“Welcome to Utica. The Home of St. Marianne Cope.”
|Betty Frank helped unveil the "Welcome to Utica" sign.|
The fraternity donated four signs, which the city installed at the north, south, east and west entrances to Utica.
Marcus Phillips, the mayor’s chief of staff, said the city was glad to work with the Secular Franciscan Order.
|Michael Galime and Marcus Phillips|
Common Council President Michael Galime read a proclamation from Mayor Robert Palmieri, honoring the fraternity. The fraternity also received a proclamation from County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr., declaring Aug. 18 as St. Joseph Fraternity Day in Oneida County.
Fraternity Minister Robert Stronach, OFS, presented the Silent Giver Award to Jo Ginnity, OFS, “for lifetime achievement for service to the Order, Church and Community.”
Since Jo was in a nursing and rehab facility, he surprised her with the award via cell phone, and then the gathering sang “Happy Birthday” to her.
Stronach then presented the St. Mother Marianne Cope Award to three individuals:
- Ed Morgan, director of Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen at St. Joseph-St. Patrick Parish, for coordinating the soup kitchen operation that served over 53,000 meals in the past year to the jobless, underemployed and homeless.
- Marion “Duffy” Geary, OFS, for her work with soup kitchens, food pantries and prison ministry. She is a member of Holy Family Fraternity in Vernon.
- Elizabeth “Betty” Frank, OFS, for her ministries at St. Joseph-St. Patrick Church as a professed Secular Franciscan for 70 years.
|Honorees Duffy Geary, Ed Morgan and Betty Frank with |
Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon.
Stronach also quoted from a congratulatory letter from Tibor Kauser, OFS, minister general of the Secular Franciscan Order. Writing from Rome, Italy, he cited the fraternity’s “significant past” and “praiseworthy present” with its various ministries.
Katie Koscinski, OFS, a fraternity member who serves on the St. Kateri Tekakwitha Regional Executive Council, presented a gift on behalf of Regional Minister Alfred Picogna – a framed collage of congratulatory messages from fraternities across the state.
Rev. Richard Dellos, pastor of St. Joseph-St. Patrick Church, offered the invocation at the afternoon banquet, citing the beginnings of the Franciscan charism when St. Francis of Assisi heard Christ’s call to “rebuild my church.”
|Fr. Christopher Panagoplos, TOR|
In his banquet talk, Father Christopher (a national spiritual assistant for the Secular Franciscan Order) referred to the polarization taking place in public discourse, where people of different viewpoints argue even to the point of hatred, rather than listen and communicate. Secular Franciscans have a role in countering such division.
“The heart of Franciscan living is relationship. Relationship with God, with others, and with creation.”
He added: “For St. Francis, fraternity summarized his radical living in solidarity with all of humanity and creation… Francis’ starting point rested in the faithful recognition of his relationship to the other.”
He pointed to St. Joseph Fraternity’s 160 years of striving to live the Gospel not only in the footsteps of St. Francis, but also in the spirit of St. Marianne Cope, who grew up in the parish.
“You have been and still are responding to immediate needs and specific situations: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for and healing the sick, visiting those in hospitals and prisons; focusing on people’s distress, focusing with empathy.”
A video message from Jan Parker, OFS, national minister of the Secular Franciscan Order, brought the celebration to a close, with her singing the Blessing of St. Clare, “May you always be with God wherever you may be and may God be with you always.”
Photo gallery of event (photos by Alex Stronach & Bob Stronach)