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Reasons to celebrate at St. Martha

Bishop Efren Esmilla, the Rev. Jonathan Dalin.
From left: Kirk and Dolores Bruse, Marita Owens, Bishop Efren Esmilla, Debbie Quinn, Deacon Steve Guckin.

It was a big day Sunday at St. Martha Parish, as newly installed Bishop Efren Esmilla returned to celebrate Mass and the newest Hall of Famers were inducted during a communion breakfast.

Esmilla was a parochial vicar at St. Martha from 2005-06.

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Communion breakfast emcee and Hall of Fame committee chairman Rich Konstance recalled Esmilla serving on a committee when St. Martha was planning its 40th anniversary celebration and was in the early stages of establishing a Hall of Fame.

Esmilla likened himself to St. Martha, a biblical figure who was a servant, describing himself as “a man of service.”

Esmilla said people have asked him since he became a bishop in March whether he will still preside over weddings and baptisms, offer prayer to people, conduct house blessings and perform other duties of priests. Yes, he said.

“Being a bishop is also being a servant,” he said.

Esmilla was installed as bishop along with Bishops Christopher Cooke and Keith Chylinski.

During his homily, he explained that he has been assigned to oversee parishes in Philadelphia. Cooke was assigned to parishes in his native Bucks County, while Chylinski was assigned to parishes in Montgomery County. Bishop John McIntyre, installed in 2010, is assigned to parishes in Delaware and Chester counties.

Esmilla greeted everyone after Mass before the communion breakfast started.

The newest Hall of Famers are Kirk and Dolores Bruse, Deacon Steve Guckin, Ed and Marita Owens and Debbie Quinn.

Kirk and Dolores Bruse have been married for 51 years and have been St. Martha parishioners for 51 years. They’ve been extraordinary ministers and have taken the Eucharist to patients at Jefferson Torresdale Hospital.

Guckin is a North Catholic graduate. He and his wife of 41 years, Eileen, have two children. He is a retired police lieutenant who has worked as a school minister at Lansdale Catholic, Cardinal Dougherty and Father Judge and is a theology teacher at Archbishop Ryan. He was a deacon at St. Martin of Tours and the former St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Bensalem before coming to St. Martha, where he has served on the parish council, school board and development and Oktoberfest committees.

Ed and Marita Owens, St, Martha parishioners for more than 50 years, were married for 60 years before Ed died earlier this year. They worked as homebound ministers.

Quinn has been a parishioner since 1991 and is a 1999 St. Martha graduate. She has two daughters who are students at the school now. Nominated by former principal Karen Donofry, she has served on the school board and worked on the Raise the Roof campaign.

Among those in attendance were the Rev. Jonathan Dalin, the pastor, and principal Rita Anderson.

Christopher Yengbeh, a St. Martha graduate and senior at Ryan, led the crowd in a singing of the Star-Spangled Banner. ••

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