The Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has chosen Father Robert Kaeding, executive director of The Center in Asbury Park, as its first grand marshal for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Asbury Park.
Father Bob, as he is affectionately known, is pastor of Precious Blood Parish in Monmouth Beach.
In accepting the honor he said, “The Center has participated in the Belmar’s great St. Patrick’s Parade, but we were always hopeful that Asbury Park might have one of their own. We are thrilled to participate in our hometown. I’m honored to lead the parade this first year.”
As part of the celebration and fund-raising efforts, Father Bob Kaeding will be honored at a special dinner hosted by the Parade Committee at Jimmy’s Restaurant on Asbury Ave, Asbury Park on Wed., Feb. 19 from 6 to 10 p.m.
Tickets are available for $50, with the proceeds benefiting the parade. All are welcome. Raffle tickets will also be available for a chance to win one of three trips to Ireland for two sponsored by Celtic Tours and Excel Travel.
Father Kaeding was ordained in 1973 in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral in Trenton. He has served on the faculty of St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel, St Ann Parish in Lawrenceville and St. Veronica Parish in Howell. In June 1984 he joined St. Anselm Parish in Wayside.
In 1992 Father Kaeding founded The Center in Asbury Park to serve people living with HIV/AIDS in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Originally located on Mattison Avenue, The Center purchased property on Third Avenue to expand facilities and provide lunch for clients. In 2004, Father resigned from St. Anselm to serve as full-time executive director of the Center in Asbury Park.
Today The Center is comprised of the headquarters and Center House which has 25 studio apartments for men and women with AIDS. Since the apartments opened in 2006, more than 60 people have lived there – all of who were homeless before they moved in.
Father Bob and The Center are a vital part of the Asbury Park community. Over 75 volunteers assist in The Center’s daily efforts with support from local residents and businesses. The Center’s Thanksgiving build-a-basket program as well as the annual Center Ala Carte fund-raiser each May are both cherished traditions in Asbury Park.
The Asbury Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a non-profit event, open to the public featuring marching bands, floats, neighborhood associations, schools, alumni groups, cheerleading and drill teams, roller skaters, bagpipe contingents, scouting groups, dance groups, international organizations, police, fire, elected officials, commercial businesses, and anyone else who wants to join the celebration.
For additional information, to donate, to volunteer or to participate in the parade visit www.AsburyParkStPatricksParade.com. Donations can be made via the website or sent to PO Box 694, Asbury Park, NJ 07712. Dinner tickets are available for sale at The Center in Asbury Park, at Johnny Mac’s House of Spirits and at The Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce office.