New Jersey Friars Present Francis Medal to Involved Parishioner

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

PATERSON, N.J. — St. Bonaventure Parish presented the Province’s Francis Medal to a parishioner who counsels heart transplant patients, collects food and coats for the needy, and refurbishes furnishings at the parish, among other services.

Pastor Daniel Grigassy, OFM, pastor and Christopher VanHaight, OFM, gave the award to John Tromellen at the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday, April 21.

“Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, conferred the Francis Medal on John Trommellen as official recognition by the Franciscan friars of the selfless service that John has given to the friars and to the people of St. Bon’s,” said Christopher.

“We express our gratitude and appreciation to John Trommelen who unselfishly gives himself for the building up of the kingdom of God, for his dedication to the common good, and especially for his care of the needy and the sick,” stated an announcement in the parish bulletin. “He has embodied the values of St. Francis of Assisi by putting himself last and the work of Christ first.”

“An active parishioner at St. Bon’s for many years, John is committed to the parish’s food collection program, gathering bags of groceries and what seems like hundreds of turkeys and hams every holiday season. John serves on the parish’s pastoral council of ministries. Also a skilled carpenter, he has refurbished furniture for the parish, such as tables, podiums, and kneelers,” Chris said.

“John has also been an active member of the Knights of Columbus Council 240 for the past 16 years, serving as the Grand Knight for four years and as district deputy for four years,” he added. He has also chaired Council 240’s Food Drive, the winter coat drive, and has been an active participant in the Citizens with Disabilities Drive.

Tromellen also donates his time to Newark Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, N.J., where he underwent a heart transplant in 2004.

DSCF0385Every Thursday, for the last several years, he has volunteered at Beth Israel’s Hearty Hearts Program to assist those in the heart transplant process. He speaks with patients being evaluated for transplants, those awaiting a heart, transplant recipients, and people unable to receive one, said Christopher.

“His natural skills, enhanced by his own experience, make him an effective counselor for patients and their families. He answers questions, calms fears, and eases anxieties,” said Chris. “Also a member of the Sharing Network of New Jersey, John speaks at churches, businesses and civic groups about the importance of organ donation.”

Tromellen and his wife of 56 years, Jean, have five children: Mary Jane, the late John Jr., Thomas, Lisa, and Michael, and 12 grandchildren.

Over the past years, the friars of Paterson have presented the Francis Medal to several community members, including Charlie and Catherine Tedeschi, who were featured in HNP Today in 2006 and Martha Keener, who was featured in 2007.

Holy Name’s Francis Medal was established in 1998 by former Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are given a 3-inch bronze medallion disk in a case and a parchment certificate marked with the seal of the Province.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province