Saints Peter & Paul Church hosted its annual Gratitude Gala last Thursday, honoring Bishop Thomas A Donato, Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Newark, The Honorable David L. Roberts, Mayor of Hoboken (2001-2009) and Edward and Jennifer Yruma, dedicated parishioners.
The Gratitude Gala gathered nearly 300 well-wishers and supporters, including Mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer who praised each of the honorees, citing their outstanding dedications to the greater community.
“When everyone is playing on 1600 Park, you know when the weather is finally nice, from 8 in the morning, until 11 at night, think of Mayor Roberts, because he was the one who bought that land and really helped make that happen,” explained Zimmer. “And when you have an emergency, and you’re really glad that you have a hospital right in Hoboken to go to, think of Mayor Roberts.”
Bishop Donato spoke of his role as a family man ministering not only to his direct relatives but to his family throughout the Church. He talked about his parents and his own Hudson County roots, having been the fifth son of Italian immigrant parents who settled in Jersey City 92 years ago. He reminisced, gesturing to the audience, “When I stop to think about my parents, I often remember the simplicity of their lives that has always encouraged me to do what I could for people like you.”
Speaking with impact on his experience in the community of Hoboken and Saints Peter and Paul, Edward Yruma described a sense of togetherness, recalling the baptism of his daughter. “I could hear the people singing, I could hear the people clapping. We were there together to welcome my daughter and to pray for hope and peace,” said Yruma. “For us, this is not just a parish. It is our family. It is our home.”
Mayor Roberts, who was the final honoree of the evening, thanked the many people who made an impact on his long career saying, “We have many years of association, of love and care and we watched our family’s grow.” He also spoke of the uplifting spirit of Monsignor Meyer and the Community of Saints Peter and Paul, having been there through the best and worst times of his life. Specifically, Mayor Roberts spoke about the incredible counsel from the parish that was given to him and his family during the passing of his beloved wife Anna. He closed his address by quoting American writer, Robert Fulghum reciting, “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I also believe, that love is stronger than death.”
A native of Jersey City, Bishop Donato has served throughout the Archdiocese of Newark and beyond. After 35 years of priestly ministry, then Monsignor Donato took a six-month sabbatical to attend the Institute for the Continuing Education of Clergy at the North American College, Rome. He was appointed pastor of St Raphael Parish, Livingston (2001-2003), and shortly thereafter was appointed Spiritual Director of Immaculate Conception Seminary, Seton Hall University, South Orange. Appointed pastor of St Henry Parish, Bayonne, in 2004, he also served as Regional Bishop for Hudson County. The Holy See announced the appointment of Monsignor Thomas A Donato as Titular Bishop of Jamestown and Auxiliary Bishop of Newark on May 21, 2004.
As a member of the Hoboken Fire Department, David L. Roberts received a Certificate of Commendation for bravery in aiding a team rescue of two children from a fire. He then went on to serve the Hoboken 6th Ward on the City Council. In 2001, Roberts was elected Mayor of Hoboken. As Mayor, Roberts led the negotiations that ultimately created the Hoboken University Medical Center. A business and community leader, Roberts is the owner of East LA Restaurant in Hoboken and lends support to the Waterfront Project, Inc a Hoboken-based non-profit legal clinic serving residents of Hudson County.
Edward and Jennifer Yruma of Hoboken, along with their children, Elizabeth and Catherine Ann, are parishioners of Saints Peter & Paul Church. Jennifer Yruma, Director of the Department of Professional Practice at KPMG, participates in the parish “RCIA” process, which assists adults seeking to become members of the Catholic Church. Jennifer often leads a scripture discussion and shares her own experience of becoming a member of the Catholic Church as an adult with the program participants. At KPMG, Jennifer is also active in its KPMG Network of Women. Edward Yruma is a Managing Director of KeyBanc Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of KeyCorp. He was named equity analyst of the year in 2012 and focuses on retail and apparel. He has received numerous citations in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Barron’s and is a frequent television guest on CNBC and Bloomberg. Prior to joining KeyBanc, Yruma was a Vice President at JP Morgan as an equity analyst and an investment banker in the firm’s San Francisco and New York offices. Yruma was previously a board member at St John’s Bread and Life, one of the largest emergency food banks in New York City. He is also a member of the Retail Marketing Society and the ICSC.
“Together, we demonstrate and take pride in the amazing acts of service that forge the framework of our community,” said Msgr Robert S Meyer, Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul. “It is my privilege to honor these individuals who continue to bring a positive impact and serve as role models where we live and worship.”
Proceeds from the benefit went to the Hoboken Library Foundation.