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The Parish Council of St. Monica, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Stephen of Hungary is an advisory group, pastoral in nature, organized to support our pastor, Fr. Donald Baker in the apostolic work of the parish. We strive for unity while recognizing diversity. We are grounded in prayer, discernment, parish and community needs and wants, and take seriously the viewpoints of others. We engage in lively discussion, encourage thinking out-of-the box, and strive to provide inclusive community events, such as, the community Christmas Caroling and Cookie feast.


The Parish Council is comprised of thirteen men and women each serving a two-year term. We are looking for new parish council members who will commit their time, talent, and wisdom in a consultative and collaborative fashion. Typically, we meet in the parish center on the third Wednesday evening of each month from 7 PM to 8:30 PM.


Father Baker blessing the 2023-2024 Parish Council, September 2023

Monthly Meeting Minutes

The Parish Council met on May 22, 2024, and discussed the following:

  • Meeting began with a brief introduction of the Council’s history and its commitment to serve, share ideas, encourage volunteers, and embrace those seeking a spiritual home. Members should attend at least seven of ten meetings and there is a two year commitment with an option to remain for a third year. Currently there are thirteen members.

  • Jan Colucci was introduced as a prospective parish council member. She expressed her interest in joining the parish council to help educate children. Consensus was to accept her nomination.

  • Giola DellaRossa, Victoria Long, Karen Wendelken, and Jan Colucci will be new parish council members for the 2024/2025 term.

  • A BBQ is planned on June 19 as the end-of-year parish council meeting, at which the new members are welcomed.

  • The Green Team is doing administrative maintenance, planning a prayer walk, and a museum event at the Asia Society. A meeting is scheduled in the fall on October 4 to learn about the team and best practices.

  • Fr. Michael Holleran, a priest who served the French community at Notre Dame, will be coming to live with us in retirement as of September 1. The French community is also coming, and beginning in the fall, there will be a French Mass most likely every Sunday at 7:00 PM.

  • A defibrillator is now located in the back of the church in case of an emergency.

  • Fr. Baker reported that the rectory was robbed May 10. The police were called; no one was hurt. Security measures have been implemented.

  • The demolition of St. Elizabeth of Hungary has begun. Some artifacts (the altar candles, the sanctuary lamp) will be brought over for use at the Church of St. Monica.

  • Sara Miles, the author of the book, “Take This Bread” will be coming to speak in October. This book describes her conversion and her founding of a food pantry in her church in San Francisco. It is meant to coincide with the beginning of our own food pantry in October.


The Parish Council met on April 24, 2024, and discussed the following:

The meeting began with introductions.


Father Baker then reviewed how the Parish council was formed when the three parishes merged. Originally it brought people from the merged parishes together to shepherd the merger process. Later its focus shifted to pastoral planning: i.e. recognizing the needs of the parish community and designing programs to meet them.


Giola DellaRossa, Victoria Long, Karen Wendelken were introduced as prospective parish council members. They expressed their reasons for interest in joining the council; curiosity, giving back, being connected, interest in events, spirituality, volunteering.  creating an inclusive, welcoming parish, offering service in our community. Everyone’s talents were a good fit. Responses were honest.  Consensus was to accept all three nominations.


The Parish Retreat was reviewed.  There was good participation and turn-out with Father Tony Ciorra on Saturday, March 23.  Sound quality was low, and it was difficult to hear. A recommendation was made to order new microphones, and to request the participants to sit further forward.  Fr. Francis Gargani has accepted the invitation to present at the retreat next year, Saturday, April 12, 2025.


Green Team activities were discussed. The April 7 Earth Day composting event presented by GrowNYC was educational and successful. There was good attendance and interest in membership. Bins for scraps were explained, as composting becomes a focus in NYC recycling efforts.


Sourcing Volunteers for Ministries was discussed. Suggestions were made to recruit volunteers for current and future events as part of a future Parish Association. Taryn has been collecting contacts and a list of possible volunteers is begin drawn up.


Pastor Notes. Fr. Baker reported:


Holy Week and Easter went well, thanks to good music program and volunteers.


The Social Justice Committee met to discuss the book Take This Bread by Sara Miles, and setting up a food pantry is in progress.  The Archdiocese of New York will advise what they can and cannot offer. Father Baker will invite Sara Miles to come to speak.


St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church has been sold by the Archdiocese of New York. The sale was delayed following the merger due to a petition to Rome for Its reopening. The development of the church property will benefit the merged parish, and relieve it of the burden of caring for the church building which has sat empty since 2015.


The Parish Council met on February 28, 2024, and discussed the following:


  • ​Our Annual Parish Retreat Day will take place on Saturday, March 23 from 8:30 AM through the 12PM mass. All adults are welcome to prepare for Holy Week with this morning of reflection. Our presenter will be Fr. Tony Ciorra, and the theme is “Lord, Make us Instruments of Your Peace.”


  • Green Team/Social Justice. On Sunday, April 7, a compost event will discuss compost and recycling tips led by Grow NYC


  • Hope Walk/Community Outreach. St. Francis de Sales’ program meets bi-weekly, making and distributing sandwiches. St. Stephen alumni are involved.


  • Bylaws, Parish Council Member Terms. Election procedures and optional third-year terms will be discussed.


  • Potential New Parish Council Members. A search for new candidates will be supported by a social event after Mass, getting volunteers to sign up for events such as the International Food Festival and more.

Pastor Notes:


  • Parish and the School are collaborating on new ways to involve students in Masses.

  • Theology Thursday is a success with a surge in attendance.

  • The Senior Ministry will be seeking new leadership in the fall.

  • A food pantry is being established; Catholic Charities will provide the food.

  • The Parish Association will be seeking volunteers to participate in the Parish event


The Parish Council met on January 24, 2024, and discussed the following:


•   Christmas Caroling, Cookies, and Cocoa: The event was a success.  The Parish Council discussed potential changes for the 2024 event.

•   Annual Parish Retreat: The retreat will be held on March 23, 2024.  The Parish Council is working on programming and plans for publicizing the retreat.

•   Green Team/Social Justice: The Parish Council was updated on the committees’ plans and coordination with local parishes.           

•   By-Laws/Member Terms: The Parish Council discussed updates to Council by-laws and recruiting new members.

•   First Aid Kits: The Parish Council is working to upgrade the first aid kit on-site at St. Monica Church.

•   Father Baker updated the Parish Council on the new Parish Association, the new banner in front of the church, and local community outreach plans.


The Parish Council met on December 13, 2023, and discussed the following:


  • Christmas caroling, cookies and cocoa planned for December 17, 2023, Volunteers, tables, and Santa's cookie workshop are scheduled.  Nut free and gluten-free treats will be served.


  • Green Team/Social Justice. Meeting on December 6 discussed collaborating with other parishes and organizations and learning what other parishes are doing.                                                           

  • Thanksgiving dinner was a success.


The Parish Council met on November 15, 2023 and discussed the following:


  • New minutes approval procedure for quicker turn-around so minutes can appear in church bulletin. 

  • Parish year-end financial report review with Jenn DeSpirito.

  • Thanksgiving dinner update by Roz Panepento.  Dinner is scheduled at St. Stephen of Hungary Church auditorium on November 23, 2023. Final set-up and volunteering details discussed. Local businesses are appreciated for their generous support.

  • Social Justice and Green Team: Environmental and social justice groups will merge to form a single ministry. This is based on the interconnectedness of planet and people and the alignment with Laudato Si’, Pope Francis's encyclical on Care for Our Common Home. The inaugural joint meeting will take place on December 6, 2023.

  • Christmas caroling, cookies and cocoa planned for December 17, 2023.

  • Christmas meeting/potluck dinner being planned.

  • New Business—The Parishioners Association


The Parish Council met on October 25, 2023, and discussed the following:

· The Parish Theme for 2023/2024 will be “Make Us a Channel of Your Peace.” A banner will be created and hung on the façade of the church.

· Parish Thanksgiving Dinner is scheduled for November 23, 2023, and will be held in St. Stephen of Hungary School auditorium. Click here for details.

· A Social Justice Ministry Meeting will be held on November 8, 2023 at 6:30 p.m. Click here for details.

· Green Team October film screening was well-received. 

New Business:

o November 11, 2023 - Faith Formation Day at Fordham.

o March 23, 2024 - Parish Retreat in the morning; speakers are being explored.   

 Pastor's Notes:

o November 4, 2023: Bereavement retreat in the church. 

o The church bulletin will have a new design.

o Relocated refugee seekers program is seeking religious organizations to help refugees settle and address various issues such as housing, jobs, etc.

o Sacristy space has been renovated.

o Families hosting German students was a positive experience for both the students and the host families.

o Second Sunday Social had 25 people and will return in the Spring. 

o Fr. Baker will do a German/Yorkville walking tour in the Spring. 

o Theology Thursday continues.

o In Advent, evening prayer will resume.

o Senior Ministry is seeking volunteers.

o St. Stephen of Hungary School won the National Blue Ribbon School Award and will be honored in Washington, D.C. in November.  The school is planning a Capital Campaign.

o Monica's Ark, the children’s quiet space in the back of the church has opened and is much appreciated by families with children.

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