St. Lawrence Men's Cornerstone


Men's 2012 Cornerstone Reunion: Community

On December 8, 2012, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the St. Lawrence Men's Cornerstone held their annual retreat. Over 50 men started the morning by attending the 8:00AM Mass together in the church, It was appropriate as the theme of this year's retreat was "Community" and what better way to show off our great community than to have a group of 50 men enter the church together and sit together during one of our parishes early morning Masses.

Special thanks go out to Tom Brandt, who coordinated the entire morning, starting at least a month prior to plan and execute this wonderful day. The morning was pulled off flawlessly and so far, we've heard nothing but great things about the reunion (read all the way to the bottom to see a note from Fr. Lance). Below is a brief recap of the morning.


  1. Introductions: Father Paul started off the morning with an opening prayer and Tom Brandt gave an opening welcome to all the men gathered in the parish chapel. Tom Fuscaldo gave an overview of the current CS Team 9 that is working on Hosting our 10th Annual Cornerstone Retreat Weekend. Anthony Papili followed Tom with some general information about the current status of Cornerstone at St. Lawrence (roughly 182 men have attended one of our retreats and roughly 102 had joined team). Lou Villafane then spoke about the Feast of Guadelupe and invited all to attend the Mass and celebration that night.
  2. Father Bob: Special thanks go out to Father Bob for making the trip down to Chester from Massachusetts to join us and provide a very inspiring and enjoyable talk on the topic of Community. It was truly an honor to have such a decorated Navy veteran and priest join us for this retreat and for him to play such a major part by sharing his stories. We hope now that Fr. Bob considers himself part of our Cornerstone Community, to add to his already vast list of communities that he has already touched by his presence. Special thanks to Mike Lesher for introducing Fr. Bob to us and for inviting him down for the weekend to play such a special part in the retreat. Father Bob shared with us the notes from his talk which can be downloaded and viewed by clicking the link below:

    Father Bob's Talk

  3. Tom Saitta: Tom Saitta followed Fr. Bob (with little expectations since the bar had been set so high). Tom gave a great talk on what community means to him, providing several examples of Community he witnessed over the past month right in our own parish during Hurricane Sandy. He let everyone know that no matter how little the gesture folks make, it definitely does make a difference to your community. He closed his talk with a touching video on Its a Wonderful Life which was a tribute to his witness.
  4. Dave Galdi: Dave shared with us the story of his childhood, and growing up with his father always giving him the assignment of the "15 minute chores". Dave shared with us how his experiences of having to work as a child when his friends were all out playing, really helped him learn how to make the best of a tough situation. Both Tom and Dave quoted Walt Michura in their talks, claiming, "Just Do Your Lowsy Best, and Let God Take Care of the Rest". He also referenced a few other Cornerstone brothers who left an impression on him. One particular that he highlighted was Tim Iversen's oath to "Say Yes for a solid year!!". After Dave's talk, there was alot of spirited talk amongst all the Cornerstone men. Several men thanked both Tom and Dave for giving their talks and shared with them exactly how much they have both touched so many lives throughout the years.
  5. Deacon Frank: In classic Deacon Frank fashion, he opened up his talk by sharing two scripture readings and then sharing with us his witness on "Community". His message about how wonderful God is as he made each of us unique and with our own talents, and how each of us has something to contribute. He spoke of how the Community of St. Lawrence really helped him out in his time of need and how it is important to see the beauty in everything we look at (another quote from Walt).
  6. Candle Ceremony: In a very fitting show of Community, we all went outside to the church lawn in front of the Statue of Jesus, and concluded the morning with a beautiful candle ceremony, kicked off by Tom Brandt, as he made his special intention then passed the candle around the large circle as each Cornerstone Member held the candle as he made his own special intentions known to the group. Hopefully passers by saw and will question what all those men were doing on the Church lawn. As was stated in many of the talks during the day, we lead by our actions, not by our words, so hopefully the actions of public prayer will raise awareness of many and get more men involved in this wonderful community called Cornerstone. As is tradition, we finished the morning, arm in arm as we all recited the "Our Father". Below are some photos from the Candle Ceremony.

Note From Father Lance

Below is a message Bill Novick received back from Father Lance when he let him know about our successful Cornerstone Reunion. We wanted to make sure this got shared with everyone.
I am humbled by the experience of God’s presence among our CS fellowships 
and prayer sessions. Never could I have imagined what God and His 
Grace have done with just ordinary folks. I am humbled and also proud to 
be part of this spiritual enterprise. And it is always good to hear that 
others have joined in “the marching of the saints”

God bless

I also judged the Thursday prayer session and both talks to have 
created a Godly atmosphere and readiness for the retreat.
Thank You
From: Bill Novick 
Sent: Saturday, December 08, 2012 10:19 PM
To: Frlance 
We  had a good turnout today for the CS retreat!! There were 52 men at the meeting that went from Mass at 
8 AM ad final prayer at about 1 PM. It was a good session and you would have been happy with the open 
tone of the talks! The Jesuit priest was quite good relating his experience as a navy chaplain . Wish 
you could have been there!!

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