The Rev. Richard Donato has always been drawn to the church. Years ago, it was as an acolyte at the former Trinity Episcopal Church, Kearny. As time went on, he became a rare certified lay preacher. But he knew he had a calling to the priesthood — and now, the longtime Kearny resident is an ordained priest in the Anglican Catholic Tradition.
Fr. Rick, who says he never quite understood — until now — just how difficult it is to set up a new parish, says his, all-inclusive congregation, is one where the Catholic Church meets the Episcopal Church. There are elements of the Catholic Mass and the Episcopal Mass in All Saints’ Masses.
But most important to the existence of this parish is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, wherever you are on your faith journey and whatever walk of life you’ve taken … if you believe in Jesus, you’re welcome at the table for communion and to be fully accepted as a parishioner.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, Latino or Portuguese, straight or gay, rich or poor, it doesn’t matter what your gender is, how old you are or your physical appearance. Whoever you are, you’re welcome here,” Fr. Rick said in a recent interview with The Observer.
Each Sunday, at 2:30 p.m., All Saints offers Mass at Grace United Methodist Church, 380 Kearny Ave., Kearny. The parish rents the building each week. The 2:30 p.m. Mass is followed by coffee and fellowship.
“This is a great way to get to know the people,” Donato said.
Since the parish is in its infancy the number of worshippers can vary from week to week. Sometimes, there could be as few as five at a given Mass. Other times, there can be as many as 45.
But it’s not the number of people who worship that makes this a special, sacred place. It’s the people themselves.
“There are wonderful people who worship with us, from all walks of life,” Donato said. “This is what makes us a special place.”
Indeed it does.
Fr. Rick says All Saints has a sister parish that has helped strengthen the local parish. The two parishes occasionally worship together.
In addition to the weekly Sunday Mass, All Saints also offers a Healing Service/Mass Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m., in the parish’s Mary chapel. (For details on that address and information about the healing service you can call the church office at 201-948-5007.
All in all, if there’s a message Fr. Rick would like to spread, it’s a very simple one.
“We Listen, We Believe, We Pray and We Care about the people.”
This weekend, Mass will be celebrated at the Church at 2:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve and 2:30 p.m. Christmas Day. All are (obviously) welcome.