PATERSON, N.J. — More than 400 people packed the 11:30 a.m. Mass at St. Bonaventure Church here on Sept. 14, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. John O’Connor, OFM, Provincial Minister, presided and preached to commemorate the anniversary of the church.
Throughout 2008, the parish has been observing the 130th anniversary of the dedication of the church and the laying of the cornerstone. John preached about the band of friars who arrived in Paterson from Germany in 1876, the inauguration of the parish in 1877, the church’s dedication in 1878, and the founding of Holy Name Province on this patch of land in 1901. He spoke of the glories of the past, and called the parishioners to the many opportunities of the future, said Daniel Grigassy, OFM, pastor.
Daniel acknowledged the pride in our Franciscan identity and the promise of the future. He asked for prayers for Christopher Van Haight, OFM, who is studying Spanish in Mexico, and upon his return, will initiate ministries to the many Latinos in the neighborhood.
The annual parish picnic followed on the grounds surrounding the church and friary. Also in attendance were concelebrants Christian Camadella, OFM, senior associate; Lawrence Burke, OFM; John Piccione, OFM, former pastor; and three visiting friars from Brazil.
John presented a check from the Province’s Franciscan Missionary Union to a representative of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception to help with the community’s new initiative in Africa. The sisters, familiarly referred to as the “blue socks” among the friars, are establishing a mission in Angola. Sister Janice Jolin, SMIC, accepted the donation.
The sisters, who are based in Paterson, have had a long association with the friars of Holy Name Province. For many years, they cooked for the residents of St. Bonaventure University in Western New York and at Holy Name College in Washington D.C. Earlier this year, the sisters of the USA Province celebrated the opening of their centennial celebrations at SBU, the site of their first place of mission, according to the community’s Web site.
About a dozen sisters attended the Mass, according to Sister Kate Conti, SMIC, the provincial coordinator.
The donation was a “way of saying thank you to the sisters for all that they have done for the friars over the years,” said John Piccione, HNP’s director of development. “The money is meant to help them get started in this very oppressed area of Africa.