The final Mass at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Bayonne was marked with hugs and tears as the 113-year-old parish closed its doors after the 7 p.m. vigil service on Dec. 31.
More than 400 people attended the Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, the Jan. 1 Catholic holy day of obligation, according to Joseph Doria, church trustee and former Bayonne mayor.
The Assumption Parish closing was part of the Newark Archdiocese’s plan to consolidate Bayonne’s seven parishes into four. Assumption and St. Michael/St. Joseph parishioners are to be absorbed into the new St. John Paul II Parish, at the site of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
Ludovico Nolfo, another Assumption church trustee, said the parish community was devastated by the closing.
“Everyone can see the tremendous attendance, the participation from the various ethnic groups, the great cooperation, and the obvious love and feeling among all the Assumption parishioners,” he said.
Assumption has large Italian, Spanish, and Filipino followings, and the final service was said in English, Italian, and Spanish.
Blanca Davilla saw her 43 years of attending church at Assumption end. She was married there and her son was baptized there.
“It’s very sad,” Davilla said. “I see my community growing up suddenly just torn apart. It’s really bad.”
Longtime parishioners Frank and Jean Perrucci were equally upset. Frank Perrucci has been a church member since 1941, he said, and helped form a Catholic War Veterans Post at the church in 1948.
“This should have never happened,” Jean Perrucci said.
Rev. Joseph Barbone, Assumption pastor, said the final Mass and asked parishioners not to be disheartened by the parish’s closing and to keep practicing their faith.
Former City Hall aide takes job with vets’ organization
Michael Embrich, an aide to former Mayor Mark Smith, chief of staff to Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, and a Navy veteran, announced on Dec. 28 that he has taken the post of director of veterans’ services for The Doe Fund, one of New York's largest nonprofit organizations.
The Doe Fund is known for its "Ready, Willing & Able" program, which focuses on finding housing and employment for homeless veterans. The program, run in tandem with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, helps veterans with transitional housing, meals, counseling and benefits advocacy with the VA, transitional employment occupational training, support services and life skills education, educational assistance, career development, job placement, and graduate services.
Embrich lobbied in favor of the Post 9/11 Montgomery GI Bill, which he leveraged to receive his bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University. Embrich also holds a masters degree from Rutgers.
North River Sing to perform at JCC later in the month
The North River Sing Community Chorus, with members from Bayonne, Jersey City, and Hoboken, will perform Broadway show tune favorites at the Bayonne Jewish Community Center, 1050 Kennedy Blvd., on Sunday, Jan. 31 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
The group’s songs include “Try to Remember,” “Everything's Coming Up Roses,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “Seventy-Six Trombones.”
The group will engage the audience in a sing-along halfway through the performance.
The suggested donation is $10.
For more information, visit http://northriversing.org.
County freeholders holding next regular meeting Jan. 7
The Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders has scheduled its next regular meeting for Thursday, Jan. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Freeholders’ Chamber, 567 Pavonia Ave., Jersey City.