By: Danielle Incognito
Saint Rose of Lima Church in East Hanover has been an inspiration to all who have entered its doors. Besides its beautiful wooden trestles, windows, and altar, it boasts much more than its structure. Many families have learned valuable lessons there over many years. Many have watched their children grow up in its pews and receive sacraments there. What seems to set the church apart is that the church supports the development of many priests, and many have gone through the church. Moreover, many parishioners try to find meaningful ways to serve their church and God, and Saint Rose appears to be the place in which many find refuge. They have made friends who have become family, and the church has helped parents raise their children through faith. Many go on to even become academy parents and active volunteers, especially in the church’s various ministries.
The church boasts extraordinary Ministers, a Rosary Altar Society, an Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, bereavement counseling, a choir, lectors, altar servers, a CCD Program, a Youth Ministry, Cornerstone, and a Respect Life Committee. It also could not function without its office staff, Meals on Wheels, food pantry, Knights of Columbus, church and linens cleaning volunteers, readers, as well as its maintenance staff.
St. Rose also hosts events such as bus trips to Carnegie Hall to see Christian concerts, trips to Broadway plays, and many others. Parishioners also go on pilgrimages. One was to The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. while another was a pilgrimage to Italy in October of 2016
One of its most instrumental and influential members had been Reverend Cannon Owen Moran, better known to Father Owen to all who loved him. In his final good-bye he explained that he was assigned to St. Luke’s Parish in Long Valley, where Bishop Seratelli thought he could do more of God’s work. Father Owen left impressions that would last a lifetime.
Angelo Giambattista, a 17-year parishioner commented on its page, “Only when I entered St. Rose, did I realize I did not really know how to pray. And thus, I did not really know how to talk to God. Of course, the catalyst to this realization was Father Owen. I remember the day he mentioned in mass that song is a form of prayer. I had always struggled to find a meaningful way to reach God. And now I had one.” He as an architect had always marveled over the church’s structure and beams, but now he said, “I’ve learned that the true strength of our parish comes from its people, its family and most importantly, its love.”
In reading about Saint Rose, Father Owen stands out as a driving force in getting people to have wanted to attend church and make it their home. Mr. Giambattista explained that Father Owen taught him to pray through song.
Another parishioner, Jim Giordano posted that, “We attended mass at St Rose a number of times before we moved and felt so comfortable with some of the parishioners that we decided to register here. It was summertime and we enjoyed meeting Father Owen and Deacon Vince. They knew we were looking for a home and they gave us various leads. Another wonderful parishioner invited my wife to pray with her and we became very good friends. All of the parishioners that we subsequently met, especially those from the daily 9:00 a.m. mass, have embraced us with sincere love and comradery. They reinforce our strong love of God and our faith in our fellow man. Father Owen remembered our names even though we attended mass only a few times. His spirituality impressed me so much, that when I mentioned it to him, he claimed it was the Holy Spirit. I firmly believe that, because he subsequently recruited me for several ministries.”
Kathy Magnifico, another parishioner who was looking for a home when she moved to East Hanover explained in her letter to the church, “It was during that time, Father Owen came to our church bringing his fresh energy. I was so compelled to get to that mass and hear him speak. And it always seemed like he knew exactly how I was feeling, and that he was actually speaking directly to me. Like never before, the homily became more than just a paraphrase of the scripture. It related to life as we see it today in our real world. Through the years, I have come to admire his strength to do all that he does for us, with a caring smile. Clearly, it is his passion for us, his parishioners, that makes him carry on. How blessed are we!”
Clearly, Father Owen had always been heavily involved with all his church families in mass and on a more personal level. He’d especially always been enthusiastic about welcoming the children into his parish. Moreover, he had always found time to develop personal relationships with families, even checking on loved ones in the hospital, even if just with a call. He had been seen asking the people at church about their illnesses, their relatives, or even their trips.
It was always joyous for the parishioners to experience Father Owen’s performance, especially in the sacrament of baptism. He would involve everyone in the congregation. He also found time to visit the CCD classes, as he wanted to show his love and appreciation he had for the children of his parish. Lisa Jo Ann, current coordinator of the Youth Ministry, recalled him saying “Why would I come to a Parish with a school if I did not care about the children? Over time, I witnessed his love for all of the children and his ability to connect with them. They felt as if they belonged and wanted to participate in Mass. My own children answered the call to volunteer, and they continue to be part of the Parish community.”
She summed him up best when she explained, “Fr. Owen has set an example by showing his love and concern for all the people of his Parish. Those beautiful actions have filtered down and have created an environment that makes the community want to be there for each other.”
Additionally, Father Owen has continued to be successful in his relationship with Bishop Serratelli by bringing to St. Rose several seminarians and Deacons, including Alex, Andrew, Michael and Kamil. Each and every one of them is the foundation upon which the church will continue to grow and thrive. Deacon Vincent Leo is currently the permanent Deacon.
The actions will most certainly filter down to the others Father Owen had touched. Kathy Magnifico also shed light on the others there who inspire the people of Saint Rose of Lima Church. She acknowledged, “Father Matthew for his light jokes that remind me that we are all good people, our Deacon Michael for his kind smile and guidance through Krakow, Deacon Andrew, and Seminarians Alex and Kamil.”
The church welcomed a new priest as well as Father Matthew Kranc, who will be their administrator for one year. He will then become the Pastor of the church. Father Matthew, however, is no stranger to Saint Rose of Lima as touched upon by Kathy Magnifico in her testimonial. He had been at the church for four years, and he had worked closely with Father Owen, which in turn, had helped the church remain so successful. He will, no doubt, continue to build upon the programs and relationships that Saint Rose of Lima Church boasts.
Mr. Giordano commented, “I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Father Matthew, our fantastic Parochial Vicar. Since coming to our parish, he has touched the hearts of all the parishioners. He is a wonderful, interesting teacher to the children, especially at mass when you never know what he will pull out of one of his bags.”
When Father Matthew was recently asked to comment on his parish, he shared the news with a parishioner who wrote the following letter.
“It is with great pleasure that I write a brief account of my experience in St. Rose of Lima Church in East Hanover. We were parishioners in 9 parishes in 5 countries before we settled in New Jersey. I write this not only as a Trustee, but as a daily communicant who worships along with 50-60 people at the 9 a.m. daily mass, who have enriched my life in so many ways. It is a very welcoming church from friendly and gracious staff; to helpful, caring ushers. Holy Mass is always a glorious and joyous celebration and we have many beautiful Ministries and Devotions for all generations. At the conclusion of Mass daily and on week-ends, there is always time for conversation and good cheer when exiting church. My out-of-state family enjoy attending mass with us, they said they are touched, interested and uplifted in the teachings and homilies and that it is most “refreshing” to worship with us. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to shine a light on our beloved St. Rose of Lima Church.” Anne Marie Gillespie shared.
For those interested, mass is held on a weekly basis. Currently mass is held on Saturdays at 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., Sundays 7:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., with children’s mass at 12:15 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and Monday through Fri. at 9:00 a.m.