Workmen prepare to raise the huge cross which surmounts the main entrance to our parish school, thus portraying the beginning and the culminating points of our present parish plant.
Taking part in the cornerstone laying for our new church were: (top photo, from bottom of steps) Msgr. Owens, Msgr. Dil.uca, Father Clark, and Archbishop Walsh are seen leaving the old rectory; at the right on the porch is Father Owens: (above) the A rchbishop, assisted by his secretary, now Msgr. Clark, officiates at the blessing; (below) Msgr. Dooling addresses the large crowd assembled for this memorable occasion.
We deem it fitting to mention the priests who assisted Father Loponte in his work. Some we shall treat compositely, and some individually, but all briefly. When Father James McNulty (the brother of Bishop McNulty) came to St. Francis in 1926 to replace Father Spielman, the diabetic condition that plagued Father 10- ponte grew worse. Indeed, one day Father Loponte fainted at the Altar after receiving Holy Communion, and Father McNulty had to finish Mass for him. In the Fall of 1927 Father McNulty himself took sick and finally was transferred to Sacred Heart Church, Vailsburg. He was succeeded by Father Strack who remained here but a few months.
Father George Isaac Fitzpatrick replaced Father Strack in February and immediately became immensely popular with the people. The intensely human traits of this truly dedicated man endeared him to young and old alike. He was a good administrator and therefore of great value to the pastor. He was a social-minded priest who, in 1929, wrote and directed a musical show which is still recalled by some of our parishioners for its excellence and for the bond that it forged among our people. His memory is recalled with gratitude in the parish. Father Fitzpatrick formed a team with the other curate, Father Anthony Di- Luca, which was a happy blending of their individual talents. Father Dtl.uca and Father Fitzpatrick worked in our parish more as brothers than as curates. Father Dil.uca (now the Pastor of Holy Family, Nutley) was a truly apostolic man. He had come to the parish in the summer of 1927, and in the two years he was here he managed at least three visits to every Italian family in the parish. Parishioners easily recall his presence in their homes when they were children. After Father Dtl.uca would say Mass and have his breakfast, he visited continually throughout the day until supper time, and, at times, even after his evening meal. Almost single-handedly, he literally kept many Italian families from joining the Protestant Churches that were making strong overtures to them.