BUTLER, N.J. — St. Anthony Church here hosted its second annual Appreciation Dinner for First Responders on March 8.
Members of the police and fire departments, first-aid squads and crossing guards of Butler and Bloomingdale were invited, with their family members.
Guests were invited to celebrate the Eucharist on Saturday afternoon, with pastor Thomas Hartle, OFM, at left in photo, as the principal celebrant. Jude Murphy, OFM, joined as a concelebrant. First responders participated in the opening procession and were recognized by Tom.
Later in the Mass, Tom imparted a blessing and asked all to join with him in seeking God’s protection for the first responders. Following the Mass, first responders and family members went to the Parish Center for a pasta and meatball dinner. Tom and John Leonard, OFM, parochial vicar, second from left in photo. feasted and mingled with the guests, expressing the parish’s gratitude.
During last year’s inaugural event, the first-responders from Bloomingdale were called to a serious motor vehicle accident during the dinner. John said that this interruption helped to dramatically point out the sacrifices made by these individuals. This year, all were able to leisurely enjoy the meal.