During 2014, the parish remained constant in its commitment to helping the needy both at home and abroad. Whether it be through our annual “Souper Bowl of Caring,” our Clothing and Housewares Drive, Mother’s Day Baby Shower, serving at Loaves and Fishes at the Cathedral, assisting the Saint Vincent DePaul Conference, and our Blood Drive, our parishioners showed themselves to be generous disciples. Our most generous gift to the needy was the fruit of our Lenten Work of Charity: once again we came to the aid of the people of Uganda. Throughout the holy season, we collected a total of $11,300 for the purchase of an X-Ray machine for the Bishop Asili Clinic.
Our Lenten observance was highlighted by a very successful Parish Mission under the direction of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal of Bronx, New York. Shortly before our celebration of the Sacred Triduum, we mourned the sudden death of Deacon Timothy Moore. The parish in its grief offered a fitting tribute to the Deacon who was such a zealous minister of the Lord. His particular ministries were in the oversight of our Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion and Altar Servers. Deacon Tim's Vigil and Funeral Mass were celebrated in the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows.
The month of May saw an extraordinary event in our parish life, especially for our parishioners who trace their origins to Haiti. We had the honor of welcoming Chibly Cardinal Langlois of Les Cayes, Haiti…the first Haitian to receive the Church’s Red Hat. On Saturday, May 10, His Eminence celebrated Mass at St. Anthony Church with our own Bishop David M. O’Connell in attendance. Many priests concelebrated this festive Mass.
Our school and religious education program remained quite busy. Their programs included a Summer Camp and a Vacation Bible Camp. Our school graduated 31 students. The Sports Committee could boast that the freshman CYO was undefeated (15-0).
The summer months saw a significant change in the priests assigned to our parish. Fr. Pierre Alabré who for many years ministered to the Haitian community both in our parish and at St. Francis of Assisium in Trenton, was transferred to the Church of St. Joseph, Toms River. At about the same time, Fr. Eugene Savarimuthu was recalled by his Bishop to serve in his native India. On July 1, Bishop O’Connell appointed the newly ordained, Fr. Jean Rénald Felicién to our parish.
In addition to our usual social activities, the parish was successful in a number of fund raising initiatives. Our Golf Classic and our Summer Project proved to be successful. The Summer Project helped to replace the side doors of St. Anthony Church and to renovate the sacristy at Our Lady of Sorrows. Unfortunately, our weekly Bingo was discontinued, the result of declining attendance and staffing challenges. Nevertheless our PTA sought to “fill the void” with other fundraising events and were able to maintain and even surpass the Bingo income to support the school.