To the editor:
Back in November 2012, Father Bruce Flannagan and I sat down to plan the St. Richard Parish 50th anniversary celebration after I volunteered to act as chairman. Our vision was to have a yearlong series of events reaching multiple generations within our parish community and inviting past members and the larger Danvers community to also join us in the celebration. Both of us agreed the parishioners needed to take an active role in the planning and execution, resulting in the establishment of the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee.
We were blessed with a fabulous group of parishioners that came forth to volunteer using many of their own talents. This included Joe and Michele Amari, Pat Bedard, Anna Bertini, Seaneen Breen, John Call, Sandra Ciruolo, Patty Chisholm, Anne DeStefano, Claudia DiLorenzo, Evie and Phil Fraser, Kathy and Dave Gannon, Mark Hayward, Mary and Ray Jalbert, Kathy Knowles, Kandice Kukas, Marge and Tom Leonard, Cathy Marrero, Julie Mc Carriston, Tina Montanari, Colleen Newbury, Altie and Jack Nichols, Scot Nolan, Roger and Dot Richard, Mary Roach, Joan Sadoway, Jim Sears, Josephine Staffieri and Mary White. Accepting the role of honorary chairmen were Marge and Tom Leonard. Patty Chisholm, Evie Fraser and John Call made up the publicity committee. The major gift initiative committee addressing the accessibility issues (including the elevator) of the parish facilities consisted of Tom and Marge Leonard, Jim Sears, Mary White, John Call and myself. A theme was established to remember the past, celebrate the present and believe in the future.
A schedule of 26 events was set reaching every generation and interest. It included our premier events of a 50th anniversary Mass and reception in May and our gala in November. Several members of the planning committee took on a leadership role as chairman for each of these events. Hundreds of parishioners came forward to volunteer; individuals, local organizations and businesses donated their wares, gift certificates or became major sponsors (Danversport Yacht Club and the Thomas Power Council #1505 Knights of Columbus); local media outlets including Dana Healy, Megan Yawor, Ginny Ahearn and Jason Marshall of DCAT, Myrna Fearer and Jeff Pope of the Danvers Herald, Ethan Forman and Muriel Hoffacker of The Salem News and Pilot Printing helped us get the word out; the kind, caring, supportive St. Richard staff consisting of Altie and Jack Nichols, Dale D’Agnese, Sandra Ciruolo, Deacon Ed Elbeiro, Sharon Thurston, Irene Boudreau, Brenda Myer and Doreen Verda helped us whenever called upon; our committed pastor of 14 years and spiritual leader, the Rev. Bruce Flannagan provided guidance and encouragement; and the parishioners of St. Richard Parish who came out in force to contribute, support and participate in this historic year.