In recognition of Respect Life Month, Mary’s Child Pro-Life Ministry invites all to its annual Champion for Life Award Dinner Oct. 22 at Doolan’s Shore Club, 700 Highway 71, Spring Lake Heights.
The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a buffet dinner being served at 6 p.m. The yearly fundraiser for Mary’s Child Pro-Life Ministry – which represents the parishes of St. Catharine-St. Margaret, Spring Lake; St. Denis, Manasquan; St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Avon-by-the-Sea; St. Mark, Sea Girt, and St. Rose, Belmar – includes recognition of a member of the Church community who exemplifies themselves in the pro-life cause.
This year two supporters of the pro-life movement will be acknowledged during the dinner: Deacon Ed Jennings, the 2017 Champion for Life; and George Taylor, for Lifetime Achievement.
Deacon Jennings was born in Jersey City, and his family moved to Spring Lake 65 years ago. He graduated from St. Catharine School in 1955 and St. Rose High School in 1959. He then went on to Mount St. Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, Md., and Monmouth College, Long Branch, where he graduated with a master’s degree in administration, guidance and counseling.
Although he spent 33 years teaching in the Howell Township Public School system, he simultaneously responded to his calling to become a deacon. Deacon Jennings has celebrated 38 years of ministry as deacon in St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish, after being ordained by Bishop George W. Ahr.
“As I look back on my years as a deacon,” Deacon Jennings said, “I realize that the Lord has used me as an instrument of service to the parishioners, bringing them consolation and hope at critical times in their lives.”
Deacon Jennings’ particular focus is aiding those who are ill or in the critical last stages of life. His pastoral care responsibilities to the homebound and hospital facilities include bringing the Eucharist and consolation to the sick and their families. In 1980-81, he assisted the local minister and rabbi in establishing the department of Pastoral Care at Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune. He holds certification as a hospital chaplain from Washington, D.C., and became the first deacon to serve as chaplain at Jersey Shore Medical Center.
Born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y., Taylor is a graduate of All Hallows High School and Iona College, New Rochelle, N.Y. After graduation he served in the Army for two years, about 16 months of it spent in Korea in the early 1950s. In 1958, Taylor married Rose Delaney, and began working at the Prudential Insurance Company, Newark, remaining there until his retirement in 1993. The Taylors moved to New Jersey in 1960, living there for 35 years and raising three sons and a daughter in the Edison area. Rose and George were parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi, Metuchen, where George was a member of the original parish council and a reader for 27 years. Following George’s retirement and Rose’s retirement from teaching in Highland Park, the couple moved to the Four Seasons, Wall, residing there for the past 20 years. The couple belongs to St. Denis Parish, serving as extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.
Taylor first became involved with the pro-life movement through annual attendance at the March for Life in Washington. For many years he ran the NJ Right to Life car raffle for St. Denis Parish; he now assists Rachel Hendricks with this project, and during the sale of roses on Mother’s Day.
After his retirement, Taylor decided to expand his pro-life involvement. Though unsure of the date, about 20 years ago he began praying the Rosary with colleagues outside a Planned Parenthood facility.
Reservations for the dinner are required by Oct. 15. Tickets for adults are $55, students $35 and children $20. Youth group members may be sponsored for $35; please name youth group member in the registration. Tables of 10 are available; please attach a list of dinner guests at your table. Checks should be made payable to Mary’s Child Pro-Life Ministry, and mailed to the ministry, c/o St. Catharine Parish, 215 Essex Ave., Spring Lake, NJ 07762.
For more information, call Steve Kenny, 201-221-6497.