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Pastor Leads New Flock In Plainview

In a journey that took more than 20 years to complete, the new pastor at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Plainview has come full circle from a seminary of the same name in Mumbai, India.

Ordained into the priesthood in 1989 at St. Pius X Seminary — close to 8,000 miles away in Mumbai — Father Valentine Rebello joined the Plainview parish after two decades spreading his heavenly message in his home country and then in different churches on Long Island. When he got the Plainview assignment, Rebello had to double check to make sure he was reading it correctly.

“I had to read it a few times to make sure it was real,” said Rebello, who came to Plainview in June. “What better place to begin my journey as pastor than with the people of St. Pius X parish?”

He was offically installed as pastor on Nov. 10, after which he blessed and helped dedicate the parish’s new gymnasium – a gymnasium that serves more than 1,000 children in the church’s CYO basketball and volleyball programs.

Rebello came to Plainview after a stint as priest in the Diocese of Rockville Centre. Prior to that position, Rebello served as a curate, or assistant clergy to the parish priest, at St. Barnabas the Apostle Church in Bellmore and St. Joseph’s Church in Kings Park. He also served as part-time chaplain at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Northport and chaplain at Mercy Medical Center in Rockille Centre.

“I cannot begin to count the many ways my experiences have enriched my life and my priesthood,” he said, adding that he likes to be called Father Val. “Visiting the homebound and sick, counseling those in need, presiding at many marriages, baptisms, first communions and funerals — now I come here to Plainview.”

And serving in Plainview, just like serving in other parishes around the world, comes with a unique set of challenges. The pastor has become known for his infectious laugh and smile, and this is how he plans on facing any challenges in his new parish.

This includes the challenge of bringing people into the church and reaching people in the community — even those who might practice different faiths.

“As a pastor, you really have to be welcoming to people, and that means all people,” he said. “Hospitality is actually a huge part of this. People must feel welcomed and that is something I have strived to achieve.”

And according to Father Val, the Plainview community has welcomed him with open arms and open hearts. He remembers the church suffering terrible damage from torrential rains his very first month at the parish. He saw the community come together in a way that set the tone for his stay in Plainview.

“It gave me an overwhelming sense of communtiy,” he said. “This is a lovely, beautiful, mixed community that is very cooperative. They are very supportive and they accept me as I am — and I wholeheartedly accept them.”

Rebello encourages questions from the around the community. St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church is located at 1 St. Pius Court in Plainview.