With loss comes expectation of a new and active parish

This is the season of new beginnings. It’s the time when graduates look forward to new endeavors. It is the time when flowers burst forth from the earth and we venture forth from our homes to participate in outdoor activities.

But for every new beginning, there is an ending. The graduate, so eager to begin the next state in life, still has to say goodbye to all that is familiar: the friends and teachers who were a part of everyday life will fade to mere memories. The flowers bursting forth in color were brown and withered at the end of last summer.

We too, the family of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, are feeling both loss and expectation this year: loss of our parish as we have known it for so many years and expectation and anticipation of what is to come.

St. Francis de Sales Parish, a part of Barrington for the past 55 years, ceased to exist on May 19. In its place is the new parish of St. Rita, composed of the merged parishes of St. Francis de Sales, St. Gregory’s in Magnolia, and Mary, Mother of the Church in Bellmawr.

St. Gregory’s is closed. St. Francis continues to be used as a secondary worship site and the main parish is housed in Bellmawr. This change for the parishioners has been a difficult one. Many of Barrington’s residents worshipped at St. Francis de Sales for all or most of its existence.

A thank you must go out to our pastor Father Edward J. Maher for his inspiration and our resident priest Father Charles J. Colozzi. They will be greatly missed and we thank them for their time and talents. A special thank you to Mary Burke, parish secretary and Bernie Delaney, parish liturgist/secretary for their many years of dedication and service.

We also wish to acknowledge all of our parish family, those who came before us who built this wonderful parish church, former pastors and associates, our dear sisters the Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; all of the music ministries, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, greeters, ushers, altar servers, CCD teachers, school teachers, former parish secretaries, maintenance workers and all who grew up in St. Francis de Sales Parish and now raise their own families in this town and church; all who served on clubs and committees now and throughout the years. Thank you for everything you have done as individuals and families for this your parish family.

With this loss, though, comes the expectation of a new and active parish. We welcome our new pastor, Father Carmel Polidano. We join with our fellow parishioners from St. Gregory’s and Mary, Mother in forming a new Catholic community in our towns. We humbly ask for prayers from our friends and neighbors for the success and growth of our new parish.

We encourage you to attend the 9:15 am Mass that will still be held at St. Francis de Sales, and we look forward to your welcome of our new parish family members from St. Gregory’s and Mary, Mother of the Church, as we know they will welcome us to the Masses in Bellmawr.

The parish of St. Rita was established at the site of Mary, Mother of the Church in Bellmawr on Saturday, May 22.

Maryanne Ambrose and Eileen Holcombe attend daily Mass at St. Francis de Sales Church, Barrington.

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