Some of the oldest societies at St. Athanasius Parish include The Holy Name Society, The Rosary Society and The Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, (CCD) staffed by The Sisters of St. Joseph from Brentwood, was an integral part of parish life, meeting in our first church basement from 1914 to 1938, before the Community Center, which houses our Auditorium and Gym, was built. Handball, baseball, football and soccer teams were also part of the early life of St. A’s. Today, although we still maintain the word “society” after many group names, we consider them to be ministries where dedicated women and men truly serve one another.
THE HOLY NAME SOCIETY
Devotion to the Name of God goes back to the beginning of the Old Testament, and the second of the Ten Commandments taught reverence for God’s Name. In the Christian Scriptures, Jesus taught us that God’s Name is hallowed everywhere, and St. Paul wrote that every knee must bend at the Name of Jesus. Yet it became necessary in the 13th century to inaugurate a special ministry to bring men back to the habit of respecting and reverencing the Name of God. Thus the beginning of this great society, known internationally as “The Holy Name Society.”
Throughout the world, the second Sunday of every month is known as “Holy Name Sunday.” At St. A’s, the Society was chartered in 1923. From its inception, it was a great success. The enrollment was phenomenal and to this day its roster has been above and over any other Holy Name Society in the Brooklyn Diocese. It has helped the men of our parish in many ways. Most importantly, it has welcomed them to the sacraments more frequently. It gave the Pastor an opportunity to assign them to many important functions and committees.
Some ministries of the Holy Name Society include providng a Halloween Party, Christmas Party, with gifts, a visit from Santa and refreshments for all children of the parish. Carnevale Night, the night before Ash Wednesday, and the Annual Communion Breakfast is enjoyed by all of the parish, not just the men of the society. On First Fridays, a group of men gather in the church for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, praying for the needs of the parish and its parishioners.
THE ROSARY SOCIETY
The Rosary Society is the women’s society of the Parish. The group is devoted to the Blessed Mother and to the constant and reverent prayer of the rosary in daily life. Spiritual activities include an evening of prayer in Lent, an annual retreat day, annual Communion Breakfast, and a baby shower for unwed mothers. The society also raises money in order to help the parish continue its outreach efforts. These fundraisers include a Christmas fair, Basket Night and Chinese Auction. The Society’s always welcomes new members and all members attend the 10a.m. Mass on the third Sunday of the month. The monthly meeting is the following Monday after the Society’s Mass, at 7:30p.m. in the Auditorium. Interested women can contact Palma Parmese at (718) 837-1752. Palma is one of our Bensonhurst Cluster Lay Ministers.
ST. ATHANASIUS BASEBALL PROGRAM
St. A’s Baseball has been serving the community for over 56 years. All boys and girls, ages 5 to 20, are invited to join, regardless of race or religion. St. A’s runs an “in house” program dedicated to making the game fun for all players, regardless of skill level. Beginning with the five and six years old T-ball division, players progress through the seven and eight year old Junior Minor division, nine and ten year old Cub division, eleven and twelve Minor division, and thirteen and fourteen year old Major division. For more comptetitve players, St. A’s has divisions that join outside leagues and compete against other organizations. Starting with the nine and ten year old Cub T division, players progress through the eleven and twelve year old Bantam division, seventeen and eighteen year old Junior division and the nineteen and twenty year old senior division. St. A’s Baseball’s operating costs come from the generosity of parents giving of their time and businesses offering grants and sponsorships through donations and advertising at our field and in our annual Sports Journal. The Baseball Club House is on 53rd Street, between 20th and 21st Avenues. Someone staffs the Club House on Thursday evenings from 8-9:30p.m. and Saturday mornings 10a.m.-12p.m. The phone number is (718) 258-0256
ST. VINCENT de PAUL SOCIETY
St. Vincent de Paul Society is called to assist those in need. Being mindful of the sanctity and dignity of all, any type of ministry that advances this is within the mission of Saint Vincent de Paul Society. Our objective is to implement social service programs that provide opportunities for at risk populations to become self-sufficient. For more detailed information, please visit the CHRISTIAN OUTREACH page of our website.
GOLDEN AGE CLUB
The Golden Age Club, open to all men and women over 55, provides a variety of opportunities for recreation and socializing. Regular meetings take place on Wednesday afternoons (at 1p.m.) in the Auditorium. The club also sponsors luncheons and other activities for the members.
BOY SCOUT TROOP 99
The Boy Scouts of America is the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting will continues to offer young people responsible fun and adventure; instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them an ethical character as expressed in the Scout Oath and Law; train young people in citizenship, service, and leadership; serve America’s communities and families with its quality, values-based program. The Scouting Program is composed of 1.3 million volunteers working together for the sole purpose of helping its 5 million youth members succeed in life. The Boy Scouts of America’s 93 year history is a testament to the enduring values of Scouting. This quality scouting program now resides at St. Athanasius Parish. Troop # 99 was organized in 1916 and sponsored by St. John’s Lutheran Church in Park Slope and, for 87 years, has always been associated with quality Scouting. The boys enjoy many activities like camping trips (including Ten Mile River at summer camp.), Halloween and Christmas parties, bowling, fishing, trips to the zoo, aquariums, movies, amusement parks and so much more! Scouting builds strong values and character, respect and leadership. We have a Cub Scout Pack serving the youngest boys of our parish and, this year, we started a co-ed venturing program for our parish youth, ages 14 – 20 years old which features high adventure and community service.Scouting is time well spent, so please join us every Wednesday at Saint Athanasius School from 7PM until 8:30PM and be part of the fun! If you would like more information about Cub Scouts, feel free to contact Anthony Papandrea at 347.728.8681 or E-mail him at Pack99BSA@optonline.net . For those who are interested in Boy Scouts or Venturing, contact Anthony Cullen at 646.354-9084 or Email Troop99Scoutmaster@yahoo.com .
GRUPPO ITALIANO SANT’ATANASIO (G.I.S.A.)
Since 1967, the mission of G.I.S.A. (Gruppo Italiano Sant’Atanasio) is to help Italian-speaking immigrants in their new environment, and to provide the Italian parishioners of Saint Athanasius with religious, cultural, and recreational activities. However, the original goal of this Italian community was not to establish a social group but to have a Mass celebrated in Italian every Sunday. Some parishioners asked Father Raymond Kelly, who was fluent in Italian after his studies in Rome, about the possibility of starting a new tradition of The Italian Mass in Saint Athanasius. With the approval of the Pastor, Monsignor Purick, Father Kelly began to celebrate the Mass in Italian each Sunday at 11:30am. Shortly after this innovation began, Father Kelly suggested the formation of a social and cultural group. Many people joined and the organization was given the name of A.C.I. (Azione Cattolica Italiana) with the first moderator Rev. Angelo Guzzetti. In 1970, when Father Carlo Graziani became the moderator of the group, the first official election was held. The first executive officers were: President, Franco Genovese; Secretary, Tina Genovese; Vice Secretary, Stefania Cottone; Treasures, Maria Porcu; and Vice Treasure, Sal Cali. It was at this time that Azione Cattolica Italiana became G.I.S.A. and the mission statement was written. At this point it was decided that the patron saint of the organization would be Saint Joseph. Today, thanks to the hard work of that first executive group and the following presidents Domenico Colonna and Anita De Mattia, the organization is still very active in different religious, social and cultural activities. The present G.I.SA. executive board, headed by the current president Ferdinando Felleti, meets the first Tuesday of every month to review and create new events and activities for the community. The general meeting, for members and guests, is held the third Sunday of each month at 4:30pm from September to June. From its annual dinner dance in November to the retreat every May to Don Bosco Shrine, to the many religious activities for the Advent and the Lenten season, G.I.S.A. is still working hard and very proud to be part of the Saint Athanasius parish.
For more information on G.I.SA. please visit the Italian Speaking Community page by clicking here.