Way back at the dawn of the new millennium, Yelena Siwinski, Mary Fran Muldoon and I were looking for a way to celebrate the new life being instilled in our parish, St. Mark. You see, we had just received a new pastor, and after a long period of decline our parish was waking up again.
I had always wanted to host a “Welcome Back” in the fall. My idea was that we would have a block party in the schoolyard each September to welcome back the parents and school children after everyone’s summer vacation.
Well, so much for that idea. Somehow, Family Appreciation Day was born. It was to be held on the first Sunday of May, in conjunction with the Rosary Society’s Annual Fund Raiser. It was to be open to all the community and free.
After many birth pangs, we pulled it off; a large BBQ and block party that attracted over 2,000 people. The Rosarians had never made so much money.
Well, six years later the day has become an annual event. Each year we feed the neighborhood grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, and Italian ices. All of the food is donated by Bassett Caterers, Richard Stockley and Spumoni Gardens. We have a DJ, Irish Step Dancers, Karate Schools, and many Catholic and community groups entertaining. This year we even had a solo perfomance by John Behan on guitar.
Every year attendance goes up. It’s a great day and one tradition I hope continues. Mark your calendars and come on out and join us next year.