June 27th, 2012
Sacred Heart Church celebrates 100 years
Cardinal Timothy Dolan (left) leads Communion at Thursday’s 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Sacred Heart Church in Newburgh, NY as Father Bill Scafidi looks on.
NEWBURGH - The feeling couldn’t be denied at Sacred Heart Church on Thursday night.
Something special was happening. It was evident by the large crowds roaming into the Newburgh landmark around 6 p.m. The police cars surrounding the perimeter, guiding traffic, aroused more curiosity. Then there was the 7 p.m. entrance of the robed man in the towering white headpiece, waving to the hundreds awaiting his arrival.
“I think he is a rockstar,” said Sue Favoino of the City of Newburgh, who is a lifelong member of Sacred Heart. “His personality is absolutely magnetic. Just electrifying.”
The special guest was Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Celebrant on hand to help Sacred Heart Church celebrate its 100th anniversary milestone. Hundreds were packed into the Church to pay tribute to a place that many consider their second home, as well as a religious icon in the community.
“We are here today to celebrate the biggest freedom of all, religion,” asserted Dolan as he welcomed in an appreciative crowd that had just completed singing a touching ensemble of melodies. “Happy Anniversary Sacred Heart; you don’t look bad at all for 100.”
Laughter ensued, as Dolan continued to provide charismatic remarks, much to the crowd’s approval. Soon after, Dolan became a little more serious, emphasizing the epicenter of Sacred Heart Church.
“This great parish has a heart. Acknowledge it; I saw it when I visited here three years ago, and it continues to be bursting with that heart,” said Dolan, who pointed to specific groups within the Church that created that vibrant pulse.
The Cardinal continued his heart analogy by explaining the organ’s vital role of continually pumping blood and oxygen. That function is very similar to the workings of Sacred Heart.
“What Jesus does in his church - what is happening right here - is that heart,” said Dolan. “The blood of Jesus has pumped through here for the past 100 years, and it has done so with distinction.”
Dolan went on to lead the communion segment of the Special Mass. Throughout the 90 minute service he cited the unique qualities of Sacred Heart, spanning its interior makeup, clergy and committed congregation.
That loyalty was alluded to by another special guest, Celebrant Apostolic Nuncio, of New Zealand. Beginning his religious leadership at Sacred Heart several decades ago, Nuncio made the special trip back for its century anniversary, as well as to see his former classmate, Dolan.
“I have had the opportunity to go all over the world, and one thing I will never forget is my four beautiful years here at Sacred Heart. It has been the foundation to all else that has happened,” said Nunzio. “Others often leave, but you are the ones who remain here; you are the true heart of this place.”
Father Bill Scafidi offered the evening’s Closing Remarks. Looking toward Dolan, he addressed the Archbishop.
“We stand on your shoulders and applaud you as you uphold freedom of religion,” said Scafidi. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being who you are, a true servant of God.” To those in attendance, Scafidi added, “There is no doubt about it, this parish is the heart.”