St. Monica uses music to unite area - Catholic Courier

St. Monica uses music to unite area

ROCHESTER — The food was hot, the music was cool, and Kathy Murty was pleased.

Murty, a Rochester resident and cochairwoman of the first-annual music festival Aug. 25 at St. Monica Parish, said many people stepped up to make the free festival a reality.

She said parishioners participating in a brainstorming session came up with the idea of having music on the lawn of the new St. Monica Parish, which comprises parishioners from the existing St. Monica and Emmanuel Church of the Deaf as well as those from the former St. Augustine, Our Lady of Good Counsel and Ss. Peter and Paul parishes. After the idea was brought up, parishioner Judy Predmore volunteered to organize the festival, Murty said.

Murty noted the festival serves two purposes: unity and community building.

“We’re this new community that has been amalgamated by the closing of parishes, and we needed something to work on together,” she said.

The event also let the neighboring community know of St. Monica’s presence, and of the presence of several area groups, Murty said. The festival featured booths highlighting Mercy Bridges, a ministry of the Sisters of Mercy that promotes adult literacy, and the Legion of Mary, a Catholic lay organization. Community representatives from Police and Citizens Together Against Crime and elected representatives also attended the festival.

Area organizations stepped up to donate food, said parishioner JoAnn DeMott, who helped coordinate food for the event. The Abbey of the Genesee and Don and Bobs donated food, and Wegmans and Tops donated gift cards. The parish also held two baked-food sales to help raise funds for the event.

“This is the first event we have put together where everyone has been involved,” DeMott noted.

The event featured the Southwest Area Neighborhood Band, a parish youth choir and several other parish musicians.

“We have some very talented people who are parishioners,” DeMott remarked.

Parishioner Eleanor Rainge, who brought along friends Lonnie and Lucy Byrd of Rochester, said she hoped the festival would be the first of many.

“I think it’s nice to have the community get together,” Rainge said.

Pointing out several “Urban by Choice” T-shirts worn at the event, City Councilman Dana Miller said the festival was a chance for 19th Ward residents to show pride in their neighborhood, which he said is the home to several fa{c-cedilla}ade-improvement projects and several new development projects. He said in addition to the parish St. Monica School plays an important role in unifying the neighborhood.

“Many of students in the school are from the neighborhood,” he said.

Andrea Imburgia, a parishioner of Rochester’s Cathedral Community and an administrative assistant with the diocesan Tribunal, said she heard about the event from her godchild, a St. Monica parishioner who sang at the event.

“We are having a wonderful, wonderful time sharing the spirit together with the community and the neighborhood,” Imburgia said.

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