Observance of the Holy Year of Mercy
The year began as the Church found herself in the first weeks of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis. Our confession schedule was expanded to include offering the sacrament Saturday mornings following the 9:00 am Mass. The Haitian Community observed a Holy Hour every Friday evening at Saint Anthony Church. The Divine Mercy Chaplet was prayed every Thursday at part of our Eucharistic Day of Adoration. The Holy Year was solemnly closed on the Solemnity of Christ the King with the veneration of the relic of St. Faustina Kowalska following the 4:00 pm Mass and a Eucharistic Procession and Benediction at the 11:00 am Mass.
Faith Formation Continues
“Thoughtful Thursday” continued through 2017. A five week series of presentations on various topics were held in the spring and autumn, and a series of five movies was presented through the summer. Our Marriage Ministry Team held an Evening of Recollection conducted by Good News International in addition to the Annual Blessing of Engaged Couples and Anniversary Mass and Reception. Our annual Lenten Retreat was under the direction of Fr. Frank Siroli, O.S.A. of Villanova University.
Faith in Our Future
Having successfully completed a diocesan endowment campaign, “Faith to Move Mountains.” which raised over $920,000 toward a set goal of $1.49 million, the parish was part of another diocesan initiative to establish a strong future for the Church’s mission—“Faith in Our Future.” This involved a parish self-study and numerous meetings with representatives of neighboring parishes. These formed a “cohort” of five parishes—four parishes of Hamilton along with St. John the Baptist, Allentown. Our parish was represented by Msgr. Gervasio, Deacon O’Boyle, Amanda Baranowski, Lea Novak, and Leonard Commini. The mission of the cohort was to recommend to a diocesan commission and to the bishop a number of ways the parishes might be structured to function in the future.
These recommendations will be studied in early 2017. Bishop O’Connell will make the final decisions on the changes. An implementation period will follow. Our pastoral council has agreed to serve as the implementation team.
In addition to the usual devotions that mark the season, the parish mission and guest celebrant and homilist series, our Lenten Work of Mercy was dedicated again this year to assist Fr. Gene Savarimuthu with a sanitation project for his community. During the Lenten season, the parish raised over $26,000 for this purpose.
Visit of the Image of Notre Dame du Cap
On Sunday, December 4 the Haitian Community welcomed to St. Anthony Church the sacred image of Our Lady of the Cap from Quebec, Canada. The evening Mass was followed by a candlelight procession and the crowning of the image of our Blessed Mother.
The parish gathered for its annual picnic which was part of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Sorrows, our co-patron in September. The school’s “Knight to Remember” was enhanced this year. In addition to the dinner and silent auction, a comedy show helped to make this annual PTA event a great success. In November our volunteers were treated to an appreciation luncheon at the Hamilton Manor.
Summer Project and other Capital Improvements
Our annual summer project was dedicated to defraying the costs of the demolition of the former St. Anthony Rectory/Convent and to the installation of new flooring in the corridors of our school.
Changes to Staff and Schedule
In September, we were informed of the transfer of Fr. H. Todd Carter who was named Administrator of Holy Innocents Church, Neptune. A reception was held to honor and thank Fr. Carter for his six years of priestly ministry which he began the day of his ordination. The reduction in staff prompted a change in our Mass schedule. All parishioners were given the opportunity to vote on two options, and the resulting schedule has been in effect since October 1.
During the month of September we welcomed Mrs. Alexis Duffy as our new youth ministry. She comes to us through the offices of Fiat Ventures.