On Saturday, June 17th, to mark the retirement of Sr. Regina Corde and Fr. Martin Kull, the parishioners of St. Anselm said “thank you”, but not goodbye. The celebration began with the Saturday evening 5 pm Mass, that was especially festive with the singing of the St. Anselm Adult Choir under the direction of Therese Panicali, director of Music. The music celebrated the special nature of the evening’s liturgy, on the Feast of Corpus Christi and the retirement of two beloved members of the St. Anselm family, with a performance of Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” and the Quaker hymn “Simple Gifts”. The Mass was followed directly by a reception in St. Anselm Catholic Academy’s Meletia Hall.
Fr. Kull, with Deacon Davis, concelebrated the Mass with Msgr. Maloney, Msgr. Phillips and Fr. Saffron. He thanked Sr. Regina for her many years of service and congratulated her on her retirement. He thanked Monsignors Maloney and Phillips and Fr. Saffron and all the parishioners and staff St. Anselm for the opportunity to work with them and the support, prayers, and encouragement he received on the occasion of his stroke.
Fr. Kull spoke insightfully on the significance of the Feast of Corpus Christi, and especially the words of St. Paul that in receiving Christ we all become part of the body of Christ.
In addition he spoke movingly of the many people throughout his life for whom he was thankful: his family, who modeled a Catholic prayer life (his sister who taught him his pre-Vatican II altar boy Latin, his father – like a St. Joseph in his quiet faith, and his mother – like an Ethel Merman in her exuberance, “I’M CATHOLIC!!!”), the parish priest of his youth who always displayed such joy in being a priest, the secretaries and staff who do so much to keep a parish running, and the fellow priests with whom he had worked during the past forty-one years. And, of course the parishioners.
Father paraphrased Confucius, saying that when you have a job you like – you never have to work a day in your life and that he looked forward to “not going anywhere” and to the joy of celebrating Mass here at St. Anselm’s for many years to come (though he did acknowledge that he was “very” happy to not have to attend anymore diocesan meetings – shhh – don’t tell anyone!). Most significantly, Fr. Kull thanked God for the gift of his priesthood.
Monsignor Maloney then spoke on behalf of the parish. He thanked Sr. Regina for her 61 years of service – the last 23 being here at St. Anselm’s. He observed that together, on the altar “today” there was more than 150 years of priestly service and thanked Fr. Kull for sharing his many gifts with the parish. The congregation responded by treating Fr. Kull to an extended standing ovation. With the recessional, all in the church moved to Meletia Hall where the celebration continued.
Festively set up tables, beautifully decorated with flowers and laden with plates of cookies, the generous gift of the St. Anselm Catholic Academy Home/ Academy Association (thank you!) greeted guests as they took their seats with friends, old and new. In the center of the room a delicious buffet of sandwiches and salads was at hand for people to serve themselves, while St. Anselm’s own – Cono served sodas and drinks. Opposite the buffet tables, on the far side of the hall were displayed two delicious cakes, which expressed the occasion – “God Bless Sr. Regina”, “ God Bless Fr. Kull”.
Fr. Kull opened the ‘program’ by saying grace and then Monsignor Maloney turned the mike over to Sr. Regina.
Sister Regina noted her long connection with Bay Ridge: her mother was a resident in the parish on 4th Avenue and Sister served at St. Patrick’s School. She recalled the April of 1994 when Msgr. Phillips called her and asked if she would come to St. Anselm to head the Pastoral Ministry Office. She spoke about the Food Pantry – the volunteers who staff and the parishioners whose donations make it possible, the Eucharistic Ministers and the homebound, the Young at Heart and the school children, staff and parents. Sister thanked Bro. Robert and Deacon Davis, Suzanne and Cono for the pleasure of working with them. She especially thanked Msgr. Maloney, Msgr. Phillips, Fr. Saffron, and Fr. Kull – whom she wished wished happiness on his retirement.
Sr. Regina spoke about the recent ordination of Fr. Szymon as a gift to the parish. She also noted that in keeping her religious name and in being resident in the convent at Mary, Queen of Heaven – she felt a special connection and reverence for Our Blessed Mother. Sister concluded by stating that her original intent was to cut all ties to St. Anselm when she retired – but that she now realized that that would be impossible and that she would be dropping in “from time to time” for a visit.
As the cakes were cut and served, Sr. Regina and Fr. Kull circulated throughout the Hall receiving best wishes and reminiscing with the many guests. The two special honorees were saluted, embraced, wished well and received many a “thank you” for their service.
Thank you to Monsignor Maloney for making this joyous event possible, and to the wonderful committee who put together such a happy occasion: Eileen, Peter, Jeanine, Michele, Lynne, Ellen, Clava, Cono, Bob, and our wonderful junior hostesses – Gabi and Kiera.
All the best,
The St. Anselm Publicity Committee