Shore Rosarians, now dispersed, gathered weeks before storm
By all accounts, the annual United Rosarians of Central New Jersey’s Mass and luncheon Oct. 4, was, as it has been for 15 years, a wonderful celebration of the dedicated members who contribute so much to the life of 10 parishes that mainly hug the coastal areas of southern Monmouth and Northern Ocean counties.
Hosted for the first time by Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Seaside Heights, the gathering of the Altar Rosary societies of St. Denis, Manasquan; St. Peter, Point Pleasant Beach; St. Martha, Point Pleasant; Sacred Heart, Bay Head; St. Pio of Pietrelcina, Lavallette; St. Catharine of Siena, Seaside Park; Visitation, Brick; and St. Mary of the Lake, Lakewood, was festive, spiritual, informative and very well attended.
Ellen T. Horsting, president of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Altar Rosary Society said that 210 Rosarians shared worship in the lovely church located in the heart of the resort town just two blocks from the ocean.
“The concelebrated Mass had as its celebrant Conventual Franciscan Father John Ruffo, pastor of St. Catharine of Siena, and Conventual Franciscan Father Richard Rossell, pastor of OLPH, who was recovering from a serious illness, was well enough to give the homily,” she said. “Various pastors and moderators of member societies were also present,” she added.
Following the Mass, the gathering moved across the bridge to the mainland for the meal in the Clarion Hotel, Toms River.
All in all, she said, it had been a very good day at the shore.
Little did the Rosarians of OLPH and the other parishes know that within a month, the spiritual landscape of much of the shore and indeed their neighborhoods would be battered by Hurricane Sandy.
OLPH, St. Pio, and St. Catharine parish would be closed for extended periods because of the storm and many Rosarians, including Horsting, who resides in Ortley Beach, would be forced to leave badly damaged homes and find safe harbor elsewhere.
Horsting noted that the 40 Rosarians of OLPH range in age from “some who have just turned 40 all the way up to 97.”
The prospect of life returning to normal for these dedicated women who devote themselves to parish service in a range of capacities and activities is hard to contemplate right now, said Horsting.
She recited a litany of service that runs the gamut from caring for the linens, vestments and religious articles of the church to the annual May crowning to “getting things ready for Christmas.”
“Eight of the readers on Saturdays and Sundays are Rosarians and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion… Oh, we wear so many hats… we have a monthly bake sale to raise money for the church and 50/50s, we sell tickets on the boardwalk for the annual sports car raffle, and there’s the annual beefsteak dinner .”
She worries about the Rosarians, who, like herself, have been forced to temporarily relocate. “I’ve only been allowed back to my house three times since the storm,” said Horsting who has been told she won’t be back in her house for a year to 18 months.
“We’ve been trying to check to make sure where everyone is and that they are all right,” she said, stressing, “We don’t have each other’s cell phone numbers, just home numbers and you need the cell numbers.”
She has been in touch with the Rosarian who handles correspondence and has asked her to mail cards out which, she said, should eventually reach the displaced members. “We want them to know we are thinking about them.”
“We’ll be back,” said Horsting who is worshipping for the time being in St. John Parish, Lakehurst, “but it is like there’s a big hole in your life…”
Horsting can be reached at 917-363-4996 and would appreciate hearing from Rosarians affected by the storm. “Our Rosarians are scattered all over the place but we will be back at the Shore. Say a prayer for us.”[[In-content Ad]]