Fr. Hallinan serves as pastor of multiple parishes on Staten Island, NY -- St. Mary of the Assumption and Our Lady of Mount Carmel+St. Benedicta.
It has been a challenge for me to serve as pastor of two parishes on the north shore of Staten Island - St. Mary of the Assumption and Our Lady of Mount Carmel+St. Benedicta. St. Mary's is now an exclusively Hispanic parish (mostly Mexican) whose population is not well-situated economically and many lack official status in this country. Our Lady of Mount Carmel serves a more diverse congregation but Hispanic immigrants are now the largest group within the parish.
A great source of consolation for me is the incredible faith and indomitable spirit of the immigrants with whom I work. They are tremendously good people who work hard, have beautiful families, and who are deeply devoted to the Church. I marvel at their resiliency, their perseverance, and the remarkably good spirit they sustain in spite of all the real challenges that they face.
At times I feel a deep sense of sadness when I reflect on the refusal of our nation to welcome these immigrants and embrace them as the citizens they have become. It is ironic that I succumb to this sense of sadness when the people I serve never seem to lose hope, never seem to lose their ability to find joy even in the midst of real hardship and never lose faith even when God must seem quite distant at times. My people have proven to be better pastors of my soul than I have been a pastor for them! And for that I am truly grateful.