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Father Sommer Is At Home At St. Bernard’s

“I don’t have a job. I have a life.” These are the words of Father Ralph Sommer, 57, who has dedicated his rich and inspirational life as a Priest to making his community a better one. 

 

Sommer was born in Flushing Hospital and lived in Valley Stream up until he was eight years old. Afterwards his parents and three younger siblings moved to Garden City where he spent most of his life growing up.

 

“My parents encouraged us to be creative. They always wanted us to be doing something. Sure we had a TV but my parents preferred us to be active. My family would put on puppet shows and we even had a little family newspaper we would put together by getting news from the neighborhood. My entire family was in the parish choir. It made road trips exciting because we could always sing songs in harmony,” Sommer said with a chuckle. 

 

Sommer attended St. Pius X in Uniondale. “It was a Catholic High School for boys who were considering a vocation for the priesthood,” he explained. “My uncle Ralph Besendorfer was a priest for the Brooklyn Diocese. He was my inspiration. The folks loved him. He used to come out to St. Bernard’s to help once in a while and some of the parishioners still remember him. I used to look at my uncle and tell myself that I could be like that.” 

 

After high school Sommer went on to study at Adelphi where he became the editor of the university’s newspaper. 

 

After graduating in May of 1978 with a degree in psychology, he immediately enrolled at The Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington in the fall of 1978. Upon his graduation in May of 1983 he was ordained a priest. “Ever since I was little I knew this is what I wanted to do,” said Sommer. “I never looked back. This was the right thing for me and I never regretted it.”

 

“My first parish was at Our Holy Redeemer in Freeport where I spent five and a half years,” explained Sommer. “After that I was sent to St. Thomas More Parish in Hauppauge where I served two six-year terms. I then became a pastor at St. Brigid’s in Westbury where I spent another 12 years.” 

 

St. Bernard’s welcomed Sommer as a pastor in June of 2013. During a convocation at St. Bernard’s on Saturday, Jan. 24, churchgoers democratically decided that instilling the Catholic faith into the next generation should be their number one priority. Sommer said

“I agree with the notion and I also have my own personal goal to help the current generation of adults deepen their relationship with the church. My theory is if the current generation doesn’t grow in their faith then how could they pass it on to the next generation?”

 

Reflecting on his new gig as pastor of St. Bernard’s in Levittown, Sommer said “I really feel at home here. The unique thing about Levittown is that it was built all at once while other towns were built little by little. A lot of memories go back to the very founding of this town. There is a real sense of loyalty and community in Levittown. I am really happy to be here. Every morning when I wake up, I just smile.”

News

The Levittown Volunteer Fire Department will host its annual Fire Prevention Open House on Friday, Oct. 10. The event will be held at the Gardiners Ave. Fire Headquarters from 6 to 9 p.m. 

 

October is designated as the National Fire Prevention Month. Every year, during the month of October the Levittown Fire Department Fire Prevention Committee visits all the schools in the fire district teaching and re-enforcing fire safety. In the United States every year, fires in homes are the cause of the largest loss of life and serious injuries. World wide, the United

States is at the top of the list for the most lives lost. This, even when all the fire departments across the country strive to get the fire safety message out, often giving out free smoke detectors.

Long Island Democrat David Denenberg has dropped out of the race for state Senate, after recent accusations that the Nassau County Legislator fraudulently billed his own law firm—

Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron—over $2 million for non-existent case work. According to published reports, Denenberg stated, “My family, the electorate, the campaign and this position are way too important to subject myself to such outrageous allegations and negative attacks against me personally. Therefore I withdraw from the race.”


Sports

Ex-college pugilist continues ring comeback for charity

The Long Island Fight for Charity will be hosting its 11th annual Charity Boxing Event on Nov. 24 at the Hilton in Melville. Among the 20 volunteers will be Levittown native Stefan Borovina, who will be fighting under the nickname “Lights Out.”  Borovina is the business manager at RMB Electric in Farmingdale. 

 

He also participated in the event last year, after a friend from his high school wrestling team informed him. Borovina jumped at the opportunity, having had a history in the boxing ring at the University of Notre Dame.

Men’s Farmingdale State College Soccer update (3-6, 0-1 Skyline)

 

The men’s soccer team fell in both matches last week - 4-3 vs. Staten Island (2 OT) and 3-2 at Mount Saint Mary (OT). Junior midfielder J.T. Famularo (Levittown) was named to the Skyline Honor Roll. Famularo recorded a team-leading three goals last week. He scored two versus Staten Island and added one goal in the OT loss at MSMC.


Calendar

Island Trees PTA - October 1

Towns E-Cycle - October 5

Levittown SEPTA Meeting - October 6


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com