POMPTON LAKES, N.J. — St. Mary’s parish here is planning for the long-awaited Oct. 7 dedication of its Carnevale Center, a faith formation center designed to meet the needs of the congregation and the community.
The dedication, which takes place during St. Francis Week, will be part of the noon Mass, with Bishop Frank Rodimer, celebrant, and Ronald Stark, OFM, guest homilist. After the Mass and dedication ceremony, the building will be blessed and participants will gather for a reception.
Named for Michael Carnevale, OFM, of New York City, who served the parish at various times from 1973 to 2004, the Center is a testament to Michael’s leadership and parish growth over the years.
A Dream Come True
This is a dream come true for St. Mary’s, an active parish of more than 3,700 registered families and 75 ministries, that has struggled over the years to find meeting space large enough to accommodate its membership, according to Michael Burck, director of parish programming. The gathering space can accommodate 250 at tables or 400 in chairs.
The three-story center has a large hall with a stage that will be used for Sunday Spanish Mass at 9 a.m. and family liturgy at 10:30 a.m. Its catering kitchen will come in handy for parish social events, including Cornerstone retreats, large group presentations, school assemblies and other community gatherings.
An additional 16 meeting rooms will be used for adult faith formation and youth ministry programs, such as religious education classes, Bible studies, small Christian communities, prayer groups, retreats and committee meetings. The center also has a choir-rehearsal room for its seven choirs, and a Medical Assistance Center fordoctors and nurses who offer free medical services to people in need.
The Carnevale Center will also host three weekly AA and NA meetings, and will be home to Scout troops and the Knights of Columbus.
The Name of Michael Carnevale Synonymous with St. Mary’s
“Fr. Michael Carnevale, OFM, at right, has been part of the very life and fabric of St. Mary’s since 1973,” wrote Kevin Downey, OFM, in a pastor’s column. “Under his leadership and through his influence, St. Mary’s has grown and prospered. Our parish knows no boundaries, and we draw families from over 17 municipalities. Why do they come? Because they have found a home at St. Mary’s where they feel loved and accepted, and where their faith is nurtured and challenged. This environment has been created by Fr. Michael and it reflects his vision of Church. For many years, the names Michael J. Carnevale and St. Mary’s were synonymous.”
He continued: “Due to Fr. Michael’s influence and his love for St. Mary’s, the growth of our parish has been tremendous. As we have grown in numbers, so have the needs of our people. In order to embrace this growth, we must plan for the future of our parish. To adequately meet the needs of the people we serve and the many ministries we offer, we must prepare for a place for us to come together as a community of faith and lay the foundation of a new tomorrow.”
St. Francis Week Events
St. Francis Week will be an active one at the center, which will host the following events:
Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m.
An Evening of Reflection
Presenter Fr. Anthony Ciorra, dean of the Graduate School of Theology at Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y.
Oct. 6, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
St. Francis Retreat
Francis Gunn, OFM, retreat facilitator
Nov. 9, 7 p.m.
Helen Prejean, CSJ, author of Dead Man Walking
For more information on an event, call Michael Burck at 973-835-0374, ext. 700.