Festivals, Fundraisers Make Season Festive

Johann Cuervo Around the Province

The St. Francis Inn block party in Philadelphia. (Photo courtesy of the Inn)

Summertime brings to mind some of the light-hearted customs in the Catholic tradition – those centered on music, games, food and old-fashioned fun. Such gatherings seem to find their origins in the feast days of various saints, and also in the time of the year of planting and harvesting. This summer, ministries around Holy Name Province held carnivals, festivals, and other celebratory events, coming together as families to support their local communities.

Guests of the Inn’s block party enjoy food donated by local businesses. (Photo courtesy of the Inn)

In Philadelphia, the St. Francis Inn community held its annual block party on June 25. As he has done for more than 20 years, Patrick Tuttle, OFM, served as disc jockey. He traveled to Philadelphia from Greenville, S.C., where he is pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish. The Inn’s staff and volunteers served a chicken dinner to more than 500 guests. Photos of the festivities appear on the Facebook page of St. Francis Inn Ministries as well as in The Pilgrim newsletter.

In Pompton Lakes, N.J., it wouldn’t be summer without the annual St Mary’s Carnival, which took place this year from July 10 to 15. The carnival, which began in the 1970s, is a fundraiser for the parish and offers rides, games, food, and entertainment.

Gonzalo de Jesus Torres-Acosta, Joseph Juracek, Frank Sevola and Roberto Serrano during St. Mary’s Summer Carnival ‘Friars Pulled Pork Pig Out’. (Photo courtesy of Gonzalo)

“This is a weeklong event for our families and the local community in general,” said Gonzalo de Jesus Torres-Acosta, OFM, pastor of St. Mary’s Church. “The carnival is a great way to get together with friends and to support the many ministries of St. Mary’s.”

Besides the standard food tents, this year the carnival also held special food nights which included Ukrainian and Hispanic cuisine. On July 11, the friars put on their aprons for a ‘Pulled Pork Pig Out” night.

“The carnival takes almost an entire year to plan by a volunteer committee and school staffers. It couldn’t be done without all their assistance,” Gonzalo added.

In New York City, the Filipino Ministry of St. Francis of Assisi Church held its Piyestang Pinoy festival, a celebration of Filipino Philippine culture, on July 22.

Preparations for the event started in February with the choice of a festival committee, ticket sales, and the search of food sponsors. On the day of the ‘fiesta’ – as the ministry likes to call it – the hall was colorfully decorated with flowers, balloons, decorations.

Guests enjoy fun games at the Filipino Festival. Andrew Reitz with Zenaida Avila and Janet Lagman during the event. (Photo courtesy of Princess Sabbodacha)

“We are so thankful to the Franciscan friars, especially to Andrew Reitz, OFM, for giving us the opportunity to serve at the Church,” said Zenaida Avila, a member of the Filipino ministry. “For almost 33 years now, this church has been our ‘home away from home’.”

The celebration was a fundraising event for the ministry. It also serves as its way to reach out to the Filipinos from different boroughs in New York City to get involved and join the church as their ‘home away from home.’ In December, the group will celebrate another Filipino cultural tradition, the nine-day novena before Christmas called the “Simbang Gabi.”

Andrew and the Filipino Ministry members at the Piyestang Pinoy (Photo courtesy of Princess Sabbodacha)

Last week, St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., held its Festival of the Sea – its 42nd. This community event has taken place at the parish’s and St. Francis Community Center parking lot in Brant Beach since 1975. Hundreds of area residents enjoyed fair favorites – rides, food, and games.

The festival is one of the parish’s biggest fundraisers, with proceeds are raised through a $20 pay-one-price ride tickets and varied raffles. “Our purpose is twofold: to build a fun community environment but also raise funds to help our ministry and center to serve the needs of our Ocean County families and friends,” according to a press release from the parish.

Photos and information about these and other recent events around the Province can be found on the websites of the HNP ministries and their Facebook pages.

– Johann Cuervo is communications assistant for Holy Name Province.

Related Links