Giving thanks and praise

Hoboken parish honors former Mayor Roberts, generous locals

Hoboken’s upper echelon was out in force to honor four service-minded locals and raise money for the Catholic Community of Saints Peter and Paul at the church’s annual Gratitude Gala this past Thursday.
Between surf and turf and silent auctions, the guests hailed Bishop Thomas Donato, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Newark Archdiocese, former Hoboken Mayor David Roberts, and Edward and Jennifer Yruma, two active parishioners at Saints Peter and Paul, all of whom were recognized for years of service and dedication to the community.
Nearly 300 well-wishers and supporters packed Chart House Restaurant in Weehawken for the event, which featured hand-crafted desserts by The Hudson Cakery and Jen Choi Dessert Catering and specialty wine tastings from Giannone Wines and Liquors.
In addition to helping keep Saints Peter and Paul in the black, the proceeds from the gala will be partially devoted to the Hoboken Public Library Foundation this year.
“Together, we demonstrate and take pride in the amazing acts of service that forge the framework of our community,” said Monsignor Robert Meyer, the Saints Peter and Paul Pastor. “It is my privilege to honor these individuals who continue to bring a positive impact and serve as role models where we live and worship.”
Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner were on hand to applaud the honorees.

Mutual aid

Since leaving public office after 24 years in 2009, former Mayor Roberts has devoted much of his time to supporting charitable organizations and activities in Hoboken. In particular, Roberts has worked to raise funds and awareness for the Waterfront Project, a non-profit legal aid clinic serving residents of Hudson County and operating out of Saints Peter and Paul, his parish for over thirty-five years.
Founded by Msgr. Robert Meyer and Saints Peter and Paul parishioner Elizabeth Caraballo, both of whom are practicing lawyers, the Waterfront Project provides a full range of pro bono legal services to “the poor, the vulnerable, and the elderly.”
“As a former mayor,” said Roberts, “I do the best I can to bring awareness to some of the good things that Saints Peter and Paul’s Parish is doing and I try to help as best I can in making their endeavors successful.”
As Roberts tells it, Saints Peter and Paul has aided him in times of need just as much, if not more, than he has aided it. Roberts’ wife Anna passed away from brain cancer in 2013. “Monsignor Bob has been extraordinarily helpful to my family, my three children and myself” since her death, he said.

“I only accepted this honor because it’s raising funds for a good cause.”—Thomas Donato
In addition to his work with Saints Peter and Paul, Roberts is the chief benefactor of the Symposia Used Bookstore, a member of the Hoboken Elks Club, and has done fundraising for the Hoboken Public Library, Project Play Initiative, and the Hoboken Family Alliance.
David Roberts “has really spent his whole life being a person for others,” said Msgr. Meyer.

Life of service

Bishop Thomas Donato grew up in Jersey City, but he has ministered in parishes across northern New Jersey during his 50 years of service as a priest. In addition to leading Catholic churches in Hillsdale, Bayonne, Ramsey, and Livingston, Donato has served as the Spiritual Director of the Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University.
In 2004, Donato was named Auxiliary Bishop of Newark, a position he continues to hold. Pope John Paul II named him a Prelate of Honor with the title of Reverend Monsignor in 1996.
“Given his charism and his personality,” said Meyer, “you come to see somebody who really understands what it means to have a religious vocation. Despite the fact that he’s been promoted up the ranks, he’s never lost his sense of caring for the people who he’s sent to serve.”
When asked for his thoughts on being an honoree at the Gratitude Gala, Donato said, “I can’t believe this is happening. I only accepted this honor because it’s raising funds for a good cause.”

Leading in church and life

Ed and Jennifer Yruma are Hoboken residents and active members of the Saints Peter and Paul Parish. Ed is the chairperson of the parish Finance Council and serves as a Eucharistic Minister at the church. Jennifer participates in the parish RCIA process, which assists adults seeking to become members of the Catholic Church. She often leads a scripture discussion and shares her own experience of becoming a member of the Catholic Church as an adult with the program participants.
The Yrumas are married and have two children, 3-year-old Elizabeth and 2-month-old Catherine Ann.
According to Msgr. Meyer, the Yrumas “model what it means to be professional people living out their faith in their professional world.”
Jennifer is the director of the Department of Professional Practice at KPMG, and Ed is a managing director of KeyBanc Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of KeyCorp.
Ed Yruma has been cited in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Barron’s and is a frequent television guest on CNBC and Bloomberg.
Monsignor Meyer said all four individuals were selected as honorees for the gala because they serve as good models for others.
“Dave Roberts, for me, is the model of somebody who always has an eye and a hand for others,” Meyer said, “Ed and Jennifer Yruma model what it means to be a Catholic family of faith and the bishop models what it means to be someone who lives a life of service.”

Carlo Davis may be reached at

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