Heartfelt Stories of Holy Name Parishioners

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Meet MaryAnn, Diana, Dorothy, and Jaime - dedicated parishioners of Holy Name of Jesus Church, each with a unique journey of faith and service. From cherished memories at St. John Nepomucene Church to nursing in Neurosurgery, volunteering, and globetrotting adventures, these individuals embody the spirit of community and devotion.

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  1. Parishioner Profiles Although St. John Nepomucene Church closed in September 1991, MaryAnn Hmura holds the place where her faith was formed tenderly in her heart. That was where she was baptized, had her First Communion and Confirmation as did her parents. Her grandparents were parishioners, too. Like her parents, MaryAnn attended St. John School. In fact, her first teacher was the same School Sister of Notre Dame who had taught her folks. As a child, MaryAnn waited in the church basement at Easter and smelled lilies filling the church above as she and her classmates waited for a special Slovak song to process in. They marched into a church larger than Holy Name with a beautiful, white marble mosaic altar. At St. John s final mass, MaryAnn said, Parishioners sang the hymn, We Remember, and we all cried. St. John Church gave Holy Name of Jesus Church its organ, statues of angels, the stand on which rests our Pascal Candle, money for painting the church interior for our 75th Anniversary--and more than new 100 parishioners. MaryAnn wanted to continue attending a Slovak church. She became hesitant the following summer when she and her parents discovered it would not be possible for her folks to celebrate their 50th Wedding Anniversary with a mass and renewal of their vows as her new church was booked. Father Dora saw the pain in their faces and scheduled an additional mass for August 15th, their anniversary. After that special mass, MaryAnn and her parents volunteered for all they could. At the sides of the altar for the anniversary mass were the angel statues from St. John and those angels returned for her parents funeral service. MaryAnn Krajcik and Steve Hmura, who came to Holy Name from St. Michael the Archangel Church, marriedon 2/22/22 with those same angels in attendance at the altar for a mass said by Father Bert that started at 2 p.m. with vows exchanged at exactly 2:22 p.m. Diana Schneider first came to Holy Name in her mother s womb. Her mom was a faithful parishioner. Diana was born during a lightning storm on July 19, 1950, and soon was baptized. She received all of her sacraments here and has been a life-time parishioner. Thanksgiving for Diana growing up meant turkey. We always had turkey, she said. Pat McNamara s mom always when made it. Neighbors and family gathered at her parents to celebrate and give thanks together. She is proud to have worked at Clean Sound on the Housatonic River clean-up, the McKinley National Wildlife Refuge, and the last clean-up at Pleasure Beach where she was a photographer. Diana participates at many Holy Name events, including our tag sale and Classic Car Show. She was in our choir and is an usher. She also is an Apostle of Divine Mercy. Dedicated to helping others, she said, I wish I were an angel so I could help more people.

  2. Parishioner Profiles Dorothy Lavin came to Holy Name of Jesus Church from St. Cyril & Methodius Church. When asked who her favorite saint is, Dorothy thought long and hard. I love them all, she said with a smile, though she shared that the Blessed Mother has a special place in her heart. For twenty-six years, Dorothy worked as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Neurosurgery at St. Vincent s Hospital. At Holy Name, she used her nursing skills in our Parish Nurse Ministry. She is also a member of the Ladies Guild. Before moving to Bridgeport, she lived in Trumbull and attended St. Peter s Church. Dorothy has two sons and two daughters, and six grandchildren. Her youngest grandchild is a sophomore at Fairfield Prep and her oldest is married. Before becoming one of our newest parishioners in early September, Jaime Pettit was helping Holy Name of Jesus Church. She works for the Bridgeport History Center in the Bridgeport Library and she discovered newspaper articles and books for our June 100 Year Anniversary Kick-off celebration. Jamie is following the Synod Meeting in Rome, and is interested in Vatican II. She has visited the Vatican and gone on an archeological dig outside of Rome. She has traveled through Italy, England, France, Canada and Alaska. She looks forward to visiting many more places, especially Viet Nam. Jamie grew up in Wilton and attended Cheshire Academy where she took up horseback riding and archery, ran Cross Country, and participated in Theater and the Fishing Club. She attended Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, and went on to the University of Michigan where she earned her Masters in Information Science. She was an intern at the Norwalk Maritime Center where she helped with research, checked Long Island Sound s health, and measured creatures. Jamie recently moved to Stratford to be closer to work. I love the Faith Community here, Jamie said. Everybody s been so welcoming. Holy Name is a great place to come and worship. Jamie is interested in history, religion and politics. Her favorite historical periods are the dawn of Christianity in the First Century, and the Italian Renaissance. Her favorite saints are St. Francis of Assisi and St. Longinus, the Roman centurion who speared Jesus on the cross, was cured of cataracts by the water that sprang from the wound, and came to believe.

  3. Parishioner Profiles A life-time Holy Name parishioner, Thomas Saffo lives a simple, helpful life. As Tom talked about his 80 years in Stratford, another parishioner added, And he s always ready to help somebody with a ride. Tom brought me here today. Tom takes people in Senior Housing and other places shopping, for visits to their relatives and friends, to doctor and dentist appointments. Wherever they need to go, Tom said. Tom received all of his sacraments at Holy Name. He tries to read Scripture everyday and believes coming to Mass every Sunday helps sets an example. He has served as an usher for 30 years, and been in the Men s Society. He had one brother who was a Deacon at St. Jude in Derby. Tom remembers when parishioners knelt at a railing before the altar for Communion and the priest placed the host on his tongue, and when the choir sang in Latin. He accepts the changes but dislikes that attendance is down. Tom graduated from Stratford High School in 1962 and went on to study Electronics at the University of Bridgeport. He is an Army Veteran and served one year in Viet Nam. He has held a variety of jobs, including working for the Town of Stratford Parks Department for 8 years. He is interested in electronics. Father Dora told Robert Sulik, You were one of the first baptized in our new church in 1941. That happened on April 13, a date Robert had ready at hand. While attending Stratford High School, Robert started working in Shipping at Raybestos and stayed for 13 years. Then, one of his brothers married a girl from Pennsylvania, and at age 33, Robert, his father and another brother joined them on a 200+ acre farm set in mountains near Williamsport. His sister joined them soon after. From 1974 to 1988, the family worked the farm. They raised grain, hay, corn, and they had cows. It was hard work, Robert said. I enjoyed it. As Robert grew older and his father declined, the work became too much. He sold the farm and returned to his beloved Stratford and Holy Name of Jesus Church. Robert is preparing to become a Eucharistic Minister. For decades, he has served as an Usher, worked many events, and been in the Men s Society..

  4. Parishioner Profiles Every Sunday afternoon, Grace Mobilio makes dinner for family and friends, a tradition she has maintained for decades. Five years ago when Father Bert came to Holy Name, Grace followed. They are second cousins. That s why I came and I ve been here ever since, Grace said. At Holy Name, she participates in many activities. I love the Quarters Night and Bingo, she said. For 59 years, Grace was married to her husband, Albert, who passed in 2017. She has four children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Before moving to Stratford in the 1980 s, Grace lived in Shelton. She also worked in Shelton as a teller for 25 years at Webster Bank. She then worked for 20 years at Rite Aid in Paradise Green. Recently, Grace became a member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Catholic Daughters, founded in 1903, is dedicated to Spirituality and Service, and is one of the largest women s organization in the Americas. I am especially partial to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Grace said. When Carol Mobilio moved from Bridgeport to Derby, she tried out many churches and settled on Holy Name along with her aunt, Grace. Since coming, Carol has volunteered for many activities, especially for Faith Formation. Carol s favorite saints are St. Anthony and St. Francis. In 2001, she visited St. Francis s birthplace, Assisi, Italy, which she experienced as spiritual and inspirational . Carol is a mother and has two grandchildren. Growing up, Carol found herself involved in her family s HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) business as did her brothers, Joseph, and twins Anthony and Vincent. When Anthony died, Carol raised money for a boiler for the Merton Center to honor him. Working with the Valley Community Foundation, Carol and her nephew Joseph later established the Anthony Mobilio Memorial Scholarship Fund to benefit a student graduating the HVAC Entech Training School in Cromwell. Anthony graduated from the school, and dedicated his life to pursuing education and helping others in the HVAC industry. Carol graduated from Sacred Heart University and lives in Hamden. She started her career as a paralegal for United Healthcare, but 3 years ago, returned to her roots, taking a position as Office Manager for her nephew s HVAC company, Mobilio and Son Heating and Cooling in Cheshire.

  5. Parishioner Profiles Bruno Braganza s dog, Trevor, led him back to God. In his early twenties, Bruno discovered both his kidneys were failing and he needed an organ transplant. During this bewildering time, Bruno was driving through a blizzard when a dog appeared and ran into the woods. Fearing the blizzard would harm the dog, Bruno stopped, found him, took him to a shelter, but soon returned and adopted the dog, who Bruno named Trevor. Trevor Trevor was always there, and helped Bruno through that ordeal and others. I felt we were both startinglife over again, Bruno said. While Bruno was raised a Catholic and considered the ing a priesthood while at Sacred Heart University, his faith flagged for a while. Two years ago, Trevor died. It was heart-breaking, Bruno said. I paused to reflect, and search for something missing in my life. Then I felt Trevor leading me back to trust Jesus. I felt Christ walking with us both. Bruno was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His sister, a professional ballerina, performed internationally. She invited the family to join her in America, and Bruno came to Bridgeport when he was 9. He quickly picked up the language, and earned scholarships to St. Peter s School, Notre Dame High School, and Sacred Heart University (where he earned a BA in Accounting/Finance). While going to school, he worked at a Mrs. Fields Cookie Store. On breaks, he would go to the nearby bookstore. When the Mrs. Fields store closed, the bookstore offered him a job. For one Christmas season, the bookstore hired a very shy girl, Alison, who worked hard and kept to herself. Bruno casually talked to her. When she returned to college, she said good-bye to everyone, and on her way out, flipped a dime that stuck to ceiling. Bruno friended her on Facebook and learned more about her. Alison wasn t only a magician. As a girl, she had befriended Coney Island performers, who had taught her to swallow swords, eat fire and walk on glass. They married, and got a dog, Lukey Lasagna, who is among the most popular dogs in Stratford. Today, Bruno is the manager of a Thule Distribution Center in Milford, and loves it. Although Bruno has been a parishioner only a year, he is a frequent volunteer. I like being able to help, Bruno said. I really feel a part of this community. When I see an opportunity to make life easier for someone, I ll help. I want to make our church a better place. Landen is in the sixth grade. He has attended Holy Name of Jesus Church his whole life. Landen enjoys playing Fortnite and soccer. In our Faith Formation, Landen said he learned about Jesus and God. It gave him a foundation to grow in his faith. He often volunteers. Landen has served as a Greeter and he marched in the Memorial Day parade.