LBI Friars Walk the Runway for a Good Cause, Present Province’s Medal

HNP Communications In the Headlines

BRANT BEACH, N.J.— Kevin Daly, OFM, was decked out in a pink shirt and madras shorts, Daniel Horan, OFM, walked down the runway in a blazer over a purple shirt complete with a lime-green bowtie and white Bermuda shorts, andStephen Kluge, OFM, wore a pastel shirt with a traditional straw hat.

The friars in their multi-colored outfits were good sports in the 2nd Annual Garden Party by the Sea, the June 20 fashion show that raised money for the St. Francis of Assisi Parish and Community Center.

More than $8,600 was raised when almost 200 people attended the event held at the Bonnet Island Estate in Manahawkin, N.J., according to Lori Dudek, the parish and center’s public relations coordinator. The proceeds, she said, will be used for the community center programs.

This year, the event was held at the Bonnet Island Estate, generously provided to the church by the owner Chris Vernon, a parishioner. Sisters Kate Murphy, Pat Klemm and Pat McNiff were also models.

Anniversary Luau
The fashion show is not the only major event the parish has planned. On July 14, it will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the St. Francis Center with a luau, from 5 to 8:30 p.m., on the bay behind the center.

Approximately 300 people are expected to attend the luau, said Dudek, which will include a hula show, pig roast and raw seafood bar.

A photo presentation called “Then and Now” will document the center’s evolution from its 1972 opening to today’s diverse programs and activities. Attendees will be able to  explore St. Francis Center’s rich community history by browsing through scrapbooks. Proceeds from the 40th Anniversary Luau will be used to support St. Francis Community Center programs.

The 40th Anniversary Luau will also offer the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets to win a $5,000 travel gift certificate. On Sept. 28, the center will host a 40th Anniversary Gala at the Sea Shell Club & Resort in Beach Haven.

Tickets for the luau cost $50 before July 7 and $60 afterwards. Information is available at 609-494-8861 and on the website.

Other summer events include the annual Festival of the Sea, which takes place Aug. 8 to Aug. 12.

Ecumenical Gratitude
Last month, at an 11:15 a.m. Mass on June 24, Steve Kluge, the pastor, was the recipient of a thank-you gift from the Jewish Community Center of LBI. Donald Pripstein, JCC president, presented Steve with a menorah in gratitude for the parish allowing the center to hold services and events at a St. Francis parish church.

While the JCC of LBI was in the rebuilding process, St. Francis generously let it use St. Thomas Church, Surf City, N.J., for its services and high holy days.

Thanks to Parishioners
Also at the June 24 Mass and on other days in June, the parish friars presented the HNP Francis Medal, acknowledging parishioners who volunteer in the spirit of St. Francis. The medals were given to nine people.

Phil and Judy Amato work quietly but consistently behind the scenes giving of themselves to both the parish and community, said Stephen, pastor of the parish since 2006. Now retired, Mr. Amato volunteers at the parish food pantry, is a member of the Care Ministry, helps at funerals, and is a Eucharistic minister and lector. Mrs. Amato, a Eucharistic minister, serves on the board of the St. Francis Center and is a member of the Care Ministry.

Anne Block has been a long-time employee of St. Francis Parish and Center and works on the bulletin. She has also been the minister of the Secular Franciscan fraternity, on the worship committee, and was involved in the Inclusive Language Committee. She is also a member of the scholarship committee and is a lector. Her husband, Ray, has been a long-term member of the parish finance council and a minister of hospitality at Sunday Mass.

Gianna Letinski, who recently graduated from high school, has been a member of the St. Francis Music Ministry since the second grade when she began singing with the Little Portion Children’s Choir. She continues singing with the One Voice Teen Choir and is a regular cantor at Sunday Mass and the Spanish Mass. She also volunteers at the parish’s Festival of the Sea.

Helen O’Connor, one of the parish’s longest-serving volunteers, has given time and talents to both the parish and center for more than 30 years. She has volunteered in the Youth ministry program and with the Family Faith Formation Department. She also is a regular Eucharistic minister at Sunday Mass and volunteers daily at the center and with the Interfaith Care Givers.

Hope Pitner recently graduated from high school and has been involved in music ministry since the second grade singing with the children’s choir, the middle school choir, and  One Voice Teen Choir. A regularly scheduled cantor for Sunday liturgy and weddings, Pitner helps the parish director of music with the children’s choir. In addition, she works at the Festival of the Sea, assists at baptismal preparation classes, and has volunteered at Thanksgiving dinner.

Robert and Patricia Simmons, long-time parishioners, both in their 80s, were also presented with the medal. Mr. Simmons has served on the parish finance council and helps count the collection every Monday morning. Mrs. Simmons has been the local minister of the Secular Franciscans, and has been a long-time member of the board of the St. Francis Community Center. She has also been on the ministry support team for interning student friars, and earned certification as a spiritual director.

— Wendy Healy, a Connecticut-based freelance writer, is a frequent contributor to HNP Today. The photo above shows Kevin Daly.