Golden Anniversary: A time to celebrate life of a parish

July 29, 2019 at 12:37 p.m.
Golden Anniversary: A time to celebrate life of a parish
Golden Anniversary: A time to celebrate life of a parish


By Dorothy K. LaMantia  | Correspondent


The air was charged with joy and anticipation in St. Dominic Parish, Brick, where the community assembled to celebrate its golden anniversary. The sound of bagpipes at the church’s front door, and guest musicians warming their trumpets and violins in the choir loft, added to the excitement of having Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrate the noon Mass, April 21, Good Shepherd Sunday.

Click HERE to view gallery of photos.

A candlelight procession of 34 parishioners representing every parish ministry and society served as prelude to the Mass. “Our ministries strive to bring the Light of Christ and the message of the Gospel to the com­munity,” announced Deacon Edward Buecker, Sr., who named each organization as its representative placed a votive light on a table beneath a wall sculpture of St. Dominic, the parish’s patron saint.

Leading the entrance procession was the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus who preceded the bishop; Msgr. James J. Brady, pastor; parochial vicars Father Joseph Gnarackatt and Father Dean Gaudio; 10 guest priests, and the deacons of the parish who assisted at the Mass – Damian Ayers, Gerald Reidinger, Sr., Bernard Kane III and Edward Buecker.

Bishop O’Connell greeted the congregation with humor, offering congratulations on the parish’s 50th anniversary, then adding, “You don’t look a day over 49.” In his homily, the bishop reflected on the day’s designation of Good Shepherd Sunday. He said, “We sang, ‘We are His people, the sheep of His flock.’ The psalm is talking about us and our relationship with God. We don’t celebrate a building and property. We celebrate 50 years as community, as family… real life, real people … 50 years of parishioners who do God’s work.” The bishop continued, “God has blessed you with growth and beautiful liturgies, good ministries, good pastors, good priests and good shepherds. Fifty years of Catholic education, outreach to the poor, of grace at work in the vineyard of the Lord.

“Anniversaries tell the story of a life lived. A parish anniversary tells the story of a life lived in Christ, of weddings, of Baptisms, marriages, First Holy Communions, funerals, carnivals, of sacrifices and of happy time … This is your story of your life as members of this community and family of faith.' “I want to offer you my prayerful congratulations on your 50 years of loving and serving Christ and each other,” said Bishop O’Connell.

Prior to the final blessing, Msgr. Brady reminded his parishioners to “say a little prayer for all whose hard work and sleepless nights resulted in attaining this place and made us what we are.”

“This is our spiritual home where we celebrate the major events of our lives. We come to worship every Sunday and we leave to spread God’s love among the people,” said Msgr. Brady.

Leaving no celebration unobserved, the pastor announced that the day was also Bishop O’Connell’s birthday and led the congregation in singing “Happy Birthday.” He presented the bishop with a painting of King David as a remembrance from the parish.

Maureen Cahill, president of the school PTA, presented Msgr. Brady with a plaque to commemorate the anniversary, engraved fittingly with the words, “Thank you for shepherding us on our journey to Christ.”

Mass ended with a rousing “God Bless America,” the official recessional in St. Dominic Parish since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

During the luncheon that followed, parishioners spanning all age groups reminisced over framed photographs of the grade school classes, ministries and buildings lining the hallway, then shared stories about the difference their parish has made in their lives.

“This is an amazing parish,” said Jack Ruppenthal, who joined the parish in 1983 when he and his wife enrolled their sons in St. Dominic School. “There is so much love here. It is a huge family of wonderful people. People do a lot to give back because the church has done so much for us.”

“Msgr. Brady always has a twinkle in his eye whenever he’s on the altar,” said parishioner, Dorothy Owen. Her friend Joan Ravallo added, “The priests are wonderful here. There are so many programs offered here. It is a great parish.” “I graduated in the class of 1971, the first graduating class,” said Loretta Vona. “I remember, when I was five, going to Mass in the bowling alley [on Route 88] before the church was built. All three of my kids went to this school too. This is such a supportive place.” Her friend, Marian Gallagher, shared that she cherishes Msgr. Brady because “he was so supportive of me and my children after my husband died.”

Erin Turnbach, PTA member and a mother of two children in St. Dominic School, remarked, “This is a wonderful parish to be part of. All committees and ministries support each other. Kids enjoy being in church. It is amazing how much the school has to offer. Every class has so much technology and resources available to them. It is so exciting and enriching.”

Cris Brown, who coordinates the baptismal preparation committee, said, “We are always looking for the perfect gift for our children. Here at St. Dominic we’re giving them the gift of this place, always the gift of compassion, acceptance, love, and community. I love going to this church. It gives back to my family in every way.”

Deacon Buecker commented, “It is a powerful place with a nice blend of people here. We have 33 ministries intent on bringing the light of Christ to the world. We strive to make the world a better place.”


Parish History

Because of the tremendous influx of Catholic families into the Point Pleasant-Brick area since 1955, Bishop George W. Ahr established St. Dominic Parish, Brick, and appointed Father John A. Ozarowski as pastor June 6, 1962. The first Mass in the new parish was celebrated in 88 Bowling Lanes on Father’s Day, June 17, 1962.

To assist the new pastor with his many responsibilities and to provide the parishioners with spiritual and social programs, the parish formed an Altar-Rosary on July 16, 1962, and the first Holy Name Society organizational meeting was held on July 23, 1962. The “C.C.D.” (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) program began in 1962 under the supervision of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters with classes being held in the bowling alley until the school was ready for use. The First Holy Communion and Confirmation Masses were celebrated in St. Peter Church, Point Pleasant Beach.

Seventeen acres of land in Brick, fronting State Highway 88 and bounded by Old Squan Road, on the East, and Van Zile Road on the west, was purchased for $76,578.67 on April 16, 1963, from Samuel and Ann Silverman.

After a parish census, it was determined it would be necessary to build a church, with a capacity of 1,000; a 16-classroom school; an all-purpose building to be used as a cafeteria, a gym and a social hall; and a rectory for the pastor and future priests who would serve the parish. A convent and an eight classroom addition to the school would then be built within three years after completion of the original buildings. Donald Moss of the firm of Boyken and Moss Architects, was hired to draw the plans for the buildings. A building fund campaign was conducted by Father Ozarowski, the trustees and parishioners to raise money for the construction. It provided to be a very successful venture with $275,000 already collected and another $150,000 — to be collected in the near future.

The groundbreaking ceremonies were held Jan. 12, 1964, and construction of the building started Feb. 3, 1964. Bishop Ahr presided at the laying of the cornerstone and the blessing of the church, school and gymnasium June 20, 1965.

In the fall of 1971, Father Ozarowski stepped down as pastor of St. Dominic Parish and Father Thomas Dzurenda, who was associate pastor, was appointed as the temporary administrator.

In Jan. 1972, Father Edward Bumbera was appointed as the second pastor and served in that capacity until April, 1977.

In 1972 and again in 1973, it was necessary for Bishop Ahr to divide St. Dominic. In 1972, St. Martha Parish, Point Pleasant, was established. In 1973, the Herbertsville section of Brick Township was removed from St. Dominic Parish and Epiphany Parish was established.

Father Bumbera was succeeded by Father Richard Brietske, who was appointed as the temporary administrator. He served the people until the appointment of Father John J. Gibbons on May 27, 1977.

During the administration of Msgr. Gibbons, a parish center was erected and a kindergarten wing with a small playground was added to the school. In November, 1983, Auxiliary Bishop Edward U. Kmiec presided at the laying of the cornerstone and the blessing and dedication of the new parish center and kindergarten wing. A much needed daily Mass chapel was built and complete in May, 1996.

Msgr. Gibbons served as pastor until January, 1998. Father James Brady, who previously served as pastor of Ascension Parish, Bradley Beach, was appointed as temporary pastor until his installation as permanent pastor in May, 1998.

Many changes have taken place under Msgr. Brady’s leadership. The renovation of the church and the installation of the large playground were completed in August, 2000. The following year, a sports field was created on the parish grounds and a food pantry and thrift store to serve those in need in the community was organized. An outdoor prayer garden was constructed in 2003 and in 2005, plans were approved to make renovations to the parish school which included a two-story multipurpose structure to be used by both parish and school personnel.

The new wing was blessed and dedicated by Bishop John M. Smith on April 26, 2009.
Pastor Profile

Msgr. James J. Brady, pastor of St. Dominic Parish, Brick, was born in 1947, in County Cavan, Ireland. He prepared for the priesthood in St. Patrick College and Seminary, Carlow, Ireland, and was ordained a priest in Carlow June 10, 1972, for the Diocese of Trenton. His first assignment in the diocese was as parochial vicar in St. Rose of Lima Parish, Freehold. He subsequently served as parochial vicar in St. James Parish, Red Bank; Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, now Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton; St. James Parish, Woodbridge; St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, both now in the Metuchen Diocese, and Holy Family Parish, Union Beach.

Msgr. Brady was named temporary administrator of Ascension Parish, Bradley Beach, April 30, 1987, and was appointed pastor of that parish June 12 of that year. On Feb. 10, 1998, he was named temporary administrator of St. Dominic Parish, and two months later on April 9, 1998, was named pastor of St. Dominic Parish.

In addition to his parish assignments, Msgr. Brady has also served on the Vocation Council of Priests and spiritual moderator of the Holy Name Society in Monmouth County.

Msgr. Brady was appointed Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Reverend Monsignor Dec. 15, 2009.

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By Dorothy K. LaMantia  | Correspondent


The air was charged with joy and anticipation in St. Dominic Parish, Brick, where the community assembled to celebrate its golden anniversary. The sound of bagpipes at the church’s front door, and guest musicians warming their trumpets and violins in the choir loft, added to the excitement of having Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrate the noon Mass, April 21, Good Shepherd Sunday.

Click HERE to view gallery of photos.

A candlelight procession of 34 parishioners representing every parish ministry and society served as prelude to the Mass. “Our ministries strive to bring the Light of Christ and the message of the Gospel to the com­munity,” announced Deacon Edward Buecker, Sr., who named each organization as its representative placed a votive light on a table beneath a wall sculpture of St. Dominic, the parish’s patron saint.

Leading the entrance procession was the Color Corps of the Knights of Columbus who preceded the bishop; Msgr. James J. Brady, pastor; parochial vicars Father Joseph Gnarackatt and Father Dean Gaudio; 10 guest priests, and the deacons of the parish who assisted at the Mass – Damian Ayers, Gerald Reidinger, Sr., Bernard Kane III and Edward Buecker.

Bishop O’Connell greeted the congregation with humor, offering congratulations on the parish’s 50th anniversary, then adding, “You don’t look a day over 49.” In his homily, the bishop reflected on the day’s designation of Good Shepherd Sunday. He said, “We sang, ‘We are His people, the sheep of His flock.’ The psalm is talking about us and our relationship with God. We don’t celebrate a building and property. We celebrate 50 years as community, as family… real life, real people … 50 years of parishioners who do God’s work.” The bishop continued, “God has blessed you with growth and beautiful liturgies, good ministries, good pastors, good priests and good shepherds. Fifty years of Catholic education, outreach to the poor, of grace at work in the vineyard of the Lord.

“Anniversaries tell the story of a life lived. A parish anniversary tells the story of a life lived in Christ, of weddings, of Baptisms, marriages, First Holy Communions, funerals, carnivals, of sacrifices and of happy time … This is your story of your life as members of this community and family of faith.' “I want to offer you my prayerful congratulations on your 50 years of loving and serving Christ and each other,” said Bishop O’Connell.

Prior to the final blessing, Msgr. Brady reminded his parishioners to “say a little prayer for all whose hard work and sleepless nights resulted in attaining this place and made us what we are.”

“This is our spiritual home where we celebrate the major events of our lives. We come to worship every Sunday and we leave to spread God’s love among the people,” said Msgr. Brady.

Leaving no celebration unobserved, the pastor announced that the day was also Bishop O’Connell’s birthday and led the congregation in singing “Happy Birthday.” He presented the bishop with a painting of King David as a remembrance from the parish.

Maureen Cahill, president of the school PTA, presented Msgr. Brady with a plaque to commemorate the anniversary, engraved fittingly with the words, “Thank you for shepherding us on our journey to Christ.”

Mass ended with a rousing “God Bless America,” the official recessional in St. Dominic Parish since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

During the luncheon that followed, parishioners spanning all age groups reminisced over framed photographs of the grade school classes, ministries and buildings lining the hallway, then shared stories about the difference their parish has made in their lives.

“This is an amazing parish,” said Jack Ruppenthal, who joined the parish in 1983 when he and his wife enrolled their sons in St. Dominic School. “There is so much love here. It is a huge family of wonderful people. People do a lot to give back because the church has done so much for us.”

“Msgr. Brady always has a twinkle in his eye whenever he’s on the altar,” said parishioner, Dorothy Owen. Her friend Joan Ravallo added, “The priests are wonderful here. There are so many programs offered here. It is a great parish.” “I graduated in the class of 1971, the first graduating class,” said Loretta Vona. “I remember, when I was five, going to Mass in the bowling alley [on Route 88] before the church was built. All three of my kids went to this school too. This is such a supportive place.” Her friend, Marian Gallagher, shared that she cherishes Msgr. Brady because “he was so supportive of me and my children after my husband died.”

Erin Turnbach, PTA member and a mother of two children in St. Dominic School, remarked, “This is a wonderful parish to be part of. All committees and ministries support each other. Kids enjoy being in church. It is amazing how much the school has to offer. Every class has so much technology and resources available to them. It is so exciting and enriching.”

Cris Brown, who coordinates the baptismal preparation committee, said, “We are always looking for the perfect gift for our children. Here at St. Dominic we’re giving them the gift of this place, always the gift of compassion, acceptance, love, and community. I love going to this church. It gives back to my family in every way.”

Deacon Buecker commented, “It is a powerful place with a nice blend of people here. We have 33 ministries intent on bringing the light of Christ to the world. We strive to make the world a better place.”


Parish History

Because of the tremendous influx of Catholic families into the Point Pleasant-Brick area since 1955, Bishop George W. Ahr established St. Dominic Parish, Brick, and appointed Father John A. Ozarowski as pastor June 6, 1962. The first Mass in the new parish was celebrated in 88 Bowling Lanes on Father’s Day, June 17, 1962.

To assist the new pastor with his many responsibilities and to provide the parishioners with spiritual and social programs, the parish formed an Altar-Rosary on July 16, 1962, and the first Holy Name Society organizational meeting was held on July 23, 1962. The “C.C.D.” (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) program began in 1962 under the supervision of the Bernardine Franciscan Sisters with classes being held in the bowling alley until the school was ready for use. The First Holy Communion and Confirmation Masses were celebrated in St. Peter Church, Point Pleasant Beach.

Seventeen acres of land in Brick, fronting State Highway 88 and bounded by Old Squan Road, on the East, and Van Zile Road on the west, was purchased for $76,578.67 on April 16, 1963, from Samuel and Ann Silverman.

After a parish census, it was determined it would be necessary to build a church, with a capacity of 1,000; a 16-classroom school; an all-purpose building to be used as a cafeteria, a gym and a social hall; and a rectory for the pastor and future priests who would serve the parish. A convent and an eight classroom addition to the school would then be built within three years after completion of the original buildings. Donald Moss of the firm of Boyken and Moss Architects, was hired to draw the plans for the buildings. A building fund campaign was conducted by Father Ozarowski, the trustees and parishioners to raise money for the construction. It provided to be a very successful venture with $275,000 already collected and another $150,000 — to be collected in the near future.

The groundbreaking ceremonies were held Jan. 12, 1964, and construction of the building started Feb. 3, 1964. Bishop Ahr presided at the laying of the cornerstone and the blessing of the church, school and gymnasium June 20, 1965.

In the fall of 1971, Father Ozarowski stepped down as pastor of St. Dominic Parish and Father Thomas Dzurenda, who was associate pastor, was appointed as the temporary administrator.

In Jan. 1972, Father Edward Bumbera was appointed as the second pastor and served in that capacity until April, 1977.

In 1972 and again in 1973, it was necessary for Bishop Ahr to divide St. Dominic. In 1972, St. Martha Parish, Point Pleasant, was established. In 1973, the Herbertsville section of Brick Township was removed from St. Dominic Parish and Epiphany Parish was established.

Father Bumbera was succeeded by Father Richard Brietske, who was appointed as the temporary administrator. He served the people until the appointment of Father John J. Gibbons on May 27, 1977.

During the administration of Msgr. Gibbons, a parish center was erected and a kindergarten wing with a small playground was added to the school. In November, 1983, Auxiliary Bishop Edward U. Kmiec presided at the laying of the cornerstone and the blessing and dedication of the new parish center and kindergarten wing. A much needed daily Mass chapel was built and complete in May, 1996.

Msgr. Gibbons served as pastor until January, 1998. Father James Brady, who previously served as pastor of Ascension Parish, Bradley Beach, was appointed as temporary pastor until his installation as permanent pastor in May, 1998.

Many changes have taken place under Msgr. Brady’s leadership. The renovation of the church and the installation of the large playground were completed in August, 2000. The following year, a sports field was created on the parish grounds and a food pantry and thrift store to serve those in need in the community was organized. An outdoor prayer garden was constructed in 2003 and in 2005, plans were approved to make renovations to the parish school which included a two-story multipurpose structure to be used by both parish and school personnel.

The new wing was blessed and dedicated by Bishop John M. Smith on April 26, 2009.
Pastor Profile

Msgr. James J. Brady, pastor of St. Dominic Parish, Brick, was born in 1947, in County Cavan, Ireland. He prepared for the priesthood in St. Patrick College and Seminary, Carlow, Ireland, and was ordained a priest in Carlow June 10, 1972, for the Diocese of Trenton. His first assignment in the diocese was as parochial vicar in St. Rose of Lima Parish, Freehold. He subsequently served as parochial vicar in St. James Parish, Red Bank; Our Lady of Sorrows Parish, now Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton; St. James Parish, Woodbridge; St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, both now in the Metuchen Diocese, and Holy Family Parish, Union Beach.

Msgr. Brady was named temporary administrator of Ascension Parish, Bradley Beach, April 30, 1987, and was appointed pastor of that parish June 12 of that year. On Feb. 10, 1998, he was named temporary administrator of St. Dominic Parish, and two months later on April 9, 1998, was named pastor of St. Dominic Parish.

In addition to his parish assignments, Msgr. Brady has also served on the Vocation Council of Priests and spiritual moderator of the Holy Name Society in Monmouth County.

Msgr. Brady was appointed Chaplain to His Holiness with the title of Reverend Monsignor Dec. 15, 2009.

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