend on the prayers, support and active participation of all of you. Together the Lord is calling us to discipleship and service, particularly as we move past a devastating global pandemic.
WELCOME TO FATHER ANTHONY – I am very excited that arriving with me this week is Fr. Anthony Saliba to serve as an Associate Pastor, along with Father Allan. Fr. Anthony and I will introduce ourselves at masses this weekend, and Fr. Anthony will have the opportunity to share his story next weekend. He comes to St. Rose from St. Raphael in East Meadow where he served as an Associate Pastor for five years. He is a native of Malta, grew up in Italy and was ordained for the diocese of Gozo in Malta. He has an extensive background in art, design and education.
THANK YOU, FR. KEN, – I was able to watch a bit of the farewell mass for Fr. Ken and was very moved by the tribute you paid him. I obviously have first-hand knowledge about how hard it is to say goodbye to a parish community, especially when you spend so many years as pastor as well as an associate pastor as he did. His leadership throughout these years has benefited this parish community, and I, on your behalf, express the gratitude and prayers of this parish community. We wish him well as he begins his new pastorate at Good Shepherd Church in Holbrook.
FATHER SULLIVAN – Father Sullivan is also worthy of the gratitude of our parish. He joined you in historically difficult times and dedicated himself to caring for you during these trying times. In a very personal way, I pray for him as he succeeds me at Holy Family. Over these last few months, I have come to know his maturity, sincere pastoral charity and prayerful heart. Thank you for helping to prepare him to serve as pastor and shepherd for the first time.
FATHER ALLAN – With Fr. Sullivan, Fr. Allan came here to St. Rose in unprecedented times. Fr. Anthony and I look forward to learning about this parish from him as well as joining him in the newness of life that we now enjoy in the waning days of the pandemic.
I thank all of the staff for welcoming me and guiding me over the last few months. I have also received many greetings from all of you. I am happy that without the burden of masks, I will have the chance to meet you face-to-face this weekend. Please pray for me as I will be praying for you.