On the morning of June 30, the Long Island Expressway had a bit more traffic than usual. And if you were to travel eastbound past exit 50 you may have gotten a friendly wave from Monsignor Francis Midura on his way to Ronkonkoma. He was on his way to St. Joseph's Church in Ronkonkoma where he will now assume the leadership of the largest parish on Long Island.
Monsignor Francis Midura
Monsignor Midura grew up in Locust Valley with two brothers and one sister. He attended school at St. Patrick's in Glen Cove and went on to St. Pius Seminary in Uniondale and then to the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington were he finished up his work and was ordained on May 30, 1970. He later did some post-graduate work in a Catholic university where he graduated in 1979. He has been a member of the Army Reserves since 1981, serving four months in Desert Storm.
Monsignor Midura came from St. Christopher's in Baldwin to become the founding pastor of Our Lady of Hope on June 17, 1987. Years before that date, the community of Carle Place cherished a storefront church on Westbury Avenue that was a part of the St. Brigid Parish in Westbury. When the people of Carle Place wished to have their own identity, the bishop granted them just that in 1987.
And so came the birth of Our Lady of Hope. A parish that over the next nine years saw much growth and prosperity due to the congregants and their entrusted leader, Monsignor Midura. With the combined efforts of both, Our Lady of Hope has grown to a 1,700 member family parish, with many of those members committed to religious teaching and other church functions. Being the sole pastor of a large Catholic church Monsignor has felt and often overcome the many obstacles and challenges of being a one-man priest to his parish and is very proud of what he and his parish have accomplished.
"Overall this was a very happy experience in Carle Place with the challenges of being the founding pastor, but also the joy of working with so many people who have given up their time in so many different ways that you really can't put it down on paper," remarked Monsignor Midura in a recent interview.
He also speaks of "gaining a sense of family", as he has done much of the baptizing, marrying and burying of members of his parish. He has learned and shared with his parish both the great joy and sadness of life in the past nine years.
As for the future, Monsignor Midura will be relocated to St. Joseph's in Ronkonkoma, the biggest parish on Long Island with 6,700 families. He will be working with four priests and a staff, and he feels that the responsibilities that he gains there will be very different than anything he tackled while at Our Lady of Hope.
Monsignor Midura could be seen at many community functions including the tree lighting or marching in the Memorial Day Parade. His familiar face, his friendly smile, and his noble words will always be remembered fondly by his parish and by the whole Carle Place community. He will be greatly missed.