It is a shame that the Holy Rosary Feast has been cancelled this year. The feast would have been the perfect opportunity to remember and pay tribute to Monsignor Gerard Santora. August 28, 2020 marks the 15th anniversary of the passing of Monsignor Gerard Santora. He was 93 years old when he passed onto Heavenly glory.
Officially, he is “Monsignor” Santora. However, for those of us who were fortunate enough to have known him in the 1960’s, he will always be “Father” Santora to us. Father Santora was the “Priest of all Priests.” He was the Pastor of Holy Rosary for some 30 years, dating back to the start of World War II in Europe. Holy Rosary Church prospered during his tenure as pastor; he orchestrated many efforts to make improvements to the parish.
We experienced many “firsts” with Father Santora. Suffice it to say, Father Santora was always “there.” He was there to baptize us. Many of us received our first penance and Holy Communion with Father Santora. He was there when we were confirmed. He also married many of our parents. And, he was there to lend spiritual comfort and support when our grandparents were called to the Pearly Gates of Paradise.
Father Santora was the living Eucharist of the divine presence. He brought a sympathetic ear and a compassionate heart in which people found the Lord’s consolation, understanding, and love.
Father Santora is a Holy Rosary institution. He is among one of Jersey City’s heroes. Yet, you won’t find statues or monuments commemorating him. Father Santora has no need of these physical objects. Instead, Father Santora has built endearing and enduring monuments in the hearts, minds, souls of those who knew him.
There will never, ever be another Father Santora. A good priest is a miracle of grace, and we were fortunate to have been blessed by a miracle, the “Priest of all Priests,” Monsignor Gerard Santora.
Albert J. Cupo and John Di Genio