WHERE: St. Joseph Church, 767 Prospect St., Maplewood
At a time when many families are still struggling from the economic impact of COVID-19, the pastor of St. Joseph Church in Maplewood and the director of communications for the Archdiocese of Newark are combining their artistic gifts for a unique fundraiser to help those in need.
Music, Murals, & Mercy will see Father Jim Worth (right, at a fundraising concert for Ukraine in April 2022) put his musical talent to use performing songs about love and compassion on his piano. At the same time, guests can admire the art of Maria Margiotta, who will have an eclectic mix of landscapes, religious paintings, and other pieces on display. All donations generated by the event will be given to The Mercy House, a nonprofit resource and referral center operated by the Archdiocese’s Respect Life Office.
“This is a great event to relax and kick off the summer, but it’s really worth attending because it helps so many people,” Father Worth said. “A lot of families have been hit with financial difficulties, especially because of COVID, and many are living below the poverty line. Through this event, we’re using our gifts to support The Mercy House, which greatly benefits those in need. And, hopefully, people will feel inspired to use their own gifts to do good.
Music, Murals, & Mercy, Father Worth will host Mercy Weekend at St. Joseph’s during Masses preceding the concert and art exhibit. On those two days, the parish will take up a second collection for The Mercy House so those who cannot attend the event can donate. Father Worth will also perform uplifting songs for his parishioners, and a Mercy House representative will be present to speak about the nonprofit’s mission. [left: Maria Margiotta (left) once created a painting specially for The Mercy House and its director, Cheryl A. Riley]
These fundraising efforts follow a 2022 UNICEF-World Bank report that found at least two-thirds of households with children have lost income since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago, resulting in adults within one in four households with children going a day or more without food. The Mercy House aims to assist such people by providing food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture, and help finding work and housing to anyone in need. The center, which is located at 620 Clinton Ave. in Newark, is open every Tuesday and Friday year-round.
“I support and am in awe of The Mercy House’s mission and front-line support for communities in need and am grateful for the opportunity to bring attention to such a worthy cause through my artwork,” Margiotta said. “I hope visitors will enjoy listening to Father Jim’s performance and exploring my paintings. But, above all, I want visitors to leave with an appreciation for all that The Mercy House does to serve God’s children. The Mercy House is a perfect example of how the Archdiocese of Newark shares in the saving mission of Jesus Christ every day.”
The Mercy House will next hold a Christmas in July event offering toys to underprivileged boys and girls. It will also continue to pursue its plans of expanding to the other three counties served by the Archdiocese of Newark — Bergen, Hudson, and Union.
“We are so grateful to Father Jim and Maria for using their gifts to help The Mercy House,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the archdiocesan Respect Life Office. “This is a great example of what happens when talented people join forces. The funds raised through this event will be a big help to us, and we appreciate the chance to teach the community about our mission.”
For more information on The Mercy House, visit www.rcan.org/respect-life/mercy-house.
The Archdiocese of Newark, under the leadership of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., the sixth archbishop of Newark, serves approximately 1.3 million Catholics in 212 parishes throughout the counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union. The Archdiocese serves the northern New Jersey community through faith, education and social services. To learn more, visit www.rcan.org.