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ONITOR Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


Annual Supplement • SEPTEMBER 7, 2017


USCCB Graphic








Newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton


Following His Lead On the third Sunday in September, those who serve as catechists in their parishes and Catholic school communities around the country are recognized for their dedication to their ministry. This appreciation for responding to their baptismal call comes by way of special blessings and commissioning ceremonies that are bestowed during Mass in the presence of their fellow parishioners. This year, Catechetical Sunday will be observed Sept. 17 with the theme “Living as Missionary Disciples.”

INSIDE:  Diocesan director of catechesis reflects on meaning of being a missionary disciple • S2  Suggestions for parents on making the most of the catechetical year • S3  Diocese’s parishes welcome new catechetical leaders • S8  Witnessing and doing makes one an evangelizer • S11


Welcoming a New Catechetical Year



By Sister Mary Agnes Ryan, IHM

Fruitful discipleship comes from encounter, accompaniment

Related Message: Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., recently welcomed students back to school by inviting faithful of all ages to begin God’s work anew: “Students in the Church community, whether in Catholic school or parish religious education, are richly blessed by the experience, where they can receive some of the most important lessons of their lives. They learn about our Catholic religion and what the Bible and our Church teaches. … They learn that Jesus invites us to live a life of love and helping others because that’s what he did, that’s what he wants for us.” To read the full text, visit>Features>Back to School



permeated many of the sessions at the Convocation of Catholic Leaders gathering in Orlando from July 1-4. Several of the keynote speakers in the plenary sessions, panelists, and breakout session presenters addressed aspects of this topic. Some questions surfaced that invite each of us to ponder, make some judgments and act. While these questions look at the country as a whole, each of us can ask them regarding our own par-


Those include parish catechetical leaders, parish catechists, adult faith formation catechists, RCIA catechists and those in our Catholic elementary and secondary schools – all those who provide instruction and formation in the faith for God’s people, who witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his values. The theme for Catechetical Sunday 2017, Sept. 17 this year, is “Living as Missionary Disciples.” This theme

into the Church, six leave; consistent decline in the practice of the faith; N O I A S R S YD MI S fewer adults identifying I A as Roman Catholics (or even with any designated religious denomination); fewer parents sending their children to any kind of faith formation in a parish, whether in a Catholic school or parish religious education program. CATECHETICAL SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 17, 2017 ish programs. Opportunities do abound, however! What are the challenges and opCan we rethink how we encounter the portunities we face at this moment in people who come through our doors – time in the culture and in the United the parish church door, the parish office States? door, the parish school door, the parish What does it mean to be a Church religious education office door? There on mission, or a Church of missionary are potential “moments of return” for disciples? many whom never come to a formal Where are we called to go? Church service or gathering. How do we What are the best practices, tools, greet them, and what do we offer? What resources for advancing the Gospel now changes do we need to make in our and into the future? programs and classrooms so that those Let us consider some responses! we encounter will see the Good News so Some of the challenges we face can lived in our lives that it will become a seem daunting: a statistic shared was living invitation? See Faith • S4 that for every one person who comes ES IPL SC


e celebrate and give thanks always, at all times and in all places, but most especially this month for those involved in faith formation and religious instruction in all our parishes.


Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Image: Missionary Disciples, Michele Hehenberger, courtesy of Das Grup, Inc. To order publication no. 7-565 visit or call 800-235-8722.

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Catechetical Sunday theme shows anyone can evangelize Compiled from staff and wire reports


s men and women across the country who serve in the ministry of catechesis are recognized Catechetical Sunday, veterans of evangelistic ventures advise that effective evangelizing for ordinary Catholics means keeping it simple: Listen first. Then talk. “There’s no one way to evangelize. I’ve become more and more convinced that evangelization is not built over large things, but rather, small events,” said Father Frank Donio, director of the Catholic Apostolate Center and a consultant on evangelization for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Sponsored by the USCCB’s Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, this year’s Catechetical Sunday observance Sept. 17 will fall under the theme “Living as Missionary Disciples” (Viviendo como discípulos misioneros), responding to Pope Francis’ call for all

to grow closer to the Lord and to take up their proper role as “missionary disciples.” “I pray that through the sacraments, personal prayer, deeper knowledge of the faith, and our witness to the Gospel, we may grow in love for the Lord and further the evangelizing mission of his Church,” said Archbishop Leonard P. Blair, outgoing chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. The USCCB has materials available on its website for all those involved in spreading the Good News, including a leadership guide, articles, webinars and videos in English and Spanish, as well as a commissioning service. The new webinar series, for example, includes lessons for new diocesan educational or catechetical leaders as well as the professional development needs of veteran diocesan administrators. In addition, Pope Paul VI is quoted

in the USCCB’s new leadership guide, saying, “The Church evangelizes when she seeks to convert, solely through the divine power of the message she proclaims, both the personal and collective consciences of people, the activities in which they engage, and the lives and concrete milieus which are theirs.” That, said Father Donio, is a pretty clear indication of what evangelization can look like. “Stopping and listening to a person. Not just focusing on our lives or on an issue, but on what’s going on around us. It means being where people are. And that can be in our own families, too.” Steve Dawson, national director of the grass-roots organization St. Paul Street Evangelization, said, “We’ve got to have a mind change and shift in mentality among the faithful,” but agreed that sharing the Gospel message involves unpretentious tasks. After you listen, Dawson said, have a personal testimony and be able to


share your story. “Why is the faith important to you? How has that changed your life?” Personal stories, he added, should be adaptable: “Can I tell you why I chose to believe in Jesus?” for an unbeliever; for someone who may be a lapsed Catholic, “Can I tell you why I love my Catholic faith?” and for someone uncertain about believing, “Can I tell you why I love the faith and I take my faith very seriously?” It doesn’t always have to be about words, but rather with the example set by your own life, Father Donio advises, and that also can be through social media. “Ask yourself, do I put something faith-oriented out there? Am I afraid to do that?” To learn more, visit and click on the Beliefs and Teachings tab. Kurt Jensen, a freelance writer for Catholic News Service, contributed to this report.

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 •


Parents key to making the most of a catechetical year Story by Mary Morrell, Correspondent

What We Believe


he faith formation of children is one of the awesome privileges of parents, one that, for most families, is supported by the work of parish catechetical leaders. Each September, as the new school year begins, parents of children in parish religious education programs also plan their days to include one of a number of religious education options that may be offered including weekly classes in the parish, or, if they are part of a family catechesis program, one longer class a month, perhaps on a Saturday or Sunday.

“Children will catch the faith by watching their parents’ examples ...”

As stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2223, 2225-2226:


For parents who jump into the new school year already with full plates and hectic schedules – facing the myriad challenges of raising children in an often difficult contemporary culture – it can be easy to view religious education as just one more thing to get through during the year. But the interior and spiritual lives of children are a treasure, one that is worth the effort and one that is best cared for by those who love children the most – their parents. So how can parents make the most of the new catechetical year?

Embrace Your Vocation No one has the ability to better form children in faith than parents, because faith must flow from an experience of love. Parents, by virtue of their own Baptism, are called to form their children in the Catholic faith to the best of their ability. This parental vocation, which includes the mission of helping children discover their own vocation as children of God, is so important it is part of the teaching of the Catholic Church and described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is not necessary for parents to be theologians or experts in religious education to nurture their children’s spiritual lives. Keeping Christ at the heart of the family ensures that the family will be the best school of love and faith formation, where children will catch the faith by watching their parents’ examples of living the Gospel and loving God. These

VISIT TO MARY’S HOUSE • A mother and her son, with wooden rosaries on his shoulder, tour the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, during the 2015 pilgrimage sponsored by the Diocese of Trenton. Ken Falls photo

meaningful first-hand exchanges are not experiences to be found in a textbook.

Discover Joy Jesus was undoubtedly a man of joy, and that joy of the Spirit was charismatic. Children should have that same experience with parents leading them on their faith journey, whether it be in the home or in the parish religious education classroom. Being joyful and confident in the faith is an invaluable expression when modeling the faith for children. It instills in them the truth that faith is a positive thing for their lives and encourages them

The Power of Praying the Rosary In his 2002 apostolic exhortation on the Holy Rosary, “Rosarium Virginis Mariae,” Pope St. John Paul II refers to the Rosary as his favorite prayer. He reveals the Rosary as a path of contemplation, a prayer for peace for the family and an opportunity to follow the witness of the saints who found in the Rosary a path to holiness. The teachings of this document unfold, in language everyone can understand, the meaning, truth and grace of this Christ-centered prayer: “The Rosary of the Virgin Mary, which gradually took form in the second millennium under the guidance of the Spirit of God, is a prayer loved by countless Saints and encouraged by the Magisterium. Simple yet profound, it still remains … a prayer of great significance, destined to bring forth a harvest of holiness… “Against the background of the words ‘Ave Maria,’ the principal events of the life of Jesus Christ pass before the eyes of the soul. They take shape in the complete series of the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries, and they put us in living communion with Jesus through – we might say – the heart of his mother. At the same time,

our heart can embrace in the decades of the Rosary all the events that make up the lives of individuals, families, nations, the Church and all mankind. Our personal concerns and those of our neighbor, especially those who are closest to us, who are dearest to us. Thus the simple prayer of the Rosary marks the rhythm of human life.” Throughout his pontificate, Pope St. John Paul II prayed the Rosary daily, and his practice was an inspiration to Pope Francis while he was still Cardinal Bergoglio. The cardinal wrote of a time when he was praying the Rosary as it was being led by the Holy Father. “In the middle of the prayer I became distracted, looking at the figure of the Pope: his pity, his devotion was a witness,” he wrote. “And the time drifted away, and I began to imagine the young priest, the seminarian, the poet, the worker, the child from Wadowice… in the same position in which knelt at that moment, reciting Ave Maria after Ave Maria. His witness struck me.” From that time on, the cardinal who became Pope Francis has prayed the 15 decades of the Rosary daily.

arents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and … service are the rule. The home is wellsuited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the ‘material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones.’” “Through the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage, parents receive the responsibility and privilege of evangelizing their children. Parents should initiate their children at an early age into the mysteries of the faith of which they are the ‘first heralds’ for their children. They should associate them from their tenderest years with the life of the Church.” “A wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life. … This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.” to lean on God in times of trouble. Remember the words of St. Paul to the Philippians: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” (4:4)

Know Their Stuff Mining in a child’s backpack can be a challenging experience, but one that is essential in making the most of any catechetical year. Carefully review any materials your children bring home from school. There is nothing more stressful than missing a deadline for registering for something or not having an assignment completed because the child didn’t tell you it was needed. Many of their text books have sections especially for parents, either for a bit of catechesis or as an activity to share with your children. When you know what your children are learning, you will find inspiration in the most unexpected places to reinforce their lessons with real life experience. Also, check out the parish website to discover any resources for parents posted by the religious education office. Oftentimes, Catholic publishers, like the ones responsible for children’s textbooks, have webpages dedicated for parent and student activities, or parent formation through newsletters and reading suggestions. See Children • S4

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year



Children, parents are partners in faith Continued from • S3

Establish Rules Give this some thought before the school year starts, keeping in mind that any worthwhile endeavor requires rules of some kind. Classroom rules are essential to establish a healthy and effective learning environment. Children need, and feel safe in, an environment with both limitations and expectations. The same is true of the home and family. If you like to keep it simple, one effective rule for children of all ages is respect. That one word can open up a meaningful discussion with children on what is expected of them when it comes to undertaking their religion classes for the

year – how are completing assignments, listening to the teacher, making sacrifices of time or missing an extracurricular activity, signs of self-respect, respect for God or the adults in their lives?

Stock Up On Stories Children of all ages love stories. Jesus knew that, which is why he taught with parables – faith stories that are studied, reflected on and shared more than 2,000 years after Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Children love to hear stories of their parents’ lives, especially when parents share those times when they made mistakes, bad decisions or were fearful, or times of courage and caring. These are wonder-

BROTHERHOOD OF FAITH • Parishioners share the Sign of Peace during a 2016 Mass to celebrate Simbang Gabi in St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Cinnaminson. Joe Moore photo

ful times to share with children the role of faith in these extraordinary times of life. There are also wonderful Bible stories that help children see things from a faith perspective, like Daniel in the Lion’s Den, or the image Jesus shares of the hen gathering her chicks under her wings for protection. What child who has been wrapped in the arms of her mother or father wouldn’t understand what that means?

Pray, Pray, Pray Prayer is essential for the growing spiritual life of each child and every family. Praying with our children is a certain path to nurturing their relationship with God. We are blessed that our Church has given us many other prayers to lift up our hearts and minds to God. In addition, our own spontaneous prayers, our conversations with God, are times of asking for guidance and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as we enter into faith formation of our children. A revered tradition in the Church that often seems to have fallen by the way side in many families is praying the Rosary. This is a daily practice that should be taken up again. If you cannot manage the full 10 decades of the Rosary, start with one decade. It is easily managed by children who delight in having their own Rosary beads. Also, if you are not familiar with how to say the Rosary, most parishes have times when the Rosary is said in the church. It would be a wonderful opportunity for a

BEADS OF JOY • Alexa Elizondo gets a new Rosary during the “Nuestra Historia de Salvacion” (Our History of Salvation) seminar Aug. 19 in Holy Family Church, Lakewood. John Blaine photo

visit to the Church with children aside from Sunday Mass. Most importantly, we have the Mass, the greatest prayer of our Catholic faith and the Eucharist, the source and summit of our life as Catholics. Our participation in the celebration of Mass strengthens us to go out into the world, share the Gospel and be Christ to others. We must take our children on the journey with us. Mary Morrell has served as associate director of religious education for the Diocese of Metuchen; associate editor and catechetical consultant for RENEW International, Plainfield, and managing editor of The Monitor.

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Faith formation a responsibility for all Continued from • S2

What does it mean to be a Church on mission? “Pope Paul VI in 1974 reawakened the Church’s evangelizing mission, St. John Paul II heralded the call for the New Evangelization, and Pope Francis situates the ministry of catechesis within the process of missionary discipleship.” (Living as Missionary Disciples. USCCB. p. i. 2017) The challenge given to us is to look at how we are evangelizing those who are in the pews now, those who used to be with us and those who do not know Jesus Christ. Pope Francis invites us to encounter, accompany and become spirit-filled evangelizers to all. As parish catechetical leaders and catechists, how are we evangelizing those parents of the young people to whom we minister who do not regularly participate in Sunday Mass? Catechetical leaders and parish catechists in all areas of faith formation are called to be people who invite others into an encounter with Jesus Christ, to share time and life with those few who become part of my life and ministry who will then go out and encounter others. Each of us is called to accom-

pany those who have encountered Jesus Christ in a personal relationship. Relationship is everything as we have heard! We are then faced with two fundamental questions: What do I need to learn so that I can think with the mind of Christ and What do I need to be formed in to live with the character of Christ? (LMD, p. 26) Jesus Christ himself has given us the method! Come and see (encounter) Follow Me (accompany) Remain in Me (community) Go therefore and make disciples of All Nations (Send). (LMD, p. ii) As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called, says Pope Francis, to go to the peripheries. Who are on the peripheries in your parish programs? The peripheries are where the castoffs of the “throwaway culture” are discarded. Who are the people on the edge of your vision that need greater attention? We are invited to see with new eyes. In order to develop best practices, let us look at the Method Modeled by the Master, Jesus Christ. “We look to Jesus, the master, who person-

ally formed his apostles and disciples. Christ himself teaches us how to evangelize, how to invite people into communion with him, and how to create a culture of witness; namely, through love, mercy and joy. (LMD, p. ii) Jesus gives us this method in three distinct stages! 1) He draws His disciples into friendship: win people into friendship both with yourself and with God through an encounter. 2) He trains them through his public ministry; build them up into the practice of the faith by accompanying them. 3) He calls and commissions them in the Great Commission; send them out to do the same by helping them to be spirit-filled evangelists and multipliers. (Making Missionary Disciples, p. 20) This we are called to do in all the many programs our parishes offer. All of us, in whatever ministry we find ourselves, need to continue to develop habits that give the method the power to work, that foster fruitful discipleship. Some of the ways we do this are the following: being in deep, intimate, lifelong, life-giving, covenantal love (relationship) with the living

God – it is a gift but must be nurtured once it is received, and it is nurtured by frequent reading and reflecting upon sacred Scripture; by participation in the sacramental life of the Church, especially in the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist; by daily mental prayer; by cultivating a devotional life (such as praying the Rosary), and by service to the poor. Each of you is called to be a spiritfilled evangelist. “As St. Catherine of Siena put it, ‘If you are what you were meant to be, you would set the world on fire.’” (MMD, p.16) As Jesus told his disciples, he tells us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations. (Mt. 28:19) Go forth this year and be an amazing catechist and be that fire that ignites the love of God in all those you encounter. Immaculate Heart Sister Mary Agnes Ryan serves as diocesan director of the Department of Catechesis. She was among the delegation from the Diocese of Trenton to attend the “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America” convened by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in July in Orlando.

The Monitor joins these parish communities in celebrating all catechists as they prepare to begin a new year of forming the faith.

Congratulations to our Catechists and


CONGRATULATIONS AND BEST WISHES TO OUR CATECHISTS! We welcome back our CCD Director, Dorothy Zadworny and all our Catechists. Thank you for all the hard work you put in for our students. May God continue to Bless you for your dedication to our children and to our Religious Education Program. Rev. Jacek W. Labinski, S.T.D., Pastor AND St.

Hedwig’s Parish Family, TRENTON, NJ

As we celebrate

Catechetical Sunday, we remember and thank the many Catechists and volunteers that have served this faith elcome back to our faithful community in our Religious catechists and may God continue to Education Program throughout the years. bless your work. The Ministry of Teaching in the name of the Church as Catechist is an important Bay Head role in the life of the Church. Please know that you Rosemarie Sandy RosemarieFranzese Franzese Theresa TheresaNagy Nagy SandyAllen Allen are appreciated for all that you do for St. Anselm’s Rosemary Carol Ann RosemaryPetrovich Petrovich CarolFreda Freda AnnAnderson Anderson PJPJScelfo Gail Diane Scelfo Community of Faith. GailGall Gall DianeBalog Balog


Church of the Sacred Heart

Christina Sharon FredSisser Sisser ChristinaGeorgas Georgas Fred Sharon Bird Bird Geraldine Diane Toni GeraldineThomas Thomas Rev. Eugene Vavrick, Pastor, Staff and Parishioners DianeGoodman Goodman ToniBriffa Briffa Brick, welcomes back ourAmy Gerry Christopher Bristow AmyTighe Tighe GerryHollasch Hollasch Christopher Bristow Colleen Tracy Dawn , Tinton Falls Colleen Tondi Tondi TracyHoller Holler Dawn Chiaravallo Chiaravallo catechists. faithful Mary Katie RoeTudda Tudda MaryJurlina Jurlina May Roe KatieCourter Courter Julie Karen ChristinaVona Vona JulieKennedy Kennedy Karen Daniele Danielecontinue God to bless youChristina Pat Cathy Joann PatWhiting Whiting Cathy LaVance LaVance Joann Dale Dale as you serve our children!Kelli Mary Lawrence Ann KelliWitter Witter Mary Lawrence Ann Davis Davis Kristin Bridget Sylvia KristinWronko Wronko BridgetMcKee McKee SylviaDodd Dodd Veronica Tracy Sara VeronicaYoung Young TracyMiller Miller SaraDurante Durante St. Elizabeth of Hungary Jennifer Molzon Mary JoJoEidel Jennifer Molzon Rosemarie Franzese Theresa Theresa Nagy Mary Eidel Sandy Allen Nagy Rosemarie Franzese Sandy Allen Rosemarie Franzese Theresa Nagy Sandy Allen Rosemary Petrovich Carol Freda Avon-by-the-Sea Anderson Rosemary Petrovich Carol Freda AnnAnn Anderson Avon-by-the-Sea Rosemarie Franzese Theresa Nagy Petrovich Sandy Allen Carol Freda Ann Anderson PJ Scelfo Gail Diane Balog PJRosemary Scelfo Gail GallGall Diane Balog Rosemary Petrovich Carol Freda Ann Anderson Gail GallGeorgas PJFred Scelfo Diane Balog Sisser Christina Georgas Fred Sharon Bird Sisser Christina Sharon Bird Scelfo Gail GallGoodman Diane Balog Christina Georgas PJGeraldine Fred Sisser Sharon Bird Geraldine Thomas Diane Goodman Toni Briffa Thomas Diane Toni Briffa Sisser Georgas Sharon Bird Diane Goodman Geraldine Toni BriffaBristow Amy TigheThomas Gerry Hollasch Fred Christopher BristowChristina Amy Tighe Gerry Hollasch Christopher Geraldine Thomas Goodman Toni Briffa Gerry Hollasch Amy Tighe Christopher BristowDiane Colleen Tondi Tracy Holler Dawn Chiaravallo Colleen Tondi Tracy Holler Dawn Chiaravallo Amy Tighe Hollasch Christopher Bristow Gerry Tracy Holler Tondi Dawn Chiaravallo Roe Tudda Mary Jurlina Katie Courter RoeColleen Tudda Mary Jurlina Katie Courter Tondi Holler Dawn Chiaravallo Mary Jurlina Roe Tudda Katie Courter Christina Vona Julie Kennedy Colleen Karen Daniele Tracy Christina Vona Julie Kennedy Karen Daniele Tudda Mary Jurlina Katie Courter Julie Kennedy Vona Karen Daniele Pat Whiting Cathy LaVance Roe Joann Dale PatChristina Whiting Cathy LaVance Joann Dale Vona Julie Kennedy Karen Daniele Cathy LaVance Pat Whiting Joann Dale Kelli Witter Mary Lawrence Christina Ann Davis Kelli Witter Mary Lawrence Ann Davis Whiting Cathy LaVance Joann Dale Mary Lawrence Kelli Witter Ann Davis Kristin Wronko Bridget McKee PatKristin God continue to bless and inspire Sylvia Dodd Wronko Bridget McKee Sylvia Dodd May GodMay continue to bless and inspire our WitterYoung Mary Lawrence Ann Davis Bridget McKee Kelli Kristin Wronko Sylvia Dodd Veronica Young Tracy Miller Sara Durante Veronica Tracy Miller Sara Durante our Catechists as they share their faith, Wronko McKee Sylvia Dodd Tracy Miller Veronica Young Sara Jennifer Molzon Kristin Mary Jo Eidel Bridget Jennifer Molzon Mary JoDurante Eidel Catechists as they share their faith, time and Tracy MillerMolzon Veronica Young SaraMary Durante time and talents with the Jennifer Jo Eidel Jennifer Molzon talents with the children of our parish. Mary Jo Eidel

St.Anselm Parish

St. Elizabeth of Hungary

St. Catherine’s Church Middletown

May God continue to bless and inspire our Catechist as they share their faith, time and talents with the children of our parish.


Reverend Daniel F. Swift, Pastor • Reverend Roy Ballacillo, Parochial Vicar Deacon Joseph Tedeschi • Deacon Kenneth Motylinski • Staff and Parishioners


Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 •

children of our parish.

Kathleen Bellezza  Patricia Bruckner  MaryLee Clanton-Calnan Kathleen Bellezza Patricia Bruckner Heather Fucci  Gail Gall  Brigid Magrini  Bernadette Mount Sherley Clabby MaryLee Clanton-Calnan Carla Nappo  Rebecca Paterno  Marge Valdivia  Suzanne Weeden Heather Fucci

Brigid Magrini

Gail Gall

Bernadette Mount

Rebecca Paterno JoAnn Squicciarini Marge Valdivia

Carol Sutton

Suzanne Weeden

Special thanks to our Religious Education Coordinator Carol Freda

The clergy and parishioners of

St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton,

thank the catechists and Faith Formation staff of our parish and the religion teachers of our parish’s elementary school, Saint Raphael School – as they begin a new catechetical year – for all they do, in helping the youth and students of our parish to be catechized and formed as Catholic Christians.

Congratulations to all our Catechists! The parish community of Jesus, the Good Shepherd welcomes back our faithful catechists. May God continue to bless you and your work as you serve God’s children. Thank you for your dedication and service!

Congratulations to our Catechists and Helpers Welcome back to our faithful catechists and may God continue to bless your work.

Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton

WELCOME BACK! Thank you for all your hard work as you share your faith with our students. May God continue to bless you all.

Church of the Nativity FAIR HAVEN

Prayers, Blessings, and many thanks to all our Catechists

St. Anthony of Padua HIGHTSTOWN

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year







Our Lady of Sorrows~ St. Anthony Parish Hamilton

The Parishioners of the

The Parishioners of the Church of St. Catharine inthe Holmdel The Parishioners of The Parishioners of the The Parishioners of the

The Parishioners the Church of St. Holmdel Church of St.Catharine Catharine ininHolmdel Church of St. Catharine inwishes Holmdel wish to extend their deepestof of joy and Church of St. Catharine in Holmdel Church of St. Catharine in Holmdel blessing towishes our wishto to extend extend their deepest of joy wish their deepest wishes of and joy and

wish towish extend their wishes joy and to extend theirdeepest deepest wishes of joyof and blessing to to ourour wish to extend their deepest wishes of joy and blessing Catechists and Helpers blessing to our blessing our blessing toto our Catechists and Helpers Catechists andHelpers Helpers Catechists and We are grateful for sharing the gift of God’s

Catechists and We are grateful for sharing the gift of God’s Catechists andHelpers Helpers abundant love and hope with our We aregrateful grateful for sharing sharing the gift ofchildren. God’s We are for the gift of God’s abundant love and hope with our children. We are grateful for sharing the gift of God’s abundant love and hope with our children. are grateful for sharing the gift of God’s abundant love and hope with our children. abundant love and hope with our children.

We abundant love and hope with our children. May blessyou you ministry as you Maythe the Lord Lord bless in in thisthis ministry as you May the Lord bless you in this ministry begin aanew school year! begin new school year! as you May bless youschool thisministry ministry Maythe the Lord Lord bless you ininthis as as youyou begin a new year! begin newschool schoolyear! year! begin aanew St. Denis Parish in Manasquan May the Lord bless you in this ministry as you St. Denis Parish in in Manasquan Manasquan

Honoring all catechists who will form disciples and build the Church throughout the coming year … Congratulations to our Catechists! “May God continue to bless you in your journey of Faith Sharing and Evangelization with the youth of our Parish.”

Holy Family Parish UNION BEACH, NJ

The Parish family of

St. William the Abbot

St.God Denis Parish begin a new year!  Blessschool our Catechists God  GodBless Blessour ourCatechists Catechists

for allowing forthe allowing JOY

to SHINE to to through SHINE SHINE you ! through through you!

for allowing

the JOY ofthe our FAITH JOY of our FAITH

ofSharon our FAITH Benjamin Susan Brickowski Sharon Benjamin Marie Clayton Susan PatriciaBrickowski Connelly Sharon Benjamin Marie Clayton Debbie D’Agostaro Susan Brickowski Patricia Connelly Donna Disimile Marie Clayton Debbie D’Agostaro Christine Doles Donna Disimile Patricia Connelly Ellen Easton Christine Doles Martina Fox Debbie D’Agostaro Ellen Easton Martine Gabler Donna Disimile Martina Fox Debra Gallo Christine Doles Martine Gabler Veronica Garrett Ellen Easton Debra Gallo Darcy Garruzzo Martina Fox Veronica Garrett Martine Gabler Darcy Garruzzo

Debra Gallo Veronica Garrett Darcy Garruzzo

Jessica Gualario Gioia Herrmann Jessica StefanieGualario Hilarczyk Gioia NancyHerrmann Hochschild Jessica Gualario Stefanie Julie IezziHilarczyk GioiaJackwicz Herrmann Nancy Hochschild Kelly Stefanie Hilarczyk Julie Iezzi Jordan Kathleen Kelly Jackwicz Nancy Hochschild Theresa Karron Kathleen Jordan Mary Korth Julie Anne Iezzi Theresa Karron Danielle Kurani Kelly Jackwicz Mary Anne Korth Roseanne KathleenLibonate Jordan Danielle Kathleen Marsella TheresaKurani Karron Roseanne Libonate Nancy Marta Mary Anne Korth Kathleen Marsella Danielle Kurani Nancy Marta

Roseanne Libonate Kathleen Marsella Nancy Marta

and all of our catechists for sharing the gift of faith with our children.


Thank you and God Bless You!

Monsignor Ed, Father Walter, Deacons and Sisters

Welcome Back Catechists! “We are grateful for our faithful catechists and May God continue to Bless your work”

Congratulations to our Catechists

St. Rose of Lima Parish Freehold



“We welcome back our faithful catechists ith blessings andgratitude may God and continue to to our CatechistsBless who your generously work” share their time, talent and faith with our youth. Catholic Community of St. Peter POINT PLEASANT BEACH

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish WHITING

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish

Gratitude and blessings to our Catechists who share their time and faith with our youth.


“We welcome back

“We welcome back our faithful catechists our faithful and may God continue to catechists and may Bless your work” God continue to Bless your work”

Colleen VanPell Susan Warnick MaryAnn Wilderotter

Belmar, is blessed to have dedicated Catechists who share their time, talent, and faith with our young.

St. William the Abbot Parish, Howell

St. Charles Borromeo


St. Rose of Lima

May God Bless You!

Fr. Dan Kirk and Fr. Leo Dusheck and the Parish Community of

Freehold Salutes its Catechists who generously share their time, talent and faith with our young parishioners!

The Parish Family of

extend our most heartfelt thanks to

Dawn Cappetto and Arlene Grant


Helenbeth Matyas Christy McDonald Helenbeth Matyas Steven Melchiorri Christy PatriciaMcDonald Nawolski Helenbeth Steven Melchiorri Tina O’Donnell Matyas Christy McDonald Patricia Nawolski Allison Penkethman Steven Melchiorri Tina O’Donnell Kelsey Plaskon Allison Penkethman Patricia Nawolski Louisa Sorino Kelsey Barbara Strout TinaPlaskon O’Donnell Louisa Sorino Laura Turek Allison Penkethman Barbara Strout Colleen VanPell Kelsey Plaskon Laura Turek Susan Warnick Louisa Sorino Colleen VanPell MaryAnn Wilderotter Barbara Strout Susan Warnick Laura Turek MaryAnn Wilderotter

St. Rose of Lima Parish


Thomas More

The Parish of

St. Thomas More Manalapan, NJ

Anniversary 1976-2016 Thank you40Catechists for Whiting sharing your Faith, time and  our children. talents with th

 Devlin Fr. Mark

 

Words of gratitude to our Parish catechists, School teachers, classroom aides and the School and Religious Education staff for sharing their time and talent with the children of our community. May God continue to bless and inspire you all as you serve the Lord through our church and community, especially the young people of our Parish.

The Parish Family of

St. Katharine Drexel Parish Burlington

wishes to thank our catechist for sharing the gift of faith with our children. God Bless!

Welcome Back to all our Catechists! Holmdel

Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to our children’s faith formation. Thank You and God Bless You, Msgr. Ken and the Religious Ed. Staff

New Jersey

After so many years, we welcome our Religious Education Program back into our campus. May the Lord bless our kids and volunteer catechists.



St. JoSeph pariSh KEYPORT

With Heartfelt Appreciation With Heartfelt Appreciation To ourTofaithful Catechists and Volunteers! our faithful Catechists and Volunteers! Thank you you forfor your dedication to our children. Thank your dedication to our May God continue to bless you children. May inGod continue to bless you your ministry. in your ministry.

St. Catharine– St. Margaret Parish Family

Welcomes back

Mrs. Tammy Sablom, CRE andBenedict our 2017 Catechists St. Church


May God continue to bless you for your continued dedication to youngest members of our parish family. With Sincere Gratitude, Fr. Cullen, Fr. Dunlap, Fr. O’Reilly and

The Parish Family of St. Catharine– St. Margaret, Spring Lake

The Parish Family of the

Wishes to extend our sincere thanks to our catechists for sharing the gift of faith with our children.


Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 •

Fr. Tim, Sr. Catherine, Parish Staff Fr. Tim, Sr. Catherine, Parish Staff and The Good People of St. David the King West and The Good WindsorPeople of

St. David the King, West Windsor

Welcome Back Catechists! Thank you for your gift and talent and your faith! May God continue to Bless your work

St. Mary’s Church and Ss Francis and Clare Parish Religious Education welcome back all of our faithful Catechists and volunteers. Our sincere thanks for the many gifts you bring to our program. Bordentown, NJ and Roebling, NJ

May God bless and inspire the Catechists of our school and education MayMay Godreligious bless God bless May God bless May God bless andand inspire the Catechists inspire the Catechists ministry. andand theschool Catechists the Catechists ofinspire our school and ofinspire our and of our school and We thank them of our school and religious education ministry. religious education ministry. religious education ministry. education ministry. Wereligious thank them for for sharing We thank them sharing for sharing the gift We thank for sharing for sharing theWe giftthank ofthem faith with the the gift ofthem faith with the thechildren giftgift of with thethe the of faith with the children of faith our twinned ofwith our twinned of faith children ofparishes. our twinned children of our twinned parishes. children of our Saint Mary parishes. parishes. Saint Jerome Saint Jerome Saint Mary Saint Jerome Mary Saint Jerome Saint Mary West Long Branch Deal West Long Branch twinned parishes. Saint Deal West Long Branch West Long Branch

Deal Deal



Reverend Edward Blanchett Reverend Edward H.H. Blanchett Reverend Edward H. Blanchett Reverend Edward H. Blanchett Pastor PastorPastor Pastor along with parishioners with thethe parishioners of of along along with the parishioners of along with the parishioners of Church of the Visitation Church of the Visitation Church of the Visitation Church of the Visitation offer their gratitude and support offer their gratitude and support offer their gratitude and support offer their gratitude and support to those who provide allall those who provide to all to those who provide to all those who provide religious education to children. religious education ourour children. religious education to ourtochildren. religious education to our children. You will be in our thoughts and prayers You will be in our thoughts and prayers You willYou be inwill ourbethoughts and prayers in our thoughts and prayers throughout the year. throughout the year. throughout the year. throughout the year. May Holy Spirit continue guide May thethe Holy Spirit continue to to guide youyou May the Holy Spirit continue to guide you May the Holy Spirit continue to guide you as you carry on the Catechetical as you carry on the Catechetical as you carry oncarry the Catechetical as you on the Catechetical Mission of Church. Mission thethe Church. Mission of the of Church. Mission of the Church. Special Special thanks ourour Special thanks tothanks ourto to Special thanks to our Religious Education Coordinator Nancy Grodberg Religious Education Coordinator Grodberg ReligiousReligious Education Coordinator NancyNancy Grodberg Education Coordinator Nancy Grodberg

St. Gabriel’s Parish MARLBORO

May the Lord continue to Bless you in this ministry!


St. Gregory the Great Parish Hamilton Square, NJ

recognizes with sincere gratitude our catechists who share the Faith with our parish family.

God bless our catechists!





Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

Diocese welcomes


New catechetical leaders look forward to growing seeds of faith

new associate director of catechesis Biagianti looks to unite families in Keyport rian Jefferes may


be new to the Diocese of Trenton as associate director in the Department of Catechesis, but he is no stranger to helping others succeed in the area of religious education. That is one reason why Jefferes, who served Brian Jefferes for 11 years as a director of religious education in St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother Parish, Avondale, Pa., is looking forward to meeting the Diocese’s parish catechetical leaders in the coming year. “I’ve been in that role, so if I can be of any assistance to them or their catechists, I’m happy and willing to help,” he said. Jefferes originally hails from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where he grew up attending Catholic elementary and secondary schools. It was in his high school of Bishop Shanahan in Downingtown, Pa., that he first considered religious education as a career choice, thanks to a theology teacher. “I saw his love for teaching the faith, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Jefferes “If I can said. He went on to attend be of any The Catholic University of America, Washingassistance ton, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree ... I’m happy in theology and religious studies as well as a certifiand willing cate in pastoral ministry. He earned a master’s to help.” degree in theology from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa. He also worked as administrative assistant for the office of Alumni Relations at The Catholic University of America. Jefferes, who lives in Newtown, Pa., is engaged to be married in June 2018. Looking toward the future in the Diocese, he said, “When I was a new DRE, everyone in my diocese was helpful, so I want to take on the same role here.” By Jennifer Mauro, Managing Editor


n understanding of Church is one that will no doubt be helpful as Anne Biagianti begins her role as parish catechetical leader in St. Joseph Parish, Keyport. “I’ve always stressed we are the Church – the Church isn’t a building. It’s all of us together,” she offered. Biagianti has served in religious education in Jesus the Lord Parish, Keyport, for the past 11 years. She takes on the PCL role in St. Joseph Parish as part of Faith in Our Future, which calls for both Keyport parishes to merge no later than July 1, 2018. The religious education programs will serve about 150 students in St. Joseph Parish and almost 80 students in Jesus the Lord Parish. While Biagianti will oversee the programs at both parishes, they will be offered on separate days in different locations – Jesus the Lord in Keyport Central School and St. Joseph in the parish center. This year the Confirmation classes will be combined, and the students of both parishes will be confirmed together. The second-grade students who will receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist will remain separate this year. Despite the changes and challenges, Biagianti is excited to begin the new year with both parish families. “I am looking forward to meeting the new families and working with the families of both parishes,” she said. “I want to show them that we are like a patchwork quilt. All of our patches are different, and just like those patches, we all bring different backgrounds to the program. But when the patches are joined together, we make this beautiful quilt.” By Rose O’Connor, correspondent

ish, Bradley Beach, where she will assume the role of PCL. Freda will also begin her 17th year as a secondgrade catechist in St. Dominic Parish. As part of the Faith in Our Future initiative, St. Elizabeth of Hungary and Ascension Parishes will merge no later than July 1, 2018. As Freda explained, the programs will remain unchanged at their separate churches until 2018, with St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish serving 140 students and Ascension Parish instructing 85 students. Freda reflected on her tenure in the Avon-by-theSea parish and shared her enthusiasm for the journey ahead. “I have loved working with the amazing children and the catechists at St. Elizabeth’s for the past two years,” she said. “Watching the dedication and spirit of Continued on • S9

Prayer for


Prayer for Catechists Prayer for Catechists God, our Heavenly Father, you have


Avon-by-the-Sea Parish makes three


wo years ago, Carol Freda became the parish catechetical leader in St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish, Avon-by-the-Sea, after teaching religious education in her parish of St. Dominic, Brick, for 15 years. This year, she will continue to serve the parish Carol Freda community of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, but will also serve youngsters and their families in Ascension Par-

God, our Heavenly Father, you have given us the gift of these catechists to be given us the gift of these catechists heralds of the Gospel to our parish be heralds Gospel toyou our in parish family. Weofliftthe them up to thanksgiving We lift them up to you in thanksgiving and intercede for them concerning their and intercede for them concerning their hopes and needs. hopesMay andwe needs. be attentive to the presence May we be to thethat presence of your Word in attentive them, a Word lifts up of your Word in them, a Word that liftsisup and affirms, calls forth and challenges, and affirms, calls forth and challenges, is compassionate and consoles. compassionate and consoles. We pray that our parish family will always We pray that our who parish family will always be blessed with those have responded to be blessed with those who have responded to the call to share in Christ’s prophetic mission thecatechists. call to share inwe Christ’s mission as May too beprophetic open to the as catechists. May we too be open to the universal call to service that Christ addresses universal calldisciples, to service that Christ our addresses to all of his contributing gifts to to all of his disciples, contributing our the communion of faith, the Church. gifts to the communion of Jesus’ faith, the Church. We ask this in name. We ask this in Jesus’ name. USCCB Amen. Amen. Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Image: Missionary Disciples, Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 •

New year, new leaders, new ideas Familiar face takes on Continued from • S8

the teachers passing on our faith is awe-inspiring. How blessed am I to now be able to do the same at Church of the Ascension.” Freda, who once worked on New York’s Wall Street, put aside her career in Manhattan’s financial district upon the birth of her son years ago. Learning of the need for additional catechists at the Brick parish, she volunteered to instruct the pre-school class, and her catechetical work continued. Freda and her husband, Carmine, have been married 24 years; they have a son, also named Carmine, who graduated from St. Dominic School and Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft. He is currently a sophomore at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken. Being involved in three different religious education programs is an opportunity Freda is looking forward to as the 2017-18 catechetical year begins. “Every faith formation program is unique and special, just like the children, and I am excited,” she said. By Rose O’Connor, correspondent

PCL role in Fair Haven


ue Hodgkiss of Nativity Parish is no stranger to service in the Fair Haven faith community she has called home for 29 years. The parish’s current pastoral associate, and leader of its Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, has also assumed the role of parish catechetiSue Hodgkiss cal leader and eagerly anticipates the beginning of the school season. This year, the PCL and 80 to 90 catechists will share their gifts with about 1,000 to 1,100 children in grades one through eight. Hodgkiss holds a bachelor of science degree from Rutgers University, New Brunswick. A winner of the Bishop John C. Reiss Religious Education Scholarship Fund, she used the proceeds to earn a two-year advance certification from Catholic Distance University. Hodgkiss served as a part-time teacher in public school when her children were younger, “and I volunteered to teach their religious education classes,” she recalled, serving in that capacity for eight to nine years. Her foundation in faith was established as a child, and she looks forward to the opportunity to do the same as PCL for the children of Nativity Parish. “When I was young, I went to Catholic school. My father had spent time in the seminary, and faith was important to my family,” Hodgkiss said. “We have a new pastor, Father James Grogan, and it is an exciting new year with new ideas. We are looking to also start the GIFT (Growing in Faith Together) family catechesis.” By Christina Leslie, correspondent

Prayer for Family Prayer for

Family Commitment Commitment L CATECHETICAL SUNDAY 2017

oving and merciful Father, who instituted the family as an instrument of your fruitful love and raised it to be a sacrament of the love of your Son for his Church, send forth your Holy Spirit to forgive us for our sinful failures, to heal the personal and social wounds that afflict us, to bring consolation to the vulnerable among us, and to enable us to reach out in compassionate care to all those families in need. Make possible within us and for us what only you can do. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. USCCB

Filippini sister ready to prep catechists in Hamilton


ilippini Sister Carolyn Houck, who has amassed more than 40 years of experience as a parish catechetical leader, principal and teacher, has become the newest PCL in St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square. Sister Carolyn, who Sister Carolyn joined her religious comHouck munity in 1964, earned an associate’s degree in elementary education from Villa Walsh, Morristown; a bachelor of science degree in that field from Seton Hall University, South Orange, and a master’s degree in religious studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa. In addi-


tion, she earned a religious studies certificate from the Sacred Heart Congregation of Clergy, Rome. She has served in a number of capacities in the Trenton Diocese over the course of her years of service, including retreat work in St. Joseph by the Sea, South Mantoloking; theology teacher in Villa Victoria Academy, Ewing, and principal in Holy Family School, Lakewood. Most recently, she served four years as parish catechetical leader in Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton. In addition to her role as PCL, Sister Carolyn also serves St. Gregory the Great Parish in adult faith formation, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the GRACE (God Recognizes All His Children Equally) ministries for sensory-challenged young people.  Sister Carolyn, and roughly 50 other catechists, will begin the all-important task of supplying the Hamilton Square parish’s 840 religious education students with the building blocks to develop a closer relationship with the Lord. In addition, she will work collaboratively with Dr. Jason Briggs, principal of St. Gregory the Great Academy, to oversee religious education and sacramental preparation for those students. The longtime teacher of faith stated two goals for the upcoming year.  “We need to spend more time in preparation of the catechists, give them more enrichment and start a recruitment program,” Sister Carolyn said. “Also, it is important to get more parental participation.” By Christina Leslie, correspondent

Religious sister eager to serve Marlton parish


ister of St. Joseph Mary Kay Kelly, the parish catechetical leader in St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton, eagerly anticipates the upcoming school year during which she will lead 75 catechists and volunteers in enriching the faith of the roughly 400 Sister Mary Kay Kelly students. “After time spent away from parish work, it is good to be a member of the community,” she said. “I look forward to meeting and praying with the members of St. Isaac’s.” Sister Mary Kay earned a bachelor of arts degree in religious studies and a master’s degree in liturgical studies, both from LaSalle University, Philadelphia. She comes to the Diocese of Trenton after serving as a teacher in elementary schools in Virginia, Delaware and Philadelphia for 13 years. In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Sister Mary Kay was coordinator of Word and Worship in the Office for Youth and Young Adults for 14 years, campus minister and music teacher in St. Athanasius School, Philadelphia, for 11 years, and theology teacher in Archbishop John Carroll High School, Philadelphia, for four years. Since 2002, Sister Mary Kay has served as cofounder and co-director of Heartful Ministries, “a small nonprofit that gives me the opportunity to give sacramental prep workshops for parishes and schools, prayer and liturgical planning for religious Continued on • S10


Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


New leaders ready to guide, nurture Delran catechetical Continued from • S9

communities, and write and be published through Liturgical Training Publications,” she explained. Sister Mary Kay shared her plans for the upcoming school religious education year. “I look forward to coming to know the catechists and volunteers who so generously give of their time and talent guiding our young people into a relationship with Jesus and the Gospel of Life,” the religious said. “I want to get to know the young people who come each week, and reach out to their families to find ways that I can assist them in nourishing their spirituality and the spiritual lives of their children.”

leader looking to build stronger families


s St. Anthony of Padua Parish’s newest parish catechetical leader, Father Juan Gabriel Rojas-Hernandez’s goal is clear. “We want to connect the program to the goals of the parish: to make them disciples of Jesus through Father Juan Gabriel this program and the pastoRojas-Hernandez ral plan,” said Father RojasHernandez, parochial vicar in the Hightstown parish. He and about 45 other catechists will face some changes in meeting the needs of the more than 500 students in their program. In addition to the standard grades one through eight classes, the parish will divide its program into an elementary, middle and high school format to address those students who have not received their First Communion or Confirmation training with others their own age, as some have fallen behind. Keeping class sizes small and asking teachers to conduct classes on different days will ensure all are served, he said. Father Rojas-Hernandez, a native of Betulia, Colombia, entered the town’s San Eudes Seminary right after high school, studying philosophy and theology. In 2007, he began studies for his master of divinity degree and a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology in Mundelein Seminary, Chicago. The Diocese of Trenton welcomed him as a candidate for the priesthood in 2010, and he enrolled in St. Mary Seminary and University, Baltimore, to complete a licentiate degree in sacred theology. Father Rojas-Hernandez was ordained by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., June 1, 2013, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. He served his diaconate year in St. Catharine Parish, Holmdel; as parochial vicar in St. Mary of the Lakes Parish, Medford, and as parochial vicar in St. Paul Parish, Princeton.

ich Scanlon brings a thoughtful and a philosophical approach to his new position as director of evangelization and discipleship mentor in Resurrection Parish, Delran. “The smoke of Satan is permeating our culture today and my generation is getting caught up in Satan’s Rich Scanlon deception, making us lukewarm and too busy to tend to our souls and our salvation and to pass on the faith to our children,” said Scanlon, who will direct the religious education and adult faith formation programs and oversee the leaders who head the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, youth ministries and “other ministries that we are hoping to launch in the near future.” “Having the opportunity to oversee programs that proclaim the Gospel and establish modern day disciples that have a deep, intimate, personal relationship with Christ is the foundation of our programs, and if successful, it will create stronger families, increase vocations [to the priesthood and religious life] and bring more joy to individuals with the goal of a continual deepening of this relationship with Christ,” Scanlon said. “Ultimately, we are trying to give adults, children, teens and families an opportunity to become saints and experience more joy than they currently experience.” Scanlon, who grew up in Warminster, Pa., comes to the Burlington County parish with an undergraduate degree in health/fitness and exercise science from Springfield College, Springfield, Mass.; a master’s degree in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, and a master’s degree in sports psychology from Southern Connecticut State University, New Haven, Conn. He has worked in education as a theology and physical education teacher and in administration as the dean of formation and discipline for grades K-12 at Donahue Academy in Ave Maria, Fla. On the parish level, his experience has included serving as a Bible study coordinator, adult faith formation, teaching apologetics and evangelization. He has also been involved with the parish council, youth ministry board of directors, pro-life club and has served in liturgical ministries as a reader and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus. His athletic skills have been utilized as a high school and college football coach for 25 years, and he was vice president and coach of a roller hockey league in Naples, Fla. “My leadership and teaching positions both in education and athletics should help in creating an organized plan to systematically run programs effectively,” said Scanlon, noting that Resurrection Parish’s religious education program currently has about 200 students and 21 catechists. Scanlon has been married to his wife, Laura Kraemer Scanlon, for 17 years, and they are the parents of four children, Dominic, 14, Isaiah, 10, Gabriel, 7, and Maria, 4. They also had two children, Chris Francis and Therese Marie, who passed away.

By Christina Leslie, correspondent

By Mary Stadnyk, associate editor

By Christina Leslie, correspondent

Hightstown priest ready to make new disciples


Zola happy for faith communities to learn from each other


hile the beginning of a new catechetical school year may bring jitters, Margaret Zola, parish catechetical leader of Sts. Francis and Clare Parish, Roebling, and St. Mary Parish, Bordentown, says enthusiastically that she is “looking forward to getting started.” Margaret Zola The Columbus resident, who became PCL in St. Mary Parish in September 2016 after serving as a religious education instructor for eight years, will also head the program in Roebling this year. As recommended by Faith in Our Future, the two Burlington County parishes are currently linked and will be merged no later than July 2018. “While our parishes are not officially merged until next year, the timing was right to begin merging the religious education programs,” Zola explained. With the blessing of Father Joseph Hlubik, who is pastor in both parishes, it was decided the programs would combine this year. “By combining the programs, we’re really offering our parishioners more options. The parents have been pleased and understand that they have more options to choose from by offering the programs at both churches,” she said. This year, the almost 500 children who attend religious education classes in Sts. Francis and Clare and St. Mary Parishes will have the opportunity to select their class times and locations at either parish campus. Both parishes will utilize the same books and resources, while meetings, retreat days and the celebration of the Sacraments will be at St. Mary Parish. “I am looking forward to seeing how the children and the teachers will learn from each other and enlighten each other,” she shared. “We are bringing our parish families and communities closer together.” This idea of providing more opportunities for faith development and bringing the communities together was in the forefront of Zola’s mind when calendars and schedules were completed. “We’re really broadening the program and are serving families from Florence, Roebling, Bordentown, Columbus, Chesterfield and Hamilton Township,” she reflected. “It really is pretty amazing.” By Rose Connor, correspondent

SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 •

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


Catechists, evangelizers known by the fruits of their labor By Lorraine S. Deluca Guest Contributor

An image of the Crucified Christ surrounded by some of his followers is seen in St. Catherine Church, Middletown, during the Catechetical Sunday celebration in 2015. Ken Falls


any Catholics have long considered that going to Mass weekly and participating in some parish ministry or activity put one in the category of being a “good” Catholic, because one did more than just attend Mass. Today such an attitude is not sufficient, for we learn from Pope Francis: “In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19). … The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization; indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples.’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 119)” Echoing the ideas that our popes have expressed since Paul VI wrote “Evangelii Nuntiandi” in 1975, Pope Francis states that the call to


be a disciple in mission to the world comes with each person’s baptism as priest, prophet and king in which he or she shares in Christ’s role and mission (GDC, 81). While it is true that through baptism we become disciples, it is through catechesis that we become apprentices to Jesus. The idea of apprenticeship to Jesus (GDC, 30) aptly describes the role of each Christian, but in a specific way it applies to catechists who are called to live, love and teach as Jesus did. Filled with the joy of this love of Jesus, one wants to share this with others, and for the catechist this means sharing this joy with her or his students, whether

children, youth or adults. This sharing requires having an inviting spirit that accepts without judgment. The catechist does not introduce the learner to his or her knowledge of Jesus but acts as a guide so that each person discovers the relationship with Jesus that already exists and flows out of one’s life.

Personal Relationship

Unless the catechist has engaged with the Church’s teachings on a personal level as an adult, and has come to know how such teachings form life as a Catholic, then as a catechist he or she will have no power to invite and inspire. Likewise, ongoing reflection on

Scripture enables a catechist to see Jesus anew throughout life. Entwined, Scripture, tradition and the witness of the catechist present the learner with a fuller picture of what it means to be a Catholic – being in a loving relationship with Jesus in the community of the Church and living as he challenges us to live.

Witnessing and Doing

When adult Catholics focus on what about the Catholic faith means the most to them and they share it with others, they then begin to understand that witnessing to one’s faith can be just expressing something personal about their faith with which no one can argue. The other side of witnessing is doing. It is the role of catechesis and catechists to help Catholics understand that when they bring Holy Communion to the homebound, work at the parish St. Vincent de Paul Society or volunteer at the local soup kitchen, they are witnessing to their faith as missionary disciples. These are the kinds of “seeds” that catechists should sow in their learners – the seeds of saying and doing. It only takes one seed to begin the process. Dr. Lorraine S. DeLuca writes for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read an extended version of this story at

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Newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton


Catechetical Sunday 2017