St. Clare of Assisi parish will hold its 21st annual Feast of Saint Anthony celebration on Sunday, June 13. The celebration will include a procession of a statue of the saint through the streets of Morris Park, in what has become a much anticipated event in the community.
The feast began with the goal of uniting the church community when Father Richard Guarnieri first assumed the role of pastor of the parish 21 years ago. Guarnieri said that since Saint Anthony is such an important holy person that many Catholics pray to, it is the perfect occasion for bringing the people of the parish together.
“I started the tradition when I first came to St. Clare’s because I wanted to do something to unify the parish,” Guarnieri said. “I thought that it was a good day to come together as a community.”
This year, the celebration will start following a 1 p.m. Mass at St. Clare of Assisi Church. There will then be a procession through the streets with men from the parish carrying a statue of Saint Anthony and a marching band performing.
“People come out of their homes along the route and watch the procession, and it’s a lot of fun,” Guarnieri said. “It is a good thing that they see their friends and neighbors, and sometimes meet old acquaintances.”
After the procession there will be a picnic under a tent in the schoolyard of St. Clare’s School. This has been part of the feast since its very beginning, Guarnieri said.
Parishioner Steve DeMartis said that the St. Clare’s Feast of Saint Anthony is something he always looks forward to.
“This is my 20th year participating in this event, and I always look forward to it as a good start to the summer,” DeMartis said. “I am glad to see the tradition continue for both the parish and the community.”
Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393.
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