It may be hard to believe but another year has passed. Seemingly, 2022 had just begun but here we are amidst the Christmas season in January of 2023. No matter how many arduous moments the previous year had presented our world and our lives with, we can always forget about those things as the year ends and this is because of the season of perpetual hope, Christmas. The Christmas season is truly the most wonderful time of the year, a season filled with hope, joy, peace, and love. Christmas at St. Joseph’s is an experience that you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
A mixture of American and Polish Christmas traditions that make the season very eventful. In the first days of December, you will slowly notice Christmas decorations appearing in the hallways. You will notice beautifully decorated trees all with different themes, depending on which room you are in. You will start to hear carols being played throughout the building and the Christmas joy begins to spread. On December 6th, as part of the Polish tradition, the Residents had a visit from Jolly Old St. Nicholas. St Nicholas brought each of them a small, sweet gift. Accompanying the gift giving was the singing of Christmas carols. There was visible joy on the Residents’ faces as they got the first feel of the Christmas spirit. Throughout the next few weeks, we had many groups come in and spend time with our Residents. We had a group from the Polish School in Plainfield, NJ – children came to our Residents with Christmas cards, they Sang some carols and one student played on the saxophone.
Also, the 5help Foundation visited our Dear Residents and brought gifts for them. On a cold but sunny December afternoon Theresa, one of the members of Voice For Seniors came to visit our Residents and brought many Christmas gifts for them. We cannot forget about Reverend Father Peter Tran, Sister Maria Goretti Nguyen, Mrs. Margaret, and all parishioners from Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish in South Plainfield, NJ. Together with Santa Joe and Lily the Elf they brought so much joy to all of us! We would like to mention also Mrs. Malgorzata and her friends who donated many handmade blankets to our Residents. The Residents also received Christmas cards and gifts from The Woodbridge Academy Interact Club. We would like to thank all of those groups and organizations that were able to bring the Christmas spirit to our St. Joseph’s Senior Home. We are grateful and thankful for the many families and friends who brought treats, cards, presents, and even delicious lunches! What a delight! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
The Christmas season is a great time for giving back to communities. On Tuesday, before Christmas, the Little Servant Sisters went with Santa, Dr. Bowe and volunteers from “Be the Change” to spread the love, joy and peace that Jesus brings at Christmas to our friends living near Newark Penn Station. The coats, hats and other clothes that were given out were greatly appreciated in the cold weather. Toys were distributed to children in several locations in Newark, Elizabeth and New Brunswick that made hundreds of children happy! Our Activity Department worked hard to plan and organize various Christmas themed activities for our Residents. Whether that might have been arts and crafts or organizing a Christmas carol sing along, you cannot deny that they keep the Christmas spirit alive. Alongside the Sisters, our activities employee Kasia [and companions?], presented a Christmas pageant for the Residents. Dressing up as Mary, Joseph, and an angel and shepherd, they presented the Residents with baby Jesus, celebrating His birth and bringing joy to their faces.
One of our long- standing traditions at St. Joseph’s is the Christmas raffle. The raffle is a great way of fundraising for causes; this years’ proceeds were used for Christmas decorations as well as for the activities departments both in the Nursing Center and the Assisted Living. The winner of the gift basket was our night shift employee, Linda, and the winner of the Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus dolls was our dear Resident Robert. The Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus dolls, handmade by our nurse Mary Ellen, have been the main prize of our holiday raffle for over 20 years. Thank You Mary Ellen! Another one of our traditions is the Employee Christmas Party. Since Covid-19 has affected us, we have scaled down the celebration but the essential moments are still there. As per the Polish tradition, the main Christmas celebration occurs on Christmas Eve, known as the “Vigil.” “Wigilia” in Polish. The “Wigilia” is a supper that starts at the sighting of the first star and before the meal everyone shares a wafer, “opłatek”, with wishes among each other. The dishes present at the supper include many of the well-known Polish foods such as fish, borscht, pierogi and other dishes and pastries. Our Residents get a taste of some of these traditional dishes (omit: such as pierogi or fish). Later, following the supper is the Midnight Mass, in Polish “Pasterka”. The Mass celebrates the welcome of the newborn Jesus to our world. A couple of days later we welcome the New Year of the Lord with the celebration of the start of a new year.
We warmly welcome a New Year; it is almost like a new page of a book. A new page in the book of life… In the spirit of gratitude and hope we are sending the best wishes to all of you… Have a Blessed 2023 Year! Be assured of our prayers!
“May the Lord bless you and keep you!
May the Lord let his face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you!
May the Lord look upon you kindly and give peace!”