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February 13, 2003

Father Thomas Costa Celebrates Silver Anniversary

From: Glen Cove Record Pilot, NY - 13 Feb 2003

St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church was the locale for celebration and jubilation on Sunday, Jan. 26, as Father Thomas Costa, pastor of St. Patrick's, celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood. Joining his parents, family members and parishioners at the 11:30 a.m. Mass were members of Father's former parishes and many members of the deaf community. Father Costa has worked closely with the deaf community on Long Island for more than 20 years. In fact, he helped to start the first deaf council of the Knights of Columbus in the history of the order, Sign of the Cross Council #11254.

The multi-lingual and multi-cultural celebration befitted the life and times of a priest who has worked with diverse communities throughout his ministry, and is fluent in sign language, English, Spanish, Italian, also speaking some French. Sister Joan Finn, director of Deaf Ministry in the diocese of Rockville Centre, interpreted the entire Anniversary Mass into sign language, Deacon Juan Guilfu read the Gospel in Spanish, Deacon Frank Borchardt read in English and Deacon John Audia signed the Gospel for the congregation. Father Costa's homily included prayers of thanks and praise to God in English, Spanish, Italian and sign language. Councilwoman Joan Meehan read the scriptures, just as she had 25 years ago at Father Costa's ordination Mass. The combined choirs of English speaking and Spanish speaking communities, of adults and children, created an atmosphere of joy and unity during the celebration of the faith of St. Patrick's parish.

Following Mass, the standing room only congregation gathered for a reception in Msgr. McCann parish hall. Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp and Councilwoman Meehan presented Father Costa with a congratulatory citation from the city. Father Richard Kopinski of St. Hyacinth, the representative of the Bishop for this area, presented Father with a special blessing from Pope John Paul II on the auspicious occasion.

While Father Tom may have been the Man of the Hour, he was not the only celebrity honored at the gala. His faithful Black Lab Monsey (short for Monsignor), the "Parish Pooch" who is very often seen at Father's side in local parades and events and at parish functions and socials, received his own citation from the Mayor's office. The beloved parish priest was happy to share the limelight with Monsey, and he stated he was "grateful to all who gathered for this very special moment in my life and in the life of our parish."

The parishioners of St. Patrick's wish Father Costa and Monsey many more years of stewardship in the parish and much joy and peace in their lives.

Copyright ©2003 Anton Community Newspapers, Inc.