The departure

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 27, 2002

Have you ever had visitors come to see you and the shortest time they stay seems like an hour? Then you go the other way – you can’t get enough time with them. This second suggestion was the one that cropped up recently.

I went to St. Mary’s church for Mass and following it to a catered luncheon for Father Patrick Golden, pastor.

I put the word &uot;catered&uot; in there because when it comes to occasions where food will be involved, the Mothers’ Club gets the ovens heated up and an army invades with each member carrying a food she’s known for. Thus, the food is all laid out for the hungry parishioners who eat for free. This is the usual way it is done. Not unlike most Protestant churches, and after living in New York, the Jewish congregation follows suit. I’m familiar with this.

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Well, this &uot;catered meal&uot; was to say good bye to Father Golden, pastor. This man you should meet! First time I met him I was taking part in a crossword activity. Next to me sat Irvy (crazy name, but original). S

he poked me and said in an awed voice, &uot;Florence, who is that?&uot; and pointed to a main in clerical garb. He seemed to shoot off Catholic sparks, and since I was the only Catholic resident I said, &uot;That’s a priest – must be for me.&uot; Irvy sighed and said, &uot;Oh Lord is he cute!&uot; Must note here that Irvy is 100 years old. Do the juices still flow at 100? I don’t want to find out. Remember my cut-off date is 90.

I went to him – sure enough Catholic. I told him how he floored Irvy and I agreed she was right. He was cute. I would have gone ‘adorable&uot; but I didn’t’ want to swell his head any more. I never let him forget it took a hundred-year-old gal to appreciate his charms.

Since that meeting I’ve become very friendly with Father Patrick and he would visit me at the center and bring Communion. We talked at great length and no subject was off limits. I put him in a class of my dad whom I adored. No one could ever do better than that with Father Patrick.

His parish poured out love for him.

I am so unhappy about his leaving but want only success and happiness for him. Does anyone know any cute priests? I seem to have lost mine. Actually he was transferred to another church. St. Mary’s will never be the same.

Be happy, cutie.

Florence Arena is a resident of Hillcrest Retirement Center and a regular columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald.