My Summer Internship in Brewster, NY

After finishing my year of pastoral work at St. Benedict’s in the Bronx, I have been assigned by Cardinal Dolan to do a 10-week internship the parish of St. Lawrence O’Toole in Brewster, NY.
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Brewster is a small village of about 2,300 inhabitants located in the woody hills of southeastern Putnam County. Known as “The Hub of the Harlem Valley,” Brewster is located within 1/2 square mile and is the second-to-last train stop on the Harlem Line.

The Brewster Train Station -
The Brewster train station

Over half of the population is Latino, and many of them are day laborers. In the 2010 census, Brewster came out to have the highest concentration of Guatemalans in the entire country: they make up almost 40% of the village population.

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Many of the stores on Main St are Latino-run.
The competition! The Pentecostals recently took over the old Presbyterian church.
Our local competition: Pentecostals recently took over the old Presbyterian church.

I am looking forward to spending several weeks in this quiet part of the Archdiocese’s “upper counties”. After so much time in the city, it’s nice to be somewhere where you can hear the birds chirping.

The Church of St. Lawrence O'Toole
The Church of St. Lawrence O’Toole

I am also looking forward to getting hands-on experience at St. Lawrence O’Toole, which is known throughout the Archdiocese as a vibrant parish that attracts people from all over, thanks to innovative work of the pastor Fr. Richard Gill. I was able to introduce myself at each of the seven masses on Sunday, and was welcomed warmly by the parishioners.

A of Prospect St, on which the church and rectory are located.
A view of of Prospect St, on which the church and rectory are located.

The parish has lots of activities, and there is plenty of work for me to do. It beginning to look like it will be a busy and interesting summer. Stay tuned!

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