Concert and art exhibition serve as fundraiser for The Mercy House


originally published: 06/18/2022

(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) – At a time when many families are still grappling with the economic impact of COVID-19, the pastor of St. Joseph Church in Maplewood and the communications director for the Archdiocese of Newark combine their artistic gifts for a unique fundraiser to help those in need.

At “Music, Murals, & Mercy” – taking place on Sunday, June 26 at 4:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Church – Father Jim Worth will use his musical talent to sing songs about love and compassion on his piano to play. At the same time, guests can admire the art of Maria Margiotta, which features an eclectic mix of landscapes, religious paintings, and other exhibits. All donations generated by the event will be given The House of Mercya non-profit resource and referral center operated by the Archdiocese’s Respect Life Office.

“This is a great event to unwind and kick off the summer, but it’s really worth attending because it helps so many people,” Father Worth said. “Many families are experiencing financial difficulties, particularly because of COVID, and many are living below the poverty line. Through this event, we use our donations to support The Mercy House, which greatly benefits those in need. And hopefully people will feel inspired to use their own gifts to do good.”

Concert and art exhibition serve as fundraiser for The Mercy House

Father Jim Worth regularly uses his musical skills to help others, such as when he performed a benefit concert for Ukraine in April 2022. Photo courtesy of Father Jim Worth.

In addition to Music, Murals & Mercy, Father Worth will host Mercy Weekend at St. Joseph’s during the pre-concert services and art exhibition. During these two days, the community will host a second collection for The Mercy House to allow those unable to attend the event to donate. Father Worth will also perform uplifting songs for his parishioners, and a representative from Mercy House will be present to speak about the nonprofit’s mission.

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This fundraising effort follows a 2022 report by UNICEF and the World Bank that found that at least two-thirds of households with children have lost income since the COVID-19 pandemic began two years ago, causing adults in one in four households with children go a day or more without eating. Mercy House aims to help these people by providing food, clothing, baby supplies, furniture and help finding work and housing to all those in need. The center, located at 620 Clinton Ave. Located in Newark, is open Tuesdays and Fridays year-round.

“I support and admire The Mercy House’s mission and frontline support for communities in need, and am grateful for the opportunity to raise awareness of such a worthy cause through my artwork,” said Margiotta. “I hope visitors will enjoy listening to Father Jim’s performance and exploring my paintings. But most of all, I want visitors to leave with an appreciation for all that The Mercy House is doing to serve God’s children. The Mercy House is a perfect example of how the Archdiocese of Newark participates in the saving mission of Jesus Christ every day.”

Mercy House will next host a ‘Christmas in July’ event offering toys to underprivileged boys and girls. It will also continue to pursue its plans to expand to the other three counties served by the Archdiocese of Newark – Bergen, Hudson and Union.

“We are so grateful to Fathers Jim and Maria for their gifts to support The Mercy House,” said Cheryl A. Riley, director of the Archdiocese’s Respect Life Office. “This is a great example of what happens when talented people join forces. The funds raised through this event will be of great help to us and we appreciate the opportunity to educate the community about our mission.”

The Archdiocese of Newark, under the direction of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., sixth Archbishop of Newark, ministers to approximately 1.3 million Catholics in 212 parishes in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties. The Archdiocese serves the northern New Jersey community through faith, education, and social services.

PHOTO (TOP) Maria Margiotta (left) once painted a painting especially for The Mercy House and its director, Cheryl A. Riley. Photo courtesy of Maria Margiotta.

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