My Dear Parishioners,
When we began our new parish of St. Patrick, two and one half years ago, we had a unique picture on the cover of our bulletin. It depicted a stork carrying our “baby” church and the caption read, “A Beautiful Beginning”.
This pictorial directory is intended to record that “Beautiful Beginning” for all time and to show at least some of the beautiful people who were such a vital part of that beginning. It is also intended to facilitate our growth in unity as a parish family in Christ, ever in His service.
Needless to say, I am very proud of what we have become in such a short period of time, and for all who sacrificed so much to make this story possible, I am eternally grateful.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Father Frank Guinan, Pastor
In September of 1987, Bishop Daily appointed Fr. Frank Guinan to establish a parish to serve the area. At the time, several of the present residential communities did not exist.
The original boundaries went through the middle of the Bluffs on the north side and went just 1/2 mile on the south side of the church site. Following a meeting with all the local pastors, the boundaries were revised and improved upon. The Diocesan Building Commission had already purchased the house on Hope Lane, adjacent to the property, which at that time was a wilderness. The Rectory was established and used for the office and meetings. So, the next task was to find a place for Sunday Mass.
Finding a Home
John and Marilyn McCarthy, owners of the Fireside Inn Restaurant in the Bluffs, offered the use of their restaurant for no charge whatsoever. Masses were scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday, so it would be over in time to allow the Restaurant to open at 5:00 p.m., and 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. on Sundays.
Our first weekend of Masses on October 24th and 25th produced an astonishing gathering of two hundred fifty people. At this time we also began our Monday night meetings at the Rectory, which were so successful in organizing our Liturgical Ministry, producing our Bulletin, planning our Census and Stewardship campaigns, planning our first picnic at the Cleary residence, and our first St. Patrick’s Day party for February through April 1988, etc.
In December we added another Mass at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and in January we added the 8:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. We were blessed to have Msgr. Rigney to assist that first winter. We were also grateful to have Maida Lowman join us as Secretary three days a week. Her office was the Rectory living room, where we also had daily Mass. It was after Mass one morning that George Hallahan informed our staff that Frenchman’s Creek was building a Clubhouse and that we might avail ourselves of the three portable buildings which served them as a pro shop, locker room, and Restaurant, and which they would be tearing down. By Christmas, they had committed to giving them to us, and Derek Carroll began the work of finding movers, carpenters, etc. so that we could use them for our first church building. Initially, we were to have them in May, but it was September when we actually began moving.
The portable buildings became the first church buildings on site. The first Mass was offered on Christmas in 1988. Bishop Daily blessed the building on December 10, 1989. After that, our congregation now had plenty of room to grow and was able to observe the progress being made from week to week.
From the Ground Up
On February 11, 1989, we conducted our first Census and Stewardship Drive, John Gintoli as Chairman. We had our first St. Patrick’s Day party at the Elk’s Club, which was chaired by Gene and Marge Grall and attended by over 300 people. Gene then went on to begin organizing a Men’s Club of which he became President. The Women’s Guild was formed under the leadership of Bobbye Dickerson, and Jean Primeroso organized our Catechetical program which had some 50 children in attendance and met on Sunday mornings in the Rectory.
By May 1989, Fr. James Driscoll and Msgr. David Casazza, retired priests from New Jersey, were assisting on weekend as Msgr. Rigley was obliged to give all his time to St. Christopher’s in Hobe Sound. In August of 1989, we were very fortunate to have Sister Barbara Jean join our parish as Directress of Religious Education. She worked with the Youth, conducted Baptism Sessions for the Parents, oversaw the RCIA Program, oversaw the Care Ministry Program; helped to plan special Liturgical celebrations, and helped whenever and wherever needed in the Parish. In November, just before the Dedication, we were also fortunate to welcome Fr. Michael Heenan who had retired from Rockville Center, diocese.
In 1991, a building committee was formed with Bill Murphy as chairman. The committee visited several churches in the region and met with architects, before selecting Richard SanGiovanni to design St. Patrick Church. In the Spring of 1994, Vincent and Ann Marotta agreed to be the chairpersons of the building fund campaign to raise the required three and one-half million dollars. In March 1991, the ground breaking ceremony took place. In less than thirteen years, the parish of St. Patrick grew from its beginning at the Fireside Inn to the creation of a most beautiful Catholic Church in this park-like setting.
The entire parish will be forever grateful to many, in particular, Florence and Larry DeGeorge who funded the beautiful Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Gail and Frank Scarpa who donated the rose window over the main altar. The late Sidney Simowitz devoted a great deal of his time and expertise supervising the entire construction process. In addition, Sidney and Diane were most generous in their donations.
The “Tree of Life” in the main entrance to the church lists some of the initial supporters of the building effort. The official dedication program contained hundreds of names of those who supported the new building campaign.
On December 10, 1989, at 11 a.m. we had over 600 people attend the Dedication by Bishop Daily. The Dedication homily was preached by , Rector of St. Ignatius Loyola Cathedral. It was attended by over twenty priests.
In the months following the Dedication, our Mass attendance has more than doubled from the same period the previous years (from 700 – approx. 1500).
Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.Romans 13:8
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above meSt. Patrick
St. Patrick Parish committed to the Eucharist and guided by the Holy Spirit strives to be a welcoming presence to all, reaching out to the spiritual, emotional, educational, social, and material needs of all of God’s children, both in our parish and beyond. We hope in this way to show our love for God, not only by what we say, but by the way we live our lives.