Two Receive Francis Medal in Butler

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

Pastor Joseph Juracek congratulates Francis Medal recipients Nancy Bird, left, and Marge Cusack, right. (Photo courtesy of Paul Chelus, OFM)

BUTLER, N.J. — For their work in promoting the ideals of St. Francis and the mission of the Franciscan friars and their mission, two parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua Parish have been recognized with Holy Name Province’s Francis Medal.

Nancy Bird and Marge Cusack – two parishioners who exemplify these values well, according to the pastor – were honored at a Mass on Sept. 30. They have a true Franciscan heart and spirt that translates into everything they do, said Joseph Juracek, OFM.

“Both Nancy and Marge are dedicated, hard-working and joy-filled individuals,” he added. “Their years of service have touched many lives and we thank you for the love you give St. Anthony’s.

“As someone who is gifted creatively, Nancy has generously shared her talents with St. Anthony’s for years,” said Joseph. “Since her family has been part of the parish community for generations, she has a vision and perspective on what is best for St. Anthony’s. No matter how big or small the project, Nancy can be counted to cheerfully help. She has made altar cloths, banners and tabernacle covers which has helped make the church inviting and prayerful. Nancy also decorates the church for the major liturgical seasons down to the very last detail. She was even able to make a manger scene for our annual Christmas pageant. Even when it came time to clean out the sacristy this past summer, Nancy was ready to help.”

Cusack is deeply devoted to her faith and family, said Joseph. “It is from these sources that she is able to serve those in our parish and greater community. She has an incredible faith which has been tested through times of loss. That faith remains an inspiration for her family. If Marge says that she will pray for you, you can trust that you’re on her prayer list. Marge has been an instrumental leader within our parish food pantry for more than 10 years. She is a gentle kind soul who has great compassion for all those in need. She is willing to drop everything and help someone who might be ill, suffering a loss or in need of baby supplies.”

St. Anthony Church, located near Route 23 in Passaic County, N.J., was established in 1892. Information about its people and programs can be found on the parish website and on its Facebook page.

The HNP Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are people who have displayed an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the ideals and values of St. Francis. Recently friars in Pompton Lakes, N.J., Buffalo, N.Y., Loudonville, N.Y., Silver Spring, Md., and Wilmington, Del. have presented the medal to partners-in-ministry in their communities.

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

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