PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2020
CONTACT: 
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant
jcrusco@holyangels.org

Saint Elizabeth Church Hosts Virtual Grandparents’ Day for AHA

Demarest, NJ: COVID-19 necessitated a virtual version of the Academy of the Holy Angels’ traditional Grandparents’ Day Mass, and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Church in Wyckoff graciously agreed to host the event. Mass was organized by AHA Campus Ministry and was livestreamed on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

“While we miss being on campus and welcoming our Angels’ grandparents to Holy Angels, we are so fortunate to have this opportunity to be together for our liturgy today. We look forward to being together again at school, but for now we are staying home and staying safe as we fly as one, Angels strong, “ said AHA President Melinda A. Hanlon.

Pastor Stephen Fichter acknowledged that this is not just a sad time, but also an opportunity for us to grow in love and light. Angels, Fr. Fichter pointed out, are messengers.

“We are spiritual and corporal, but we are all called to be messengers of God to each other,” he said. “What is your message?” Fr. Fichter said words flow from what fills the heart. He reminded everyone of Pope Francis’ entreaty for everyone to say “please,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry.” The celebrant added, “Let the message from the mouth be a message of love.”



Fr. Fichter described his own grandparents as wonderful examples of unconditional love, noting, “You can’t love until you are loved.”

He expressed his thanks for technology, which keeps people connected, and encouraged everyone to be angels to each other, sharing the love of God and neighbor.

AHA Principal Jean Miller and Academic Dean Francesca Tambone-Puzio both attended the Mass. Viewers could see both educators seated in separate pews to comply with social distancing recommendations. Tambone-Puzio served as the lector. Miller shared some words at the end of the celebration.

Miller pointed out that the self-quarantine experience has taught us many lessons, including the importance of slowing down and spending precious time with our families.

“It has taught us how meaningful we are to each other,” the principal continued, mentioning several communities, including the School Sisters of Notre Dame, alumnae, and grandparents.

She thanked AHA Campus Ministry, led by Kathy Sylvester, for organizing this year’s celebration. Miller also took time to recognize everyone from the Holy Angels family.

Acknowledging God’s gift of hope, Miller concluded, “We are all gifts of hope to each other.”

Fr. Fichter thanked St. Elizabeth Cantor Cheryl Wyka and Music Director Jay Brown, who led the music for the liturgy. He also sent special greetings to the AHA Music Makers, AHA Instrumental Music Director Mariann Annecchino, the AHA Handbell Choir, Assistant Director of Advancement Barbara Burkland, S. Henrice Eckert, SSND, and S. Carole Tabano, SSND. Fr. Fichter mentioned that he is the brother of two AHA alumnae.

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

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