RINGWOOD, N.J. — Sennen San Fratello, OFM, and Depaul Genska, OFM, observed their golden jubilees as priests during a festive celebration June 28 at Holy Name Friary here. Approximately 120 family members, friends and friars took part in the 11 a.m. liturgy in the friary community room, and then enjoyed a reception on the friary grounds.
Sennen and Depaul, who were ordained in 1958, concelebrated their jubilee Mass from chairs facing the main altar set on a table in the center of the room. John O’Connor, OFM, Provincial Minister, offered the Mass and delivered the homily. A. Francis Soucy, OFM, guardian and director of the friary, assisted. Evan Banks, OFM, served as lector.
John spoke about communication and then sketched how the jubilarians had served as instruments of communication in their priestly ministry over the past half century.
Two Varied Ministries
Sennen taught English and drama for about 40 years at Siena College and also supervised practice teachers of English. In addition, he was chaplain at a Clifton Park, N.Y., retirement community, and the Samuel Stratton Veterans Hospital.
John cited Depaul’s pastoral ministry over the years, particularly his unique outreach since the 1970s to prostitutes, or “the outcasts of society,” in John’s words. Depaul’s Web site www.depaulgenska.com addresses a wide range of issues pertaining to prostitution.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Francis thanked his “remarkable staff” in charge of administration, nursing, the kitchen, maintenance, and activities, particularly for making the celebration so special. He noted the mutual caring of the friars and the staff, and their friendliness as a sign of the Franciscan nature of the community. Francis also thanked John “for his support of us and concern for the sick friars.”
Jubilee day is really “Honors Day” because it is a time to honor the extradordinary people associated with the Ringwood friary, Francis said.
“Our staff of over 50 people exemplifies the vision of the friary to care for the friars in a way that brings them comfort and joy as well as medical care,” Francis said. “I can neither thank nor praise the staff enough.”
Following the Mass, everyone walked outside to enjoy a buffet under a large tent.
Two friars of the Society of the Atonement, Fr. John Coppinger, SA, and Br. Gregory Lucresia, SA, joined in the celebration with two members of their community who reside at Holy Name Friary.
Capuchin Minister Provincial Fr. Brian Tomlinson and his assistant, Nancy Carucchi, also attended on behalf of a member of the Capuchin community who lives at the friary.
Sharing the Friary With Brothers
Also sharing a residence with the jubilarians are two former professors at Siena College, Laurence Rainville, OFM, and Martin Hanhauser, OFM.
Seven friends of Depaul came to the event, including his former priest classmate Giles Houghton and his wife, Angela.
Sennen’s guests included sisters Kathryn and Laura, 10 nephews and nieces, as well as a priest friend of many years, Fr. Emil Swiatek, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in Buffalo, N.Y.
“The celebration of jubilees each year is important to us, because we expand the event to honor more than only the jubilarians though they are surely the central attraction,” said Francis Soucy. “It is always humbling to remember these elderly heroic friars who ministered so selflessly to the flock in all parts of the world. Reviewing their stories always brings to mind the phrase ‘for up until now (I) have done nothing.’ It is their diligent and courageous service to the flock that makes it an honor to be able to minister to them when they are in need of care.”
Melody Gobolos, friary recreation assistant, summed up the day best, “We all certainly had a wonderful day.”
Shown in photo is John O’Connor with the friars, Depaul, at left and Sennen, right. Francis Soucy is standing.
— Fr. Cassian, a senior associate friar at Assumption Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J., is former editor of HNP Today, and its current proofreader. Since suffering a broken hip in April, Cassian has been recovering at Holy Name Community, a skilled nursing facility.