As the 2012 Summer Olympics got underway in London last week, the games of Holy Name Province were not to be outdone.Traditional summer carnivals,
Traditional summer carnivals, picnics and festivals at ministries around the Province received top scores by the judges — the parishioners and community members whose hard work goes into planning, working and attending the fairs.
Friars, too, have enjoyed the festivities. Some have competed in limbo contests, while others have lost in the dunk tank, or taken the gold medal in sampling fair food.
Still others have tried their hands at games of chance, all in the interest of raising money for the parishes and other programs.
In Western New York, St. Bonaventure Parish, Allegany, celebrated Bonafest on July 14. The one-day fair was a break from the tradition of holding a multi-day event to honor the life and work of St. Bonaventure, whose feast day is July 15 and for whom the church is named.
The fest was begun 34 years ago, according to James Vacco, OFM, the pastor.
To what does the church attribute the fair’s longevity? “It’s simple,” said James. “The parish and general community get together.”
Games of chance were a big draw, he said, with money benefitting the church’s general fund. Children’s games, a dunk tank, cake raffle, Chinese auction, and an array of food choices rounded out the fest. Three bands performed throughout the day.
As part of the 40th anniversary commemoration of the community center associated with St. Francis of Assisi, Long Beach Island, N.J., a July 14 luau was held, complete with a hula show with traditional music and dancers. Pastor Steve Kluge, OFM, was photographed doing the limbo, while Kevin Daly, OFM, and James Scullion, OFM, were also seen having fun at the luau.
The Aloha Hula Show featured a four-piece tropical band, and parishioners wearing grass skirts and coconut bras.
Approximately 120 people attended the luau and pig roast, raising more than $6,000 for St. Francis Community Center. The community is looking forward to the 40th Anniversary Gala on Sept. 28 at the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club in Beach Haven, near St. Thomas Aquinas Church.
The Shore parish’s Festival of the Sea — the outdoor carnival complete with large rides — will take place Aug. 8 to 12. It offers rides for all ages, games of chance, a 50/50 drawing, fair food and much more.
The festival has been held for 37 years as a celebration of the community, providing a chance for parishioners and Long Beach Island residents to get together, while supporting a good cause.
Carnivals and Picnics
In northern New Jersey, St. Mary’s Parish, Pompton Lakes, held its annual carnival from July 9 to 14. The carnival, a 25-year tradition, included games, rides, and carnival food all prepared by the people of St. Mary’s, according toFrank Sevola, OFM, pastor since last year.
The event also offered themed nights, featuring ethnic food from the community, including Filipino, Latino, Italian and BBQ menus. All the proceeds benefitted the school.
“A special feature this year was the dunk tank,” said Frank. “Lots of people volunteered to be in the tank, including Gonzalo Torres, OFM, Larry Anderson, OFM, and me. Everyone seemed to enjoy that.”
St. Francis Xavier Parish, Narrowsburg, N.Y., one of the Province’s earliest New York churches, is planning a celebration of its 150th anniversary later this month at an annual picnic. Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, will celebrate a Mass beforehand.
Sundaes and Block Parties
Other summertime events have taken place in Philadelphia and in New York City.
Patrick Tuttle, OFM, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church, Greenville, S.C., traveled north to serve as the DJ at St. Francis Inn’s annual block party in Philadelphia in June. Photos of the festivities, which attracted more than 400 people, were posted on the Facebook page of the Province’s Franciscan Volunteer Ministry.
In Midtown Manhattan, St. Francis of Assisi Parish offers a new spin on an old favorite: Sundae Sundays. At St. Francis House next door to the church, ice cream sundaes are served on the third Sunday of the month in the summer following the 4 and 5:15 p.m. Saturday Masses, and after the 11, 12:30, 5 or 6:15 Sunday Masses. The events are usually sponsored by a parishioner.
— Wendy Healy is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and frequent contributor to HNP Today.