I recently discovered that Mary Ellen Cortright, of Wagram, North Carolina, died from cancer last month, October 2013. Please remember Mary Ellen and her family in your prayers. Mary Ellen had suffered from various injuries and health issues going back to when she and her husband, Deacon Bill Cortright lived here in Matawan and later in Brick, NJ. The past year there in NC, Mary Ellen was in and out of the hospital, and St. Joseph's Rehab Center where Bill serves as chaplain, several times over the course of many months. She suffered from breast cancer, and during the time of chemo treatment afterwards, a severe infection developed in her foot and ankle, resulting in amputation. But, the cancer spread, and she died from cancer this past October.

BILL AND MARY ELLEN CORTRIGHT more than anyone else are the persons God used to bring Cursillo to the English speaking people in the Diocese of Trenton. Bill and Mary Ellen and their three children, Cheryl, Bill Jr. and Bob moved from the area and Diocese of Buffalo, NY, to Manalapan, St. Thomas More, parish. Using the marvelous tool of Group Reunion, Bill and Mary Ellen began the prayerful process that led eventually to Cursillo #1 and #2 at the former Divine Word Seminary in Bordentown. (Our first " home "...nostalgia reigns ! )

Bill was grouping with a wonderful and holy man, the late Don Roudebush of Matawan, in NYC where they both worked. Bill knew a nun, Sister Anne Campanella of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Freehold, who was taking guitar lessons from him, and who had also previously made a Cursillo weekend. Well, Sister Anne knew a priest, Father Henry Hemmerling, who at that time was associate pastor at St. Anthony's in Hightstown, and who was the confessor for the nuns at St. Rose of Lima. Sister Anne knew Henry had made a Cursillo, so she told him what was beginning to happen. Well, Father Henry had made his Cursillo a few years previously in in 19767 in Brooklyn, NY. And, Father Jay Bowden had lived the same weekend there at St. Paul's Cursillo Center on Humboldt St. in Brooklyn.

So, Bill & Mary Ellen, Don ( & maybe his wife Patty ??), Sr. Anne, Fathers Henry Hemmerling and Jay Bowden, together with Father Jim Lynch, who Bill knew from NYC or North Jersey, together with Paul Richard and Mary Doty were, to the best of Father Jay's recollection and belief, the Original Group Reunion members who went to Bishop George Ahr in Trenton to get his blessing -- and some seed funds -- to begin the English speaking Cursillo in the Diocese of Trenton. Trenton Cursillo #1 was held at the SVD Seminary in Bordentown May 15 -18, 1972 ( Pentecost Weekend ) and #2 was June 8 - 11, 1972. There were two more weekends in 1972, and Trenton #5 and #6 were in January and February 1973 - " The times, they are a-changin'" as the song says !

My point here is that MARY ELLEN CORTRIGHT, together with Bill (he was ordained deacon later, in 1977 ), were so very instrumental in the beginnings and the first several years of Trenton Cursillo ! She was a wonderful lady, apostle, and friend !

Regarding the beginning Group Reunion above - I don't think that Patty Roudebush, Don's lovely wife, was part of that Group Reunion, though she was part of the early days of Trenton Cursillo. Don & Paddy had lived their weekends in Kansas City prior to 1971; I remember -- pretty sure, unless it was just wishful thinking on my part -- Don telling me that the SACRAMENTS TALKS on their weekend were SEVEN hours total in length !!

Frank and Sally McGough, who I think perhaps had made Cursillo in Philadelphia (?) were in early leadership, as were Bill & Chris Grippo who either made #1 & 2 here, or perhaps had made their weekends in Newark Diocese -- I think that is the case, but I'm not sure. But they were not in the original group reunion, to the best of my knowledge and belief.

Bill's address is: 28900 Honeysuckle Court, Wagram, North Carolina 28396 Phone # ( 910) 369-3595 and his email address is: CortrightW@windstream.net

De Colores, Father Jay

Mary Ellen's Obituary can be found at this link.


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