The Importance of Family During the Holidays

We’re guessing we’re not the only ones having trouble believing the holidays are right around the corner! Family togetherness, traditional foods, and holiday memories – this is a time all of us at Farenga Funeral Home look forward to year after year. We’ve been a part of the community here in Astoria and Greater Queens for generations, and when you walk alongside friends and neighbors during difficult times like we do, you really learn how to relish the special times in life.

Farenga-FatherAnd family, in particular, means everything to us here at Farenga Funeral Home. We’ve been family owned and operated since we open our doors in 1876. Our owner, Gus Antonopolous, is well known throughout our community for his focus on family. In fact, we all celebrated in June of this year when Father Ioannis Antonopoulos , Gus’s father, was named “Father of the Year” by the Εθνικός Κήρυξ / The National Herald. Known as “Astoria’s Priest,” Fr. Antonopoulos was married to Katerina for 51 years and they had four children. This honor truly reflects Fr. John’s character and his priorities in life. He’s always known that the most important work he would ever do was within the walls of his own home – and the way he treats those closest to him is evidence of that. Gus has inherited those passions and uses those to serve families here at Farenga Funeral Home.

And we all remember the dedication this year of the chapel Gus built in honor of his mother, Presvytera Katerina. Neighbors in Astoria gathered for the sanctification and dedication of the beautiful Sts. Constantine and Helen Chapel. Archimandrite Nektarios Papazafiropoulos presided over the event. Also in attendance were Gus’s wife, Melanie, and their two daughters: Katerina and Ioanna.

As Spanish philosopher George Santayana once said, “The family is one of nature’s masterpieces,” and this is something our team at Farenga holds true. No matter the make-up of your family – whether it’s large or small, from the same genetic tree or put together by choice, these are the people who share life with you. This time of year presents so many opportunities to break out of the norm, going on new adventures and celebrating old rituals and traditions.

These experiences, shared together, become a part of your family culture. It’s a way to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. The time spent together – apart from the hustle and bustle – reminds us of how loved and valued we are.

We do realize, though, how difficult the holidays can be, especially if you’ve lost a loved one. It’s the empty seat at the table. The feelings of sadness or loneliness. Anticipating how different it will be without that special someone present. Maybe it’s a reminder of better days when your loved one was here, as compared to today when they are not. We want you to know that our care and concern continues long after the funeral. We are here to help even after the service to support you when you need it.

It’s likely clear to you by now that we take our role in our community very seriously – during times that are challenging and those that are full of joy – and we hope you’ll turn to us however and whenever you need us. As the days grow shorter, the weather colder, and you gear up for holiday festivities, our Farenga team hopes you can focus on what matters most: in a word, family.