By Roger GavanWARWICK — On Sunday, Nov. 1, the special program distributed at the 12:15 Mass at Warwick's Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, read:
"Anniversary Celebration, His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, Principal Celebrant and Homilist."
This year marked the celebration of not only the 150th anniversary of the parish, but also the 50th anniversary of St. Stephen - St. Edward parochial school and the 25th anniversary of the third church building at 75 Sanfordville Road.
The church was filled to capacity as Dolan, preceded by a Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, made a joyful entrance, greeting and waving to parishioners and displaying the warmth and humor that has made him so popular and beloved by the people he serves.
The cardinal, who is an ardent Mets fan, explained that his voice might not be up to par because he had been at Citi Field the night before where New York lost to the Kansas City Royals.
"I lost half my voice cheering," he said, "and the other half crying."
During his homily, Dolan praised all the priests who had served the parish, addressing those present by name as the congregation applauded. He made a special point of mentioning Msgr. Bernard Corrigan who served many years as pastor of St. Stephen's and 25 years ago, as the population of Warwick dramatically increased, had the vision to build the new church.
At the conclusion of the service, the Rev. Jack Arlotta, pastor of St. Stephen's, thanked all those who had worked so many months and hours in preparation for this memorable occasion.
Several children from St. Stephen - St. Edward parochial school also came forward and presented the cardinal with gifts of typical Orange County produce including onions, apples and wines donated by local businesses.
Everyone was then invited to a reception and luncheon in the school gymnasium where the cardinal met with parishioners and posed for photographs.