The Beacon August 7 2014 : Page 1
Outreach, training programs listed for center Bishop makes pastoral visit to Parsippany parish 3 N EWSPAPER OF THE D IOCESE OF P ATERSON , N. J. > N O . 29 V OL . 48 > A UGUST 7, 2014 5 I T ’ S P ERSONAL F OR T HIS P RIEST New Migrant Ministry director relates ﬁrsthand to struggles, hopes of undocumented clients Ministry, an outreach of diocesan Catholic Charities, in St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Sparta. Last month, Father Rivera be-SPARTA — No doubt, Father Raimundo Rivera has increasingly came the first diocesan priest to as-felt more “at home,” living in the sume leadership of Migrant U.S., since his arrival on American Ministry a few months after the soil 22 years ago, and especially Trini tarians — who had cared for migrant workers and since he became a U.S. their families, since the citizen eight years ago. outreach’s inception 17 Yet, at heart, this native years ago — handed of El Salvador continues spiritual and social to feel like a newcom-leadership of the min-er — deep feelings that istry to the Paterson help him relate to and Diocese. connect with the many “I give thanks to the local and mostly undoc-Trinitarians, who have umented immigrants he served our diocese and serves each day as the more importantly the newly appointed direc-migrant workers and tor of diocesan Migrant Father Raimundo their families living in April Freeman of Calhoun, Ga., beautifies the grounds around a statue of the Blessed Mother in Ministry. Rivera front of the Straight and Narrow Family Success Center in Paterson. She was one of 80 volunteers our diocese for the past That’s because the serving at diocesan Catholic Charities agencies around the diocese last week volunteering through 51-year-old Father Rivera — ap-16 years,” Joseph Duffy, Catholic Catholic Heart Work Camp. The statue at the center means a lot to people in the neighborhood, pointed Migrant Ministry director Charities’ president, said. who often pause to pray there. For story and more photos, see page 6-7. Beacon photo / Cecile SanAgustin For two years, the diocese by Bishop Serratelli, effective June See It’s personal on Page 12 10 — knows firsthand the hopes, fears and struggles of undocument-ed workers. In 1992, he left El Salvador and crossed into Guate -SPIRITUAL ROAD TRIP THROUGH THE DIOCESE mala and then Mexico, before mak-ing the difficult and dangerous journey across the U.S. border without legal papers. He then lived in California, before migrating to New Jersey about 20 years ago. “I know immigrants. I know open to all — Catholic or non-By MICHAEL WOJCIK how difficult it is to cross the bor-Catholic. It’s like the Franciscan News Editor der and then to survive — to live motto: ‘All are welcome,’ ” said [with so many others] in houses, [ EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is the Franciscan Father Stephen DeWitt, to work [in difficult conditions] and third in a series featuring many of administrator of St. Bonaventure to struggle with English,” said the shrines, prayer gardens, rosary Parish, tucked around the corner Father Rivera, who lives at and walks and other devotional sites that of Ramsey Street and Danforth maintains an office for Migrant local faithful can visit on their trav-Avenue. On a recent sunny summer els throughout the diocese this sum-morning, Father DeWitt spoke to mer. ] The Beacon while surveying the al-PATERSON — A white statue of most four acres of lush, green prop-Mary, Queen of the Universe, wear-erty to one side and at the rear of ing a crown stands on a pedestal, St. Bonaventure Church, which holding the baby Jesus, while look-contains its own special devotion-ing with reverence out over the al space inside: St. Anthony’s prayer garden outside St. Bonaven -Shrine. A red-brick wall surrounds ture Parish here. Perched above a much of the wooded grounds — WELCOME TO ALL — A statue of Jesus stands in a grotto to greet ring of paving stones that surround a peaceful oasis in the midst of visitors to St. Bonaventure Parish, Paterson, who come to pray outside a granite altar, the statue — and God’s creation at the edge of the at the many religious statues and other devotional spaces on the city its regal title — embody the invit-City of Paterson not very far from parish’s bucolic property. Penitents also can pray or meditate, while ing and spiritual nature of this city the westbound lanes of heavily-walking the parish’s new prayer labyrinth. Beacon photo / Michael Wojcik parish’s wooded grounds, populat-traveled Route 80. Hugging one side of the church, altar. This granite structure bears who died of cancer in 2009 at 44. ed by several more devotional ob-Beyond the circle of paving jects, including religious statues and the prayer garden welcomes visitors the name of the beloved Franciscan with the Mary, Queen of the to whom garden was dedicated: stones sits rows of colorful flowers a new prayer labyrinth. “I like to think that the name, Universe statue; a circular path of Father John Piccione, St. Bonaven -and bushes. Many parishioners, es-Mary, Queen of the Universe, sym-paving stones, many dedicated to ture’s parochial vicar from 1995 to pecially those from St. Bonaven -See Road trip on Page 2 bolizes that fact that this space is loved ones by parishioners; and an 1999, and pastor from 1999 to 2005, By MICHAEL WOJCIK News Editor C ATHOLIC H EART W ORK C AMP Franciscans’ St. Bonaventure Parish invites people from across the diocese to its wooded land filled with devotional spaces DO NOT DELAY — TIME SENSITIVE NEWS W HAT T O D O Y OUTH V IEWPOINT C LASSIFIEDS O BITUARIES 5 6-7 8-9 10-11 12
It’s Personal For This Priest
New Migrant Ministry director relates firsthand to struggles, hopes of undocumented clients
SPARTA — No doubt, Father Raimundo Rivera has increasingly felt more “at home,” living in the U. S., since his arrival on American soil 22 years ago, and especially since he became a U.S. citizen eight years ago. Yet, at heart, this native of El Salvador continues to feel like a newcomer — deep feelings that help him relate to and connect with the many local and mostly undocumented immigrants he serves each day as the newly appointed director of diocesan Migrant Ministry.
That’s because the 51-year-old Father Rivera — appointed Migrant Ministry director by Bishop Serratelli, effective June 10 — knows firsthand the hopes, fears and struggles of undocumented workers. In 1992, he left El Salvador and crossed into Guatemala and then Mexico, before making the difficult and dangerous journey across the U.S. border without legal papers. He then lived in California, before migrating to New Jersey about 20 years ago.
“I know immigrants. I know how difficult it is to cross the border and then to survive — to live [with so many others] in houses, to work [in difficult conditions] and to struggle with English,” said Father Rivera, who lives at and maintains an office for Migrant Ministry, an outreach of diocesan Catholic Charities, in St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Sparta.
Last month, Father Rivera became the first diocesan priest to assume leadership of Migrant Ministry a few months after the Trinitarians — who had cared for migrant workers and their families, since the outreach’s inception 17 years ago — handed spiritual and social leadership of the ministry to the Paterson Diocese.
“I give thanks to the Trinitarians, who have served our diocese and more importantly the migrant workers and their families living in our diocese for the past 16 years,” Joseph Duffy, Catholic Charities’ president, said.
For two years, the diocese worked with the Trinitarians to make a smooth transition of leadership of Migrant Ministry, started by Bishop Emeritus Rodimer in 1997. Over the past 16 years, the religious order had built up the ministry, which today serves migrants in the following locations: St. Joseph Parish, Newton; St. Kateri; and at St. Joseph Parish, Lincoln Park.
Migrant Ministry serves the migrant community through its pastoral work and its social work. Priests, who serve the outreach, celebrate Spanish-language Masses on second and third Monday evenings at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s, Newton; first and fourth Mondays at 7 p.m. at St. Kateri; and every Sunday at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s, Lincoln Park. Bus transportation is offered to and from liturgies. Also, the outreach conducts Bible studies, religious education and prayer groups. The ministry also offers preparation for Baptism, marriage, lectors and altar servers, as well as spiritual direction and counseling, Father Rivera said.
“We bring the Gospel to wherever the migrants are. We work with the vulnerable people,” Luis Arias, assistant Migrant Ministry director, told The Beacon in December, after the Bishop Serratelli served as main celebrant and homilist at the annual diocesan Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, at Pope John XXIII High School, Sparta, on Dec. 12, when the Trinitarians officially handed over leadership of the outreach to the diocese. “Migrant Ministry is a parish with no walls. We are parish on wheels. People have the same needs the sacraments and other needs — as in any other parish,” he said.
As part of their social work, the bilingual priests and brothers and volunteers of Migrant Ministry have been discerning the needs of migrants and their families. These people usually work as day laborers, and eke out a meager living and some are exploited by their employers. Not yet fluent in English, these newcomers, mostly in their 20s and 30s, feel isolated from the rest of society and from their Catholic Church, said Arias, who also works with two other Migrant Ministry volunteer staffers, Pam Matzy and her husband, Ed.
The outreach operates a helpline in Sussex County and sometimes advocates in court for immigrants, although it usually refers them to Father Michael Burke, an attorney and director of legal services at diocesan Catholic Charities. The outreach mainly helps smooth out labor issues. Often, contractors hire these immigrants as day labors and fail to pay them at the end of the workday. Migrant Ministry helps to track down those employers to get justice for the workers. The outreach also deliberately seeks out these migrants, who often come from agricultural backgrounds in their native countries and work, hidden away in the shadows on local farms, Arias said.
Father Rivera can relate to the struggles of Migrant Ministry clients. He was born in Los Naranjos, El Salvador, where his mother nurtured his priestly vocation. Several times, he met his fellow countryman, the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, whom he considered a role model for the priesthood.
“I saw how he helped the poor,” said Father Rivera about Archbishop Romero, who was known for fighting against injustice that faced poor people in El Salvador. Because he spoke out about these injustices, Archbishop Romero was assassinated by gunmen while saying Mass in 1980, a martyr for the faith whose cause for sainthood is under way.
There in his homeland, while he was away at school, Father Rivera’s family faced the same fate as Archbishop Romero. Guerilla extremists murdered his mother, father, three brothers, sister and brother-in-law during the country’s civil war in the 1980s.
Father Rivera made the dangerous trek to the U.S. in 1992, settling first in southern California and then moving to New Jersey in Long Branch, where he would obtain a Green Card through an employer who hired the college graduate with a major in accounting that granted him legal status. A few years later, buoyed by his role model, Archbishop Romero, he decided to pursue the priesthood and studied philosophy at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Philadelphia. He later completed his seminary studies for the Paterson Diocese, earning a Master of Divinity degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary, South Orange. Bishop Serratelli ordained him a priest of the Paterson Diocese in 2011. Previous to his Migrant Ministry appointment, Father Rivera served as a parochial vicar at St. Peter the Apostle Parish, Parsippany, where he got involved in various multicultural religious and social celebrations.
Today, Father Rivera builds on Migrant Ministry’s openhearted legacy with his own dreams. He wants to create a single migrant community on the boarder of New York State and New Jersey in northernmost Sussex County. The priest also wants to bring together migrants from around the diocese for a Mass to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patron of migrants, Dec. 12.
“I want to put Migrant Ministry on a special level in the diocese. I want people, especially those people who feel isolated to know that we have someone in the diocese to represent them and that we have a special ministry to help them,” Father Rivera said.
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Franciscans’ St. Bonaventure Parish Invites People From Across The Diocese To Its Wooded Land Filled With Devotional Spaces
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is the third in a series featuring many of the shrines, prayer gardens, rosary walks and other devotional sites that local faithful can visit on their travels throughout the diocese this summer.]
PATERSON — A white statue of Mary, Queen of the Universe, wearing a crown stands on a pedestal, holding the baby Jesus, while looking with reverence out over the prayer garden outside St. Bonaventure Parish here. Perched above a ring of paving stones that surround a granite altar, the statue — and its regal title — embody the inviting and spiritual nature of this city parish’s wooded grounds, populated by several more devotional objects, including religious statues and a new prayer labyrinth.
“I like to think that the name, Mary, Queen of the Universe, symbolizes that fact that this space is open to all — Catholic or non- Catholic. It’s like the Franciscan motto: ‘All are welcome,’ ” said Franciscan Father Stephen DeWitt, administrator of St. Bonaventure Parish, tucked around the corner of Ramsey Street and Danforth Avenue.
On a recent sunny summer morning, Father DeWitt spoke to The Beacon while surveying the almost four acres of lush, green property to one side and at the rear of St. Bonaventure Church, which contains its own special devotional space inside: St. Anthony’s Shrine. A red-brick wall surrounds much of the wooded grounds — a peaceful oasis in the midst of God’s creation at the edge of the City of Paterson not very far from the westbound lanes of heavilytraveled Route 80.
Hugging one side of the church, the prayer garden welcomes visitors with the Mary, Queen of the Universe statue; a circular path of paving stones, many dedicated to loved ones by parishioners; and an altar. This granite structure bears the name of the beloved Franciscan to whom garden was dedicated: Father John Piccione, St. Bonaventure’s parochial vicar from 1995 to 1999, and pastor from 1999 to 2005, who died of cancer in 2009 at 44.
Beyond the circle of paving stones sits rows of colorful flowers and bushes. Many parishioners, especially those from St. Bonaventure’s growing Hispanic community, enjoy visiting the prayer garden after Masses. The parish also holds religious events here, including those for the Easter Vigil, the May Crowning and the Feast of Corpus Christi. On July 13, the garden hosted the dedication of the Mary, Queen of the Universe statue to lifelong parishioner Joan Healy. She coordinates the faith community’s Extra - ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and serves on the parish council and the finance council and as a parish trustee.
“I feel very honored,” said Healy, after the statue dedication, which was part of St. Bonaventure’s events that day to bid farewell to Father Chris Van Haight, former pastor, who was heading to his new assignment in North Carolina.
A short walk back to the rectory parking lot brings visitors to a short set of steps that lead to the rear of the tree-lined property, home to several more religious statues. Greeting people at the stairs, a white statue of Jesus stands in a grotto, a triangular structure, fashioned from stones. They can walk around to the other side to pray before a statue of the Blessed Mother in a small opening at the grotto. Deeper in the forested area stands an old statue of St. Anthony holding the Child Jesus, near a small but wellcared for garden.
In the center of this area filled with statues sits a prayer labyrinth: a path with a single, circuitous route that leads to the center of the circle and then returns to outer edge of the circle. Typi - cally, it helps penitents with prayer, meditation, reflection or spiritual transformation. Last year, Father Van Haight built the labyrinth, using a cloth pattern that he purchased online, with woodchips and bricks for the border that were leftover from the prayer garden project, Father DeWitt said.
“One of the gifts that Father Chris left us was the ability to walk the labyrinth,” and Sister Jean Amore, St. Bonaventure’s pastoral associate and a Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Conception, who walks the labyrinth. “When I walk it, I let the Holy Spirit move me. I’ve prayed the words, ‘Lord, be with me,’ one at a time. It’s a place to center myself with the Lord,” she said.
A babbling brook cuts through the rear of St. Bonaventure’s property, crossed by small bridges at several points. One bridge leads from a statue of St. Francis of Assisi— appropriately shown with animals — and across the water to a grassy area with a bench, where people can reflect and pray.
A walk about 100 feet from the St. Francis statue to the edge of St. Bonaventure’s grounds opposite the prayer garden reveals another tall, white statue, this one of St. Therese of Lisieux, who was a Carmelite nun from France — a tribute to the Carmelite priests, who turned over the property to the Franciscans in the late 1800s. It stands at the edge of the parking lot of the former Franciscan monastery there, which was attached to the church and was demolished in 1983, Father DeWitt said.
Up from the St. Therese statue on a hill near Ramsey Street stands another statue of St. Francis, not too far from a corner of St. Bonaventure’s Church that has a door on which the following words are displayed over it in stained glass: “St. Anthony Shrine. For the Sick.” Inside penitents of all types — not only the sick — will find a cornucopia of religious statues and paintings for prayer and meditation. They can pray before statues around the room, including those of Jesus, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Anthony and St. Francis; light votive candles; and leave written intentions.
Back outside, Father DeWitt looks over St. Bonaventure’s property, which he envisions having an even bigger purpose: as a “mini park,” open to the wider local community. Already, kids from the neighborhood have come here to play soccer and sled in the winter, Father DeWitt said.
“I hope this [property] continues as a prayer space but also becomes a place to recreate,” Father DeWitt said. “This is such a welcoming space. I hope it draws in even more people,” the priest said.
Information: (973) 279-1016.
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