"Believe me dear Father, there is seldom a day passes, without a very loving thought, and a sincere prayer for S. Mary's, and many is the Holy Eucharist that has been offered for S. Mary's, her priest and people and for the dear friends who helped me establish Holy Mother Church, in a very old town even thirty years ago, where the Church's voice had never been heard..."
—From a letter from Father James Noble to Father John Crowell, Advent Sunday, 1916When John Maury Allin was enthroned as twenty-third Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in 1973, he made a powerful, simple statement: "I am not being elevated; I am being centred." So has this parish from its origins in 1886, located directly in the heart of this Village. The wider areas which surround Amityville — East Massapequa, Copiague, North Amityville, Amity Harbor and several others — add to this focus. Saint Mary's stands vigil in a changing world, faithfully proclaiming the Catholic Faith, as Anglicanism has received it.
This parish is Sacramental, with eight Masses each week, including one at our local senior care facility. Chaplaincies are provided for two major mental health and geriatric facilities, with weekly visits and emergency calls included. Residents in both the substance abuse and conventional psychiatric divisions are ministered to, with the Blessed Sacrament administered on average 25 to 35 times each week, along with the Sacrament of Holy Unction.
Refusing to bow to the destructive influence of rampant theological so-called progressivism, the parish seems somehow untouched by the centuries and is more vibrant than ever. The daily Mass, Eastward position of the Altar, strict adherence to the pre-1960's Western Rite and many other aspects of life and worship sustain Saint Mary's as a spiritual oasis in a world clamouring for spiritual strength. The Holy Icons, statuary and stained glass truly involve any and all in "the beauty of holiness," in a way rarely seen these days.
This parish is ecumenical, being the founding church of the Amityville Ecumenical Ministry. We are privileged to assist the noble outreach program of Saint Martin of Tours. This deals with food, temporary housing, advice for accessing government assistance, job referrals, etc. Our joyous Festival of Lessons and Carols every Advent raises the seed money annually and involves the Roman Catholic, Lutheran and United Methodist churches in the Village.
This parish is pastorally civic-minded, providing chaplaincies for both the Fire and Police Departments in Amityville, as well as the Police Association of Suffolk County. We house Alanon meetings, Scouts, as well as a local Native American group which fosters American Indian culture and ceremony.
This parish is accessible, being open virtually every day of the year for at least part of the day as a comfortable, quiet refuge for any and all.
This parish is diverse, thanks to a steady, northerly migration of folk that has produced an ethnic diversity which generally astounds the visitor. The parish includes families from Antigua, Barbados, Belize, Great Britain, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Trinidad and of course, our own beloved country. As Father Goodwin (Rector, 1929-1966) answered a question regarding the racial or ethnic makeup of Saint Mary's, he boldly stated, "...only Christians here, only Christians."
Almost a cliché, the phrase "The Church is not a building" rings true at Saint Mary's. Its vibrancy does indeed come from the people and their devotion to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. It is sufficient to say that we are simply trying our best to share the Greatest Gift in the Universe with anyone and everyone we meet. We are a long way from being perfect but are hopefully well on our way to simply being faithful. And so it will ever be, Deo volente.