Diocesan Mass for an exclusive, century-old club

Diocesan Mass for an exclusive, century-old club

Photo by James A. McBride
Honoree Rose Elentrio, 100 years old, at the reception after Mass.


BELLMAWR— Josephine Nesi’s key to longevity?

“I don’t go to nightclubs, and I eat homemade food,” the 104-year-old said.

Joseph Vitello, 100 years old, answered that question similarly.

“Make sure you take care of yourself,” he said.

Nesi, from Vineland (Christ the Good Shepherd Parish); Vitello, from Washington Township (Church of the Holy Family); and three other centenarians, wise in the ways of the world, were honored last week at a Mass for them at Annunciation Church, Saint Joachim Parish here.

The Diocesan Mass for our Centenarians was celebrated July 26, the feast of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus.

Some centenarians in the Diocese of Camden were unable to attend, such as Marie Correll of Williamstown, who has been a member of the Catholic Daughters of America for 40 years. She celebrated her 105th birthdaty on Aug. 2.

The Mass was celebrated by Father Sanjai Devis of VITALity Health Services and Father Hugh Bradley of Holy Angels Parish, Woodbury. The homilist was Deacon Jerry Jablonowski, executive director of VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services.

In his message to these two men and three women, their families, and their caretakers, Deacon Jablonowski, noted all they had lived through: Ten popes. Twenty-nine presidents. Two world wars. Elvis.

Calling them the “rich soil” that Jesus asks all of his followers to be, he thanked them for cultivating “yourselves throughout your lives and (bearing) much fruit.”

Even though “you’ve felt as though you were surrounded by thorns, those times … when your faith had been challenged by the anxieties and pressures of the world … you persevered.”

This cultivation and perseverance, Deacon Jablonowski continued, has “created wonderful legacies or footprints of your faith in sowing the seeds of your love” through their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

“You remain for us all, icons of our faith. We need your lives, so that we can truly live,” he concluded.

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