Sacred Heart Parish hosts second annual gala

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:24

MONROE - On Friday evening, Feb. 11, Sacred Heart Parish in Monroe held its second annual gala at the Inn at Central Valley. Last year’s well-attended event not only served as an important fund raiser but was also an opportunity to present an award, to be repeated each year, to a person or persons in the parish for service to church and community. The recipients of that first award last year, the Lumiere de Sacre(-Coeur (Light of the Sacred Heart), were longtime parishioners Don and Kathy Beeler. This year, Rev. Thomas J. Byrnes, pastor of Sacred Heart Church, presented this award each to Sister Mary Norbert McNamee, O.P., and Sister Rose O’Rourke, O.P. “We are blessed to honor two members of our community who have and continue to be the bulwark of our parish,” Byrnes said in presenting the awards. Sr. Norbert and Sr. Rose have each contributed more than 30 years of their religious life serving the people of this parish. Byrnes recalled that when he first arrived at Sacred Heart to become its new pastor, he was told the two most important words he should learn were: “Yes, Sister.” In addition to the Lumiere de Sacre(-Coeur, Byrnes also presented Sr. Norbert and Sr. Rose each with a Certificate of Apostolic Blessing by Pope Benedict XVI. Sr. Norbert, who has been in religious life for 62 years, expressed her gratitude. “The feeling I have is overwhelming,” she said. “I see many faces of love and friendship here.” Sr. Rose, director of religious education, addressed her audience, which included members of her religious order and clergy along with parishioners. “I knew I would be surrounded by friends tonight,” she said. “Thank you. But you are the ones who deserve this honor.” Thomas Sullivan served again as host. Members of the 2011 Sacred Heart Parish Gala Committee included Byrnes, chairman Tom Nash, journal editor Frank Agapito, Kathy Beeler, Neil Dwyer, Mary Ann Hagan, Claire Hyland, Mary Kalmanowitz, Bernadette Marasco, Josephine Minafo, Janet Scarpa, Jennifer Stack and Susan Taguer. Many of those who contributed to the event, including Maggie’s Celtic Cottage, Monroe Florist, the Inn at Central Valley and Monroe Printing and Photography and others, did so without charge or at substantial discount. For instance, Agapito, a Sacred Heart Class of 1974 graduate, donated his time and expertise as journal editor. Numerous businesses and individuals throughout the area donated valuable prizes for the silent auction. Proceeds from the event, which will be used to help support the parish, are expected to exceed $25,000.