A GOOD SHEPHERD ON THE HUDSON!
by MATTHEW AMATO
Columnist
Feb 27, 2011 | 2764 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print


For well over a decade, the Reverend Birgit Solano has been the pastor of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Weehawken, and has herself been looked upon as a Good Shepherd to her flock.

Born in Hanover, Germany, Pastor Solano came to the United States in 1993, to Weehawken as a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She expressed interest in a pastorate in America to the New Jersey Synod, who contacted her for interviews, and the rest is Weehawken religious history.

Leading up to this voyage to the Hudson River hamlet called the Township of Weehawken, Pastor Solano took her theological education in Vienna, and Zurich, and graduated from the University of Munich in Germany in 1983. Afterward, she began teaching religious education and philosophy at the high school level in Germany and later taught Holocaust Studies in Israel at a Christian kibbutz called the Nes Amim Center. After entering the United States the following year in 1994, she was ordained as a Pastor at Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Church in Union City, and thus began her pastorate at the 106-year old Good Shepherd Parish in Weehawken.

Reverend Solano speaks five languages: English, Spanish, German, Italian, and Hebrew, which is quite helpful, because in North Hudson County’s cultural history the first four languages are spoken in this region, and there are number of Jewish houses of worship, where the Hebrew language would be most welcomed. Good Shepherd Parish is recognized as a bi-lingual congregation with services in both English and Spanish, said Reverend Solano.

Pastor Solano tells us the church organist and Choir Director is David Smyth, and the parish also has a music program and Drum Circle. Sundays and Fridays are for Prayer Services. Wednesdays are for Bible Studies, Saturdays are for Communion and Confirmation, and on Mondays the parish volunteers give their time to the Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation (PERC) in Union City, whose Executive Director is Emory A. Edwards. The parish also offers a food pantry and day care, and the parish also enjoys a good working relationship with Weehawken Township Mayor Richard Turner on various projects, and has participated in the township’s 150th Anniversary Celebration. Interested parties can contact the parish office at (201) 863-2029 for further news and information about the parish.

In her leisure time, Reverend Solano likes walking and biking. However, church life is her life, and always is in all daily aspects. This columnist then had to ask how it feels to her being a woman in a traditional male position as a church pastor. Pastor Solano said that the question was decided back in 1972 for her, before she was ordained a pastor, by her church denomination that their church law be changed to accept women as pastors in her Lutheran Church. There are now job goals to be reached and attended to, like expanding the parish’s Youth Ministry and the renovation of the church building. With very important goals such as these to be reached, and her determination to be successful, it shows she is up to the challenge and should be applauded for it. To Pastor Birgit Solano: All The Very Best!

The Union City/West New York Rotary Club has been “chartered” as an official member of the Rotary International, District 7490 as of Feb. 25. The President is Cosmo Cirillo, a West New Yorker, who is presently the West New York assistant town clerk, appointed by Mayor Silverio “Sal” Vega. Mr. Cirillo tells us that the Charter Day Celebration was held at the Marinero Grill in West New York. For those readers who would like to join, just look up their web-site on-line, or call Mr. Cirillo at Town Hall for more information. May this new Rotary Club grow with every good deed it does!

Giorgio (Giorgio the Barber) Barlaam of Guttenberg, whose hair stylist shop is in North Bergen, called to tell us that former Federal Bureau of Investigations Director Louis Freeh recently was passing through North Hudson County and stopped in to get a haircut from the one and only Giorgio! By the way, former director Freeh is a Hudson County native, and we are glad that he still remembers his roots. The way to go Giorgio!

Kristiana Reyes of Secaucus was named to the Dean’s List at Ithaca College’s School of Humanities and Sciences in upstate New York. Best wishes Ms. Reyes!

North Bergenite Miguel A. DeJesus, a parishioner at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in North Bergen whose Pastor is the Reverend Peter G. Wehrle, has become a “seminarian” with the Capuchin Franciscan Friars Province of the Sacred Stigmata, announced Friar Vincent Fortunato, OFM Cap., in Union City. The Friars are followers of Saint Francis of Assisi, and inspired by the ideals Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, Italy. Both were “stigmatics!” The Friars are also inspired by the ideals of Saint Anthony of Padua. Godspeed Mr. DeJesus!

Hudson County Surrogate-Judge Donald W. DeLeo of North Bergen will be addressing the members of the Hudson County Funeral Directors Association on the subject of “New Information on Wills, Living Wills, Living Trusts, and Stories from your Hudson County Surrogate’s Court, “on Thursday, March 3, at 4:30 p.m., at the Casa Dante Restaurant, 737 Newark Ave., Jersey City. The great restaurant is located very close to the Journal Square/Five Corners area, and three blocks west of the Brennan Court House. The subject to be addressed and the audience to be addressed are significant to Surrogate-Judge DeLeo’s delivery in such matters. Attendance is important, information is everything! Don’t miss it!

And so it goes … until next time …see you around town …MATT

Readers who would like to contribute to this column can do so by mailing your news items along with your photographs to Matthew Amato, columnist, c/o The Hudson Reporter, 1400 Washington St., Hoboken, New Jersey 07030.
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