RINGWOOD, N. J. — Residents of Holy Name Friary in northern New Jersey have been enjoying the Christmas season with a variety of activities including movies, music, Santa Claus and a visit from the Provincial Minister. Though they are retired, the friars certainly have lively enthusiasm for the festivities of the Advent journey.
The senior friars at the skilled-care facility, adjacent to scenic Ringwood Park, are surrounded by lighted trees on the grounds, decorated for the seasonin classic white.
Family Christmas Party
Last Sunday, the friars, along with staff and families, enjoyed a traditional Christmas party in true Holy Name-style, complete with delicious food and entertainment for children. The two-hour afternoon gathering included gift distribution by Santa Claus to children under 14, and raffles for both children and adults.
“Nearly 100 parents, children, and grandchildren enjoyed the party in front of the ceiling-high Christmas tree in the community room,” according to Cassian Miles, OFM.
On Dec. 9, Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, visited the friary for Christmas, as he does each year, according to Cassian, former communications specialist for the Province who still enjoys “reporting” on events. Cassian called the Province’s Communications Office to make sure that HNP Today readers were aware of how the season was being celebrated at the friary.
“He wanted us to know that it was a festive feeling there,” said Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications. “Friars always have joy in their hearts, especially during this holy season.”
The Provincial Minister had lunch with the friars. It was “a nice visit,” said Octavio Duran, OFM, who photographed the event.
On Dec. 11, eight friary residents were taken to nearby Queen of Peace School at the Province’s former parish in West Milford, N.J., to hear the grammar school’s Christmas concert.
The friary also recently showed the classic film “Miracle on 34th Street.”
To remind his staff about appropriate ways to commemorate Advent, Holy Name Community director A. Francis Soucy, OFM, recently distributed to his staff a notice titled “Commercial Prep Vs. Religious Prep.”
After relating the festive atmosphere he encountered on the streets of Manhattan earlier this month, Francis described the look of an Advent wreath he spotted in a church and the symbols associated with its colors and elements.
“Advent reminds us of the spiritual investigation of the soul that needs to take place to make sure the Christian is ready for the celebration of the nativity of Christ.”
Holy Name Friary, established 20 years ago by Francis Soucy, is currently at capacity with all of its 29 beds filled, according to Cassian, who has been recovering there from a broken hip since last spring.
Detailed information about Ringwood’s Holy Name community can be found in the Spring 2008 issue of The Anthonian.