On Feb. 24, St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish unveiled a portrait of Brother Robert Sheeley, SC, who served the community for over 20 years before his death on April 30, 2012.
In attendance at the Mass were many members of Brother Robert’s family, including Patricia Cygler, his sister who unveiled the portrait. In addition, Joseph Csatari, the artist who created the portrait, and over 300 parishioners took part in the Mass.
After the homily, Fr. Robert Lynam, Pastor of St. Augustine’s, invited Mrs. Cygler to the sanctuary to unveil the portrait. Several oohs and ahs were heard throughout the church as people saw the beautiful work for the first time followed by a rousing ovation. After the unveiling, Fr. Lynam introduced the artist, Mr. Csatari, who once again was greeted with applause for his effort.
At the conclusion of Mass, Mrs. Cygler spoke with Mr. Csatari, thanking him for “capturing the life, the humor and warmth” of her brother. She went on to mention how “alive” the painting looks. Several viewers also commented that the portrait showed forth the happiness and kindness that were the hallmarks of Brother Robert during his ministry at St. Augustine’s. The portrait will be displayed in the church for a period of one week. It will then be hung at the Parish Center in the Augustine Room.
Brother Robert grew up in Rahway, NJ. He made his first Profession of Vows with the Brothers of the Sacred Heart on Aug. 15, 1952, and his Perpetual Profession on Aug. 15, 1958. Brother Robert served the parish for almost 20 years, supporting and assisting all parishioners as Pastoral Associate. His work with the parish included directing religious education, ministering to the sick, and advancing the strong efforts within the parish to care for and help the poor, the needy and those in despair.
He did so always with compassion and interest in helping the people of the parish to be alive in their faith. Prior to his tenure at St. Augustine’s, he served for 27 years at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J., as a teacher, administrator, athletic director and superior of the local community of Brothers.
Joseph Csatari has been commissioned several times by the Diocese of Metuchen to paint the likenesses of past bishops for display at the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center. St. Augustine’s has also commissioned him to paint portraits of past pastors, founding pastor, Fr. John J. Reilly, and Monsignor William R. Capano. Mentored by Normal Rockwell, he is known by many current and former members of the Boy Scouts as the “Norman Rockwell of the Boy Scouts” because he was commissioned in 1977 as the official artist of the Boy Scouts. Additional information on Mr. Csatari may be found at http://www.csatari.com.
St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish and School are located in the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick, New Jersey. Established as a mission of St. Peter’s, New Brunswick in 1953, St. Augustine of Canterbury was elevated to the level of parish in 1958. Additional information on the parish may be found at http://www.staugustinenj.org/.