Catholics all over the world celebrated on Sunday, April 27 as Pope Francis declared Popes John XXIII and John Paul II saints in Vatican City. On the very same day, the community of both Miami Springs and Virginia Gardens joined the parishioners of Blessed Trinity Church with an additional reason to celebrate as their beloved Father Joseph Carney was honored and remembered.
“Two great popes were canonized in Rome today, but for the local church here in Miami Springs, there’s a reason to rejoice as we remember Father Carney in a special way,” Father Jose Alfaro said as he delivered the invocation.
The Sisters of Blessed Trinity shared a song that they wrote to honor Father Carney and Father Isidro Perez blessed the new Divine Mercy image that hangs on the parish hall wall.
Dignitaries in attendance included Miami Springs Mayor Zavier Garcia, Councilman Jaime Petralanda, City Manager Ron Gorland, and Village of Virginia Gardens Councilman Richard Block.
“It is fitting and appropriate to recognize members of the community whose spirit, dedication, and accomplishments have been an inspiration to society,” Garcia said as he read the proclamation. “Father Carney was a loved and respected man in the community. He was a priest for a total of 44 years and a pastor of Blessed Trinity since June 9, 1982. Father Carney was devoted to the children at Blessed Trinity Church and School. He impacted many lives, those who had the pleasure of knowing him. The abundance of people at his funeral is a testimony to the effectiveness of his ministry as a priest. The Miami Springs City council unanimously approved the motion to codesignate a portion of Northwest 59th Avenue, where it enters Miami Springs to Hunting Lodge Drive, as Father Carney Way.”
Mayor Garcia proclaimed April 27, 2014 as Father Carney Day.
While there were a few laughs and some discussion as to whether Blessed Trinity is actually located in Miami Springs or Virginia Gardens the local politicians definitely were in agreement when it comes to honoring a man who made a great impact on both communities.
“We are united as brothers in Christ, and that’s what’s important” Block said as he stood next to Garcia. “Miami Springs did what was right in honoring Father Carney. It’s easy to say I believe in Jesus Christ but Jesus said, follow me, pick up your cross and follow me, and that’s exactly what Father Carney did, and that’s what made him great.”
While the day was exciting as many parishioners, clergy, local politicians, city officials and media all gathered, the real delight of the afternoon was when Father Caney’s brother, Tim Carney, addressed the crowd.
“Usually streets and buildings are dedicated to famous politicians, famed athletes. My brother would assure us, that he is neither of these,” said Tim Carney. “He would say he is not deserving of this recognition and honor especially on this day. Father Carney believed the success and future of the church rested with its members of Blessed Trinity.
“For 40 years he has told our family the good things that you have done for this parish. He spoke of the financial sacrifices you and your families made to build the parish hall, the rectory, the enrichment center, in addition to remodeling the church. All good things you’ve done, were part of an effort to better understand and practice our religion and to provide a foundation of our catholic faith for our children, similar to that passed on to us by our own parents and grandparents. This dedication is a first for our family. Father Joe would have been embarrassed to have a street and a building named in his honor, but he was extremely proud of your accomplishments and how you have helped your fellow parishioners. Our family appreciates that you’ve invited us to participate in the ceremony and dedication and allow us to be part of your community. He was truly blessed to have worked for such nice people, and the Carney family is fortunate to have met you.”
The afternoon ended with a procession outside where a team from the Miami Springs Parks and Recreation set up a tent, chairs and much-needed water to beat the afternoon heat. All of the children were invited to unveil the new sign as family and friends looked on.
“We ask you to bless this sign and bless this site where we stand,” Father Alfaro said as he led a closing prayer. “On this beautiful day in which we can call Saint John Paul II and Saint John XXIII saints, we also know that Father Carney is looking down to us from heaven, blessing this parish and this community.”