Our History – Page 6
After Monsignor Hyder’s death in 1975, Monsignor Vincent A. Jakul was appointed our fifth pastor in December 1975. Like Msgr Hyder, he had headed the Catholic Charities Bureau for many years and was chaplain to Keith Academy, to the local juvenile court, to the Middlesex County Training School, to the League of Catholic Women, and was director of both cemeteries.
In 1975 there were 2,350 families in the parish giving the parish a census of 10,000 registered parishioners. Msgr. Jakul established the Parish Finance Council in 1985. It was made up of ten members and the pastor and met ten times a year. Today, it meets with the pastor to establish an annual budget for the church and the school; and at the end of each fiscal year, it publishes a financial report for the benefit of the parishioners. In 1986 the Council installed the envelope system.
The Parish Annual Statistical Report of 1988 showed a census of 9,000 with about 2,000 families; 6 weekend Masses; three priests; one permanent deacon; one CCD director; 312 CCD students; one lay woman Principal of the parish school; 18 lay teachers and 418 students in the parish school. Formerly the school had been staffed by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who left the parish school in 1988. Under Msgr. Jakul, the Friends of St. Margaret came about and continues today. A monthly drawing consisting of prizes ranging from $50 to $1,000 is held, with proceeds donated to the parish and school to help support with their financial needs.
In 1989 there were only two priests, Msgr. Jakul and Father Paul Finegan, and Deacon Barry Lloyd. There were two Masses on Saturday evenings at 4 and 6 PM and four on Sundays at 7:30, 9:30, 10:45 and 12 noon. Weekday Mass was at 9 AM and 7 PM during Lent. There were 30 Eucharistic Ministers, 30 Lectors, 25 Ushers, 44 young Altar Servers, 15 members of the Adult Choir, and 5 members of a Folk Group led by a lay volunteer.
A New Era, New Challenges: 1991-Present
On July 31, 1991, Msgr. Jakul died unexpectedly, and in December 1991 Cardinal Bernard Law appointed Father Joseph Ruggeri as the sixth pastor of St. Margaret Parish. In 1992 the Parish Pastoral Council began formally with 12 elected members, 2 members appointed by the pastor, 2 youth members, and 4 members ex-officio. The council met ten times a year. Under Fr. Joe, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.) was established to offer to new or returning members to the Catholic faith a program leading to the reception of the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation. This program continues today.
In 1992 the Hospitality Committee was established. It initiated dances, bean suppers, baking contests, the Pastor’s Supper, appreciation nights, a Fourth of July barbecue, and a cook-out after the Mass of Anointing in August. From this committee evolved the Parish Show which involved parishioners of all ages.
Since 1994 twelve older men of the parish have served as Senior Altar Servers at all the Funeral Masses. They act as thurifers and often as lectors and Eucharistic Ministers at funerals.