Rosary Altar Society
The Rosary Altar Society meets on the first Wednesday of each month to recite the rosary and discuss various yearly functions, including speakers, fundraisers, and social outings. The Society hopes to inspire women (18 and older) to devotion to the Blessed Mother and dedication to God,through charitable acts and frequent recitation of the rosary. Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month, September through May at 8:00PM. Members of the Society volunteer their time on many necessary occasions.
The Rosary Society, a spiritual rather than a fraternal society, uses its funds exclusively for the benefit of the church or for parish or Society activities. Money is raised from bake sales and a Communion Breakfast and donated to worthy causes, including a local Women's shelter, Great Expectations and the Pregnancy Aid Center, and St. Matthias School Scholarship fund. Members are involved in activities directly benefiting the Church, such as assisting with the weekly cleaning of the Church and ironing of altar linens. The Society performs community outreach, with many members ministering to the homebound as Eucharistic Ministers, and praying the rosary at various short/long term care facilities in Somerset. They also attend the wakes of recently deceased Rosarians to offer the Rosary for the soul of the beloved member. Most members are involved in more than. one service - truly following in Mary's footsteps with an active role in the parish.
The Society was formed on July 18, 1962, when a meeting of the women of the parish was held at East Franklin Firehouse to formulate plans for an Altar Rosary Society. Approximately 86 women attended. The first officers elected and installed were: President, Virginia Romano; Vice-President, Elizabeth Price; Secretary, Patricia Thompson; and Treasurer, Rita Donoghue.
The Society went into action with bake sales, card parties, dances and other fund raising activities, as well as retreats and nights of recollection. The first parish social sponsored by the Society was held at the Knights of Columbus Hall, New Brunswick, on September 29, 1962. One week later, the First Annual Communion Breakfast was held at Howard Johnson Restaurant and in May of 1963, the First Annual Banquet of the Society was held at the Flagpost Inn.
In the early years, Father Edward McKenna was the Altar Rosary Society Moderator, until 1973, when the newly ordained Father Edward Griswold started his lst assignment at Saint Matthias and became the new Moderator. Under his leadership the program was started in which members of the Society volunteered to visit patients at the King James Nursing Home on a weekly basis. Members continue this community outreach, as well as supporting mothers in need. For many years, at their annual Christmas meeting, Rosarians have collected baby items to be distributed at local pregnancy centers and Great Expectations. The Society's biggest endeavor was the Baby Bottle Boomerang, which was held during Respect Life Month in October, 2009, and earned over $5,000 for the Pregnancy Aid Center.
Through the last 48 years, the Rosary Altar Society has continued to be a vibrant, integral part of St. Matthias Parish. The younger members are spurred on by the example of the faithful original members' attendance at meetings and Rosary functions, such as Marian Fisher, Betty Francis, Pauline O'Connell, Mary Petrine, Mae Schunk, Jean Zimmerman, Shirley Bica, Joan Felton, Mary Indyk, Eilleen Lukacs, Kay Manzo, Margaret "Peg" MacNally, Rosemary LaTorre, RoseAnn Martinez, and Carol Milleman, and especially by the (recently deceased) Adelaide Vertucci, who was honored for never missing a meeting since 1968!
The Rosarians, with the hard work of a parishioner, Ray Snyder, were responsible for the face lift for the Blessed Mother statue at the side entrance of the church in early 2009. The statue of Mary and her surrounding area had fallen into disrepair and an effort was made to improve the shrine area by adding flowers around the statue, a new wooden bench, and a few flower planters. Mr. Snyder came forward with a plan to make the area even better. During August, he and his staff leveled the ground, and put in pavers so that people could walk from the church steps to the shrine. The statue was cleaned, the bench was cleaned and moved, plantings were made, and a railing was added, making the space more accessible to all - even those with disabilities. It is a wonderful tribute to Our Lady. and many people can now stop by, sit a few minutes, and pray or enjoy the silence.
October is the month of the Rosary and the Altar Rosary Society welcomes all female parishioners to come to a meeting to learn more about the Society - and hopefully become a member! - or to stop by the statue of Mary and pray the rosary, for peace on Tuesdays and for the unemployed on Thursdays, outdoors in the beautiful sunset amidst her beautiful surroundings.