2018 Annual Catechetical Sunday Tribute

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Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


Newspaper of the Diocese of Trenton


Catechetical Sunday, observed this year on Sept. 16, is a time to celebrate those who serve their parish and school communities as catechists and catechetical leaders. With the theme, “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ,” this special day provides an opportunity for reflection on the role each person plays, by virtue of their Baptism, in handing on the faith. Parents and guardians are also commended for their roles. Blessings and commissioning ceremonies for those in this ministry will soon take place during Masses in parishes across the Diocese.

CATECHETICAL SUNDAY • SEPTEMBER 16 About the photo The above image of the Crucifixion is one of the scenes from the life of Christ found in a fresco that’s located above the altar in St. James Church, Red Bank. The image, showing the Blessed Mother and the disciples standing at the foot of the Cross, appropriately reflects this year’s theme for Catechetical Sunday, "Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ." Mike Ehrmann photo

INSIDE: Bishop O’Connell, Father Gabriel Zeis reflect on catechesis ... S2 Evangelizers detail steps on their mission of faith ... S3 Parishes offer religious education for special needs students ... S4-5 Meet the new parish catechetical leaders ... S8

Mike Ehrmann photo

Annual Supplement • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018


Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


The Monitor • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018


A simple thing


Ministrare Non Ministrari

he Church that the Lord Jesus Christ asked to “go out to all the world and tell the good news (Mark 15:16)” has had its share of “not so good news” this summer. It will make the work of the catechist this particular year harder, for sure. But it is not a reason to stop catechizing. In fact, it makes catechesis even more urgent, more compelling, more necessary to follow the Lord’s command.

“Being a ‘witness,’ like faith itself, is a simple thing: one only needs to live what he or she believes.”

I find myself spending a lot more time in my chapel these days, in early morning or late at night, sitting in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I search for words, for ideas, for prayers – but, more often than not, I find silence. In that silence, however, I have come to the grateful realization that my faith is still strong. In fact, despite all the education and degrees I have been fortunate enough to have received, my faith is very simple. It is the uncomplicated faith of the child my parents raised, loved and taught to believe in God, to trust God, to love God. It is the uncomplicated faith that grew stronger and deeper in Catholic school, thanks to the good sisters and teachers who picked up where Mom and Dad left off at home. It is the uncomplicated faith that kept me coming back for more. And when I closed the Catechism and religion textbooks, I had something to hold on to for the rest of the day. I still hold on to it. Catechetical Sunday this year – every year, really – is the occasion to renew and be renewed in a simple faith. Catechists are, once more, commissioned in our parishes to lift up and hand

Frescoes adorning the ceiling of St. James Church, Red Bank, depict scenes in the life of Christ, surrounded by faithful disciples acting as his witnesses. Monitor file photo

on to young people what they/we believe in our heart of hearts about the God who created and loves us, about God’s presence among us, about God’s desire to hold us close and never let us go, no matter what happens around us. Those are the simple, uncomplicated things that catechists in the Church teach and nurture in the young people who come to us in our parishes for religious education, so that they can hold on to them in a very complicated, anything-but-simple world that wants to convince them otherwise, that wants to take them away. Simple things last. A month from now, the Catholic Church will canonize Pope Paul VI, who once wrote some-


thing very instructive for catechists. “Modern man (woman),” he observed, “listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he/ she does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses (apostolic exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, Dec. 8, 1975, no. 41).” Being a “witness,” like faith itself, is a simple thing: one needs only to live what he or she believes. A good teacher, a good catechist does that. And when he or she does, his or her catechesis and witness will result in “enlisting witnesses for Jesús Christ.” And, so, with that in mind, dear catechists: Go out to all the world and tell – live, “witness” – the Good News. It’s that simple.


We are all called to catechize


t all begins again. It is the season when our parishes and schools become places of catechesis, places of dynamic evangelization. Yes, September calls us to think seriously about our faith, how we learn about it and how we teach and share it. Pope Francis has reminded us that as baptized Catholics, we are all catechists and evangelists. In “Evangelii Gaudium” (The Joy of the Gospel), #119, he states, “In all the baptized, from the first to last, the sanctifying power of the Spirit is at work, impelling us to evangelization. The people of God are holy thanks to this anointing, which makes it infallible in credendo. This means that it does not err in faith, even though it may not find words to explain that faith. The Spirit guides it in truth and leads it to salvation. As a part of His mysterious love for humanity, God furnishes the totality of the faithful with an instinct of faith – sensus

fidie – which helps them to discern what is truly of God. The presence of the Spirit gives Christians certain connaturality with divine realities intuitively, even when they lack the wherewithal to give them precise expression.” As baptized Catholics, we are always encouraged to learn about our faith, but above all, we are called to trust that the Holy Spirit will use what we know – no matter how much or how little – to give witness to the life of Jesus Christ that is at work within us. This witness begins in the authentic simplicity of goodwill and kindness shown to all people. It is this unconditional mercy and compassion that is called Pre-Evangelization. It comes from St. Paul’s admonition that we as Christians live gentle and peaceful lives among all people. This gentleness and peacefulness when directed by the Holy

Spirit will be an invitation to those around us – co-workers, acquaintances, friends, immediate family members and even members of our parish community – who have not yet been evangelized to ask, “What sustains in you this gentle spirit, this peacefulness? What gives you an ability to be patient in trial, to endure joyfully?” Your answer will always be Jesus Christ. They will seek more of an explanation. That is when you will proclaim the Gospel. Catechesis follows. It is the telling of the factual connection between Jesus and you. It is what we teach our children in the catechetical classes in our parishes and in our schools. We teach what Jesus has meant to the Church, to us, and to the world redeemed by the infinite love of God that is Jesus Christ. We teach how this came about and what it unfolds before us in our Creed, in just what we believe.

After this time of fact-finding and telling, it is the Spirit’s turn to take over and walk with you and the one you have evangelized. This is the time of Mystagogy, a time in which through circumstances and experiences, you and the one you have evangelized will see the wonder of God manifest through service, worship, shared conversation and continued learning. The Holy Spirit will take over and reveal his grace and power and confirm God’s work. We are ever learners of the faith, keepers of its most precious prize, which is the Good News of Jesus Christ. But above all, we are all catechists, tellers of the truth. of Jesus Christ to all we meet in family and on the street, in the workplace and in our daily conversation; we are called to witness the Good News of God’s love at work in our lives. Franciscan Father Gabriel J. Zeis is diocesan vicar for Catholic education.

SEPTEMBER 6, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


Catechetical Sunday theme calls for ‘enlisting witnesses’ From staff and wire reports

R Parish leaders of catechesis receive a special commissioning on Catechetical Sunday in 2017 during Mass in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Whiting. Craig Pittelli photo

Parish leaders reflect on the fruits of their mission By Rose O’Connor Correspondent


s the hustle and bustle of a new school year gets underway, parish catechetical leaders are busy preparing for another year of nurturing witnesses for Jesus Christ in their parish communities. In light of Catechetical Sunday, which will be celebrated Sept. 16, PCLs reflect on their roles of handing on the faith in their respective communities. The theme, “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ,” provides an opportunity to reflect on their mission as part of a community of faith. Pat Hutchinson, who has served as parish catechetical leader in Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton for 41 years and 47 years as a catechist, is pleased to see how the program has grown during her tenure. “My joy is welcoming families who wish to pass on this wonderful Catholic Faith to their children,” Hutchinson said, “Our program strives to carry out the adage, “Religious education adds joy to your life.” Our special-needs program, “We Can” (We Enrich Children of All Needs) is now in its 18th year. Both our annual first grade Christmas play and our sixth grade Seder are in their 39th year.” Pat Colando, who has been in the position of PCL for St. Pius X Parish, Forked River, for 16 years, described the family that surrounds her in her ministry: “I enjoy the people I work with and the catechists who work with me who are all focused on a very important goal – to help families embrace their faith and grow in it. “I’ve enjoyed meeting amazing people over the years, who give tirelessly each week to pass their faith onto the children in their class. I’ve enjoyed the support of a pastor who encourages me to be strong and true to the teachings of the Church, and I enjoyed watching group after group of kids go from

little people who can’t bless themselves, to young adults who receive the Holy Spirit with anticipation.” Fellow PCL, Eileen Lang, has been a catechist since 1996 and a former PCL in Fort Monmouth for 15 years. As the current PCL in Precious Blood Parish, Monmouth Beach, Lang also shared her satisfaction in seeing the “fruits of the labor” and how students are living their faith and the Gospel message in their lives. “One of the things that I am most proud of is that some of our former Confirmation students are involved in Catholic Heart Work Camp,” said Lang. “They have gone on these mission trips and have come back to share their experiences with the new Confirmation students. They put together a video of all that they did and they present this information at our Confirmation parent/student meeting. It gives the parents and students the opportunity to see faith in action and what it is to show God’s love to total strangers,” she added. Donna Ann Powers also expressed her fondest memories having acted as a PCL for more than 12 years in both St. Theresa Parish, Little Egg Harbor, and St. Mary Parish, Barnegat. “My favorite cherished moments are when I walk in the halls and visit the students’ classes each week. I see the love and light of Jesus in each and every student’s face,” she said. Ministering to the students and preparing them and their families to receive their sacraments is something that Barbara Sanna, PCL in Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, finds most rewarding. “I love to see their faces after they have received their sacraments. They have the biggest smile and actually glow with the love of God,” she said. While catechetical leaders in the See Ministry • S12

emaining faithful to the call of all baptized Christians to spread the Gospel message, catechists worldwide will renew their dedication to evangelization on Catechetical Sunday, celebrated this year on Sept. 16. Those whom the parish community has designated to serve as catechists will be called forth to be commissioned for their ministry. This year’s theme, “Enlisting Witnesses for Jesus Christ,” exhorts catechists and all members of the Catholic Church to bear witness to the faith, sharing it whether commissioned or not, as they interact with an increasing demographic of the “Nones” – the self-identified religiously unaffiliated. “We are living in a secularized society, which continues to squeeze Christianity to the margins or completely out of engagement with Jesus Christ and the Church,” said Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, chairman of the Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “We are losing baptized Catholics at an alarming rate.”

Citing a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, Bishop Barron noted that nearly 24 percent of Hispanic adults are now former Catholics and most of them are Nones. “Many parents are saddened to report that their children are leaving the Church after preparing for and celebrating initiation Sacraments, and after years of Catholic School or parish religion classes,” Bishop Barron continued. “Figures for Baptisms, Church weddings and weekly Mass attendance are down. Those who self-identify as atheists or agnostics now make up roughly 23 percent of the U.S. adult population.” Also growing in numbers, the study indicated, are baptized high-schoolers who are increasingly leaving a Christian affiliation and grouping themselves among the Nones. Young adults in particular are more likely to express non-religious affiliation than in past generations. But hope still exists among the faithful of the Church, in a Gospel message that is eternal. “Catechetical Sunday is an opportunity for all to rededicate themselves to See Witnesses • S12


Twenty-Third Annual Spirituality Conference featuring

Dennis Linn, M.Div., Sheila Fabricant Linn, M.Div., Matt Linn, S.J. The Linns work as a team, integrating physical, emotional and spiritual wholeness, previously as hospital chaplains and therapists. They have given retreats and taught courses on healing in over 60 countries and many universities and hospitals, including a course to medical doctors. They are authors of 22 books, which have sold over a million copies in English and other languages.

sThe Healing Power of Loveu

We come from love, we are made of love, and we will return to love. This day will focus on the power of love to heal us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our bodies and our spirits are changed by love. Topics include savoring memories of love, healing relationships with the deceased so that we can continue to give and receive love with them, and how to forgive in a way that is loving of ourselves, as well as others. Presentations include simple prayer and healing processes.

Sat., Nov. 10, 2018 • 9:00am to 4:00pm Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine Georgia Rd, Freehold, NJ 07728

** (Please note change of venue from previous years) **

Fee: $75-$125 (sliding scale) • $5 late fee after Nov. 4 • Box Lunch available for additional $12 To register call: 732-922-0550 or email: office@theupper-room.org Upper Room Spiritual Center • 3455 W. Bangs Avenue, Building 2, Neptune, NJ 07753


Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

The Monitor • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

Finding Grace, Help

Mercedes and David Rizzo of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton, have penned a new book, “Praying For Your Special Needs Child.” The book also talks about preparing a special needs child to receive the Sacraments. Courtesy photo

Couple with special needs daughter pens book on importance of catechesis, prayer Story by Christina Leslie Correspondent


very interaction, whether it be at the hair salon, waiting in the doctor’s office or at the grocery store, is an opportunity for prayer,” said Mercedes Rizzo, who with her husband, David, are parents to four children, one of them with special needs. The Rizzos, members of St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Marlton, have written a new book for parents looking to face little moments of daily life with the power of prayer. “Praying For Your Special Needs Child” (Word Among Us Press) shares the

challenges faced by the couple as they raised their third child, Danielle, who has autism and is non-verbal. Their work shares tips on finding compassionate doctors and specialists, advocating in the schools for the child’s individualized education plan, preparing a child to receive the Sacraments, giving attention to the couple’s marriage and other children, and preparing the child for adulthood. It also discusses many forms of prayer, including prayers of petition, visualization, reading Scripture, turning to the saints and retreats. Milestones are bittersweet, “but they can drive prayer, too,” David Rizzo said. “We realized that, as parents of differently abled children, we have a lot in common with [other families], the challenges and stressors. We were obliged to talk about prayer, work through the experience, and find the good in it.” In the book’s introduction, the Riz-

zos describe their journey to the Padre Pio Shrine, Landisville, upon learning of Danielle’s autism diagnosis, and how it has evolved into a source of strength and guidance. “We needed to trust that God would answer our prayers in the best way, even if we didn’t understand yet what the best way was,” they wrote.

With the desire that Danielle receive her First Holy Communion through their parish’s religious education program as her siblings had before her, the couple had created a Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) with a picture book and puzzles to explain the Sacrament. The eight-part “Adaptive First Eucharist Kit” was published by Loyola Press in 2011 and was the winner of the 2012 Association of Catholic Publishers Excellence in Publishing Award. Follow the Rizzos on their blog (AutismwiththeRizzos.wordpress.com) or on Facebook (Autism with the Rizzos).

MORE ONLINE For an expanded version of this story, visit TrentonMonitor.com.

Diocesan, parish resources for special needs religious instruction Many siblings of those with special needs assist religious education classes such as Rachel Altschuler, who served as a teen helper in the special needs program of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown, with her brother David.

The Diocese of Trenton and its parishes are answering the call to catechize special needs children. Here is a sampling of the programs in operation.

For Children / Young Adults Holy Innocents Society – The federation, with locations at parishes in all four counties of the Diocese, is dedicated to the spiritual welfare of special children of all ages. Those with special needs, whether intellectual, cognitive or developmental, who cannot function in a regular parish program, are offered religious instruction tailored to their individual learning ability. The learning centers are staffed by volunteer catechists and aides, and funding is provided by the Knights of Columbus, the Holy Innocents Society and others. For an up-to-date listing of centers, see dioceseoftrenton.org/holy-innocentssociety. Patricia Hertz, president, Federation of Holy Innocents Society, 732-2556216, federat1@verizon.net. St. Gregory the Great, Hamilton Square – The G.R.A.C.E. (God Recognizes All His Children Equally) ministry was formed to create an environment of dignity, rights, potential and inclusion for its special needs adults, says its mission statement. Occupational therapist Ceil Gallucci explained the results of a parish survey of the underserved members shone a light on

the challenges of families with special needs members. The Saturday 6:30 p.m. Mass was designated a low sensory Mass; the incense-free, low lighting Mass, which plays softer music and allows special needs persons to move more freely, has become a popular option for parishioners, Gallucci said. “We have an altar server with autism. Our deacon trained him, along with his mother, and now the two of them serve together at the Mass.” Gallucci teaches special needs children individually on Monday nights, and clergy administer their Sacraments on the same day as the larger class, but in the chapel “so it’s smaller, quieter and less stimulating. We work it out so it is best for the child.” Ceil Gallucci, 609-586-0635 or

otceil@optonline.net. St. Joseph, Toms River – The parish’s faith formation program for grades one to eight is offered for two weeks each summer, noted Nancy Uffer of the St. Joseph Religious Education Academy. Of the approximately 1,000 students who attend the program each year, about 60 of them have varying special needs. This population is taught under the supervision of special education teacher Londa Appigani and with the assistance of aides drawn from the high school, which shares the Toms River campus: Donovan Catholic. Children with many types of special needs have been served by the dedicated teachers during one of two five full-day sessions.

“The response has been overwhelming,” Uffer said. “People start registering in January for the summer, and Londa calls each family to see their needs.” Marge Halloran, Director of Faith Formation, 732-349-0018 ext. 2225, or religioused@stjosephtomsriver.org. Sacred Heart, Riverton – The parish is in its 19th year of the program known as WE CAN: We Enrich Children of All Needs, said Pat Hutchinson, parish coordinator of religious education. Students ages five and older meet on the first, third and fifth Sundays of the month under the leadership of long-time catechist Heidi Devine. Eight catechists teach a group of about a dozen students, which allows for nearly personalized instruction. “They meet in a large-group setting, then they break off with their catechists for their learning session,” Hutchinson said. “They return to the large-group setting if there is a craft and also for a final prayer.” She added that the children have the opportunity to perform a service project by making lunches for the men at St. John’s Hospice, Philadelphia, and celebrate their Sacraments along with the others in the religious education program. “They really form a sense of community,” Hutchinson said. Pat Hutchinson, 856-829-1848, or p.hutchinson@shcriverton.org. See Parish • S5

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

SEPTEMBER 6, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com


Parish, diocesan personnel, resources are helping to catechize Continued from • S4

Our Lady of Good Counsel, Moorestown – Dr. Linda Dix, director of religious education, explained the special needs program was created in response to her parish mission trip to Jamaica to work with this underserved population. “Now, 15 years later, we have a special needs program for more than 25 students, many of whom are autistic and non-verbal,” she said. “Father Damian [McElroy, pastor] has promoted the program, and it is open to other parishes as well.” Nearly a dozen catechists work each Saturday morning with the children, with Stuart and Darlene Altschuler at the helm. (“Their oldest son is autistic, and Darlene is a state special needs advocate for children,” Dix said.) Families attend 9 a.m. Mass in the chapel and breakfast together before splitting up into three rotations according to age-appropriate activities. “Many teens and siblings of our special needs children assist the catechists with faith-sharing activities with joy and enthusiasm,” Dix said. The program has garnered awards from the state of New Jersey, Loyola Press and other sources. Dr. Linda Dix, 856-235-7136 or dixl@olgcnj.org St. Gabriel, Marlboro – “Too many

times, parents came to us and asked if we had any special needs classes,” recalled Marie Masiello, youth director in St. Gabriel Parish. Already teaching religious instruction on the junior high level, she knew she needed to enlist others as well. “I told my youth group, ‘I need your help,’ and asked them to commit to a regular [volunteer] schedule,” she said. “My best friend is a nurse. I got her to help as well.” The “Gabriel’s Angels” program meets each Wednesday and has instructed about a dozen children so far; four will be receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation in October; two will be returning and two more will join the class for the first time. Under the helm of religious education director Mary Mykityshyn, the diverse population is taught and supervised by teachers, high school-aged aides, even one of Masiello’s grandchildren. “They have the love of Jesus in their hearts, and have the support of their families,” the catechist said. “It’s important to them, and energizing for me.” Mary Mykityshyn, 732-946-4487 ext. 227 or mmykityshyn@stgabrielsparish. org. Visitation, Brick – About 14 years ago, Dee DeTuro, an assistant in the parish’s religious education office, urged then-pastor Father Will Dunlap to create a special

needs class for her daughter with Down’s Syndrome. “I had worked in the [special education] field, and I recruited my friends to help,” DeTuro recalled. Each October the parish begins the class anew, offering weekly classes with the goal of leading the children through education for their Sacraments. Two teachers and three long-time aides assist the children in group and individualized instruction depending upon their skill level. “It’s getting more popular, the resources are out there,” DeTuro said, recalling how two children used a computer with icons for their non-verbal Confession with Father Dunlap. Classes with able-bodied children periodically invite their challenged counterparts for certain activities; “parents want then to be inclusive with other kids,” DeTuro remarked. Nancy Grodberg, 732-477-5217 or ngrodberg@visitationrcchruch.org. St. Joan of Arc, Marlton – The parish’s Caritas ministry offers “Special Disciples,” one-on-one classes with certified catechists for those with special needs, which are held every other Sunday during the 9 a.m. Mass from October until April. TLC, or “Totally Lauren’s Crew,” is a monthly special needs social group for young adults ages 18-39. Named for a de-

BURLINGTON COUNTY Our Lady of Good Counsel • Moorestown Our Lady of Perpetual Help • Maple Shade Pope John Paul II Regional School • Willingboro Sacred Heart • Mount Holly St. Charles Borromeo • Cinnaminson St. Joan of Arc • Marlton St. Mary of the Lakes • Medford St. Paul • Burlington

Applications are still being accepted for the 2018-2019 school year.

Catholic S c h o o l s


Notre Dame High School • Lawrenceville Our Lady of Sorrows • Mercerville

ceased special needs member of the parish, it was created for those no longer in a school setting and offers social events to gather and forge friendships in a fun, faith-filled environment. Each outing begins with a low-sensory Mass, then the group embarks on an afternoon of bowling, line dancing, crafts, games and other activities. Sue Screnci and Stacy Bouillon, caritas@stjoans.org.

For Parents / Families CARE (Children Accepted, Recognized and Educated) – Meets at St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, monthly to share support and resources parents have discovered in caring for their special needs child. Jen Adamo, Jen_Adamo@yahoo. com. Heart to Heart – Meets at St. Joan of Arc Parish, Marlton, rectory dining room on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. bi-monthly beginning Oct. 3 (see website for schedule). For parents who desire an opportunity to share, support, encourage, and pray for one another as they face the challenges and rewards of parenting children with special needs. Anitra and Maria, heart2heart@ stjoans.org.

St. Ann • Lawrenceville St. Gregory the Great Academy • Hamilton Square St. Paul • Princeton St. Raphael • Hamilton Trenton Catholic Academy • Hamilton

MONMOUTH COUNTY Holy Cross • Rumson Holy Innocents • Neptune Our Lady of Mt. Carmel • Asbury Park Red Bank Catholic High School • Red Bank St. Benedict • Holmdel St. Catharine • Spring Lake St. James • Red Bank St. Jerome • West Long Branch

St. John Vianney High School • Holmdel St. Leo the Great • Lincroft St. Mary • New Monmouth St. Rose • Belmar St. Rose High School • Belmar St. Rose of Lima • Freehold St. Veronica • Howell

OCEAN COUNTY All Saints Regional • Manahawkin Donovan Catholic High School • Toms River St. Aloysius • Jackson St. Dominic • Brick St. Joseph • Toms River St. Peter • Pt. Pleasant Beach

Space availability will vary by grade for each school.


FA I T H • A C A D E M I C E X C E L L E N C E • AT H L E T I C S • S E R V I C E • C O M M U N I T Y

REACH OUT to the Catholic school near you to learn more… GO TO dioceseoftrenton.org/schoolfinder OR CatholicSchoolsHaveItAll.org


Welcoming a New Cat

SEPTEMBER 6, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com


Honoring all catechists who will form disciples and build the Church throughout the coming year …

God Bless Our Catechists!

The Parish Family of

St. Rose of Lima

We are very grateful for our faithful catechists who will “echo God’s Word” this year, as they generously share their time and talent with the children and families of our parish.

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

Sacred Heart, Mount Holly


Thank you and God Bless You!

Monsignor Ed, Father Chris, Deacons and Sisters  God Bless our Catechists & their Aides  for sharing the heart of Jesus through the JOY of our Catholic Faith, and allowing the light of CHRIST to shine through YOU!

 God Bless our Catechists & their Aides  forCatechists sharing heart of Jesus God Bless our Catechists their the Aides  Aides  GodBless ourBless Catechists &&their Aides  God our & their  theofJOY of our Catholic Faith, through for sharing the heart Jesus for sharing heartthe of Jesus for the sharing heart of Jesus through the JOYand of our Catholic the Faith, allowing light of CHRIST Congratulations to our Catechists through the JOY of our Catholic Faith, Faith, through the JOY of our Catholic and allowing the light of CHRIST to shine through YOU! Gratitude and blessings to thethrough light the ofYOU! CHRIST and allowing and allowing light of CHRIST to shine our Catechists who share to shine to through YOU! shine through YOU! their time and faith with our youth. Fr. Dan Kirk and Fr. Leo Dusheck and the Parish Community of


Jesus says, “Whomever acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” Thank you catechists for acknowledging Jesus through your work. Our Parish rocks because of you...

Church of St. Martha, Point Pleasant

With Gratitude to our Faithful Catechists Who share their Time, Talent and Faith with our Youth. Have a wonderful year!!! Precious Blood Church Monmouth Beach, NJ Rev. Bob Kaeding, Pastor

The Parish family of

St. William the Abbot

extend our most heartfelt thanks to our Director of Religion, Dawn Cappetto and her staff: Cindy Callano; Helen Corr and St. Rose of Lima Parish Jenn Dimino, and all of our catechists for Freehold sharing their gift of faith with our children. May God bless you all! St. William the Abbot Parish, Howell


We find time to stop and thank the Catechists who make a difference in our children’s lives. Church of St. Dorothea Eatontown, NJ

“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” St. Rose of Lima Parish Freehold

ew Catechetical Year


The Parish of St. Katharine Drexel All Saints & St. Paul Churches,

Reverend Edward H. Blanchett, Pastor along with the parishioners of Church of the Visitation offer their gratitude and support to all those who provide religious education to our children. You will be in our thoughts and prayers throughout the year. May the Holy Sprit continue to guide you as you carry on the Catechetical Mission of the Church. Special thanks to our Religious Education Coordinator Nancy Grodberg

Wishes to thank all of our Catechists for their dedication and service and for sharing the gift of faith with our children. Many Blessings to All!


Burlington, NJ

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, Beverly 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 AND BEST WISHES TO OUR CATECHISTS! We welcome back our CCD Director, Mrs. 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

Hedwig’s Parish Family, TRENTON, NJ

W W ǡ Ǥ ǡ Ǥ Laurel Parish St. JohnMount Neumann

Mount Laurel

Thank you

to all the Catechists for sharing your time, talent and Faith with our children. Wishing you many blessings for the new school year! St. Barnabas Church, Bayville

to all our Catechists! The parish community of

Welcome Catechists! Welcome Catechists!

St. John Neumann Parish

Cong nggratulations



The Monitor • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

Mary, Mother of the Church Religious Education welcomes 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

WELCOME BACK CATECHISTS! “We are grateful for our faithful catechists and May God continue to Bless your work!”

ST. CATHERINE of SIENA Farmingdale

Honoring all of those who minister to the youth through our Faith Formation programs May God our Father, the Father of Love, fill you with confidence and joy as you proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Rev. Dean Dean Gaudio, Rev. Gaudio, Pastor Pastor Welcome Back! Welcome Back! May GodGod continue to bless and inspire May continue to bless and ourinspire Catechists asCatechists they share as their faith, our they



talents with the sharetime theirand faith, time and talents children of our with the children ofparish. our parish. Kathleen Bellezza Aileen Crean

Welcome Back


Patricia Bruckner

Mary Connors

Kristin Fletcher Heather Fucci

Bernadette Mount

Sharon Delaney

Doreen Foy

Gail Gall

Lorraine Hansen

“We are most grateful for our faithful Catechists. May God continue to Bless you and your work”

Kathleen Bellezza Patricia Bruckner Aileen Crean Mary Connors Sharon Delaney Kristin Fletcher Doreen Foy Heather Fucci Gail Gall Nancy Gerlach Lorraine Hansen Brigid Magrini Bernadette Mount Rebecca Paterno Tamara Sasala Pamela Tigar Kate Top Suzanne Weeden Linda Wojcio

Nancy Gerlach

Brigid Magrini Rebecca Paterno

Tamara Sasala Pamela Tigar

Kate Toppi

Welcome Back Cathechists Suzanne Weeden

Linda Wojcio

Fr. John J. Testa & the people of

Thank you for your hard work and dedication in preparing God’s children for their sacraments and teaching them Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light.


Rev. Javier A. Diaz, Pastor

Willingboro, New Jersey

Christ the King Parish LONG BRANCH


Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


Diocesan Department of Catechesis welcomes new director By Mary Stadnyk Associate Editor


ringing an extensive background in religious education and a passion for continuing the mission of educating all generations about the Catholic faith, Denise Contino arrives to the Diocesan Chancery confident in her new role as director of the Department of Catechesis. “Being appointed as the new director of catechesis is truly an honor,” Denise Contino, director of the diocesan Contino said. “Following such great Department of Catechesis leaders who came before me, I will be working hard to bring catechesis to all the faithful in the Diocese. My main goal will be getting to know the parishes and schools and be able to work alongside talented leaders across the Diocese.” As the new diocesan director, Contino succeeds Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Mary Agnes Ryan, who accepted a new position in St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Bensalem, Pa. Contino, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing from Baruch College, N.Y., and a master’s degree in theology from Georgian Court University, Lakewood, brings more than 10 years’ experience working in catechetical ministry in St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel. There she served as coordinator and then as director of religious education; as a sixth-grade religion teacher in St. Benedict School and, most recently, as parish director of faith formation. Contino’s background as director of faith formation enabled her to work in adult faith formation, where she was happy to learn “how eager so many of the faithful are to learn more about their faith. The key is listening to the needs of the parish and offering programs that meet their current needs.” As Contino reflected on her new diocesan post, she noted her goal to enhance catechist training for parish religious education and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults programs, as well as in schools. “Our catechists and religion teachers are at the heart of our programs. They are passing on the faith through their encounter with the families and the students,” she said. “Bringing opportunities to catechists, teachers and volunteers who so generously give their time and talent is one of my goals [along with] helping them to grow in their relationship with the Lord.” Contino has also served on the diocesan Catechist Formation Initiative Committee, and as a course instructor for Evangelium and the Art of Teaching Catechesis – part of the diocesan catechist formation process – and coordinated the Evangelium classes in St. Benedict Parish. She has furthered her Catholic education through diocesan catechist certification and participation in the former diocesan Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry in which she received 18 months of training and completed the academic portion of the program. As an example of successes in Holmdel – established to better accommodate families’ busy schedules – Contino shared how the varied parish religious education programs for families helped grow enrollment to 575 students, currently. One of the options, a Summer Academy, invites students in grades one through six to attend catechesis classes for an entire week during the summer. To assist working See Contino • S11

“The key is listening to the needs of the parish.”

The Monitor • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

New catechetical leaders eager to lead students to the Lord Multigenerational catechesis a goal for Angelo

Oratorian looking to bring joy, peace to catechists in Red Bank

ichelle Angelo has a long history of catechetical leadership, serving in her home parish of St. John the Apostle, Linden, for four years as assistant coordinator and then coordinator of reliMichelle Angelo, gious education, followed St. Anthony of Padua by eight years as director Parish, Hightstown of faith formation in Holy Trinity Parish, Westfield. Now ready to take on a position as director of religious education in St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Hightstown, Angelo feels blessed to begin her new ministry. “This community has been very welcoming since I started in July,” she attested. “It is always challenging to learn a new program, and this is the first time I am serving in the Diocese of Trenton. I have enjoyed getting to know the catechists and families in this parish community, and am excited to continue to grow the program.” Angelo, who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kean University, Union, earned a graduate certificate in religious education from Felician College, Lodi. She worked for Union County government for more than five years before leaving to teach religion in Marist High School, Bayonne. Despite growing up in Linden in a close-knit Catholic family and attending Catholic school from first grade through high school, Angelo admits she didn’t always have a connection to her faith. “After I was confirmed, I was not really practicing my faith for about 10 years,” she explained. “I came back to the faith through an evangelical Christian [who] would always question my Catholic beliefs. In trying to defend my faith, I ended up learning so much more about the Church and fell in love with my faith in a new and deeper way.” With a newfound enthusiasm for Catholic teaching, Angelo is excited to pass on what she has learned, not only to the children, but also to their parents. “I would like to provide additional opportunities for the entire family – whole family catechesis/intergenerational events – that go beyond the traditional classroom setting,” she said. “The first goal is to take time to get to know the families of this community and find out their needs in order to best serve them, and help bring them closer to Christ and his Church. “This ministry definitely is challenging, but it also rewarding,” Angelo added. “Witnessing the children discover God’s great love for them and seeing them receive Jesus in the Eucharist is such a gift to me.” By EmmaLee Italia, Correspondent

ince becoming a part of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Red Bank’s St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Brother Daniel Bowers has immersed himself in the ways of the religious order and the life of the parish. Brother Daniel, who entered the three-year novitiate in January, took on the role of parish catechetical leader in the spring and led a successful summer catechism program that drew a number of young people from the area to study the faith. Brother Daniel Brother Daniel said Bowers, he expects around 150 St. Anthony of Padua children in religious Parish, Red Bank education this year and expressed enthusiasm for the tasks ahead. “Now, we’re getting ready to start our fall/winter session and the Rite of Christian Initiation, which is also approaching rapidly.” Brother Daniel, who will lead that program as well, said he feels “blessed to share in the [catechetical] ministry because sharing the faith of Jesus Christ with others is a humbling but wonderful responsibility.” Brother Daniel, who originally hails from Schuylkill County, Pa., studied political science in St. Michael’s College in Vermont and worked in retail before answering the call to religious life. He noted that the program he leads is a joint effort between members of the Oratory and lay catechists. “Presently, we have anywhere from five to eight catechists serving in the parish including several Oratorians,” he said. “There are two main programs, a religious education program for grades one to seven and a Confirmation year led by Father Nicholas Dolan.” Father Dolan, parochial vicar, was ordained in June by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. “My main goal for both of these programs is that both young people and adults are able to walk away feeling they genuinely know their faith and know Jesus,” Brother Daniel said. Speaking of the order to which he belongs, Brother Daniel said he seeks to emulate St. Philip Neri, the patron saint of joy. “I try to let that form my ministry,” he said. “There’s a joy and peace that comes with a life with Christ, and I hope those who go through our programs, young and old alike, will leave on fire with the joy of the Gospel.” By Lois Rogers, Correspondent



Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

SEPTEMBER 6, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com

Bridges brings 30 years’ experience to Colts Neck parish


aving been engaged in catechetical ministry at various levels for more than 30 years, Dr. Jim Bridges brings not only a wealth of knowledge to his new role as pastoral coordinator for faith formation and director of religious education in St. Mary Parish, Colts Neck, but a pragmatic perspective Dr. Jim Bridges as well. St. Mary Parish, “Each parish is unique,” he Colts Neck said, “and each time one begins working in a new parish or educational setting, there is a learning curve involved. It is important to take the time to learn about what is already in place and identify the strengths and weaknesses.” For Bridges, catechetical ministry began well before he moved to New Jersey more than 20 years ago. In his native California, he attended the University of San Francisco, where he was awarded bachelor and master of arts degrees in theology, and the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Calif., from where he earned his doctorate in Biblical studies. Upon arriving in New Jersey, he worked as assistant director of catechesis for the Diocese of Camden. In the Trenton Diocese, he has served as director of religious education in St. Gabriel Parish, Marlboro; taught theology in Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, Princeton, and served as an adjunct professor in Georgian Court University, Lakewood. He was also actively involved with the diocesan catechist certification process and adult faith formation processes. “Working in catechetical ministry requires administrative skills, theological understanding and Christian witness,” said Bridges, who noted that his wife, Theresa Willox, also holds a master’s degree in theology and taught for many years in Donovan Catholic High School, Toms River. Bridges, of St. Luke Parish, Toms River, and his wife are the parents of two children, Dale and Samantha, and have three grandchildren. As Bridges gears up for a new catechetical year, he reflects on one of his favorite Church documents, Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, “Evangelii Nuntiandi” (On Evangelization in the Modern World). “In the document, the Holy Father wrote that one of the most powerful forms of evangelization is to be found in the silent witness of our lives,” Bridges said. “So my ministry ultimately calls me to find better ways to be the kind of witness that changes lives.” By Mary Stadnyk, Associate Editor

Dayton is happy to work with families again


s Melissa Dayton arrives to St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, as the new faith formation director, she brings a wealth of ministerial experiences that spans some 25 years. “I think I have experience in many different ministries that work in a parish setting well,” she said, citing roles ranging from service coordinator and religion teacher in Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, to previous positions in parishes including St. Mark, Sea Girt; Holy Innocents,

Neptune, and St. Catharine-St. Margaret, Spring Lake, where she facilitated groups for women, mothers and teenagers and conducted Scripture studies. With her husband, Chip, the Daytons, who are members of St. Denis Parish, Manasquan, have run high school junior and senior youth ministries as well as marriage and family offerMelissa Dayton, ings. She added that she and St. Benedict Parish, her husband also minister to Holmdel young people from around their country through their nonprofit organization, “You Cannot Be Replaced.” Dayton, who holds a master’s level certificate in Church and ministry from La Salle University, Philadelphia, is a commissioned lay ecclesial minister and has diocesan certification in youth ministry. She admitted the faith formation coordinator position will be quite different from teaching at Notre Dame, but she is excited to be working with families again. “I have a heart for parents and parents with children,” said Dayton, and as the mother of eight children, the oldest of whom is newly ordained Father Christopher Dayton, “I will definitely be in my wheelhouse.” She added that while rearing children is challenging, she sees how faith formation opportunities can also provide a wonderful source of security, spiritually and emotionally, for families as they strive to live out their faith. “Parents are the primary educators of their children in our Church and often there is a feeling that they are alone and there is not much available” to support them, Dayton said. “I hope to share my resources and be able to give back to the younger families of St. Benedict Parish.” Adding to Dayton’s excitement about going to St. Benedict Parish is having the opportunity to continue the work of her predecessor, Denise Contino, who laid a firm foundation for the faith formation program. Contino is the new director of the diocesan Department of Catechesis. Dayton also noted how she is looking forward to working in collaboration with St. Benedict pastor Father Garry Koch. “I’m not just going to work in a parish but I’m going to work for someone I respect and know and can collaborate with in a creative way.” By Mary Stadnyk, Associate Editor

Lincroft PCL desires to make faith relevant for kids


ay Hetherington, the new parish catechetical leader in St. Leo the Great Parish, Lincroft, has devoted more than 20 years to serving in faith formation and religious education. Most recently she was a catechetical leader in St. Joseph Parish, Keyport, which is Kay Hetherington now part of Our Lady of Fatima St. Leo the Great Parish, Keyport. Parish, Lincroft Hetherington holds a bachelor of arts degree in biblical literature from Azusa Pacific University, and a master’s degree in student development with an emphasis in pastoral counseling, also from Asuza in California.


Hetherington said she believes that experience is what helps the most in her role as PCL. “Learning how to be with people, learning how to address the needs in [a] community, every parish has different needs,” she said. “You have to be quick on your feet and respond in the moment for this job.” Hetherington, who has five grown children, ranging in age from 25 to 30, said that she was raised Catholic when she was a child, but did not really understand her faith. However, when she was a student in a Christian college, she desired to grow in the faith. “I did not want that for my own kids – I wanted to make faith real to them,” she said of her inspiration to follow a career in religious education. “My desire is for kids to realize they make a difference to the Church now. I want to make sure that our faith is relevant and living for kids today. Often the Church does not now give kids enough weight in the community. The Church needs to see that our kids are vital part of the faith family, and future,” she said. By Carly York, Correspondent


Kozlowska relishes ‘great adventure in teaching’


n culturally blended St. Mary of the Lake Parish, Lakewood, a new season of religious education will begin under the leadership of parish catechetical leader Maria Kozlowska. Kozlowska, who has attended the parish for 12 years – the past five as a member – isn’t shy about sharing how much she is looking forward to taking the Maria Kozlowska helm this year with the assistance St. Mary of the Lake/ of 15 volunteers between the ages St. Anthony of Padua, Lakewood of 30 and 80. The crew is just as eager to get started sharing teachings of the faith to 121 young people from first through eighth grades. “We all love it,” said Kozlowska, who has worked for the parish for five years, the last two in the Faith Formation office. Kozlowska, who oversaw a summer catechetical program this year that drew 28 youngsters from third through sixth grades, said she enjoys every opportunity to share the faith with the children of Lakewood who bring to life the global essence of the Church. “We have a mix of everyone, Polish, Hispanic, American, Asian. So many languages and cultures,” it makes for a great adventure in teaching, said Kozlowska, who speaks Polish and English fluently. Teacher’s aides, helpers and parish employees are always on hand to help translate when necessary, she said. Continued on • S10


Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


Kozlowska, who has a master’s degree in tourism from the Academy of Physical Education and Sports in Gdanzk and a bachelors in business from Berkeley College in Manhattan, received her catechetical education growing up in Poland. She and her husband, Bogdan, live in Brick and are raising their five-year-old daughter, Anna, in the faith. She said the vast number of traditions among parishioners, who worship in three sites – St. Mary of the Lake and Holy Family Church and St. Anthony Claret – can prove challenging. But the whole crew is focused and involved in working together. “It isn’t always easy, but we think it’s good for the kids of the community to be here, learning about God,” she said. By Lois Rogers, Correspondent

Long Branch PCL’s new role fits her desire to serve


ildelise Limardo has served Christ the King Parish, Long Branch, as a volunteer in the bustling religious education program for five years. That being the case, it came as no surprise when Limardo, who is also an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at the parish, was named parish catHildelise Limardo, echetical leader for the religious Christ the King Parish, education program there. Long Branch This year she is set to welcome a team of 20 teachers and 10 aids who will share the tenets and teachings of the Church with an expected 354 children registered for religious education. The children represent a culturally diverse faith community that reflects the universal nature of the Church. Masses are celebrated in Spanish, English and Portuguese in its two worship sites, Star of the Sea Church and neighbor-

ing Holy Trinity Church. Limardo has resided in nearby Ocean Township with her husband, Carlos, for 30 years. The couple, who hail originally from the Dominican Republic, are the parents of four sons and the proud grandparents of five grandchildren. A familiar face not only in Christ the King but also in greater Asbury Park, she volunteers in Mother of Mercy Parish as an ESL teacher for adult immigrants and is in charge of the ushers there, as well. She has also worked as a secretary for the pastor, Divine Word Father Miguel Virella. Reflecting on her new role, she said it fits in well with her desire to “serve other people and work with different communities which I find here in Long Branch. Working with children and working to serve seniors have been my priorities in life.” By Lois Rogers, Correspondent

Kim ready to lead with bilingual skills


inhee Magdlena Kim, the new parish catechetical leader in the Church of the Korean Martyrs, which is part of Lawrenceville’s St. Ann Parish, is looking forward to getting the new religious education year off to a bilingual start. The congregation worships in St. Michael’s Church in Trenton, traditionally a parish where Jinhee Magdlena Kim, Masses were celebrated in the Church of the Korean Slovak language. In recent Martyrs years, Masses in Korean for a growing Korean population have been added to the mix. In this multilingual atmosphere, Kim, who is fluent in English and Korean, is hopeful her own language skills may be put to good use for the Korean students. She envisions her bilingual abilities as a means to “eliminate the possible gaps in the children’s understanding” of faith due to language. This year, her team of four volunteers will work with her in bringing religious education to 25 students registered from kindergarten through 12. “One of the reasons I volunteered to teach the children’s catechist class,” she said, “is that I noticed when I joined our church, that the classes were being taught to the children by their Korean parents mainly in Korean.” Kim, who was born, baptized and catechized in South Korea, said she realized that “English is the first language for these Korean-American children. I saw the need for a catechist class that was also taught in English.” Married to her husband, Gary, the couple has three children – Caleb, 11, Ayden, 9, and Stella, 6. They joined the Church of the Korean Martyrs six years ago when they arrived in Lawrenceville after a stay in Canada. An oncology certified registered nurse working fulltime in New York Presbyterian Hospital, Kim she had been serving the parish by volunteering as a children’s catechist at the Sunday school before taking on her new role. She is also a volunteer coordinator for organizing social activities and donations for a local homeless shelter. Sharing her skills and volunteering her time has been a true blessing, said Kim. “I am grateful to be working with all the wonderful church members to serve God.” By Lois Rogers, Correspondent

The Monitor • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

Mount Laurel parishioner ready to energize youth


anielle Meosky, a 22-year member of St. John Neumann Parish, Mount Laurel, is quite familiar with the religious education arena. Having spent 15 years as a religious education teacher, and five years as assistant to the parish’s coordinator for religious education, she was ready when Danielle Meosky, the opportunity arose in July for St. John Neumann her to assume her predecessor’s Parish, Mount Laurel role. “I’ve been praying about God’s will, and I’m [certain] his will brought me here,” she said of becoming a parish catechetical leader. “I was an accountant before; I lost my job, and this is where I ended up.” With a bachelor’s degree in finance from Rider University, Lawrenceville, Meosky is in the process of applying for different master’s programs in religious education that are approved by the Diocese. Looking forward to coordinating with St. John Neumann’s youth minister, Melanie Blaszczak, Meosky said that the youth group already has various activities geared toward bringing the young to church and instilling enthusiasm. “It’s so important to get the youth excited ... in teaching these kids, I want them to have their faith be as important to them as it is to me,” Meosky explained. “My main goal is to get the parents involved. It’s essential ... since they are the first teachers of the faith. I tell my kids how important it is, what a gift it is to serve the Church ... My sons see [my husband and me] participating in Mass; other kids need to see that, too.” Continued on • S11

Prayer for Family Commitment


Prayer for

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


Make possible within us and for us what only you can do. Through Christ our Lord.

Amen. Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Image: The Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, Saint Jerome, and Saint Mary Magdalene [middle panel], Pietro Perugino, National Gallery of Art. To order publication no. 7-591, visit store.USCCB.org or call 800-235-8722.

Copyright © 2018, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Image: The Crucifixion with the Virgin, Saint John, Saint Jerome,

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year

SEPTEMBER 6, 2018 • TrentonMonitor.com

Continued from • S10

Meosky’s family members are also involved in their parish; her husband, Peter, is an extraordinary minister of Holy Eucharist, and belongs to the Knights of Columbus and younger son, Bryce, 13, is an altar server. Her older son, Sebastian, has special needs. “My faith has grown substantially because God has blessed us with an 18-year-old non-verbal son who is completely dependent upon us,” she said. “He loves being a part of the Church.” Meosky also credits her faith for helping her to cope with loss. “I lost my mother last September,” she noted, “and the only thing that gets me through is knowing that God has her in his hand.” By EmmaLee Italia, Correspondent

Familiar face ready for lifelong learners in Point Pleasant Beach


arol Pisani, who has served in Church ministries for 30 years, began a new chapter in that ongoing journey recently when St. Peter Parish, Point Pleasant Beach, welcomed her as pastoral associate for Lifelong Faith Formation. In that capacity, Pisani, already a familiar face around the parish as the wife of Roger Pisani, Carol Pisani, the director of music and liturgy, St. Peter Parish, said she hopes to “reach out to Point Pleasant Beach all generations,” from children through young adults on up. She called the new position a reflection of the growing realization that “when it comes to faith formation, we are never done.” The possibility of connecting with all ages and being able to walk among them is a wonderful gift, she said. “It opens the door to helping people connect to each other where faith is concerned in all different stages of life. I really feel the Spirit is leading us in this direction. More people are staying connected to opportunities to connect to the sacred throughout their lives.” Pisani, who was married in Sacred Heart Parish, Mount Holly, holds a bachelor of arts degree in theology from Caldwell College, Caldwell. She began her ministerial journey when her two now adult children were very young and attending Catholic school. During that time, she was invited to help in religious education by one of the Sisters of Mercy and the rest, as she describes it, “became history.” Within six months, Pisani went from being a volunteer to in charge of the program when the sister was suddenly reassigned. The event was a pivotal one, she said. She went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in theology and ultimately earned a master of science in Church management from Villanova University, Villanova, Pa. She served for 16 years as special assistant to the president for Mission and Values and director of the DePaul Center for Mission and Ministry at the College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown. “Most of my beginning work was in religious education” said Pisani, who added that she looks forward to taking up that mission once again. This year, she will lead 29 catechists and volunteers in enriching the faith of 320 religious education students as

well as overseeing the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and adult faith formation ministries. Pisani said she considers joining her husband in ministry at St. Peter Parish an affirmation of a “vision” that began evolving in her heart years before. “I do believe we are all on a lifelong journey of formation,” she said. By Lois Rogers, Correspondent

Santucci committed to Catholic identity


hough new to the position of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, coordinator of faith formation for youth and young adults, Matthew Santucci has logged hundreds of miles in his goal to bring the Good News to Catholic youth. Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Virginia Commonwealth University, RichMatthew Santucci, mond, Va., where he had been acSt. Benedict Parish, tive in campus ministry, Santucci Holmdel joined NET Ministries, a national evangelization program which sends young adults ages 18-28 on nine-month trips to share the Gospel with young people and their families. “About 180 of us split into 16 teams and served as missionaries,” the self-described cradle Catholic recalled. “My group travelled the northeast, and among other places, we served in the dioceses of Trenton, Camden and Newark.” Upon learning of the opening in St. Benedict Parish’s religious education program, the Virginia native made the move to New Jersey and learned about disco fries, angry drivers and the ongoing debate about whether there is truly a Central Jersey. In his new position, working with Melissa Dayton, director of parish faith formation, Santucci is responsible for many aspects of youth religious education; in addition to teaching seventh and eighth grade Confirmation preparation classes, he heads up the parish’s middle school, high school and young adult youth groups as well. “But the youth group is not the way to salvation,” he hastened to add. “It is the Sacraments, and taking on the Catholic identity.” As part of that Catholic identity, Santucci believes in outward signs of faith, including his bracelets depicting 33 days to morning glory, a self-retreat program; another with small icons depicting his new parish’s patron, St. Benedict,

Contino is eager to serve Continued from • S8

families, who are asked to attend family catechesis days with their children, before and after care is provided for other children. “Bringing the family together is at the heart of catechesis,” she said. Another option is a Sunday evening Confirmation program for seventh- and eighth-graders, in which students receive their instruction in two-hour time slots twice a month. “This seemed to work for that age group,” she said, adding that a youth group model of catechesis is offered. Students meet in small groups and discuss the required topics with assistance from facilitators. “We are trying to meet this age group in a unique way,


and a large crucifix unique to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal which depicts the blood and water from Christ’s side arcing over His head, then culminating in a dove: the Holy Spirit. The third member of the Holy Trinity will be his guide this year. Santucci noted his goals for the year include “inspiring and passing on the faith, helping the young people learn and be convinced it is the true faith. I want them to keep on coming, and be hungry for more,” he said. By Christina Leslie, Correspondent

Joana Schmidt relishes dream position as PCL


oana Schmidt, the newly appointed parish catechetical leader in St. Theresa Parish, Little Egg Harbor, has been working toward her goal of finding what she regards as a “dream position” for quite some time. With assistance from the Diocesan Scholarship Fund, Schmidt earned an associate’s degree in Catholic Studies and is Joana Schmidt, currently working toward comSt. Theresa Parish, pleting her degree in theology in Little Egg Harbor Catholic Distance University. She began her leadership training working as a catechist for her home parish, St. Francis of Assisi, Brant Beach, where she still volunteers as a third grade catechist. Joana remarked, “I love working with children as a volunteer catechist and had always hoped to make a career out of it.” Schmidt has two children, Robert, 11, and Leah, 8. Schmidt said she is excited about her new position in St. Theresa Parish, saying, “I look forward to growing during my time at St. Theresa. I look forward to getting to know the students this fall, and continuing my education.” By Carly York, Correspondent

New parish catechetical leaders The following parishes also announced the arrival of new catechetical leaders: Corpus Christi, Willingboro • Bonnie Campbell Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes, Atlantic Highlands • Carol Ann Mulkeen St. Leo the Great, Lincroft • Jeffrey Scales

offering them an experience to encounter the Holy Spirit through healthy discussions and meaningful prayer experiences.” Catechesis, Contino said, is also made available for students with disabilities at all grade levels. “Over the past 10 years, my own faith conversion has occurred and I am in love with Jesus and the Church,” she said, extending appreciation to Father Daniel Swift, former pastor of St. Benedict Parish, and Father Garry Koch, current pastor, for their encouragement and confidence in her leadership skills to work with the people of St. Benedict Parish. Contino and her husband, John, have two children, Amanda 21, and Joseph, 18.


The Monitor • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

Welcoming a New Catechetical Year


The Monitor • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018

Ministry of catechesis warmly embraced Continued from • S3

Diocese take their responsibility for instructing youth in the faith quite seriously, they also stress the importance of the role that parents play in their children’s faith development. “Parents are the primary catechists for their children and they need to be involved in their faith journey. Ask the children about class and reinforce their learning, and most of all pray with them and bring them to

Mass. Make this the priority,” said Patricia Thein, PCL, St. Clement Parish, Matawan. Dr. Linda Dix, who has served as director of religious education for 32 years in Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown, agrees. “My advice to parents would be to listen to their children about what they learn in class and then continue the discussion at home and build upon it. I ask them to engage with the children and be involved with the parish in all the activi-

ties we hold and to celebrate Mass with the parish weekly so the children become in this vibrant faith community and know they do not walk alone. Be an active part of your child’s faith formation. I tell my parents all the time that we can only do so much with the time allotted to us and that they are the ones who really form and nurture their child’s faith. Be the example. Make God important in your home and your child will make God important in his/

her life,” she said. Deacon Bill Palmisano, DRE, in the Parish of St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton, shared similar sentiments, “Parent should be examples. Pray with your children. Go to Mass with them. Children look to parents and will do what their parents do. They will follow your example. In the end the thing we want most for our children is to get them to heaven.”

Witnesses to Gospel serve Church well Continued from • S3



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The Monitor’s coverage of the Class of THE 2018 includes: • Messages from Bishop David M. Newspaper of the Diocese of O’Connell, C.M.; Trenton Franciscan Father Gabriel Zeis, diocesan education, and JoAnn Tier, diocesan vicar of Catholic … pages G2, superintendent 3 of Catholic schools THE • Overview of the Class of 2018 … pages G4, 5 • Reporting and Newspaper of the Roman Catholic photos from each Diocese of Trenton, of the high schools N.J. • Catholic elementary … begins on page G7 school graduates … page G33

June 2018

of St. Mary of the the darkened interior begin the opening moves through and liturgical ministers moke from incense fire blessed just Trenton, as clergy 31. The new Easter Assumption Cathedral, of Easter, March to light the the Great Vigil C.M., was used procession for David M. O’Connell, from darkness doors by Bishop This movement outside the Cathedral the gathering space. the world, as the the faithful throughout Diocese and across candles held by parishes of the of Jesus Christ. throughout the to light was seen Death and Resurrection of Trenton, d the Passion, in the Diocese Church commemorate Week and Easter coverage of Holy page 17. For expanded beginning on center section, GCU … P9 see the eight-page ACTIVIST VISITS RIGHTS S … P4 • CIVIL • SEMINARIAN MAKING HISTORY OF DIOCESE’S Catholic NCAA takes on A KEY SUPPORTER


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opes, expectations and achievements culminated in Baccalaureate Masses and commencement ceremonies throughout May and June in Catholic high schools across the Diocese of Trenton, as the Class of 2018 successfully their secondary completed education to embark on new journeys year that saw both of faith. In a triumph and adversity, more than 1,500 from 11 high schools graduates stepped forward to receive their celebrated by diplomas and their proud loved be ones and wider school communities.

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this mission as a community of faith,” the USCCB website states. “At the same time, we are blessed with an incredibly generous cohort of faithful who are sacramentally graced to give Gospel witness in their homes, schools and workplace,” Bishop Barron said. “It will take the whole Church’s witness and engagement of the Nones, inside and outside the walls of the Church and across society, to reach out, accompany them and share the joy of the Gospel with them.” Catechetical Sunday began based on the 1935 Vatican document, “On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education,” which asks every country to acknowledge the importance of the Church’s teaching ministry, and to honor those who serve as catechists for the Christian community. After its establishment, the first few years of its celebration accompanied a national catechetical congress. In 1971, the USCCB’s Department of Education began producing materials to assist parishes in celebrating the event at a local level. Upon the creation of a Committee on Catechesis, now called the Committee of Evangelization and Catechesis, as a standing committee, it continued the publication of Catechetical Sunday materials each year. The USCCB designated Catechetical Sunday as the third Sunday of September annually. The USCCB’s 2018 and 2019 Catechetical Sunday and Leadership Institute themes are designed to address the phenomena of the Nones in two parts. During 2018, the causes eroding faith and moving people to step away from Christ and the Church will be explored. The 2019 focus will be on the steps needed to enable the faithful to claim their true roles as witnesses to Jesus Christ. To access the USCCB’s resources for Catechetical Sunday, visit www.usccb.org/ beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catechesis/catechetical-sunday/enlisting-witnesses/ index.cfm