Up Front and Personal

Good Old Days Continue At Ridgewood Parish

by Margaretmary A. Virgadamo

With the exception of Baptism, my husband and I have received all of our sacraments at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal church, Ridgewood.

My aunt, Mary Lang Worzberger, attended the first Mass in the parish, in a bar in 1917. I am proud that all of our children are graduates of OLMM School, educated by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.

At the age of 87, I would like you to join me on a trip down Memory Lane. My husband and I received First Communion in the “new” church in 1943. The auditorium of the school (built in 1930) served as our church for many years.

We both played CYO sports. My cousin was the coach of the girls’ basketball team. We attended the boys’ basketball games and dances on Sunday nights. When we were in high school, Wednesday night was Confraternity night with religious instructions followed by a dance. While my friends and I did not have to attend because we went to St. Barbara’s and Bishop McDonnell High Schools, we went every Wednesday for the dances.

We were devoted members of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sodality. Some of us took piano lessons in the convent. My husband and I joined the Holy Name Society and Rosary-Altar Society, respectively, when our oldest son started school. I am still a member of the Rosary-Altar Society, almost 60 years later.

My brother-in-law Nick Virgadamo, died on the stage in the auditorium as he emceed a Holy Name presentation. His four children also graduated from the school and his wife, Helen, was a Girl Scouts leader.

My first cousins, Rosemary Kusk-Tiefenwerth, and Joseph Kusk also graduated from OLMM. Joe also was a very proud altar boy.

Our children received all their sacraments here, and were active participants as altar boys, CYO players, coaches and refs, Cub Scouts and members of the Orbits Band. My husband taught the Scouts to swim at Grover Cleveland H.S. pool.

When a tribute was planned to Mr. Fiedler for his 40 years of scouting, I did the letter writing and my husband was the emcee. I wrote to John Glenn, the astronaut, inviting him to participate since he was a former Boy Scout. We received a beautiful letter in reply which we had laminated and presented to Mr. Fiedler at the celebration.

Father McDade, Msgr. Maurer and Msgr. Fahy were my confessors and spiritual advisers, all of whom later became close friends. Since I had gone to high school with Msgr. Maurer’s sister, he asked me to join his newly formed board of directors for the first Home and School Association in the diocese. Our motto was “to educate the parents to help to educate the child” and it was under his direction with loyal, educated parishioners like Maureen Walthers, former editor of The Ridgewood Times, and Ed Scharfenberger, the father of Bishop Edward Scharfenberger. The organization was such a huge success that Maureen and I were invited to join Msgr. Walter Vetro in the organization of the first diocesan Home School Association, in writing the bylaws, constitution and helping parishes develop their chapters.

Our parish priests were there for us in good times and in bad times, and we were and are fortunate to have the “cream of the crop,” who helped us through the many challenges of life. I still find myself quoting some of the words of wisdom each one shared with me.

I am loaded with gratitude and so very proud to be a lifetime member of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal parish.

May Our Lady continue to have her Son bless each and every one of us as we journey along the path of life to our final destination. Ad Multos Annos!