It’s an odd experience to see Google suggest as you type in “Long Beach Is…” the completed possibility “Long Beach Island recovery” as the top search option. Around this time last year I was finishing up my summer on the NJ shore as a full-time associate pastor for the season at our parish on LBI, which consists of four (that’s right, four) churches that are all open and are usually packed for the many masses scheduled at each location every weekend. I couldn’t have imagined what was in store for this beautiful place just a few months later when a hurricane would come up the East Coast and nearly level the shoreline community. While I wasn’t able to be at LBI for the whole summer this year as I was last year, during what was really my first full-time parochial assignment as a newly ordained priest, I am looking forward to returning this week to help out with masses this weekend (August 17/18) and next weekend (August 24/25), as well as offer a public lecture on Tuesday evening (August 20) and again Wednesday morning (August 21).
This will be my first return visit to LBI since the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy last Fall, which destroyed hundreds of homes and commercial property. The largest of the four churches, St. Francis on Brant Beach, was in need of repair, something that lasted several months. Many on LBI have been affected in life-altering ways and our prayers continue to be with them.
For those who are interested, here is my tentative schedule while on LBI this week — I’m looking forward to reconnecting with many of those I haven’t seen in a year, especially my brother friars, although my time there will be comparatively brief. See you at one of the masses or talks!
Sunday Aug 18 | St. Francis, Brant Beach, NJ | Masses 8:45a, 10a, & 11:15a
Tuesday Aug 20 | St. Francis, Brant Beach, NJ | Public Talk “Vatican II as History,” 7p
Wednesday Aug 21 | St. Francis, Brant Beach NJ | Public Talk “Vatican II as History,” 10a
Sunday Aug 25 | St. Thomas, Surf City, NJ | Masses 8:45a, 10a, & 11:15a