Thursday, December 31, 2009

Father Fitz

Father Fitz is what people who knew him, called him. The portion of Ninth Street by the Church of St. Michael—between Erie & Jersey—is named Father Fitzgerald Way, which is pretty apt since he was a priest there, and later pastor, for nearly half a century, which is extraordinary. To say he was beloved is an understatement. It still amazes me how many people knew him in this city, especially the police and firemen who grew up in Jersey City. I knew him for the last five years or so of his life. He was a man of great insight. He died suddenly 10 years ago on this day. I remember thinking at the time, now he won’t make the millennium. But his influence has. Kind, compassionate, sensitive, spiritual and gentle… Father Fitz is remembered in the hearts of many. On the 10 year anniversary of his passing—or the repose of his soul—seemed a good way to close out the first year of Dislocations is to remember him. The back of his Mass Card (above), reads:

Lord, God
You chose our brother Hugh
To serve your people as a priest
And to share the joys and burdens
Of their lives.

Look with Mercy on him
And give him the reward of his labors,
The fullness of life promised
To those who preach your holy gospel.

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