Saint Rocco Festival and Feast

08-19-2018Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

This past weekend brought to conclusion the “in the field” Feast of Saint Rocco. On this Fortieth Anniversary of the Feast we are making a transition to a different way of celebrating in faith the Feast of Saint Rocco. As the original founders have told me many times “we started this as a faith and parish event, not as a money maker.” We are going to continue this beautiful heritage of faith and community each August in the coming years with a special Mass of Healing through the Intercession of Saint Rocco for all those who seeks his assistance in seeking healing and hope with a special Luncheon for those guests who are usually sick, ill, homebound or physically limited, much like “the Mass in the field” on the Saturday of Rocco weekend.

This Mass which represents the faith, hope and dreams of all of us is the hallmark of what Rocco has been about for the last forty years. It has had food, it has had entertainment, it has had rides, but underneath it all has been about the hearts of faith of the founders and the major leadership and “doers” of the event dedicated to Saint Rocco.

This past weekend despite the weather, the turnout was terrific. Friday night was overwhelming, Saturday a little slow and on Sunday the day was busy through the whole afternoon. It was wonderful to hear the stories of Rocco which came from the memories of so many people. Our Mass on Sunday at 10:30 had standing room only. Our main celebrant Fr. Frank Campo spoke poignantly about “how happy he was to be home.” The lives and hearts of parishioners touched the very being of Fr. Frank when he was here so that for him Saint Mary’s will always be his home. Father Steve Linehan who was one of the priests at Saint Mary’s when the Rocco Feast began also concelebrated. He said he was deeply moved by all the folks and the wonderful procession of the Saint Rocco statue “to the field.” He said it brought back great memories from long ago.

All of us are grateful to many, many people who volunteered and assisted at Rocco. We are especially appreciative of the leadership through the years who spent many months and hundreds of hours organizing, planning, doing, lugging and carrying. The Rocco Feast takes more than just the hours of the weekend; it takes weeks and hours for a long time beforehand.

Indeed it takes almost full time two weeks afterward to “finish up” all the details of Rocco. This October 6th, there will be a Mass of Appreciation at our Church with Father Mike Guarino as the Main Celebrant with a Reception immediately following at the Dean College Student Center. We are gathering names and emails to invite people. Anyone who has volunteered at Rocco is invited, from the young to the much older. We are using the evite email system so that we can have an accurate number of guests for the Reception by pressing the reply button (traditional RSVP would not work). There has to be cut off date for response. I will announce in the bulletin when the Evite goes out so that in case yours goes into “junk mail” or you do not get one, you can let us know so that we can add you to the count. Needless to say if you do not tell us, we will not know. We will do our best but we rely upon you to let us know.

We have been blessed in Saint Mary’s through the intercession of Saint Rocco, and even more importantly he will continue to be our Intercessor for Healing and Hope.

Father Brian