Couple Honored in Wood-Ridge with Francis Medal

Johann Cuervo Around the Province

WOOD-RIDGE, N.J. — On Sept. 9, Paul Keenan, OFM, and the friars of Assumption of Our Blessed Lady Parish presented the HNP Francis Medal to Aurelio and Marie Sarracino, two active parishioners who pastor Richard Mucowski, OFM, says “provide a very real example of Franciscan spirit” for their care for the friars and the Assumption Parish family.

The Sarracinos have been attending Assumption for 65 years and have held formal and informal roles during their time there. Al has served the parish as a Eucharistic minister, member of Our Lady of Assumption Holy Name Society and by assisting the friars with maintenance projects. Marie was involved with school programs at Assumption School, including helping in the kitchen with student lunches and supporting teachers as a “class mother.” Assumption School closed in 2010.

Richard said that Robert Norton, OFM, and Paul who had known the Sarracinos for many years before he came to Wood-Ridge, were aware that Al and Marie were marking their 70th anniversary this year. “These two very special people live out the Gospel values we profess,” said Richard. “Because of so many wholesome qualities that Al and Marie emulate, I nominated them for the Francis Medal on this special occasion.”

Three of the Sarracinos’ five children were at the medal presentation.

Last year, Assumption Parish marked the 90th anniversary of its founding by the friars of Holy Name Province. Details about Assumption’s history can be found on the parish website and on its Facebook page.

The HNP Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are people who have displayed an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the ideals and values of St. Francis. Recently, friars in Silver Spring, Md., Loudonville. N.Y., and Wilmington, Del., have presented the medal to partners-in-ministry in their communities.

– Johann Cuervo is a communications assistant in the Provincial Office.

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