The St. Theresa’s Summer Feast will be held this month, with rides, games, and good food up and down St. Theresa Avenue in Pelham Bay.
“The streets will be abuzz with rides being set up and decorations going up,” said Lou Aurrichio, head of the St. Theresa Feast Committee. This year’s feast is scheduled to run from Wednesday, July 23, to Sunday, July 27.
This year’s Feast will be bittersweet for many parishioners. Father Robert Grippo, who has served as pastor at St. Theresa of the Infant Jesus Catholic church for the past 23 years, will be transferred to the Church of the Annunciation in Crestwood, New York in early July.
Father Grippo began the tradition of the St. Theresa Summer Feast in 1996, the year of the 100th anniversary of the church’s patroness, St. Theresa of Lisieux. Fr. Grippo thought that a community celebration would be appropriate.
“The first Feast was so effective in bringing the community together we decided to continue it,” said Fr. Grippo,
Every Feast has had a certain theme that the church focuses on for the week. This year, the theme of the Feast is “Come Home to Jesus.”
Louis Masi, a seminarian who has had an active role in St. Theresa Parish, said that there will be a focus on evangelization and bringing the Good News to the people of the community at this year’s Feast.
“We want to reach out to the people of the community, those who were Catholic or are Catholic who don’t come to church that often, and encourage them to come home,” Masi said.
The parish’s youth group, which Masi organized, will be in front of the church handing out informational cards about the church’s spiritual services. Curious Feast visitors may also enter St. Theresa Church for daily mass and confession, and can watch videos explaining the basics of the Catholic faith.
“God has been working in the lives of the people in this community,” said Fr. Grippo, who hopes that the Feast may be a way of providing people with a chance to re-connect with their faith.
Despite the imminent departure of Father Grippo, parishioners are confident that they will be able to continue the spirit of the Feast.
“Father Grippo has been our inspiration, and we will follow his example,” said Antonia Bruno, a member of the St. Theresa Feast Committee who was recently honored for her long-time service to the Summer Feast.
The Feast has always hosted a variety of attractions for both locals and visitors from across the Bronx. Carnival-style rides and games are a constant at the Feast, along with classic Italian food. However, as with every endeavor, timing is everything; for example, ordering ride tickets in advance for a 50 percent discount.
“This year, the advance tickets are a huge savings,” said Aurrichio. “You can get 40 tickets for $20.”
Advance tickets are sold in the parish rectory on weekdays between 9 am and 4:30 pm or on the parish website at sttheresas
The St. Theresa Feast will also hold a Grand Raffle, which will be drawn on July 27. The grand-prize winner will have the choice between either a 2014 Mercedez Benz CLA 250 or $30,000 cash. The second-prize winner will receive $1,000, and the third-place winner will receive $500. Raffle tickets are also available for purchase on the parish website.
The Feast will also host a variety of local bands to entertain the community each night. There will be two bandstands this year: one on Mayflower Avenue, and one on the Hutchison River Parkway. Featured bands and artists this year will include Bazooka Joe, A Moment’s Worth, DJ Inappropriate, Blue Collar, JAMZ Entertainment, Control Z, Gino & Gina, and Dennis Dell.