The Altar is the ‘heart’ of a Parish

Stratford – Holy Name of Jesus Church ended its 100th Anniversary Celebrations on Saturday, June 15, 2024 with a choral concert and faith sharing, a special Mass celebrated by Bishop Frank Caggiano blessing the “refreshed” Church and dedicating the new Altar, and a Reception.

Preparing to dedicate the altar, Bishop Caggiano said, “The altar is the heart of every Parish because it’s the place where each Mass heaven and earth kiss.” Bishop Frank blessed the altar with Holy Water, lovingly smoothed Sacred Chrism, Holy Oil, the same Holy Oil used to anoint the newly baptized, the faithful in Confirmation and in the Ordination of Priests and Bishops, into the new altar before incensing it and consecrating it.

“The Order of Dedication of a Church and Altar is a symbolically rich ceremony very few have experienced as it is typically celebrated only once for a Parish,” Father Bert Pinciaro, Pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church said. “But our renovations, restorations and new Altar allowed Bishop Frank to celebrate another ceremony that moved, awed, and enlivened all.”

Early last year, the parish initiated a successful capital campaign which was generously supported by an overwhelming number of parishioners. The campaign enabled a major restoration of the interior of the church building enhancing its beauty and ensuring it will be a landmark of worship and community for the next 100 years. The new altar was imported from France specially chosen to compliment Holy Name Church’s classic Gothic architecture.

During the year, the Parish hosted activities and events to explore its rich history, strengthen relationships among its parishioners, and build an understanding of diverse aspects of the Catholic faith. Events included a reunion of former students of Holy Name of Jesus School, the rededication and renaming of the Parish Hall as “Holy Name of Jesus Heritage Hall”, and a seven-part Lent to Pentecost Speaker series.

“The afternoon engaged all of our senses, including taste at the reception that followed the Mass,” Father Bert said with a smile. The Mass was attended by Clergy from many Diocesan Parishes, and dignitaries including Stratford Mayor Hoydick, State Representative Joe Gresko and Town Councilman Anthony Afriyie.
Holy Name of Jesus Parish, located at 1950 Barnum Avenue in Stratford was founded in 1923 as a “Slovak National Parish” and today welcomes and values families from a variety of cultural backgrounds in Stratford and neighboring communities. Illustrating this, Spanish and Vietnamese faith sharing, Scripture readings and musical selections were incorporated into the closing Mass as also happened at the opening one that Bishop Frank celebrated.

“Thanks to the hard work of many parishioners, our church is renewed – both the physical structure and the people of God who call this building their spiritual home.” Father Bert said. “What a momentous and blessed year this has been!”