[Editor’s Note: Post originally appeared on SILive.com, where I was a breaking news intern from Jan. to Aug. ’16.]
Despite Mother Nature providing Staten Island with a sweltering day, the St. Clare’s R.C. Church community in Great Kills came together through faith to mark its sixth-annual feast.
“It’s wonderful to see the community coming together — school and parish — even on such a hot day like today enjoying themselves and having a good time,” Theresa Signorile, St. Clare’s School principal, said.
“There’s a strong bond here, it runs through the school and the community,” she added. “The children are happy to see each other and their teachers.”
Among the activities the crowds were enjoying Saturday were:
- a “The Wizard of Oz”-themed performance by the St. Clare dance students
- a Lego Land fun park bouncy house
- a rock wall
- cold water inside of a dunk tank
- a magician
- balloon making
- a Boy Scout regatta demonstration
- a Girl Scout table
- a steam-wagon truck;
Preparations for the feast started in April, Gerri Smith, one of the lead organizers, said. That’s when meetings were held once a week to insure everything was on track for Saturday.
She said it wasn’t for the volunteers in addition to the committee of the church, it would never have any chance at success.
There will be a 5 p.m. mass led by Bishop John O’Hara, and a feast catered by Canlon’s in Oakwood.
“There’s fun activities, games, but the day is surrounded by prayer in our chapel and to celebrate the mass and who we are as a parish,” Monsignor Richard Guastella, pastor of St. Clare’s, said. “We’re together. We’re a family.”
“We’re living in a time where there’s so much darkness,” he added, “and if people can come together not only to share their faith but also to work together that’s a sign of hope and light into the world.”
Ironically when translated into English, Clare stands for “light,” Monsignor Guastella said.
“It brings a lot of peace into our lives,” Smith said of the annual feast. “Without peace and harmony, we can never be the people we are.”