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Father Richard Kopinski Announces Retirement

A popular novel, The Cardinal, first gave young Richard Kopinski the idea that he might have a calling to be a priest.

“I was taken with the idea of a priest as someone who belongs exclusively to God,” said Father Kopinski, pastor of St. Hyacinth Catholic Church, Glen Head. He had read the 1950 novel by Henry Morton Robinson. The novel was made into a 1963 film directed by Otto Preminger.

That calling would take him far from Long Island, first to the University of Notre Dame and later Africa, but eventually back to Long Island.

Now, he is preparing to retire June 26, having served as pastor of St. Hyacinth for more than 20 years. “I’ve tried to live that out.”

Succeeding him will be Father Marian Bicz, pastor of Our Lady of Ostrabrama, Cutchogue.

Growing up in Greenlawn, he belonged to St. Philip Neri, Northport, and attended the parish school. The family later moved to St. Anthony of Padua, East Northport.

“We were a very Catholic family,” he recalled. “Mass on Sunday and rosary during the week.” He went to St. Dominic High School, Oyster Bay, and became involved in the Catholic Student Mission Crusade.

Once he attended a conference of the Catholic Student Mission Crusade at Notre Dame. There, he became attracted to the Holy Cross Fathers, who founded Notre Dame.

“I wanted to become a foreign missionary,” Father Kopinski said. He went to Notre Dame, entered the Holy Cross Fathers. After he was ordained, he was sent to the missions in Uganda, Africa. After a few years, he returned to the U.S. and served as a teacher at Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Queens.

After a while, he applied to become a diocesan priest for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, Long Island, in 1973.

He served as associate pastor at St. Catherine of Sienna, Franklin Square, Holy Name of Mary, Valley Stream, and later as teacher at St. Pius X Preparatory Seminary, Uniondale, a high school for young men interested in the priesthood.

In 1984, he was assigned to his first pastorate, Our Lady of Ostrabrama, which is a Polish ethnic parish in Cutchogue. His years there were happy.

“It was my introduction to Polish culture,” Father Kopinski said. His family was Polish, but there were few Polish families where he grew up and he had limited opportunity to experience Polish language, culture, music and the unique Polish Church tradition.

“I didn’t know Polish, so I had to learn,” because some of the Masses are offered in Polish. “I still don’t know it as well as I’d like, but I can get by.”

He came to St. Hyacinth, also a Polish parish, in 1992. “This has been a wonderful parish. The people have been very supportive and generous.”

Looking back through his varied experiences, Father Kopinski said that he is happy with the priesthood.

 “There are surprises. While you are being trained you concentrate on the spiritual aspects of the priesthood but much of your time is working with people and finding harmony with the people who are serving.

“My greatest joy is to be able to offer Mass,” Father Kopinski said, as well as to be with the people in their difficulties as well as their joys.

Father Kopinski will continue to live at St. Hyacinth and hopes to still assist. He has no other plans for retirement at this point. “I’d like to travel,” but health problems make it difficult for him to travel alone.

“People tell me that I should have a hobby,” Father Kopinski said, “but I have never had time for a hobby. Perhaps I will now.”

News

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, Long Islanders taking mass transit may find themselves caught up in the mad dash of the holiday rush. But on the Oyster Bay line, riders are lucky in that they don’t experience the same level of stress over parking as some of the busier lines do.

“The Oyster Bay station never seems to get that crowded, but we’ll see what happens during Thanksgiving holiday when a lot of people come to visit families. I don’t think I’ll have a problem commuting, though,” says Michael Miniero, an Oyster Bay resident who regularly commutes to work on the LIRR.

What better way to celebrate a 100th birthday than by having a new room inauguration filled with local residents, live music and cocktails and scrumptious hors d’oeuvres. That is what happened at the Locust Valley Library Sunday evening, Nov. 9, as the community room was officially renamed the Matinecock Neighborhood Association Community Room. Proceeds from the event went to the restoration of the new room.

Speakers at the centennial celebration included Library Board of Trustees President Charles Brisbane, Library Administrative Director Kathy Smith, Locust Valley Historical Society President Herb Schierhorst and Matinecock Nation Chief Little Running Fox.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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