Squires select retreat with most impact

SPARTA. The Knights of Columbus Squires held their annual retreat in a location they felt would be impactful to those in need. The group had multiple assignments, starting out at Saint John's Church and Soup Kitchen in Newark.

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  • Squires, Roses, and parents stand in front of the historic Saint John’s Church and Food Pantry following their morning service project. (Photos submitted)

  • Squires Fernando Gomez and Luke Cardoza organizing canned food in the pantry.

  • Squires Remi Coleman, James DiPasquale, and Anthony Lane stand ready to serve coffee with parent Jeff DiPasquale and a St. John’s staff volunteer.

  • Father Juan and Squire Remi Coleman prepare the holy water.

When the New Jersey State Squires were determining a location to hold their annual retreat, the group consensus was to hold it in a place where they could conduct a meaningful service project. Following discussions with state Squires chairman Peter Briody, state Squires chaplain Father Ernie Rush, and Squire counselor Nick Cutrone, the group held its annual retreat and service project at St. John’s Food Pantry and Saint Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral in Newark. Father Bismarck Chau, the pastor of both parishes, was happy to welcome this important youth leadership event to Newark.

Twenty Squires, a Squire Rose, adult counselors, and parents from Saint Kateri parish in Sparta and St. Jude’s parish in Budd Lake participated in the event. The day started out at the historic Saint John’s Church and Soup Kitchen in Newark that serves between 500-700 meals daily. The group had multiple assignments including cleaning and organizing the massive food pantry, helping serve coffee and meals, and doing other landscaping work around the building.

“While serving coffee to some of the homeless, they were all so happy and thankful to our group, despite the rough situation they face each day," Squire Remi Coleman said.

The group then moved over to Saint Patrick’s Pro-Cathedral for their annual retreat followed by mass in the historic cathedral. All participants were asked to share thoughts on the service project and to think about how they'd continue to serve in the future. Parent Jennifer Grant who helped served food in the women’s dining area, noted that most of the women sat by themselves and appeared “very isolated." Along with her daughter Squire Rose Isabella, Jennifer reflected on the importance of family and friendships.

The day concluded with Mass celebrated by Father Juan Ortega-Ortiz with assistance from Squire altar servers Remi Coleman, Anthony Lane, Stan Puzio, and Alex Sammarco. Squire Rose Isabella Cardoza and Squire Luke Reilly presented the gifts during Mass.

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