To the Editor:
This letter is to express heartfelt disappointment in the recent announcement that Our Lady of the Assumption will be closing on January 1, 2016. Our congregation of American, Italian, Spanish and Filipino parishioners has grown into a caring and sharing community. This cohesive group has learned Pope Francis’s lesson well and has shown Bayonne how all groups can work together as one with tolerance for each other’s differences.
There are several concerns about some of the programs that are unique to Our Lady of the Assumption; there has been no mention of the relocation of these programs that offer so much to the city of Bayonne and its people. The weekly soup kitchen is housed here. There is only one operation currently in Bayonne. We have many volunteers from every walk of life as well as local students who earn volunteer hours toward confirmation and their high school graduation. The religious education program is another concern. Our Tuesday and Sunday classes serve the entire city. Currently we teach and give guidance to approximately 300 students. They and their parents have chosen Assumption with confidence, knowing their religious needs will be met and they can receive their Sacraments.
Assumption Parish is 113 years old and has sustained many Christian groups within its walls: St. Ann’s Society, American and Spanish Rosary Societies, prayer groups and the Legion of Mary Society regularly meet at our church, as well as others such as AA (Spanish and American) and the Boy Scouts of America. We have had numerous Eagle Scouts come from this program over the years.
Our final concern is that no Italian Mass will be offered after the restructuring of the Bayonne parishes. There will be a Spanish Mass offered at two locations (which our Hispanic parishioners will not attend). We are a blended family and are concerned for others. We do not want to be separated to show the community how we work and pray together without prejudices.
We hope the Archbishop will reconsider the closing of Our Lady of the Assumption so that we can continue to grow with the Christian principles we are teaching every day as parishioners of this most beautifully diversified Christian church.
LAUREN LE FANTE