Franciscan Center Continues 20th Anniversary Commemoration

Maria Hayes Around the Province

NEW YORK — The Franciscan Community Center, a ministry of Holy Name Parish in New York City, invites the community to attend Voice Your Choice 2012: An Auction Alternative on Nov. 15. This is the second event celebrating the FCC’s 20th anniversary this year.

“This is a great chance to look back at the past 20 years with pride and gratitude at the number of meals served, students taught and theater productions enacted, a chance to celebrate so many relationships created,” said Lawrence Ford, OFM, who is stationed at Holy Name Parish. “In the past two decades, we have seen the Upper West Side change dramatically, and the FCC has been right in the middle of those changes.

“This fundraiser is a way of paying tribute to what has been, while creating new relationships for the future, introducing ourselves to our newest neighbors, learning about emerging needs, and creating new opportunities to serve the neighborhood.”

Each ticket purchased for the event comes with ballots that let donors “voice their choice” on how their money will be spent. Tickets that cost $50 include five ballots, $75 tickets include 13 ballots, and $100 tickets include 20 ballots. Tickets can be purchased online.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with the center’s staff members, who will describe the FCC’s programs and its needs. The evening’s entertainment includes Broadway show tunes courtesy of Footlights Entertainment and special performances by the FCC’s Theatre West 97th Program.

The Franciscan Community Center, located on West 97th Street, serves the people of Manhattan’s Upper West Side neighborhood. It develops, manages and supports educational, recreational and outreach programs.

Over the past 20 years, the center has served the community through various ministries, including:
•   The distribution of more than 85,000 bags of groceries to families facing food emergencies
•   Free tutorial instruction in reading, math and language arts to 3,800 local students
•   A daily program that has allowed over 1,000 seniors to socialize and enjoy a hot lunch
•   A safe and structured after-school environment for nearly 6,000 children
•   Individual and family therapy and group workshops for roughly 3,000 people
•   A theater arts program that engages over 500 students and improves speech skills

Voice Your Choice 2012 will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on Nov. 15 at the FCC in New York City.

On May 1, the FCC held its inaugural fundraising event for its 20th anniversary. Proceeds from “Strike a Chord in the Community” went to the center’s general operating funds to help it maintain its current programs, as well as to expand its services to the community.

The first team of Franciscan friars at Holy Name Parish arrived on Aug. 1, 1990. Almost immediately, the friars decided they wanted to renovate the old parish center, which stood vacant on 97th street. Alongside dedicated parishioners and generous donors, the friars renovated the building, where the FCC is housed today. It includes meeting rooms, offices, a kitchen and a gym.

Today Holy Name Parish, where Daniel Kenna, OFM, is pastor, and the FCC serve a diverse population. Mass is celebrated in three languages — English, Spanish and French — and is attended by both the poor and the well-to-do.

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.