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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

There is a new psychic medium on the North Shore of Long Island to compete with the original “Long Island Medium,” Theresa Caputo. Her name is Mary Drew and she has been working for more than a decade doing private readings. Recently, Drew has expanded her horizons and has been conducting readings at restaurants, public events and fundraisers.

“I discovered my ability to speak and to hear the deceased voices when I was 10 years old,” said Drew, who grew up in Brookville and now resides in Glen Cove. “The first deceased person I had an encounter with was my grandmother and it was a very profound experience, to say the least.”

The Oyster Bay Charitable Fund and the Oyster Bay Rotary Club hosted the annual Oyster Festival “Kick-Off” press conference on Friday, Aug. 15 at the flagpole in Theodore Roosevelt Park.

In attendance were NY State Senator Carl Marcelino and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, both Honorary Oyster Festival Chairmen; Oyster Bay Town Clerk James Altadonna Jr.; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Chris J. Coshignano; Oyster Bay Town Councilwoman Michelle Johnson; Oyster Bay Town Councilman Joseph Pinto; Oyster Bay Rotary President Judy Wasilchuk; Verizon Title Sponsor Representative, Director of Government Affairs Patrick Lespinasse; Executive Director, h2empower, African Studies Specialist Helen Boxwill; Oyster Festival Sports Representative James Werner; Long Island Rough Riders Representative Sarah Culmo and Emcee Harlan Friedman.

The 31st annual Oyster Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free.


Sports

Picture-perfect weather was on board for the Mill Neck Family of Organizations’ Third Annual Sail the Sound for Deafness Regatta on Thursday, Aug. 7. The event, featuring an evening race of yachts, followed by a cocktail party, was held to benefit the organization that serves individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have other special needs.

In this year’s race, fifteen sailors took to the waters of Oyster Bay Harbor; three aboard their own boats, others on several boats provided by Oakcliff Sailing Center. The WaterFront Center’s oyster sloop, Christeen and two vessels from Oyster Bay Marine Center, brought a total of 45 spectators out to watch the race.

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.


Calendar

Movie at the Library

Thursday, August 28

Sagamore Hill Walk

Saturday, August 30

Hooks and Needles

Tuesday, September 2



Columns

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

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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