By Mary DeNisco
Father Patrick Whitney will celebrate the 50th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood on June 10.
St. Peter’s Parish is busy planning a celebration for Pastor Reverend Father Patrick Whitney. There will be a special liturgy on Sunday, June 10, at the 11:30 a.m. mass, immediately followed by a celebration opened to all in the St. Peter’s Parish Hall.
Reverend Patrick Whitney is known to all and loved as “Father Pat.” He was ordained in June 1968, in Dublin, Ireland, for the Diocese of Rockville Center. Whitney flew across the Atlantic to begin his 50 years of service to parishes in Nassau and Suffolk counties. He was the founding pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Ronkonkoma and served as their spiritual leader from 18 years. And then Whitney was westward bound for St. Peter’s to become the church’s 13th pastor on June 28, 2006.
At St. Peter of Alcantara Parish, which serves 1,700 families in their English and Spanish Ministries, Whitney is very busy celebrating daily mass, and three of the five weekend masses, baptisms, weddings and funeral masses. Throughout the week, he makes visits to area hospitals and nursing homes. During the school lunch hour, and during after school religion education classes, Whitney often walks around talking with the children. The parish’s Spiritual Ministry coordinators are thrilled that Whitney enthusiastically presents lectures on the Bible, of which he is quite an expert. He was humbled but proud when the local chapter of the Hibernian Society was named the Father Patrick Whitney Chapter of Port Washington. Whitney also thoroughly enjoys both the meetings and services presented by the Interfaith Council of Port Washington.
Most of Whitney’s immediate family lives in Ireland; therefore, he looks forward to his trips home where he is usually kept busy performing baptisms and weddings, and visiting relatives and boyhood friends. This year he will join members of his seminary class of 1968 as they all celebrate their 50th anniversary of their ordinations. Whitney has recently been sharing some wonderful, precious photographs taken on that special ordination day in Ireland, a half century ago.
You never know where you might see Father Pat. It may be in the supermarket, shoveling snow before mass, cooking his own dinner or taking a long, healthy walk around town. He enjoys heading the Parish Business Office with the help of his office staff Susan, Vilma, and Jo (and boy, he can add faster than a computer). Whitney is one hard working, busy pastor with responsibilities for the parish and St. Peter’s School. He does enjoy having fun with friends from former parishes and friends right here in Port Washington. It is wonderful seeing Whitney and a group of retired men who attend the 8:30 a.m. weekday mass climb into cars and go off to the diner for breakfast once a week.
Whitney will be starting his last year as pastor, and then he will be retiring. The congregation is delighted to be celebrating his 50th anniversary at St. Peter’s.