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October 05, 2022

AHA Observes 143rd Anniversary, Congratulates New Eucharistic Ministers

 The Academy of the Holy Angels observed the school’s 143rd anniversary at a September 30 Feast Day Mass. Feast Day commemorates the October 2, 1879 signing of the deed for the Academy’s original campus in Fort Lee. Sister Mary Nonna Dunphy, SSND, signed the document on the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, and the Academy took its name from the holiday. The Academy moved to Demarest in 1965.


AHA President Melinda Hanlon welcomed everyone to the liturgy, and welcomed celebrant Father David Milliken, who is in residence at Our Lady of the Visitation in Paramus.


Father Milliken challenged those present to serve others.


“Pay it forward,” he said, “and become angels for a lifetime.”


Father Milliken also commissioned nine members of the Class of 2023 as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion during the morning service. New Eucharistic Ministers include Caterina Cardamone of Glen Rock, Raphaela Cárdenas of Clifton, Bianca Cifelli of Hillsdale, Dominique Dela Gente and Ella Oaten of Tenafly, Kathryn Fragola of Bergenfield, Katherine Gallagher of Wyckoff, Natalia Gonzalez of Paterson, and Autumn Morrissey of Saddle River. 


These seniors have been training with AHA Director of Campus Ministry Kathleen Sylvester and Campus Minister Maryanne Miloscia, both of whom organize the annual Feast Day celebrations.



Ella Oaten said she decided to pursue the Eucharistic Minister training as a way to be more involved with her faith. 


“I was excited to take on this role in my school and am looking forward to helping during our school Masses,” she said. “I think this is a great opportunity to be more connected with God.”  Oaten said she enjoyed making bread as part of the training program.


Autumn Morrissey shared, “I want to be a Eucharistic Minister because my Catholic upbringing is something I value a lot and I wanted to find another way that I could participate in my church and community, even at a young age. This program is the perfect way for me to do that. Just from my training sessions, I have already learned so much and feel a real connection.”


This Angel agreed that baking bread from scratch was a highlight of her journey toward being commissioned.

“I also enjoyed when we went around and discussed our experiences with receiving Communion, because it was both interesting and comforting to hear about how experiences were similar and different from each other,” Morrissey added.

Immediately after their commissioning, the new Eucharistic Ministers distributed Holy Communion to their peers, faculty, and staff. Each of these Angels has been urged to serve the AHA community, build up the church, and be faithful to the ministry.


Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.