Swimming Enthusiasts Take the ‘Plunge’ for N.J. Parish

Jocelyn Thomas Features

BRANT BEACH, N.J. — In the depths of winter in the Northeast, almost 200 supporters of St. Francis of Assisi Church here jumped into the frigid Atlantic Ocean on Feb. 1 to raise money for the church’s community center in its Super Plunge V.

The fifth annual plunge on Long Beach Island (LBI) raised $10,000 to benefit the St. Francis Community Center and the local swim teams of nearby Southern Regional High School that use the center.

The 49th Street Beach, not far from St. Francis Church, was packed with people jumping into the water or cheering them on, according to Stephen Kluge, OFM, pastor. The event was written up in the Feb. 2 edition of the Asbury Park Press, and included a photo of sisters Patricia Klemm, OSF, and Patricia McNiff, OSF, among the spectators.

02-18-09-LBIbigAccording to Juli Rosengarth, public relations coordinator for the parish and the center, the water temperature was 38 degrees and the air temperature hovered around 50. 

The participants — 184 men and women of assorted ages — contributed money through registration fees and sponsorships.

One participant, an 87-year-old who went into the water with her granddaughter, said she has participated for the past five years, because it benefited the parish. 

The plunge has become a popular community event during the winter doldrums on LBI, Rosengarth said, and has grown each year.

The event was held on the afternoon of Superbowl Sunday. Participants were invited to brave the icy ocean, and finished in time to watch the football game in the comfort of their warm homes.

“Community members of all ages turned out for this event, “ said Thomas Conway, OFM, of the parish staff. 

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.