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Tag Archives: Assumption Church
Last week, Easter and Passover coincided. Across the globe, Christians and Jews celebrated important holidays at the same time.
Tomorrow (Sunday, April 28), 2 religions converge again. This time the setting is local. At 6:30 p.m., teenagers from Assumption Church, St. Luke, Temple Israel and the Conservative Synagogue meet on the Westport YMCA basketball court.
They’ll compete in the 4th annual Full Court for Kindness tournament. The round robin event is for bragging rights in the Staples High School cafeteria and on social media, sure.
But it’s also a fundraiser. Proceeds from the player and spectator entry fee of $5 (or more!) go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation (in honor of Christopher Lanni, a St. Luke parishioner who died while at Staples) and the Catch a Lift Fund, which provides physical and mental recovery therapy to wounded veterans.
Last year’s event drew a packed house. Staples Orphenian Brody Braunstein sang the national anthem. A priest and rabbi delivered blessings. A moment of silence followed, in memory of Christopher.
Then the 4 teams took the court. They battled hard. This was not Sunday school.
Still, there were tons of smiles. Everyone understood the tournament values: friendship, kindness and tolerance.
Temple Israel won last year’s tournament. Another highlight was St. Luke’s come-from-behind victory over rival Assumption.
Who will win tomorrow?
God only knows.
(Hat tip: Michele Harding)
Longtime Westporter Carol Mata died last week, at 73.
She was an entrepreneur, starting a doll-making business in Peru, and an Ecuadorean handcraft store in Westport called El Rondador. Carol also managed many rental properties.
She was a host mother to many foreign exchange students throughout the years, and an adopted mother and grandmother by countless people around the world.
She was an accomplished entertainer, party organizer and self-taught chef. She welcomed hundreds of people into her home with warmth, elegance and epicurean treats.
Carol was also deeply involved in Westport activities. Her daughter — Staples High School art teacher Angela Simpson — sends along this remembrance:
Last week, Westport and the greater community lost a humble and generous servant. Carol Mata, a resident of Westport for approximately 50 of her 73 years, passed away peacefully but unexpectedly in her sleep.
Carol’s generosity extended beyond her kindness to her family. She dedicated her time and talents to the Westport Woman’s Club (in particular the Yankee Doodle Fair), ran Fairfield Prep annual auctions, fundraised for Staples marching band uniforms, and always opened her pocketbook to support charities, especially Al’s Angels and Caroline House.
She was a fixture at St. Matthew’s Church in Norwalk, where she served as a eucharistic minister, delivered home-cooked meals to those in need, and assisted with accounting and event planning.
She also served for years as a CCD instructor at Assumption Church in Westport. She took her lesson planning very seriously, and was delighted to have one of her own grandchildren in her class.
Carol’s philanthropy extended outside Fairfield County, and even outside the country, but her greatest gift was her genuine care for all people. She did so much for so many, and never expected recognition.
Carol was a breast cancer survivor, and understood the importance of cherishing family and friends. From Carol you could count on original, personalized Christmas cards, along with her signature “Christmas Coffee Can Cake,” heartfelt and handwritten thank-you notes, and multi-course gourmet meals served from chafing dishes, always accompanied by beautiful floral arrangement.
Carol will be missed by many. But the many organizations and individuals that she touched are the better for her efforts.
Jean Donovan is one of Staples High School’s most famous alums.
And one of its least recognized.
Just 9 years after graduating with the Class of 1971, Donovan — a lay missionary helping poor people in El Salvador — was one of 4 American churchwomen killed by Salvadoran national guardsmen.
She and 3 nuns were beaten, raped, shot in the head, then dumped by the roadside.
The Catholic church is considering her for sainthood.
Her story was told in“Salvador.” Written by Oliver Stone — who directed it too, as his 1st major film — the character based on her life was played by Cynthia Gibb. Amazingly, she’s a 1981 Staples grad — and lives here still.
Other films, and several books, portray her life and death.
A Jean Donovan Summer Fellowship at Santa Clara University supports students interested in social justice, while in Los Angeles the Casa Jean Donovan Community Residence houses members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps.
But until recently, the only memorial to Donovan was a framed photograph in Assumption Church. That’s where her memorial mass had been held, and where she attended elementary school.
John Suggs — a longtime Westporter, and Assumption parishioner — has worked tirelessly to keep her memory alive here. He enlisted the help of Donovan’s ’71 classmates.
Father Tom Thorne was proud of the chance to house a plaque in the vestibule. A blessing and unveiling ceremony will be held soon.
Back in the day — 1914, to be exact — Birchwood Country Club looked a bit different than today.
So, in fact, does the view from there — off South Sylvan — of Riverside Avenue.
This photo — labeled simply “Bird’s Eye View From Country Club” — is best viewed much bigger. Click on or hover over to enlarge.
In the center, we see the back of what was then Staples High School. (Today, it’s the site of Saugatuck Elementary School). To its left is Assumption Church, built in 1900. In the far, far distance we see the white spire of Saugatuck Congregational Church (in its original location, further east on the Post Road).
But what’s that church on the far left?
Enjoy the view. And think about what passed for a “country club” 102 years ago.