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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

Movie lovers once again have a chance to see first-run films in the theater without having to travel far. Glen Cove Cinemas re-opened last week, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and free films offered to celebrate the occasion.

“Thanks to all of the support we have here and all of you, Glen Cove is once again open for business,” said Mayor Reginald Spinello at the ceremony, held outside the theater on Thursday, April 10. “This is going to be so good for Glen Cove and the surrounding communities.”

“I didn’t know I needed my own Teddy Bear,” said a woman after the first annual Teddy’s Taste of the West dinner and fundraiser at Canterbury Ales on March 19.

Members were given an authentic Teddy Bear as a surprise gift at the end of the evening. As they say, membership has its privileges and that includes a June 11 event when Ken Burns will come to share a preview of his new film on three Roosevelts. Burns’ film explores the political and family ties between President Theodore Roosevelt, President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a Roosevelt in her own right.  


Sports

Muttontown resident and Kellenberg freshman Ceara Ann Conroy has been named an All-League athlete for Girls Winter Track. The title of All-League is awarded to athletes based on a vote of all the coaches in the NSCHSAA League. All of the Girls Winter Track coaches in the league vote based on the athletes performance during the season, and Conroy’s outstanding performance has earned her the title of All League this year.

The Girls Varsity Lacrosse program at Oyster Bay High School is just in its second year and already it is making a difference. Senior defender Danielle Maggi has committed to play Division III lacrosse at Albright College.

Last year Maggi was recognized as the “Most Improved Player,” and this year she is being recruited to play in college.

Maggi said, “We did very well in our first varsity season last year (12-2). This year we are 100 percent going for the conference. I’m excited we finally have a varsity team.”


Calendar

LI Sound Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Saturday, April 19

Annual Egg-stravaganza

Saturday, April 19

Palliative Care

Wednesday, April 23 



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
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