Official publication of The Diocese of Trenton
Vol. 2 • No. 6 • MARCH 2021
St. Joseph St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church. An ordinary man, images of whom can be seen around the Diocese. God put a good young woman in his path, as Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., reflected for the Year of St. Joseph. And Mary gave him “a view of eternity” by saying “yes” to God and inviting Joseph to be part of her “yes,” too.
INSIDE… FROM THE BISHOP: Pastoral Letter offers spiritual guidance during pandemic
COLLEGE GUIDE: Fostering campus community online; ‘free’ tuition debate EL ANZUELO: Presencia de Dios; San José; Cuaresma y COVID-19; Rosario de Caná
Saint Leo the Great Religious Store E x p eri en c e Hi s J o urn ey f ro m the Wood of the S tabl e to the Wood o f the Cross
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“I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot; but
TOGETHER we can do great things.”
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
2021 Annual Catholic Appeal
DIOCESE of TRENTON 609-403-7197 dioceseoftrenton.org/catholicappeal 701 Lawrenceville Road, Trenton, NJ 08648 NEW! Text CatholicAppeal to 609-403-3323 to make a gift! 2 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
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ON THE COVER The life of St. Joseph is reflected in various stained-glass windows, statuary, drawings and wood carvings in parishes, schools and organizations around the Diocese of Trenton. Coverage for the Year of St. Joseph and the Year of the Family begins on page 29.
Contents 5-11 In Focus
In Pastoral Letter, Bishop O’Connell addresses effect of pandemic on personal faith COVER PRICE: $3
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12-17 Lent / Holy Week Diocesan clergy reflect on perspective COVID-19 has given to Lent; faithful observance of Ash Wednesday, Holy Week
19 Issues & Advocacy As concerns about abortion-derived cell lines arise with Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, U.S. bishops speak out
34-37 Year of the Family Pope Francis’ call to highlight family; diocesan plans for Annunciation; fathers, husbands talk discipleship
38-43 College Guide Keeping faith strong on campus; pros, cons of ‘free’ tuition at public institutions
44-47 El Anzuelo Presencia de Dios; San José, guardián fuerte y humilde; COVID-19 y Cuaresma; Rosario de Caná virtual
REGULAR FEATURES 18 Viewpoints 23 Pope Francis 27-28 World & Nation 48-50 Insight from Fathers Koch & Doyle 66 Fun & Games March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 3
Taking stock of a year under the pandemic
For some individuals, a sense of loneliness and isolation existed before the pandemic arrived and will sadly remain after it is gone. Bishop O’Connell urges the faithful to never abandon those in need of connection with God. Shutterstock photo
or most of us, there was no date circled on the calendar or a formal event we attended to mark the milestone. But somehow, quietly, each in our own way . . . we realized that we have passed the one-year point since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported. Some of us have suffered the death of a loved one, others have become ill and recovered, many of us have dealt with a loss or reduction of income, and most of us have been impacted by the need to remain apart from our loved ones, our jobs and our parishes. It’s been a year that no one wants to repeat. And we pray to God that we won’t have to. There are, of course, many reasons to be optimistic. The arrival of vaccines; falling infection rates; confidence to return to workplaces, stores and churches – with proper precautions; tentative
A message from
RAYANNE BENNETT Associate Publisher
signs of economic recovery. And yet, as Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., observes in his new pastoral letter on the “Presence of God,” there are many of us still hurting, both due to the pandemic and a host of other long-standing problems. Even as we see the promise of a return to normalcy, there are many who are struggling with grief, loneliness, depression, addiction and a sense of alienation from God. For them, and for all of us, the Bishop reflects on the presence of a loving God. He invites us to develop the practice
The front cover of this month’s Monitor Magazine shows a collage of images depicting the life of St. Joseph that are found in parishes and institutions from around the Diocese. 1. M ercer House Oratory of Opus Dei, Princeton 2. S t. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold 3. St. William the Abbot Church, Howell 4. Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, West Trenton 5. St. Barnabas Church, Bayville 6. St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Toms River 7. St. Anthony of Padua Church, Hightstown 8. St. Catherine Laboure Church, Middletown 9. St. Catharine Church, Spring Lake 10. St. John Neumann Church, Mount Laurel
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of the presence of God through prayer, through recognition of the many ways that we connect with God in our everyday living. We have published a lot of content in this magazine and the newspaper that preceded it, including many pieces written by Bishop O’Connell. But for me, this pastoral letter stood out as an essential guide for every one of us who seeks a closer relationship with God, or who wonders where God is as we bear the different burdens that arise in every person’s life. We’ll all be happy when we can stop talking about and writing about COVID. But we will never move beyond the need for God in our lives. And we will always be called upon to share our belief in the presence of God with those we encounter. I hope that the pastoral letter – and all of the important content in this issue of the magazine – helps to inspire your Lenten journey, eases your worries and offers you a real glimpse of hope. May God bless you and yours!
CORRECTIONS In the January issue of The Monitor Magazine, it was Robert Prestia, Jason Ritter and Larry Burns from St. Clement Parish, Matawan, who launched a neighborhood food collection during the pandemic. The youth were incorrectly identified in a photo caption. In the February issue of The Monitor Magazine, Kevin Donahue’s name was misspelled. Donahue is principal of St. Benedict School, Holmdel. The Monitor regrets these errors.
In Focus This image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is taken of a fresco painted by Josef Kastner from 1906-1911 in Carmelites church in Dobling, Vienna, Austria. In his new pastoral letter, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., writes that God’s relationship with the world he created is one of “loving concern.” The Bishop said, “God is all loving and all concerned because God is all good and personally desires the good of all that he has created.” istock photo
I Am with You Always’ (Matthew 28:20)
A Pastoral Letter on the Presence of God from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. As the pandemic passes the one-year mark and continues to stretch into 2021, a profound side-effect has emerged: isolation. The experience not only leaves people separated from each other through illness, social distancing and quarantining, but often leaves them, “wondering where God is,” writes Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in his new release: “‘Behold, I Am with You Always,’ A Pastoral Letter on the Presence of God.” The title of the letter is taken from the Gospel of Matthew 28:20, which reads, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of time.” Formally issued Feb. 22, 2021 on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the pastoral letter was published March 1 across diocesan media as a written text and podcast in both English and Spanish. It was also sent to all parishes and schools for distribution in their local communities. In this, his third pastoral letter as 10th Bishop of Trenton, Bishop O’Connell addresses the painful reality of separation and loneliness, offering guidance to the faithful for developing the assurance of faith and recovering a sense of the presence of God. The Bishop also remembers those for whom “social distancing has been their way of life for a long time and not by choice: “… The poor, the outcast, the bullied, the marginalized, those living alone, ‘quarantined’ for whatever the reason. Social distance and isolation are sentences imposed by society upon them, without parole. … We must not forget them.”
The Pastoral Letter is available in English and Spanish, as both text and audio podcast. To learn more, visit: dioceseoftrenton. org/pastoral-writings
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A Pastoral Letter on the Presence of God from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. INTRODUCTION
ur experience of the pandemic this past and current year has introduced a new phrase into our everyday vocabulary: “social distancing.” As it is commonly understood, social distancing is the practice of increasing the physical space between individuals and decreasing the frequency of physical contact to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Social distancing is being promoted, advocated and even required at virtually every place people are accustomed to gathering together, including churches. It comes as no surprise that our “social distancing” or, when necessary, “quarantining” from one another can and does increase our feelings of isolation, even if only temporarily. We are, after all, “social beings” by nature and “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). “We can choose Under certain circumto be alone but we stances, being alone is not always a bad thing. In fact, rarely, if ever, plan sometimes it can be a good or even preferable thing that to stay that way.” provides a break from the busyness of daily life and work, some peace of mind, some space, some time just to think. We can choose to be alone but we rarely, if ever, plan to stay that way. Apart from the occasional hermit, even monks in a monastery or nuns in a cloister live in community with others. When forced upon us as is the case in the current pandemic, social distancing, quarantining, and isolation – being alone for extended periods of time – can give rise to loneli-
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ness. Mental health professionals have indicated that such an altered experience so different from normal life can “do things to a person’s head.” They advise us to “keep in touch” with others as best we can. That is advice worth heeding, especially important for children and young people deprived of in-person school settings or other interactive activities. It is also especially important for the elderly and those who are sick. Let’s face it, “keeping in touch” is important for everyone. In my ministry as a priest, I have encountered many people for whom “social distancing” has been their way of life for a long time and not by choice. Society has left them alone. The homeless sleeping on the streets of our cities. It’s so easy to pass them by. The elderly abandoned to facilities and who never have a call or a visit from anyone. Drug addicts wandering from fix to fix, living in their own isolated world. The poor, the outcast, the bullied, the marginalized, those living alone, “quarantined” for whatever the reason. Social distance and isolation are sentences imposed by society upon them, without parole. We might be tempted to think, “Where is God?” in all this. Of course, there is a big difference between individuals in this latter group and those suffering from the virulence of the current pandemic. And, yet, COVID victims, their families and the medical professionals who care for them may also be tempted to wonder where God is. Hopefully, however, they will recover and masks and social distancing will prevent others from getting sick. Hopefully, they will witness people getting back to work and economic recovery, back to school and back to recovering some degree of normalcy in their lives. Hopefully, vaccines will fulfill their purpose as they become more available. As a result, the presence of God may become evident to them once again. But what about those I mentioned isolated by society? The social distancing occasioned by the
circumstances of their lives pre-dates the pandemic and probably will be around after it ends. We must not forget them. Acknowledging the “generous and heroic” response of healthcare personnel throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis recently wrote, “The dedication of those who even in these days, are working in hospitals and healthcare facilities is a ‘vaccine’ against individualism and self-centeredness and demonstrates “God is with us the most authentic desire that dwells in the human always and heart: to be close to those who are most in need and everywhere.” to spend oneself for them.” He observed that “in the presence of such self-giving, the whole of society is challenged to bear even greater witness to love of neighbor and care for others, especially the weakest” (Pope Francis, “Letter to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life,” Feb. 20, 2021). What makes that love possible, real and demonstrable is the presence of God and our recognizing it in every circumstance of human life. Where is God? God is with us always and everywhere. God is never distant. We need to recover or, perhaps for the first time, develop a sense of God’s presence.
THE PRESENCE OF GOD
am dating myself here but, growing up in Catholic school, my classmates and I studied the Baltimore Catechism. We memorized the exact answers to its questions and were quizzed daily in religion class: “Who is God?” “What is God?” “Where is God?” and so forth. These were among its first lessons as the Catechism mapped out the fundamentals or “basics” of our Catholic faith. Few questioned such pedagogy at the time but there has been “a lot of water under the bridge” since then. And while teaching methodologies frequently change, fundamental truths do not. I grew up believing in God. I can honestly say that I have never doubted God’s existence, not even slightly, although I have met people who have and who do. Of course, I have wondered about some things at times and have raised some questions over the years but, rather than doubt or deny, I addressed my wonderment and questions to God, to God in whom I believe and trust with every fiber of my being. My purpose in writing this pastoral letter is not an attempt to prove the existence of God or to convince non-believers. Libraries are filled with the writings of saints, philosophers, theologians and scholars of religious thought over the millennia who have put such proofs and demonstrations forward. They can easily be found, read, considered and debated by anyone interested. I write simply as a believer and a pastor of other believers in the Catholic Church to affirm the fundamental and non-negotiable belief that we share, namely, that God exists. God’s existence is the beginning and the goal of every human
life, even those who deny or doubt. God created the world and everything in it and made human beings in his own image. There is, therefore, a relationship between God and his entire creation, between God and us. If God exists – and that is true whether people believe it or not – then God is present, all present – omnipresent. And if God is omnipresent, then God is all powerful – omnipotent. And if God is omnipresent and omnipotent, then God is all knowing – omniscient. And if God is omnipresent and omnipotent and omniscient, then his relationship with the world he created – and us within it – is one of ongoing awareness, watchfulness, interest and – dare I say it – loving concern. It’s personal. God is all loving and all concerned because God is all good and personally desires the good of all that he has created. Then what about evil? Well, that’s on us and our free-will choices, not God. Atheists, agnostics and other “scientific” doubters can go after any or all of these assertions but, in the end, the best they can come up with is a denial or doubt about their “belief ” in God, something that says more about them than about God. For my part and for many Catholics who share my beliefs and convictions in and about God, I am not focused on proving anything – I am focused upon faith, “confident assurance concerning things hoped for and conviction about things unseen” (Hebrews 11:1). God’s existence and faith in God’s presence is the starting point of everything. Thirteenth century German mystic Meister Eckhart put it this way: “I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself. My existence depends upon the nearness and the presence of God.”
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In his pastoral letter, Bishop O’Connell shares the spiritual lessons of Carmelite Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, who had been assigned the most menial tasks in the monastery. Brother Lawrence had written that he could find God in the midst of his pots and pans, adding, “Our actions should unite us with God when we are involved in our daily activities, just as our prayers unite us with him in our quiet devotions.” Unsplash Image/ Scott Umstattd March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 7
A Pastoral Letter on the Presence of God Continued from 7
PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD
he story is told of a young boy holding a violin case in hand, walking down 5th Avenue in New York City. He felt a little lost and he stopped a passerby (allegedly it was the comedian Jack Benny) and asked him, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” Without missing a beat, the passerby replied, “Practice, practice, practice!” For the believer, we might ask a similar question, “How do I get to know God in my life?” The answer is the same, “Practice, practice, practice!” How does one “practice” getting to know God? When I was a novice in the Vincentian seminary (a long time ago!), “spiritual reading” was a requirement on the daily schedule. You may think it a bit peculiar to “require” spiritual reading on a schedule for seminarians, but those entrusted with our priestly formation, following the rule of St. Vincent de Paul (1580-1660), were trying to impress upon us from the
Pointing to the plight of so many who have been forced into isolation by the pandemic, or who were abandoned well before coronavirus restrictions, Bishop O’Connell underscores the importance of staying connected with one another and united with God in the every day of our lives. Catholic News Service photo 8 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
earliest stages of our training the importance of developing good daily spiritual habits, a task that required “practice.” One of the books I remember reading with great interest was written by a lay brother in a Carmelite monastery in Paris. His name was Brother Lawrence (1614-1691) and the book that was assembled from letters after his death was entitled “The Practice of the Presence of God.” Born Nicolas Herman and never educated, he was raised in a family of peasants and entered the army as a young man to provide himself with the necessities of life. He tells the story of one day seeing a tree without leaves in a battlefield. His mind began to wonder and he imagined that same tree three months hence in full flower. He saw that tree as a symbol of how God transforms the human heart, over time. After Nicolas joined the Carmelites, the superior gave him the name “Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection” and assigned him the most menial tasks in the monastery, ultimately kitchen work washing pots and pans. Little time passed before Brother Lawrence began to display great spiritual wisdom to his brother monks and visitors to the monastery, even finding and pointing out the presence of God in the midst of his “pots and pans.” “Lord of all pots and pans and things,” he “But prayer does prayed, “make me a saint by getting meals and washing up not just happen. the plates!” It takes practice.” It quickly became clear that Brother Lawrence possessed an extraordinary intimacy with God in his lowly, ordinary monastic life. Unaccustomed to keeping quiet, Brother Lawrence often explained that it was simply due to an abiding spiritual “practice of the presence of God.” He would say, “All we have to do is to recognize God as being intimately within us. It was a serious mistake to think of our prayer time as being different from any other. “Our actions should unite us with God when we are involved in our daily activities, just as our prayers unite us with him in our quiet devotions. It isn’t necessary that we stay in church in order to remain in God’s presence. We can make our hearts personal chapels where we can enter anytime to talk to God privately.” I have never forgotten that little “spiritual reading” book or the lessons of that humble Carmelite brother. “The most holy and necessary practice in the spiritual life,” he wrote, “is the presence of God – that is, every moment to take great pleasure that God is with you. That means finding constant pleasure in His divine company, speaking humbly and lovingly with him in all seasons, at every moment, without limiting the conversation in any way.” Notice how he speaks of his “practice:” taking pleasure in God’s presence and company; speaking to God humbly and lovingly all the time, without “limiting” the conversation. God is always present and always present everywhere
Bishop O’Connell writes that “Prayer is the practice, the ‘habit’ of living always in the presence of God. . . When we wake, it takes precious little effort to make ourselves aware that God has given us the gift of another new day. Make it a practice to say, ‘Good morning,’ to God, to say, ‘Thanks for the gift of today.’” Shutterstock photo
in our lives. I can’t repeat that enough. Sometimes we don’t realize it or think about his presence, but God is near us, next to us, with us, within us always. “We should fix ourselves firmly in the presence of God by conversing all the time with him,” Brother Lawrence advised. “We should feed our soul with a lofty conception of God and from that derive great joy in being his. We should put life in our faith. We should give ourselves utterly to God in pure abandonment, in temporal and spiritual matters alike, and find contentment in the doing of his will, whether he takes us through sufferings or consolations.” What Brother Lawrence is describing in his reflections on the practice of the presence of God is really the practice of prayer, the practice of praying. I am quite sure, as has been my experience frequently, that people approach priests and other spiritual leaders to ask for their guidance in prayer. Like the Apostles who turned to the Lord Jesus and asked, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), so people turn to spiritual leaders with a similar request. Brother Lawrence’s response is a good start: “Prayer is nothing else than a sense of God’s presence.” To “think” of God is the beginning of prayer, it establishes our awareness of his presence, already there. To want to get to know God more deeply and experience his presence is a good way to continue our prayer. He is already with us. To express our need for God keeps us conscious of the purpose of prayer. He is already present – listening – and will answer us. But prayer does not just happen. It takes practice. And not only when we want something or when something is going wrong in our lives. We can and should pray all the time
because God is present all the time, loving us. Brother Lawrence wrote, “You need not cry very loud; he is nearer than we think.” Long before he lived and wrote, the Psalmist proclaimed, “Before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you knew the whole of it (Psalms 139: 4).” Keep the conversation going in the presence of God, in attitude, in thought, in desire and in word. Remember St. Paul’s exhortation in his Letter to the Thessalonians: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)! Practice the presence of God!
LIVING IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD
he human body needs at least three basic things to survive. Human beings can last a little while without food and water, but life would end very quickly without oxygen. St. Padre Pio famously stated, “Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.” Let me take that a bit deeper: the practice of the presence of God is the oxygen of prayer. Trappist abbott and monk Father Thomas Aquinas Keating (1923-2018) put it this way: “We rarely think of the air we breathe, yet it is in us and around us all the time. In similar fashion, the presence of God penetrates us, is all around us, is always embracing us.” For the believer, it’s not enough to occasionally think about God. For the believer, it’s not enough to “say” a prayer once in a while. If that were the case, our spiritual lives would not last very long. Prayer is the practice, the “habit” of living always in the presence of God. That’s what prayer is and that’s where Continued on 10
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A Pastoral Letter on the Presence of God Continued from 9
prayer leads us! It begins the moment we open our eyes in the morning. God has been present throughout the night while we sleep. When we wake, it takes precious little effort to make ourselves aware that God has given us the gift of another new day. Make it a practice to say, “Good morning,” to God, to say, “Thanks for the gift of today.” I am fortunate as a bishop to have a chapel in my house where the Lord Jesus dwells in the Blessed Sacrament, always present and waiting for me. Not many Catholic believers have that luxury, grace and blessing. I walk down the stairs – grateful to God in my case that I can still walk – and the first thing I see is the twinkle of the chapel’s red sanctuary lamp, reminding me of the presence of God, inviting me to come in and offer a prayer for the day that lies ahead and the people I will meet. Most times I know the schedule that awaits me although, more often than not, “God is always there will always be surprises and interruptions. Morning present, and we prayers and Masses precede me out the door but I take can always talk the presence of God with me to him in prayer.” in my mind and heart. The experience of the pandemic this year has given me much more time than I would ordinarily have to be more decisively focused on the presence of God. A lot of social distancing accompanies my work these days but not distance from God. If there are any benefits to the pandemic – and there are not too many – more time for prayer and reflection has been one. God sees my face through the mask I wear and I see his face beyond the masks worn by others. Masked or not, I hope and pray that the requirements of the pandemic – and the pandemic itself – have not kept people from seeing the face of God and sensing his presence, even when others have had to keep their distance. God is always present and we can always talk to him in prayer. We need to pray, perhaps now in our distanced, isolated moments more than ever. Earlier last year at the height of the coronavirus’ virulence, difficult decisions had to be made that weighed heavily on us all in the Diocese of Trenton. A dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days was granted to all the faithful indefinitely. Churches, chapels and parish centers were temporarily closed to the public and devotions cancelled. Sacraments were postponed and the form for Confessions and funerals altered. People in hospitals and nursing homes had limited access to the Sacraments. Masses were livestreamed and Holy Communion was only received spiritually. Holy Week and Easter were celebrated in churches but without a congregation present. We had to participate virtually! By mid-May 2020, churches and chapels re-opened with precautions followed and, after several weeks of parking lot or 10 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
outdoor Masses, public indoor Masses resumed, again with precautions and occupancy limits followed. Despite all these limitations and inconveniences, however, two things remained constant: the presence of God and the opportunity to pray. God did not abandon us as some have suggested – never! The Church did not abandon us, as others have suggested – never! We continue to need “spiritual oxygen” so that our souls might keep breathing at a difficult time. We simply were called upon as believers – as has often happened in the Church’s history and still happens in parts of the world – to make spiritual sacrifices and to adapt and adjust our spiritual ways of living in the presence of God. Again, I think of Brother Lawrence who wrote: “Do not always scrupulously confine yourself to certain rules, or particular forms of devotion, but act with a general confidence in God, with love and humility.” Recalling moments of his own spiritual struggles, Brother Lawrence shared, “I did not pray for any relief, but I prayed for strength to suffer with courage, humility and love … Love sweetens pain; and when one loves God, one suffers for His sake with joy and courage.” He observed, “The world appears very little to a soul that contemplates the greatness of God.” To live in the practice of the presence of God enables us, as believers, to truly contemplate Him in his greatness as we put our whole trust in God and make a total surrender of ourselves to Him.” Prayer doesn’t change God. Prayer, living in the presence of God, changes us.
he most frequent requests I receive from people as Bishop are for prayers. Not a day goes by without someone asking me to pray for him/her, for their relatives or friends, for the sick or the dead or for some other special intention. I can honestly say that every promise of prayer I make, I fulfill. People seem to attach more weight to the prayers of clergy and religious and take more comfort in their assurance. I consider it not only an obligation I take on but also an honor and a privilege. But I believe prayer is prayer, and prayers are answered, no matter who is offering the prayer. I feel great joy when someone approaches me to say that the intention for which prayers were asked and offered was answered! “My child recovered. My husband found a job. My son got accepted to college. My daughter met a nice Catholic boy. We sold our house. I have found peace” – the list goes on. “God answered our prayers!” Occasionally, however, I encounter someone who laments the opposite result: “God did not answer my prayer.” In such instances, they may say their faith in God has been shaken, their prayers were a waste of time. Such comments sadden me. God answers all our prayers. But, sometimes the answer is “no.” God has his reasons and sees circumstances and consequences differently than we do. “Thy will be done” we say so often in the Lord’s Prayer. How often do we mean it? Here’s the point. Prayer is not a matter of simply calculating “wins and losses” before God. It is important for us as
In Focus believers, rather, to place ourselves in God’s presence wherever we may be and to lift up our lives, our feelings, our needs, our hopes and plans, our loved ones to God in prayer. And, then, let go in the presence of God. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” I have many things I “pray for” – many people, many intentions, many needs. But my underlying prayer in all these prayers is for me and those for whom I pray to seek God’s will, to accept God’s will, to do God’s will, to find peace in God’s will – even in times of disappointment – and to continue to live in the presence of God. That takes practice. I have not mentioned here the Eucharist, the greatest of all prayers and the epitome of the presence of God in the Lord Jesus – the “source and summit of the Christian life” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 11). Neither have I dwelt upon the Holy Scriptures or mentioned the Rosary, Stations, chaplets, novenas, personal devotions or other prayers Catholics have recited from childhood or learned later in life. These are all texts and wonderful prayers that draw us deeply into the presence of God and I am very aware of and grateful for their place in sustaining and deepening the spiritual life of the Catholic believer. I have chosen here, rather, to write about the origin, essence and goal of all prayer: God himself and placing ourselves in his presence. Awareness of God and his eternal presence is what gives all our “prayers” their meaning and significance. It “makes prayer.” In my times of prayer, I often imagine and picture myself walking with the Disciples on the Road to Emmaus. They were discussing so many things about the Lord Jesus, his final days with them in Jerusalem and his Passion and Death. “Prayer, living in Suddenly, the Crucified and Risen Lord was present with the presence of them. They were not anticiGod, changes us.” pating his presence and they did not recognize him until he revealed his presence later in “the breaking of the bread.” Then, as suddenly as he came, he left their sight. It was then, having recognized and experienced the Lord’s presence, that they observed, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked to us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us” (Luke 24:32)? Prayer is always an “Emmaus moment” for us. Until we let ourselves become aware of God’s presence, until we listen and talk to him on whatever “roads” we are traveling in life, we are not “connecting” in prayer. It’s that simple. The “take away” from this pastoral letter is this: If we let ourselves meet God where he is – everywhere in our life – then we can be sure he will meet us where we are. That meeting, again and again and every time and place it occurs, is prayer if we live in the presence of God. After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus spent time again with those he loved most in the world. And when the time came for him to return to his Heavenly Father, he promised his Apostles and all of us: “Behold, I am with you always, even to
the end of time” (Matthew 28:20). He has kept his promise. As I bring this pastoral letter to a close, please join me, in the presence of God, in saying this prayer attributed to St. Patrick: As I arise today, may the strength of God pilot me, the power of God uphold me, the wisdom of God guide me. May the eye of God look before me, the ear of God hear me, the Word of God speak for me. May the hand of God protect me, the way of God be before me, the shield of God defend me, the host of God save me. May Christ shield me today. Christ with me. Christ before me. Christ in me. Christ beneath me. Christ above me. Christ on my right. Christ on my left. Christ when I lie down. Christ when I sit. Christ when I stand. Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me. Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me. Christ in every eye that sees me. Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen. My sisters and brothers, live in the presence of God!
Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., J.C.D. Bishop of Trenton February 22, 2021 • Feast of the Chair of St. Peter
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EXPERIENCING THE LENTEN PILLARS DURING COVID-19 By Father Carlos Aguirre
little over a year ago, the whole world began to hear about COVID-19. This new virus, little by little, was changing our way of relating, working and worshiping in ways we never imagined. As a priest, I was able to accompany many patients to whom I administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and many families who lost loved ones due to this virus. I also experienced the loss of my loved ones in Colombia who died from this disease. I, myself, battled the virus last year. That was a time I could feel the prayers of many families for my recovery, and at the same time, I felt that God was giving me a new opportunity to grow in my relationship with him and with my neighbor. I think this opportunity has not only been given to me but to all of us to meet again with Jesus and his Gospel through forgiveness, love and mercy with ourselves, with our families and with our brothers and sisters in Christ. What a better way to start this journey than to fully live this new season of Lent? May we focus this time of prayer, fasting and sacrifice on what our relationship with God is like and how we live it through our daily actions. This experience of the pandemic should help us put aside all those differences and attitudes that separate us from God, and therefore, from our brothers and sisters. Let us start praying more and complaining less; let us put aside criticism and divisions and start serving; let us encourage unity and fraternity. Let us ask less and thank God more and allow his voice to guide us in our lives and actions. May this time of pandemic make the season of Lent a great opportunity to rediscover our vocation as Christians in love, in prayer, in forgiveness and in service. Father Carlos Aguirre is pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton.
The past year has been overwrought with countless stories of people here and around the world having to bear their pandemic crosses. As Christians live through a second Lenten season with COVID-19, four clergy from the Diocese share personal reflections of encountering Christ during sickness, isolation, sacrifice and loss. Though these experiences will likely extend beyond Lent, the Lord, they agree, will continue to carry them through.
COMPLETE SURRENDER DURING ISOLATION, DEATH By Deacon Michael Taylor
n December 2020, I began to wake up with what felt like the start of a head cold. I did the usual over-thecounter medicines. The symptoms went away. A few days later, the cycle would repeat. Toward the end of December and into January, I began to feel great fatigue. I could sleep 14 or more hours a day and had little appetite. I missed Christmas Mass. One of my sons and his wife told us they were going for a COVID-19 test. Since I was not feeling like myself, I decided I would also test for COVID. I tested Jan. 4, 2021. My results came back positive for COVID Jan. 6, the same day my daughter-in-law Pamela died from COVID. I was distraught. There was nothing I could do. I could barely take care of myself. I phoned my son, Mike, almost
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every day. I listened to him sob on the phone. At one point, I stood up with my phone in my hand and cried out, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.” Immediately, I felt a great release. I was powerless. I admitted it. Only God could carry the burden. And so began my walk with God, through the isolation of the Agony in the Garden. Through the pain of the Passion. In the silence and darkness of the Tomb. I recently took a walk in the bright sun with a cold wind buffeting me. It felt good to be outside feeling full alive. And yet … Pamela is still dead at age 46. My son is a widower at 49. My body is fully alive, and there is a grief and a sadness in my heart and soul. I will carry all these conflicted feelings and mixed emotions for the foreseeable future. Before Lent began, I started my journey. In all likelihood, isolation, sacrifice and loss will be my companions after this Lenten season is over, possibly even after COVID-19 is something we talk about as a memory, similar to 9/11. This is a Lent like no other in my life-
That is what this feels like. It’s me and God. God and me. Deacon Mike Taylor serves in St. Joseph Parish, Toms River.
SACRIFICES CAN TURN INTO MOMENTS OF GRACE By Father Peter James R. Alindogan
time. This is already a season mirroring the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are already brief glimpses of the Resurrection for me. A walk on a cold windy day. Being glad to be fully alive as I approach my 80th birthday. I’ve been blessed to be able to resume my role as a permanent deacon and assist at Mass these past weeks. I am truly blessed to be working in my 43rd year as a deacon. And in-between, the reality of not being free to be with others as I would like: spending more time alone than I prefer; the necessity of having to wear a face mask; avoid others; stay out of crowds and all the rest of the daily reality we face; Zoom meetings and telephone calls instead of being physically present to people whose company I enjoy. Also, a nugget of joy. This walk with COVID-19 is the vehicle that aligns me more closely with our God. My Lenten journey mirrors the journey that Jesus walked in his last days. Jesus suffered the loss of everyone who ever meant something to him. In the end, he was alone except for his Father.
am now part of the growing statistic. Since I have been infected with COVID-19, my additional family members are my fellow survivors. Some of them were asymptomatic, while others had the debilitating effects brought about by chills, fever, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms. It was just like what I had for more than a week. However, it was the isolation that affected me deeply. Being in quarantine was no fun. Though predicated by virtual presence through social media and the ubiquitous iPhone, the virus kept me literally apart from my priestly ministry and work. I was too weak to pray, and I had to rely on our priests from neighboring parishes to celebrate Masses. I was looking out from the rectory window the afternoon I had my test results. I saw the cars parked outside our church as they got ready for the Communion Service. It pained me at that time not to celebrate the Liturgy with them. But during the span of time after I had announced my infection, I received a lot of support and encouragement from Bishop O’Connell, our clergy, our sisters, parishioners and friends. The initial isolation was turning out to be more comforting. It was more consoling to realize that I was not alone. The kind words people shared, and significantly, the prayers said, helped me immensely in the days after, when I had to battle the symptoms. Being infected with the virus as God’s priest, I believe, is part of doing the work of God. I was asked once where or how I got the virus. My response was that the question should be, “Why do I, Fr. PJ, have the virus?”
It is because I am too trusting. I trust in the goodness of people – that they would be honest with me had they been exposed, that they wore masks, distanced and sanitized, that they realized how pernicious this virus is and that we needed to help each other. Never have I regretted being too trusting, though. Isn’t that what our good Lord said? Trust in Him at all times. Never have I doubted in experiencing God’s presence at the onset of this disease. He confronted me in my pains and surprised me in my quarantined silence. The way God cares never ceases, though those moments can be taken for granted. Somehow my COVID-19 infection became my early preparation for Lent, a moment of grace. Amidst this pandemic, our good Lord is still making Himself and His love known. He never gets tired of showing us the way to Him. I found this all out, not just during prayer, but also in the actions exhibited by my fellow pilgrim-Catholics. Truly I am grateful to them, who have mirrored God’s love to me, their COVID-19 infected priest. Because of what I have seen and felt during these past few weeks, I am blessed to be another statistic of God’s saving love. Father Peter James R. Alindogan serves as pastor of St. Veronica Parish, Howell, and diocesan director of missions.
QUARANTINE BECOMES A TIME OF SELF-REFLECTION By Deacon John R. Isaac
fter taking my daughter’s advice to get a COVID-19 test, I was shocked to learn that I had tested positive – as did my wife one week later. I ended up self-isolating for 20 days. During those many hours of isolation, my thoughts drifted over the difficult months of 2020. A year of high unemployment, illness, death and loneliness. It seemed cruel not being able to be Continued on 64
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 13
Faithful hear messages of penance, hope on Ash Wednesday FROM STAFF REPORTS
n the morning of Ash Wednesday, Joe and Marybeth Walsh had their hearts firmly planted in the hope that comes with the season of Lent. “We should pray for our Church, and we should pray for our country and recognize that the need for faith – if we’re going to move forward – is extraordinary,” Joe Walsh said. “We need faith in our God, who has said that Satan will
not prevail against us as a plague.” Lent, added Marybeth, his wife of 53 years, “is not just what you should sacrifice but what you should be doing to improve yourself as a person, which in itself, is a sacrifice.” The couple was among those who began their Lenten journey Feb. 17 by attending Mass in St. Mark Church, Sea Girt. They joined Catholic Christians from across the Diocese of Trenton and throughout the world in attending on Ash Wednesday services either in person or online.
“Showing repentance … can turn God’s judgement to mercy.” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in an Ash Wednesday service that was prerecorded and streamed across diocesan media platforms, preached on the meaning of penance. “What those ashes represent, the symbol, that is our intention and desire to do penance for our sins. And it’s something that remains in our hearts,” he said, recognizing that the tradition
Due to the pandemic, the distribution of ashes was made with Q-tips this year in churches across the Diocese. of distributing ashes this year had been altered, either because faithful were unable to attend services in person or because ashes were placed on foreheads with Q-tips due to pandemic safety concerns. Reflecting on the First Reading, the Bishop preached on how Joel extends the Lord’s invitation to his people to return to him with full hearts through fasting, weeping and mourning. “Why rend our heart as we return to the Lord? The Prophet Joel tells us why,” Bishop O’Connell said. “The Lord Continued on 63
Msgr. Sean P. Flynn, pastor, distributes ashes Feb. 17 in St. Mark Church, Sea Girt. Rich Hundley photos
For more photos and a video of Bishop's Ash Wednesday service, visit TrentonMonitor.com 14 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
Lent & Holy Week
Lenten Regulations Editor’s Note: The version of the Lenten Regulations that appeared in the last issue contained errors. The corrected version follows: Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, uring the days and weeks of penance that lie ahead – from Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021 until Holy Thursday, April 1, 2021 – the Catholic Church throughout the world commemorates the penitential season of Lent ending with the Sacred Triduum of Holy Week. The model Jesus gave us for “these forty days” was his own experience in the desert and the temptations that followed him there where he encountered Satan face to face. And yet, Jesus, there in the desert – alone, fasting and in intense prayer – beat back the devil and triumphed over temptation, as strong and as unrelenting as it was throughout those forty days. We enter the desert of Lent like Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, to face our devils, our temptations head on. But we are not alone. The Lord Jesus Christ is with us. And so, too, is the Church, the entire community of faith observing Lent. Here is what the Catholic Church in the United States requires of us as baptized Catholics: The days of FAST (only one full meal) and ABSTINENCE (no meat) are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. All other Fridays in Lent are days of abstinence (no meat). No dispensations are granted on these solemn days except for reason of sickness or those provided in canon law below. The pastor of a parish has the authority to give a dispensation to individual parishioners in his parish. The Bishop alone has the authority to dispense groups of Catholics but only for a serious reason. Those who are automatically dispensed from fast and abstinence regulations outside the age limits noted below include: the physically or mentally ill, especially individuals suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes. Also included in the dispensation are women who are pregnant or nursing. In all cases, common sense should prevail and ill persons should not further jeopardize their health by fasting (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops). Those between the ages of 18 and 59 are obliged to FAST (only one full meal) as above. From the age of 14, people are also obliged to ABSTAIN (no meat: this obligation prohibits the eating of meat, but not eggs, milk
DISPENSATION FOR MARCH 19 Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., has issued a diocesan-wide dispensation from the Lenten obligation of abstinence from meat on Friday, March 19, 2021, in honor of the Solemn Feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary, during this special “Year of St. Joseph.” He encourages the faithful of the Diocese of Trenton who wish to take advantage of this dispensation, if possible, to transfer the Lenten abstinence from meat to another day that week, to attend Mass on March 19 OR to do some special act of penance instead.
products or condiments of any kind, even though made from animal fat). The obligation to observe the laws of fast and abstinence is a serious one for Catholics. Failure to observe one penitential day in itself is not considered a serious sin. It is the intentional failure to observe any penitential days at all, or a substantial number of penitential days, that must be considered a serious matter. The obligation, the privilege really, of receiving the Eucharist at least once a year – often called “Easter duty” – for those in the state of grace should still be fulfilled during the period from the First Sunday of Lent, February 20-21, 2021 to Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021. However, the Church’s law does permit this precept to be fulfilled at another time during the year when there is a just cause. I want to encourage all Catholics, especially those conscious of serious sin, to go to confession and to make use of the sacrifices and traditions that have always been part of our Lenten practices in the Church. We do, indeed, fast and pray with the Lord Jesus and with our fellow Catholics. May this Lent be a time of penance leading to grace and joy for us all at Easter. Sincerely yours in Christ, Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M. • Bishop of Trenton
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Holy Week unfolds Christ’s never-
ach year, faithful from throughout the world are invited to experience the unfolding of the Paschal Mystery of our Lord by participating in the various liturgies that commemorate his Passion, Death and Resurrection during Holy Week. The following are encapsulations about the special liturgies along with some of the directives that Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., issued with regard to the celebrations in this time of pandemic. Priests in the Diocese of Trenton received a full copy of these Holy Week and Easter Pandemic Directives on Jan. 28. To read more about the directives in detail, visit dioceseoftrenton.org/pandemic-directives. PALM SUNDAY OF THE PASSION OF THE LORD • MARCH 28 Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday, celebrates Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of Passover. As Jesus, who was riding on a donkey, entered the city, the enthusiastic crowds greeted him by throwing their cloaks down before him as a gesture reserved for royalty and also spread palm branches along the road while shouting “Hosanna,” a Hebrew expression meaning “save us.” Until this time, Jesus, in his public ministry, did not allow himself to be proclaimed as the Messiah. However, in John Batkowski photo this final entry into Jerusalem, he sets the stage for an entry that fulfills the Old Testament’s foreshadowing of the coming of the Messiah. As a memorial of Christ’s suffering, the day’s liturgy includes the reading of the Passion – the Gospel passages, which give the accounts of events of Christ’s suffering and Death. Because of the pandemic, the directives issued by Bishop O’Connell for Palm Sunday include that the Procession and Solemn Entrance at the start of Mass are to be omitted. Palms will be blessed – available after Mass as people exit Church. MASS OF CHRISM • MARCH 29, MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK The Chrism Mass reflects the communion of the priests with their bishop. During this Mass, all of the priests of the Diocese who are gathered publicly renew their commitment to their priestly service. The Mass is also when the Bishop blesses the oils to be used in parishes throughout the coming year. The Bishop blesses the Oil of the Sick, which is used for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, and the Oil of Cat-
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echumens, which is used for the Baptism of adult catechumens at the Easter Vigil. He also consecrates the Sacred Chrism, which is used for the Sacraments of Confirmation, Baptism and the ordination of Vic Mistretta photo priests and bishops and the consecration of churches. The diocesan Chrism Mass will be celebrated at 7:30 p.m. in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, by Bishop O’Connell. The faithful are invited to watch the Mass this year via livestream only since, due to pandemic restrictions, attendance will be limited to concelebrating priests who will renew their priestly commitments and collect their blessed and consecrated oils for their parishes. HOLY THURSDAY • APRIL 1 The Mass of the Lord’s Supper commemorates when Jesus gathered with his disciples to celebrate the Passover. During this Last Supper, Jesus instituted the Eucharist and the priesthood. It is also at this Mass when the Gospel is read of how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. By washing his disciples’ feet, he set for them and for all of his followers, the example of what it means to “love one another” and to be of service to others. At the end of the Mass, the Eucharist to be shared on Good Friday is not returned to the tabernacle. Instead, the Blessed Sacrament is carried in procession by the priest. This action Mike Ehrmann photo symbolizes Jesus’ walk to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus agonized over the suffering he was soon to endure. It is also at the end of the Mass when the altar is stripped. This ancient ritual is a powerful re-enactment of the Lord’s humiliation at the hands of the Roman soldiers. The bare altar symbolizes the transformation of the communion table of Holy Thursday into the tomb slab of Good Friday. Pandemic directives state that the washing of the feet and the procession with the Holy Eucharist at the end of Mass be omitted this year. Instead, the Holy Eucharist is to be placed in a tabernacle or altar of repose for the adoration of the faithful after the reception of Holy Communion.
ending love for all GOOD FRIDAY • APRIL 2 Good Friday, a day of fasting for the Church, commemorates Jesus’ Crucifixion and Death. In keeping with the Church’s ancient tradition that Sacraments are not to be celebrated on Good Friday, this is the only day during the year when Mass is not celebrated. Instead, the celebration of the Lord’s Passion takes place within Mike Ehrmann photo the context of a Communion service and is held at 3 p.m., which places the prayer close to the traditional hour of Jesus’ Death. The service includes a Liturgy of the Word, the Veneration of the Cross and reception of Holy Communion. The Passion is proclaimed again, but on this day, it is from John’s Gospel account, which is more personal than the other accounts found in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Pandemic directives include that physical contact during the Veneration of the Cross is prohibited.
outdoor blessings may be arranged at the discretion of the pastor. Pandemic directives issued for the Easter Vigil include the omission of the preparation and lighting of the Easter Fire and distribution of candles to the congregation; the Blessing of Water should take place with a small amount of water blessed that can be disposed of reverently afterward; no water is to be placed in the fonts, and the Baptismal Liturgy should include the Renewal of Baptismal Promises unless there are Elect present for Baptism. Other adjustments provided in the diocesan pandemic directives will be made by the pastor of each parish. EASTER SUNDAY THE RESURRECTION OF THE LORD • APRIL 4 Easter Sunday continues to proclaim the glorious news of the Resurrection. Jesus has been raised from the dead and the power of sin and death has been destroyed forever. Public Masses take place as usual according to parish schedules, observing all COVID protocols.
HOLY SATURDAY • APRIL 3
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The Roman Missal explains: “On Saturday, the Church waits at the Lord’s tomb, meditating on his suffering and death. The altar is left bare, and the sacrifice of the Mass is not celebrated. Only after the solemn vigil during the night held in anticipation of the Resurrection, does the Easter celebration begin, with a spirit of joy that overflows into the following period of 50 days.”
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EASTER VIGIL IN THE HOLY NIGHT Although celebrated on Holy Saturday evening, the Easter Vigil liturgy marks the beginning of Easter. The Vigil is arranged in four parts: a service of light, which includes the blessing of the fire and lighting of the Paschal Candle; the Liturgy of the Word, during which seven Readings from the Old Testament may be proclaimed that tell the Salvation History of God’s people; the liturgy of Baptism, when new members are welcomed into the Church through the Jeff Bruno photo Sacraments of Initiation, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Because of the pandemic, the tradition of blessing of Easter food on Holy Saturday is highly discouraged indoors, but
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Young people challenge us to
Catholic News Service image
care about creation
BY SANDRA AZAB Catholic News Service
(Last month), the Pontifical Academy for Life invited its members to meet online for a seminar on some of the ethical perspectives presented in Pope Francis’ encyclicals “Laudato Si’, on Care for Our Common Home,” and “Fratelli Tutti, on Fraternity and Social Friendship.” This meeting gave us a space to discuss and reflect on the human impact on all life on our planet. “Laudato Si’” is a huge wake-up call for humanity so that we realize the destruction we inflict on the environment and our fellow human beings. We must develop and apply sustainable, ecologically compatible production methods with the help of people’s expertise and science’s creativity. But we must also shape our lifestyles in such a way that the earth’s resources are used justly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our false security. “Fratelli Tutti” highlights how this time has highlighted our interconnection and interdependence. The Pope writes that “the brutal and unforeseen blow of this uncontrolled pandemic forced us to recover our concern for human beings, for everyone, rather than for the benefit of a few” (No. 33). Pope Francis has given the Church and the community a guiding light that shows the way to repair our common home and build a better future for our society. It is time to recognize ourselves as the body of Christ, to support one another and to reflect God’s concern for all people, especially for the most vulnerable. This direction will move society toward a better future. One of the major challenges of my generation is the loss of faith. After seeing so much suffering, especially in the
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current pandemic, many millennials have questions. Their spiritual leaders don’t have answers to these questions. The future looks alarming to this generation. If we are willing to repair our common home, we will need young minds who are animated by their faith in God and care for creation. We care for creation not only because we live in it, but also because it reveals who God is. Millennials are in great need for spiritual leadership and discipleship in order to see creation the way God sees it! The Church cannot neglect this responsibility. A recent document published by the Pontifical Academy for Life, “Old Age: Our Future. The elderly after the pandemic,” highlights the role played by the elderly in the preservation and transmission of the faith to young people. I believe that our role as young believers and scientists is to make the most of our faith and gifts, “for we are his handiwork, created in Jesus Christ for the good works that God has prepared in advance” (Eph 2:10). Young people can serve as a voice of peace and reassurance and have the energy and passion to repair what has been damaged, both to the planet and to the fabric of human solidarity. Scripture says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power. He went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). This is how young people, infused with faith, should seek the transformation Pope Francis dreams of for our world. Sandra Azab is a pharmacist, international health specialist and a researcher at St. Joseph Institute for Family and Life in Egypt. She is a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life, an academic honorary society established under the direction of the Holy See. The group is dedicated to promoting the Church’s consistent life ethic. It also does related research on bioethics and Catholic moral theology.
Issues & Advocacy
Bishops address concern over Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s link to abortion BY CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE WASHINGTON • Use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, approved Feb. 27 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, raises moral concerns because it was “was developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines,” the chairmen of two U.S. bishops’ committees said March 2. The bishops concluded, however, that “while we should continue to insist that pharmaceutical companies stop using abortion-derived cell lines, given the worldwide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good.” Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities, made the comments in a joint statement. In December, the prelates addressed concerns over what then were the newly approved BioNTech and Moderna vaccines because “an abortion-derived cell line was used for testing them,” but “not used in their production.”
If one has the ability to choose a COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s, the U.S. bishops say. If not given a choice, the J&J vaccine is morally acceptable, they say. CNS photo/ Dado Ruvic, Reuters
AT A GLANCE
However, the Johnson & Johnson Janssen one-shot COVID-19 vaccine raises “additional moral concerns” because it was “developed, tested and is produced with abortion-derived cell lines,” Bishop Rhoades and Archbishop Naumann said. In their December statement, the bishops noted that cell lines used were derived from fetuses aborted in the 1970s. In their March 2 statement, the bishops quoted the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which judged that “when ethically irreproachable COVID-19 vaccines are not available ... it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.” “However, if one can choose among equally safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines,” the bishops added, “the vaccine with the least connection to abortion-derived cell lines should be chosen. Therefore, if one has the ability to choose a vaccine, Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccines should be chosen over Johnson & Johnson’s.” Doses of this newest vaccine – now the third approved for use in the United States – were being shipped to distribution points around the country March 2.
The COVID-19 vaccine with the least connection to abortionderived cell lines always should be chosen first. However, given that the virus can involve serious health risks, it can be morally acceptable to receive a vaccine such as the one created by Johnson & Johnson, which uses abortion-derived cell lines, if there are no other available options. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine ought to be understood as an act of charity toward the other members of our community. In this way, being vaccinated safely against COVID-19 should be considered an act of love of our neighbor and part of our moral responsibility for the common good. Faithful are encouraged to advocate for vaccines that do not use abortion-derived cell lines. Educate yourself and others about how some vaccines are connected to abortion; inform your doctor about this connection and ask him/ her to provide ethical vaccines, when possible, and urge pharmaceutical companies and medical researchers to discontinue using abortion-derived cell lines, and thank them when they do.
Source: USCCB’s “Answers to Key Ethical Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines,” https://bit.ly/3sGUqUR.
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Diocese Christina Cannon, left, and Sherry Margolies, catechumens in St. Dominic Parish, Brick, and their godparents participate in the Rite of Election celebrated during Mass Feb. 21. Rich Hundley photo
Faithful grateful to become closer to Church during Rite of Election BY MARY STADNYK Associate Editor
t’s been six years since Christina Cannon first started contemplating entering the Catholic Church, and there is one thing of which she is now certain. “This is exactly where I’m supposed to be right now,” Cannon, of St. Dominic Parish, Brick, said after the Rite of Election that was held in her parish the first Sunday of Lent. Cannon was among the 132 adults and young people from throughout the Diocese who marked a milestone in their Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults journey as they participated in the Rite of Election in their respective parishes Feb. 21.
“This is exactly where I'm supposed to be.” The Rite is traditionally a diocesan event celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in which catechumens declare their intention to become fully initiated in the Catholic Church with the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at the Easter Vigil. After the catechumens formally declare their wish to enter into the Church, they
are referred to as “the elect.” Because of pandemic restrictions this year, the Bishop delegated that the Rite of Election be celebrated at the parish level. Neither the change in plans nor the pandemic dampened the spirit of RCIA students, said Deacon Ed Buecker, parish RCIA coordinator. “Their faith level remained the same. They were really faith-filled,” he said of the parish’s two catechumens and three candidates – those who have been baptized as Catholics, or in other Christian traditions, but have not yet celebrated the Sacraments of Initiation (Confirmation and Eucharist). There are 54 non-Catholic candidates and 169 Catholic candidates in the Diocese of Trenton this year. PILGRIMS ON A JOURNEY Cannon recalled how her faith journey began when she first met her husband several years ago during a difficult time in her life. “We used to pray together and that would help me to feel so much peace and calm.” Sherry Margolies said she felt “honored, privileged and grateful to have been accepted” and now be among the elect. While she said it had always been in her heart to become Catholic, her
Catechumen Gabriele Nieves, left, holds the Book of the Elect, which she signed during the Rite of Election celebrated in St. Anthony Church, Hamilton. At right is Nieves’ godmother, Maria Ribeiro. Mary Stadnyk photo interest grew after her adult son was baptized Catholic a few years ago. “He told me about the RCIA,” she said. “They teach you so much and they make you feel so comfortable and wanted.” Once she is baptized, Margolies said she looks forward to becoming closer with God and with fellow parishioners. Continued on 64
For more photos, visit TrentonMonitor.com>Multimedia> Photo Galleries
20 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
Mount Carmel Guild to celebrate century, plus one, years of service BY MARY STADNYK Associate Editor
ount Carmel Guild has continuously remained staunch in its mission “to provide and preserve dignity through services focused on helping our neighbors in need.” Such were the sentiments expressed by Mary Inkrot, the Guild's executive director, as she reflected on the inner-city Trenton diocesan outreach agency that is marking its 101st anniversary this year. And while the COVID-19 pandemic may have hampered last year’s centenary plans, staff, volunteers, supporters and friends of the Guild are just as excited about the celebration that’s been rescheduled for March 21 and the Founder’s Day Mass at 2 p.m. with Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., in Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Hamilton. The Mass will be livestreamed on all diocesan media outlets. Reservations are required for in-person attendance. “We are honored to have Bishop O’Connell as our celebrant, and we look forward to having the Bishop’s blessing on the Guild, its mission members and all our partners in the past and the present,” said Inkrot, noting that the day’s theme is “First 100 Years and Beyond.” The Mount Carmel Guild was started in January 1920 by Bishop Thomas J. Walsh, third Bishop of Trenton. It was an idea he brought to the Trenton Diocese from his previous position as bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y.
That year, the Diocese purchased a house at 73 North Clinton Ave. to serve as a base for the organization. The home was formerly owned by a wealthy Trenton family that made its fortune from the city’s thriving pottery industry. Anne Brearley, widow of Charles Brearley, president of Greenwood Pottery, sold the home to the Diocese for $21,500. Today, the Guild directs its energies primarily through two areas of service: the Community Support Program, formerly called the Emergency Assistance Program, which has been opened to citizens in need since 1921, and the Home Health Nursing Program, running since 1941. Through Community Support, food pantry visits range from 50 to 90 households a day, Inkrot said, adding that the food pantry staff kept busy with 985 visits in January and provided each household with a prepacked bag of food and additional food choices. Recent outreach, she added, has focused on sharing information about a Trenton food needs survey, COVID-19 vaccination awareness and utility assis-
tance programs. Community Support staff will soon begin a second year of offering healthy meal kits to care receivers, made possible from a grant awarded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Inkrot said the Home Health Nursing Program continues to provide services that allow care recipients “to age in place in the comfort of their own home,” then noted that in recent weeks, the nursing staff has been providing information to all patients and their families about the COVID-19 vaccines. Another Guild highlight is its longtime tradition of food distribution at the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Through collaboration with parishes and businesses, the Guild is able to help hundreds of local families.
IF YOU GO: To reserve for inperson attendance for the Founder’s Day Mass, visit www.mtcarmelguild. org or call 609-392-5159. Our Lady of Sorrows Church is located at 3816 East State Street Ext., Hamilton.
In this Monitor file photo, Corinne Janoska, a registered nurse and program director of Mount Carmel Guild’s Home Health Nursing program, provides medical attention to a client. The Guild has rescheduled its 100th anniversary celebration to March 21, when Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will celebrate a Mass that will be livestreamed on diocesan media outlets. David Karas photo
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 21
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WEBINAR FOR PARISH LEADERS SCHEDULED MARCH 25
Surprise Delivery Weeks after Catholic high schools around the Diocese successfully collected thousands of items for mothers and fathers in need, help continued to roll in. In February, about 500 boxes of diapers arrived at the diocesan Chancery building in Lawrenceville. The high school students, who had spearheaded successful drives leading up to the annual March for Life, were grateful for the extra donations and distributed them to charitable organizations in their respective areas. Staff photo
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The diocesan Department of Pastoral Life and Mission will host its third webinar for parish leaders from across the Diocese March 25 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Webinar presenter is Dr. Dianne Traflet, associate dean for graduate studies and administration and assistant professor of pastoral theology at Seton Hall University, South Orange. To register, visit www.dioceseoftrenton.org/webinar. For more information, contact Denise Contino, director of the diocesan Department of Catechesis at 609-403-7179 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org From staff reports
CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES COLLECTION TO BE TAKEN UP MARCH 13-14 Parishes throughout HELP the Diocese of Trenton will take up a second IN DISGUISE collection to benefit the Catholic Relief Services at all Masses the weekend of March 13-14. The Catholic Relief Services Collection values families. It works to provide for their basic SUPPORT THE CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES COLLECTION humanitarian needs, www.usccb.org/catholic-relief protect vulnerable children, reunite families, and encourage legislation that reflects the importance of family in society. The reach of this Collection spans the globe, helping families on every continent from an array of ethnicities and backgrounds, addressing a myriad of needs. The Collection supports six Catholic agencies that prioritize the family and protect the life and dignity of each person. They include the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for international relief and development; Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) for refugee resettlement; Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) for immigration legal services; Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development (JPHD) for advocacy; Holy Father’s Relief Fund for emergency relief, and Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church for evangelization and ministry. By supporting The Catholic Relief Services Collection, you help these organizations build richer lives for faithful around the world. For further information, see crs.org.
Copyright © 2020, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved. Photo: Phoonsab Thevongsa for CRS.
Pope Francis A family prays Feb. 22 in front of an image of Jesus of Divine Mercy at the Divine Mercy Shrine in Plock, Poland. The date marked the 90th anniversary of the first apparition of Jesus to St. Faustina Kowalska. CNS photo/Katarzyna Artymiak
‘moves you forward’
BY CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE VATICAN CITY • Prayer makes every day better, even the most difficult days, Pope Francis said. Prayer transforms a person’s day “into grace, or better, it transforms us: it appeases anger, sustains love, multiplies joy, instills the strength to forgive,” the Pope said during a weekly general audience. Prayer is a constant reminder that God is nearby and so, “the problems we face no longer seem to be obstacles to our happiness, but appeals from God, opportunities to encounter him,” Pope Francis said. “When you start to feel anger, dissatisfaction or something negative, stop and say, ‘Lord, where are you and where am I going?’ The Lord is there,” the Pope said. “And he will give you the right word, a piece of advice for moving forward without this bitter, negative taste, because prayer is always – to use a secular word – positive. It moves you forward.” “When we are accompanied by the
Lord, we feel more courageous, freer and also happier,” he said. “So, let’s pray always and for everyone, even our enemies. This is what Jesus advised us, ‘Pray for your enemies.’” By placing one in touch with God, the Pope said, “prayer inclines us toward an overabundant love.” In addition to praying for one’s family and friends, Pope Francis asked people to “pray above all for people who are sad, for those who weep in solitude and despair that there still might be someone who loves them.” Prayer, he said, helps people love others, “despite their mistakes and sins. The person is always more important than his or her actions, and Jesus did not judge the world, but he saved it.” “Those people who always are judging others have an awful life; they are always condemning, judging,” he said. “It’s a sad, unhappy life. Jesus came to save us. Open your heart, forgive, excuse the others, understand them, be close to them, have compassion and tenderness, like Jesus.”
MORE FROM POPE FRANCIS ONLINE: God wants to forgive, heal hearts, Pope says Pontiff: Caring for sick not ‘optional activity’ for Church’s mission Pope urges faithful to read the Gospel, fast from gossip
All of us are specialists in crucifying others to save ourselves. Jesus, instead, allowed himself to be crucified.
@PONTIFEX MARCH 1, 2021
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 23
CNS photo/Norbert Schiller
Full of historic sites, Iraq important to understanding Christianity CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
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CNS photo/Marcin Mazur
BY DALE GAVLAK Catholic News Service
AMMAN, Jordan Pope Francis was scheduled to embark on the first-ever papal visit to the biblical land of Iraq March 5-8 in a spiritual pilgrimage to the place known in Arabic as the “land of the two rivers” – the mighty Tigris and Euphrates – and once renowned as Mesopotamia, the “cradle of civilization.” The Garden of Eden is believed possibly to have been in ancient Iraq, but certainly the famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Tower of Babel were located there. Jews exiled to ancient Iraq in Old Testament times experienced God's miraculous grace. “The pontiff said he looks forward to visiting our country, which is also where Abraham began his journey,” Cardinal Louis Sako of Baghdad said. In the days leading up to the trip, Pope Francis remained steadfast that the visit would take place, despite a spike in
“I come as a pilgrim.”
dral, also in Baghdad, a city with a rich, storied history where some 8 million inhabitants now live. UR: Old Testament patriarch Abraham was born in the southern town of Ur. The place, which dates back to 6000 B.C., lies on a former course of the Euphrates and is one of Iraq’s oldest sites. It is about 10 miles south of Nasiriyah. The Pope will see a dry, flat plain renowned for its well-preserved stepped platform or Ziggurat, which dates back to the third millennium B.C. Around 2000 B.C., Ur was a bustling urban center, until its conquest by Alexander the
IMAM ALI MOSQUE
For news and dozens of photos on the Pope’s visit to Iraq, visit TrentonMonitor.com>News>Church Great a few centuries before Christ. NAJAF: Lying 100 miles south of Baghdad, Najaf is a center of Shiite Islam’s spiritual and political power as well as a pilgrimage site for Shiite adherents. Its spectacular gold-domed Imam Ali Mosque is considered the third-holiest site for the Shiite Muslims, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Pope Francis was to travel here for a key encounter with one of Shiite Islam’s most authoritative figures, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. NINEVAH PLAIN/MOSUL AND QARAQOSH: The Old Testament prophet Jonah, who asked people to repent and return to God, lived in Ninevah. Pope Francis was set to meet the Christian communities of this area, which was overrun by the Islamic State group in 2014 until its liberation three years later. More than 100 churches and other religious sites were destroyed or demolished during that time; before it was invaded, Qaraqosh was home to Iraq’s largest Christian community. The Pope was scheduled to take part in a memorial prayer in the church square for the victims of the war. He will meet and pray with the community at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, which has been restored after being destroyed by the Islamic State. IRBIL: This historic Christian heartland of Iraq is where Christians have lived since Jesus’ earthly ministry,
when St. Thomas brought the Gospel message around A.D. 35, aided by St. Jude. The pair were thought to base themselves in this northern city (in modern-day Kurdistan). Here, Pope Francis was to be welcomed by religious and civil leaders and celebrate Holy Mass at the “Franso Hariri” stadium. Irbil and the nearby Christian enclave of Ankawa have hosted tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities forced to escape Islamic State atrocities.
CNS photo/Vatican Media
coronavirus cases and increased rocket attacks in the war-torn country. “I come as a pilgrim,” the Pope said March 4. Iraq is full of religious sites important to understanding the antecedents of the Christian faith. Here’s a snapshot of some of these places. BAGHDAD: At the capital’s Syriac Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Deliverance, Pope Francis was to meet bishops, priests, men and women religious, seminarians and catechists. The cathedral was the site of a 2010 massacre that killed 58 people and was claimed by Iraq’s al-Qaida group, which splintered into the so-called Islamic State. The tombs of priests killed during the attack rest within the cathedral. Mass was also scheduled at the Catholic Chaldean St. Joseph Cathe-
OUR LADY OF DELIVERANCE
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 25
POPE TAPS NEWARK CARDINAL AS MEMBER OF CONGREGATION VATICAN CITY • Pope Francis has named Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark a member of the Congregation for Bishops, the office that advises the Pope on the nomination of bishops around the world Cardinal Tobin, 68, takes the place left vacant by U.S. Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, retired archbishop of Washington, who turned 80 in November and automatically ceded his membership. The Congregation is led by Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, its prefect. Nuncios, or Vatican ambassadors, around the world conduct the initial search for priests suitable for the office of bishop and forward their names to the Congregation. Congregation members review the biographies of potential candidates and the comments and recommendations collected by the nuncios before making their recommendations to the Pope. The Congregation also advises the Pope on new dioceses or the consolidation of old ones; advises bishops’ conferences on their work; coordinates the joint activities of military ordinaries around the world; and organizes the “ad limina” visits that bishops regularly make to the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses. Catholic News Service
Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin
Pope Benedict XVI reads his resignation in Latin during a meeting of cardinals at the Vatican in this Feb. 11, 2013, file photo. CNS photo/Vatican Media
RETIRED POPE REFLECTS ON HIS RESIGNATION VATICAN CITY • Although it took obvious effort to pronounce each word and sometimes his secretary repeated what he said to make it clear, retired Pope Benedict XVI spoke to an Italian newspaper about his retirement and about Pope Francis’ planned trip to Iraq. The retired pope, who will turn 94 in April, resigned Feb. 28, 2013. He lives in the Mater Ecclesia Monastery in the Vatican Gardens where he and his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, met in February with the director of the newspaper Corriere della Sera. “His words come out drop by drop; his voice is a whisper that comes and goes,” according to the article published on the anniversary of his resignation. Sometimes, the report said, Archbishop Ganswein “repeats and ‘translates,’ while Benedict nods in a sign of approval.” Asked if he thinks a lot about his decision to resign, “he nods,” the newspaper said. “It was a difficult decision, but I made it in full awareness, and I believe it was correct,” the retired pope said. “Some of my slightly ‘fanatical’ friends are still angry; they did not want to accept my decision.” Catholic News Service
POPE SAYS HE WILL REMAIN IN ROME UNTIL DEATH VATICAN CITY • Pope Francis said he believes he will die in Rome, either in office or retired, and will not be buried in his native Argentina. In an interview published in the Argentine newspaper La Nación Feb. 27, the Pope said that while he thinks about death, he is not afraid of it. “How do you imagine your death?” the Pope was asked by Argentine journalist and doctor Nelson Castro. “As pope, either in office or emeritus. And in Rome. I will not return to Argentina,” he replied. The interview was an excerpt from Castro’s new book, titled “La Salud de los Papas” (“The Health of the Popes”), which details the health of the pontiffs from Pope Leo XIII to Pope Francis. According to Castro, Pope Francis encouraged him to write the book and agreed to be interviewed. The conversation took place in February 2019. Catholic News Service
26 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
World & Nation The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington Jan. 9. CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn
COVID-19 bill OK’d without Hyde language to prevent funding of abortion BY JULIE ASHER Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON • Democratic members of the U.S. Senate were hopeful their version of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package would be passed the second week of March, so they could send it to President Joe Biden for his signature before unemployment assistance expires March 14.
“The bill ... mandates taxpayer funding for abortion on demand.” The measure includes $246 billion for extending unemployment benefits through August and increasing the federal supplemental payment from $300 per week to $400. The House, which approved its pandemic relief measure Feb. 27 and included this provision, will likely have to vote again on its bill to reconcile any changes in the Senate version. Republicans said they would oppose the legislation because it includes billions for programs and projects that do not immediately address pandemic needs. In the House, 212 members – all of the Republicans, plus two Democrats – voted against the bill. It passed with 219 votes. The National Council of Nonprofits,
whose members include Catholic Charities USA, said the House’s American Rescue Plan “would provide much-needed relief to many nonprofits on the front lines of helping people in communities across this country as we continue to deal with the challenges created by the pandemic and economic downturn.” Catholic Charities USA, a network of 165 local Catholic Charities agencies nationwide, said that as Congress and the Biden administration finalized priorities for the next COVID-19 aid package, “we ask that more funding be provided to ensure people remain housed, fed and healthy.” Its own list of legislative priorities for a relief bill included ensuring “adequate resources to promote family and worker stability”; supporting the health care safety net; capping the interest rate that can be charged for short-term loans; bolstering support for immigrants and refugees; and increasing funding to prevent homelessness. CCUSA also had called on lawmakers to maintain the “long-standing, bipartisan supported Hyde Amendment” as part of the bill. However, ahead of the House vote – which came at 2 in the morning (EST) – Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, in brief remarks on the floor criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and the House Rules Committee for refusing to allow a vote on an amendment to
add language to the bill “to ensure that taxpayers aren’t forced to subsidize abortion,” as provided by the Hyde Amendment. The amendment, reenacted every year for 45 years, outlaws federal tax dollars from directly funding abortion except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the woman would be endangered. The McMorris Rodgers-FoxxWalorski Amendment – co-sponsored by 206 members – would have added Hyde language to the American Rescue Plan. The Hyde language also was rejected as what became the final bill worked its way through various House committees, said Smith and other national pro-life leaders. “In a radical departure from all previous COVID-19 relief laws – the bill before us today mandates taxpayer funding for abortion on demand,” Smith said. He and other members allowed to address the full House were given only one minute each to speak. Smith’s longer written statement on the issue was entered into the Congressional Record, along with his delivered remarks. “Unborn babies need the president of the United States and members of Congress to be their friend and advocate – not another powerful adversary,” he said. Smith, a Catholic who resides in the Diocese of Trenton, is co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus. The Continued on 64
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 27
World & Nation
POPE APPEALS FOR END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST PROTESTERS IN MYANMAR VATICAN CITY • Pope Francis appealed for an end to deadly violence against protesters in Myanmar, calling on the military junta to free political prisoners and let dialogue and the journey toward democracy prevail. Appealing to those now ruling the nation – the government was overthrown in a military coup Feb. 1 – the Pope asked March 3 that “dialogue prevail over repression and harmony over discord.” He also launched an appeal to the international community, asking that they work to ensure that “the aspirations of the people of Myanmar are not stifled by violence.” When Myanmar’s military took control of the country, it arrested political leaders and activists, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint. Citizens have taken to the streets to protest in cities throughout the country, and military response has been increasingly violent. Many of Myanmar’s journalists have gone into hiding, but international media reported the military shot and killed at least 13 protesters March 3. Pope Francis asked that “young people of that beloved land be granted the hope of a future where hatred and injustice make way for encounter
U.S. HOUSE PASSES EQUALITY ACT IN A 224-206 VOTE WASHINGTON • The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act in a 224-206 vote Feb. 25. A couple days ahead of the vote, the chairmen of five U.S. bishops’ committees said its mandates will “discriminate against people of faith” by adversely affecting charities and their beneficiaries, conscience rights, women’s sports, “and sex-specific facilities.” The bill, known as H.R. 5 and recently reintroduced in the House, also will provide for taxpayer funding of abortion and limit freedom of speech, the chairmen said in a Feb. 23 letter to all members of Congress. H.R. 5 amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit and jury duty. “Human dignity is central to what Catholics believe,” they said, and the church serves “all people, without regard to race, religion or any other characteristic. Rather than affirm human dignity in ways that meaningfully exceed existing practical protections, the Equality Act would discriminate against people of faith,” they said. “It would also inflict numerous legal and social harms on Americans of any faith or none.” For more on the Equality Act and the full text of the letter from the bishops to members of Congress visit TrentonMonitor.com>NEWS>WORLD&NATION 28 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
Sister Ann Nu Thawng, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis Xavier, kneels in front of police and soldiers during an anti-coup protest in Myitkyina, Myanmar, Feb. 28. On a day when 18 anti-coup protesters were shot dead, media reported that Sister Thawng implored troops to not shoot civilians and that her actions protected protesters. CNS photo/ courtesy Myitkyina News Journal
and reconciliation.” Go to TrentonMonitor.com>NEWS>WORLD& NATION for expanded coverage on the Myanmar conflict.
BIDEN BEGINS TALKS WITH MEXICO TOUCHING ON IMMIGRATION, VIRGIN OF GUADALUPE CHALATENANGO, El Salvador • U.S. President Joe Biden and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador began bilateral cooperation talks March 1 with humor, a focus on limiting immigration to the U.S. and talk about Our Lady of Guadalupe. “In Mexico we had a president who dominated the country for 34 years, his name was Porfirio Díaz, who said ‘poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States,’” López Obrador told Biden during the meeting conducted by videoconference. “Now I can say that it is wonderful for Mexico to be close to God and not so far from the United States.” Smiling at the comment and setting a neighborly tone, Biden reportedly told López Obrador that while the two nations have not always been the best of friends, under his administration the U.S. would treat Mexico as its equal. Mexico is an important player in the administration’s plan for Latin America, which seeks to deal with limiting the flow of migrants from Mexico and neighboring countries to the south by promoting a better way of life in the region. In an earlier readout of a January call between the two leaders, the White House said Biden and López Obrador had “agreed to work closely to stem the flow of irregular migration to Mexico and the United States, as well as to promote development in the Northern Triangle of Central America.” – Catholic News Service
Year of St. Joseph
Guardian of the Redeemer and his Church A message from
BISHOP DAVID M. O’CONNELL, C.M.
f it were not for the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, and her “yes” to God, the world would have never heard of Joseph, the “carpenter of Nazareth.” And, yet, this man of whom the Holy Scriptures say so very little is the Universal Patron of the Catholic Church. This title, first given to St. Joseph 150 years ago (December 8, 1870) by Blessed Pope Pius IX, prompted our Holy Father Pope Francis to declare on December 8, 2020, an entire year dedicated to his memory. But what do we know about St. Joseph? Early in Matthew’s Gospel, the “Infancy Narratives” introduce Joseph, son of Jacob, as “the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah” (Matthew 1: 16). The following brief story tells of how Mary pledged to be married to Joseph but “found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). Now Joseph was a “righteous man, unwilling to expose her to shame, so he decided to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:19).” God intervened in a dream through an angel, revealing his divine intention, and St. Mary of the Pines Church, Manahawkin
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Year of St. Joseph
Joseph’s silence speaks volumes Continued from 29
Joseph “did as the angel had commanded him and took Mary into his home as his wife (Matthew 1:20-24).” This passage calls to mind the notions of honor and commitment as they apply to Joseph. Matthew next presents Joseph, again responding to an angel of the Lord in a dream, taking Mother and Child “to the Land of Israel, to the region of Galilee” and settling “in a town called Nazareth so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘he shall be called a Nazorean’ (Matthew 2:13-15;23).” Here Joseph demonstrates his care for the Holy Family through obedience. Jesus is later identified as “the carpenter’s son (Matthew 13:55).” Luke’s Gospel version of the “Infancy Narratives” portrays “Joseph, of the House of David” engaged to Mary (Luke 1:27) traveling with his pregnant wife “from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem” since that was his lineage and Caesar Augustus had ordered a census of the whole world be taken (Luke 2:1; 4-5).” It was during that trip, while in Bethlehem, that the Child Jesus was born (Luke 2:6-7). It was there that the shepherds first witnessed the Holy Family (Luke 2:16-17). This passage reveals Joseph’s fortitude and perseverance. Faithful to the Law of Moses, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Jerusalem for the prescribed ritual consecration of the Child when they encountered the holy man Simeon in the temple, who praised God and exclaimed, “My eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel (Luke 2:25-32).” Luke writes that “the Child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him (Luke 2:33).” Joseph was a faithful religious man who was open to the will of God. When Jesus had turned twelve, Joseph and Mary, after their annual Jewish custom of returning to Jerusalem for Passover, began their journey home. The boy Jesus, however, “remained behind in Jerusalem but his parents did not know it (Luke 2:43).” After a day’s travel, not finding him among their caravan, they returned to Jerusalem only to discover the boy “in the temple,
sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking questions (Luke 2:44-47).” They were surprised and expressed their anxiety, but Jesus explained to them, “I must be in my Father’s house (Luke 2:49).” The boy Jesus then returned to Nazareth and “was obedient to them” as he “advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man (Luke2:51-52).” Joseph showed himself to be a loving and protective “father.” Joseph was mentioned again in Luke’s “Genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3:30)” at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry at age thirty as he had also been listed in the “genealogy” of the first chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. The two evangelists were careful to identify Joseph’s Davidic ancestry in the long line of Jewish holy men and his role in salvation history. Although Mark’s Gospel begins with Jesus’ Baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist without any preliminary “Infancy Narratives,” he does refer to Jesus as “the carpenter” – reflecting Joseph’s trade – and as the “son of Mary (Mark 6:3).” John’s Gospel does not focus much on the human origins of Jesus but makes one reference to his family and to Joseph: “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? (John 6:42).” John also notes the inhabitants of Jerusalem, questioning Jesus’ messianic role, saying, “But we know where he is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from (John 7:27).” Joseph was a working man, a “carpenter” although the Greek word “tekton” used in the Scripture to refer to him has multiple translations. He was the husband of Mary. He was head of the Holy Family. He lived with them in Nazareth. He was a faithful and observant Jew. He was, as Pope St. John Paul II wrote, the ”guardian of the Redeemer (John Paul II, apostolic exhortation Redemptoris Custos, August 15, 1989).” It is clear that Joseph plays a significant role in the life of Jesus and, as such, in the history of human salvation, but it is also true that the
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Scriptures do not present a great deal of specific information “about” him. We don’t know the story of his own family background or his age at Jesus’ Birth. We don’t have many details about the life and activities of the Holy Family. We don’t know when he died or where he was buried. Perhaps, however, the relative historical and scriptural “silence” about Joseph the man, in itself, speaks something spiritually instructive to us about Joseph the saint. “Let us allow ourselves to be ‘infected’ by the ‘silence of St. Joseph.’ We have much need of it in a world which is often too noisy, which does not encourage reflection and listening to the voice of God (Benedict XVI, “Angelus,” December 18, 2005).” Although historical writings about Joseph appear in the early centuries of the Catholic Church in the theological works of St. Jerome (342/347420) and St. Augustine (354-430), formal devotion to him as the “guardian” of the Lord Jesus dates back to the early Middle Ages, around 800 A.D. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote of the significance of St. Joseph in the Incarnation of Christ and the necessity of the care and protection of a human father in the culture of his time. He extended the same need to the Church. “There are many saints to whom God has given the power to assist us in the necessities of life, but the power given to St. Joseph is unlimited: It extends to all our needs, and all those who invoke him with confidence are sure to be heard (Thomas Aquinas, “The Childhood of Christ,” Summa Theologiae: Volume 52: 3a. 31-37).” Great saints, Doctors of the Church, theologians, popes and spiritual writers in subsequent centuries have added greatly to the development of what has become the Church’s “Josephology,” or study of St. Joseph and his significance within and to the Catholic Church. It is astounding to consider his spiritual impact on Catholic faith and devotion, in countless prayers and intercessions, in artwork, statuary, music and the patronage of cathedrals, churches and schools all over the world, given the scarcity of historical and scriptural witness to his privileged role in the life of Christ and his eventual declaration by Blessed Pope Pius IX as Universal Patron of the Catholic Church 150 years ago.
“It is astounding to consider his spiritual impact on Catholic faith and devotion.” In the encyclical containing that declaration and establishing March 19 as a solemn feast of the “Spouse of Mary,” Pope Pius IX proclaimed, “Him whom countless kings and prophets had desired to see, Joseph not only saw but conversed with, and embraced in paternal affection and kissed. He most diligently reared him whom the faithful were to receive as the bread that came down from heaven whereby they might obtain eternal life. … Pope Pius IX, in order to entrust himself and all the faithful to the Patriarch St. Joseph’s most powerful patronage … has solemnly declared him Patron of the Catholic Church (Pius IX, encyclical Quemadmodum Deus, December 8, 1870).” Nineteen years later, Pope Leo XIII published an encyclical that affirmed his predecessor’s sentiments, writing that “in giving Joseph the Blessed Virgin as his spouse, God appointed him to be not only her life’s companion, the witness of her maidenhood, the protector of her honor but also, by virtue of their conjugal tie, a participant in her sublime dignity (Leo XIII, encyclical Quamquam pluries, August 15, 1889).” Pope Benedict XV on July 25, 1920, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the original declaration, proclaiming “with the flourishing of the faithful’s devotion to St. Joseph, there will simultaneously increase as a consequence their devotion to the Holy Family of Nazareth of which he was the august head. … In fact, through Joseph we go directly to Mary, and through Mary, to Jesus, the origin of all holiness (Benedict XV, motu proprio Bonum sane, July 25, 1920).” Ite ad Joseph, Go to Joseph! More recently, Pope St. John Paul II, on the 100th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical referred to earlier, took the occasion to speak of Joseph as “the first guardian of the Divine Mystery” along with Mary, and the one who “shares in this final phase of God’s self-revelation in Christ.” For his part, St. Joseph represents “the sanctification of daily life, a sanctification which each person must acquire according to his or her own state, and one which can be promoted according to a model accessible to all people (John Paul II, apostolic exhortation Redemptoris Custos, August 15, 1989).” What a marvelous presence St. Joseph has in the life and history of the Catholic Church! All of the titles and patronages attributed to him are certainly richly deserved despite the “silence” that
surrounds his brief appearance in the earliest days of Christ in the Gospels. It is most fitting then that Our Holy Father Pope Francis has designated the current year in his honor as Universal Patron of the Catholic Church. In his apostolic letter Patris corde, “With a Father’s Heart,” Pope Francis reminds us of all the ways St. Joseph has quietly yet unmistakably touched the Church with paternal love from the moment of the Incarnation. “Each of us,” Pope Francis writes, “can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation. A word of recognition and of gratitude is due to them all (Francis, apostolic letter, Patris corde, December 8, 2020).” “A beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father, a creatively courageous father, a working father, a father in the shadows,” St. Joseph has something to teach and to offer us all, especially but not exclusively to fathers and spouses. “St. Joseph, as a model of
quiet prayer and closeness to Jesus, also invites us to think about the time we devote to prayer each day.” Pope Francis expresses his hope that his apostolic letter would “increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.” To that end, again, so many prayers, chaplets and novenas have been written and recited through the ages; so many paintings, statues and stained-glass windows have been created and admired; so many people and things have borne his name. And to think that none of that would have been possible were it not for the woman he loved and the God in whom they both trusted. She said “yes” to God first and invited him to be part of her “yes,” an invitation he humbly and faithfully accepted. And the world would never be the same. As he drew his apostolic letter to a close, Pope Francis has offered us a prayer to say with him in this “Year of St. Joseph”: Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage, and defend us from every evil. Amen.
RETREAT FOR YOUNG ADULTS TO FOCUS ON INSPIRATIONS OF ST. JOSEPH FROM STAFF REPORTS
St. John the Baptist Parish, Allentown Courtesy photo
Young adults ages 18-39 from throughout the Diocese are invited to participate in a virtual retreat March 12-13 in commemoration of the Year of St. Joseph. The retreat, themed “Not Your Average Joe,” will be based on the inspirations of St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, and include a mix of online gatherings and “on your own” talks and reflections. On March 12, the retreat begins at 7 p.m. and includes prayer, a live Q&A and a keynote address on “The Dreams of St. Joseph: Listening to God’s Call” with Father Jason Hage, director of vocation Continued on 65
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Year of St. Joseph
Visitation Church • Brick
and the Diocese of Trenton In the Diocese of Trenton, several churches and institutions take St. Joseph as their patron: St. Joseph Church, Trenton St. Joseph Church, Beverly St. Joseph Church, Keyport St. Joseph Church, Millstone St. Joseph Church and School, Toms River St. Joseph by the Sea Retreat House, Mantoloking St. Joseph Skilled Nursing Center, Lawrenceville Holy Family Church, Keyport Holy Family Church, Lakewood
St. Veronica Rectory Howell
St. Joseph’s presence is enshrined not only in the names of these sacred places, but also in artwork, statuary and stained-glass representations in many of our places of worship throughout the Diocese. The most common, of course, are depictions of St. Joseph in Nativity scenes and creches that decorate our churches at Christmastime. He is also often portrayed as head of the Holy Family, next to Mary and Jesus. In other places, statues of St. Joseph are positioned in churches for the inspiration and veneration of the faithful, sometimes as shrines surrounded with devotional candles. Some statues depict St. Joseph with or holding the Child Jesus. Others have him holding a lily, symbolizing the purity of his spousal relationship to the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as the virtue of integrity. Still others show him holding a “carpenter’s square” tool, representing his own trade as a workman as well as accuracy and truth. He is also portrayed holding a walking staff, suggesting that he was much older than Mary. Sometimes, the staff is seen as a symbol of his authority in the Holy Family. Occasionally, in artwork, St. Joseph is painted or depicted with two turtle doves, representing the customary offering made during
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visits to the temple in Jerusalem as mentioned in St. Luke’s Gospel. There are, of course, other presentations of St. Joseph in works of art, drawn from the stories and references to him contained in Scripture and leg-
St. Mary Church Bordentown
Incarnation Church Ewing
ends that have accompanied traditional devotions. Over the centuries, St. Joseph has been designated as Patron of the Universal Church (1870) and is venerated as the patron of workers, husbands, fathers, travelers, immigrants, unborn children, and so forth. St. Joseph is also called the “patron of a happy death,” since unverified legend has it that he died in the arms of Jesus. The Church celebrates two solemnities in honor of St. Joseph: March 19, the Solemnity of Joseph, Spouse of Mary, and May 1, the Solemnity of Joseph the Worker.
St Catharine Church • Holmdel
Nativity Church • Fair Haven
St. Joseph Church • Toms River
For more images of St. Joseph from around the Diocese, visit TrentonMonitor.com
St. Joachim Church Trenton
St. Alphonsus Church Hopewell
St. Gregory the Great Church Hamilton Square
St. Thomas More Church Manalapan
St. Michael Church • West End
St. James Church • Trenton
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Year of the Family
Year of the Family to be one of special activities for Diocese FROM STAFF REPORTS
hether single, married, child or adult, everyone is part of a family. “We need to think of ourselves more and more as a single family dwelling in a common home,” Pope Francis has emphasized. Focusing on the central role of the family in the domestic Church, the Diocese of Trenton will join ecclesial communities across the world in
observing the Year of the Family proclaimed by Pope Francis, which is March 19, 2021, to June 26, 2022. “The Year of the Family is an opportunity to shine light on ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ a document that acknowledges the unique and often challenging situations in every family but provides clear pastoral instruction for our clergy, our lay ministers and our families in how to live the Joy of the Gospel each day,” said Peg Hensler, diocesan associate director for marriage ministries and NFP. The timing of feasts and celebrations of the Church always carries special meaning, as is the case with the Year of the Family. Pope Francis made the announcement Dec. 27, coinciding with the Feast of the Holy Family. March 19 is the feast day of St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus and patron saint of the universal Church. It is also the five-year anniversary of the
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promulgation of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love). The Feast of the Annunciation takes place March 25, completing the family picture with the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus. And on June 26 of next year, the X World Meeting of Families in Rome will take place with the Pope. During the year, diocesan events will be coordinated through the lens of the family, too. For example, annual celebrations such as Las Antorchas Guadalupanas, the Bishop’s Anniversary Blessings and more will be observed with extra focus on the special role families have in the Catholic Church. There are also plans for a statewide NJ Provincial Love and Family Life Virtual Conference for families June 21-26. “Our goal in the Diocese of Trenton is to be a channel of God’s infinite mercy for families in every stage of life who may be dealing with extraordinary difficulties, and to ignite the spark of missionary discipleship that exists within every
MORE ONLINE For updated information through the year, visit DioceseofTrenton.org. What is your role in the Church? Visit dioceseoftrenton.org/ evangelization-family-life and read through “Together In Mission” resources. Angie and Mike Fuith of Stillwater, Minn., attend a Prayer Service for Life with their 3-month-old daughter, Gianna, whom they are in the process of adopting. The upcoming Year of the Family proclaimed by Pope Francis is an opportunity to acknowledge all of the loving, challenging, happy, sad and unique situations every family goes through. CNS photo/Dave Hrbacek, The Catholic Spirit
Catholic family,” Hensler said. From young adults, newly married and families with young, school-aged children or adolescents, to those single, married or in their senior years, faithful in every stage of life will be encouraged to embrace their role in the Church. “The pandemic experience has highlighted the central role of the family as the domestic Church, and has shown the importance of community ties between families,” the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life in Rome said. Pope Francis reminded Catholics in “Amoris Laetitia” that everyone can participate in the great human family by remembering their treatment of others. “The words ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘sorry’ are essential for healthy family life,” he wrote. “Love seeks to build relationships and to encourage others … Love rejoices in the success of others, not in their failures. Joy in the success of others is a fruit of love.”
Faithful encouraged to ponder Mary, human dignity during Annunciation BY JENNIFER MAURO Managing Editor
led by faithful from around the Diocese and a reflection intended to spur further conversation. “This day gives us an opportunity to become more open to how God announces his plans to us and how he awaits our consent,” Hendricks said. “We want to help provide opportunities so the Annunciation can be better celebrated in the homes of our Catholics, whether they’re single, married, or families with children of different ages.” For example, families are encouraged to read the Annunciation story to their children and relate it to their own experience of saying “yes” to bearing a child;
n oasis during Lent.” That is how Rachel Hendricks likes to think of the moment the Blessed Virgin Mary accepted that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit and become the mother of Jesus. The Solemnity of the Annunciation “offers our Church communities a unique opportunity to celebrate not only Mary’s ‘yes,’ but recognize the moment of the Incarnation of Jesus as a tiny embryo, which really is the moment that changed Salvation History forever,” said Hendricks, diocesan Respect Life coordinator. “We want to make sure that we’re offering a lot of opportunities for Catholics to grow in their understanding of the respect for human dignity that was brought forth right at that moment.” As such, the “The Annunciation,” by American artist Henry Ossawa Tanner is on diocesan Department display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Courtesy photo of Evangelization and Family Life is planning celebrate with special recipes steeped in a daily novena in English and Spanish European traditions; pray for expecting from March 17-25 on diocesan social parents and couples hoping to conceive media outlets and has distributed digital or adopt, and to learn more about the resources to pastors, parishes and Respect Life ministries to encourage educa- date’s connection to the Crucifixion. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen extion, dialogue and activities around the plained in his book “Life of Christ”: “Every Solemnity of the Annunciation, which other person who ever came into this is March 25. Bishop David M. O’Connell, world came into it to live. [Jesus] came C.M., will give a brief reflection on the into it to die. … The Scriptures describe first day of the novena. Continued on 37 The novena will include daily prayer
To listen to the novena in English for the Solemnity of the Annunciation, visit facebook.com/RespectLifeMinistryDioceseofTrenton or facebook.com/dotfamilylife For español, visit facebook.com/catolicosdetrenton March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 35
Year of the Family
‘Great men aren’t born’
Watch Bishop O’Connell’s homily at YouTube.com/trentondiocese
Men’s conference offers challenges, advice for fathers, spouses, sons Looking to the lives of Jesus and the saints can help men become the fathers their sons and daughters need. Unsplash photo / Kelly Sikkema
BY DAVID KARAS Correspondent
ajor League Baseball star Mark Teixeira admits the onset of fatherhood was a game-changer for his commitment to his Catholic faith. “When I was younger, I was singularly focused on baseball,” he said. “When we had our first son, and I realized how hard fatherhood is, how selfish I am, how difficult it is putting it all together, I realized I couldn’t put God off to the side.”
“It’s always good to hear men on fire for their faith.” Teixeira – whose career included playing for the Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Anaheim Angels and New York Yankees, as well as winning the World Series in 2009 – was one of the live presenters at the annual Catholic Men for Jesus Christ conference, held virtually
Feb. 19-21. It was the first national conference. At the onset, some 10,000 attendees across the country were challenged with a deep question: “What does it mean to truly live your Catholic Faith as a man in every area of life?” Throughout the weekend, live presentations, more than 40 on-demand sessions and a Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., sought to offer answers, and to provide guidance for men seeking to live their faith in the role of father, spouse, son and disciple. “It’s always good to hear men on fire for their faith,” said George Rose, CMJC treasurer, one of the conference organizers and a member of St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton. ROLE MODELS NEEDED Dr. Ryan Hanning, a professor who teaches theology, philosophy and Church history, confronted the concept of toxic masculinity during one of the presentations. “The problem is not masculinity; the
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problem is the distortion of masculinity. All sin is a distortion of what is good, beautiful and true,” Hanning said. “We don’t want to erase the masculinity, we want to liberate it to become what it truly is.” The father of 10 spoke about the constant struggle that many men face, and some of the effects of distorted masculinity – including abuse, pornography, “checking out” of family lives, and a lack of mentoring – that can stand in the way of men becoming the fathers their sons and daughters need. “Great men aren’t born, they are made,” he said. “The truth is, that there is no way to become who we are called to be without taking seriously our call to holiness, without taking seriously the truth that we are not made for sin.” Hanning suggested looking to the life of Jesus as a model. “We need to look no further to find the true masculinity,” he said, adding, “Look to the saints, who themselves struggle with some of the same vices you struggle with.”
Year of the Family
THE ‘FORGOTTEN TRUTHS’ In his presentation, Dr. Ryan Hanning, co-author of “The Willpower Advantage: Building Habits for Lasting Happiness,” detailed four “forgotten truths” that he says are key for men to become the virtuous fathers that their sons and daughters need: God wants us to be happy: “God loves us just the way we are, yet way too much to leave us that way.” Hanning reminds all that God is calling us to conversion, and is always reaching out to liberate us from sin. The Christian life takes work: “God is good, and invites us to cooperate with his goodness.” Sin stands in the way of that. Grace builds upon nature: “Nature is meant to point us towards heaven. The world around us is good. It has fallen, yet (is) redeemed by the Lord.” Hanning posits that some have forgotten who they are and have allowed sin to invade their personality. We can’t do it alone. We need each other: “We cannot grow in virtue in isolation.” Hanning challenges men to talk with one another about their personal growth in virtue, and to offer support and companionship in that journey. ~ Compiled by David Karas
LOVE AND MARRIAGE Other presentations focused on topics like marriage, and ways that men can strengthen their connection with their spouses. “Whether it is learning, living or loving, we have lots to do in every stage of our marriage,” said Damon Owens, an international speaker and evangelist who leads Joyful Ever After. Owens spoke about the concept of “romantic marriage” that is so prevalent in today’s society, emphasizing that marriage is about so much more. “Our whole concept of what marriage is, is wrapped around the assumption that we fall in love, that there is a physical attraction, there is a connection,” he said. “Marriage is not just a private endeavor. It is literally at the heart of God’s salvation plan for all of mankind.” David Dawson, director of the Office of Parish Support for the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in South Louisiana, addressed spiritual unbalance in marriage – a source of division for many couples and something he and his wife struggled with themselves. “I assumed that when got married, there would be this sort of sacramental mind meld, that … all of a sudden, God would put us on the same page,” said Dawson, who is a father of eight. “I married somebody completely different from me, [and] it’s supposed to be like that.
God doesn’t just fix that; he doesn’t just bridge that gap.” Exploring that concept, Dawson has discovered, is key to helping couples grow closer. Along the way, he and his wife have learned to better walk together on their journey toward Christ. “This is the spiritual maturity God has asked me to live,” he said. “My efforts to turn toward her… that has been the difference maker.” FAMILY HEALING Tom McCabe, a writer, educator, consultant and speaker with experience in diocesan, school and parish settings, focused his presentation on forgiveness as a key to healing the whole family.
While everyone wants to forgive, he said, things like angst, hurt and vengeance can get in the way of that healthy process of forgiveness. “Harboring unforgiveness, or holding a resentment, is like emotional constipation,” he said. “It’s like drinking poison, but you’re expecting somebody else to die.” McCabe spoke about the psychological, emotional and even physical effects of living in a state of unforgiveness, and offered some tips for men to learn how to better extend forgiveness in their lives. Those include acting with mercy toward others, and training oneself to forgive and forget the little things. He also suggests seeking forgiveness for wrongs one has committed against others. While this year’s conference was held virtually, Rose said that the format allowed for higher attendance, and that the live programming allowed for genuine interaction as well. He related the story of an attendee who shared during the interview with Teixeira that he was divorced, and was struggling with the fact that his adult children were not going to Mass. In addition to getting encouragement from Teixeira, the men in the discussion prayed, Rose said. “It was a very moving moment.” To learn more about the annual Catholic Men for Jesus Christ conference, and to purchase on-demand access to all of the conference sessions and content, visit www.catholicmenforjesuschrist.org/2021mensconference.
Annunciation highlights Mary, Jesus connection Continued from 35
Him as ‘the Lamb slain as it were, from the beginning of the world.’ His has been the only life in the world that was ever lived backward.” Hendricks explained that much relevance – rightly so – is placed on the Birth of Jesus that is celebrated on Christmas Day. But there is also the moment of conception nine months prior. “Mary, as the mother of our Lord, wasn’t only a temporary tabernacle,” she continued, explaining that research shows
how both mother and baby benefit from being connected through the placenta during pregnancy – that cells migrate between the two (microchimerism). “God, who is a community of persons in the Trinity, a relational being, has created us to be relational, too. And not just in a spiritual sense, but this relational connection, one of mutual giving and receiving.” “Reflect on this as you ponder the Incarnation of our Lord in Mary’s womb,” she said.
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Campus ministries keep mission W BY LOIS ROGERS Correspondent
hen the COVID-19 pandemic arrived last year, maintaining community became a top goal for college campus ministers in the Diocese of Trenton and beyond. The quest could be said to reflect St. John Paul II’s 1987 observation that even in “the context of changing and challenging times,” Catholic universities and scholars “bear so much promise under the action of the Spirit of truth and love.” Such was the case for Jeff Schaffer, director of campus ministry at Lakewood’s Georgian Court University, who explained that it was a priority to go virtual as quickly as possible to keep students connected to each other and their faith. Over the past year, offerings have included livestream liturgies, Masses, prayer services and more. “The presence of the pandemic did not deprive me of the experience to participate in events and programs,” said GCU student Jhelaine Palo. The flexibility of the online format, she said, has been a great advantage since her typical schedule would have limited her ability to attend retreats and programs. For example, a recent online retreat, she said, “allowed me to share my faith with others, expanding to other components of my faith such as service and social justice. It reminded me that faith is more than just contemplation. It also involves action.” Cristina D’Averso-Collins, director of Catholic ministry at Monmouth University, West Long Branch, said the students and ministry
Georgian Court University, Lakewood, has a long tradition of campus community, as seen here in 2018 as students prepare sandwiches for a local nonprofit. The university has continued to keep togetherness a priority, ensuring that students are staying connected virtually during the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Tyler Chamra of Chamra’s Camera/Georgian Court University
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Theologian Dr. Edward Sri takes part in a virtual meeting with students from the Catholic ministry at Monmouth University, West Long Branch. Courtesy photo
team continue to adapt to the pandemic’s restrictions. “When it [the pandemic] started, we met online once a week with the students,” she said. As the pandemic wore on, there were luncheon meetings in a video setting. Speakers included Dr. Edward Sri, the noted theologian who appears regularly on Eternal Word Television Network. The campus ministry also launched a podcast and recently recorded a Lenten episode, and the students gather once a week for Lectio Divina Scripture readings. They are also invited to attend Sunday Mass during Lent at nearby St. Michael Church, where D’Averso-Collins is a parishioner
front and center in virtual environment and serves as a cantor. “The students do need each other,” she said. “Being able to share sacramental graces is such an important part of our culture.” MEETING THE CHALLENGE Across the nation, continuing to foster college campus communities during COVID-19 is viewed as a necessity for students dealing with the loss of in-person classroom and social relationships. As such, creating virtual ministries for higher education was a key subject of the recent annual meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, held online in early February.
The speakers – administrators from Catholic universities across the nation – focused on visions such as online liturgies accompanied by email, blog and video communication. Webinars, retreats and a variety of programs augmented by virtual office hours for students with spiritual and emotional needs were recommended. “The pandemic is our moment, a time to reground ourselves in mission and express our love of learning, focus on our charisms and recover the gifts of the communal spirit with healthy assistance from technology,” said Shannon Green, director of the CSJ Institute at Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles. Online assistance is something GCU
has found helpful in more ways than one. “Last spring, we did a series of short video reflections that were posted on YouTube that were quite popular,” Schaffer said. “We plan to do another series for [the annual] Critical Concerns Week,” March 18-24. GCU’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process went online, too, he noted. There were several virtual retreats on the university’s educational platform throughout the school year, including “Leadership for Social Transformation,” “How Long O Lord?” during Advent, and “Mardi Gras to Lent: From Feasting to Fasting.” Continued on 40
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SUBURBAN PHILADELPHIA March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 39
1/6/21 9:36 AM
College Guide Students need community Continued from 39
The university has also focused on the stress the pandemic has caused students. “The counseling department has made efforts to make themselves available for virtual sessions,” Schaffer said. He noted that the university staff is mindful of the strain students are feeling in these “uncharted waters” – not just from school, but from family and societal issues as well. AN ONLINE COMMUNITY As students reflected on their virtual faith sharing experiences during the pandemic, it was apparent that the efforts to foster community and faith have proved fruitful. “This has really been an uplifting moment,” said Missionary Sister of the Precious Blood Pascaline Musyoka, a first-year transfer student at Georgian Court University. “While the pandemic paralyzed every other activity, I had the privilege of participating in almost all the spiritual activities, which happened to relieve me from the stress-condensed environment of having to be glued to a machine,” said Sister
Pascaline, who is from Kenya. Speaking of a retreat experience, she said, “[It] was very impressive because I felt as though this was a family coming together despite the distance existing between us. Unknown to each other physically, meeting online was so consoling and encouraging. There was much to gain from these opportunities that I can hardly “The express.” Abigail A. Miller, president students do of the board of students of the Catholic Campus Ministry at need each Monmouth University and its other.” pro-life chair, said that when the lockdown first began, she felt disconnected from the ministry. “Many of the students were at home in different states when the semester started,” she said, “but things improved when the online sessions began.” She continued, “People started thinking of these ideas, speakers started to appear and there was our weekly Lectio Divina which Cristina leads. It’s a great time through conversation. Things feel much more normal than they did.”
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March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 41
College Guide Federal ‘free’ tuition could leave students adrift, college leaders say BY EMMALEE ITALIA
The problems with free tuition
hould college tuition be free at public institutions of higher learning? And how will that impact private colleges, including Catholic universities? This topic was one of a multitude discussed during the annual meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities Feb. 5-6.
4-year completion rates
“It’s about serving them well, not having them borrow money and drop out.”
“Free tuition isn’t free,” said Donald E. Heller. “Somebody has to pay – if not the student, someone else is picking up the cost of tuition, unless you can convince all your faculty and staff to work for free and your vendors to give you everything you need to run a university for free.” Currently the vice president of operations at University of San Francisco, Calif., Heller addressed online attendees during a virtual session titled “The Free
Public 4-year All
Private NFP 4-year White
This graphic shows the difference in graduation rates between institutions of higher learning, contrasting public four-year and private four-year schools, by ethnic background. The data indicate a higher graduation rate across all ethnicities at private institutions, underscoring the presenters’ concerns that students taking advantage of free tuition at public colleges will be attending schools that have an inferior track record in graduating students. Graphic courtesy of ACCU Tuition Movement and Catholic Higher Education.” Fellow presenters included Linda Lemur, president of Le Moyne College, a Jesuit college in Syracuse, N.Y., and Daniel J. Elsener, president of Marian University, a Franciscan college in Indianapolis, Ind. The idea of free college is nothing new. It again came to the forefront, however, during Joe Biden’s U.S. presidential campaign and promises to support legislation that would make tuition free at public institutions of higher learning. President Biden’s plan, drawn heavily from one proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), would allow a family income of up to $125,000 for public four-year universities, with no income cap for attending community colleges.
42 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
Funding the plan, Heller explained, would be tax-based – one-third state and two-thirds federal cost share – for an estimated total of $683 billion over 11 years. The first year alone would cost $50 billion. Ramifications of the free tuition program could be devastating – not only for taxpayers, but also for students who take advantage of the program, as well as private universities, which do not receive federal or state funding, the speakers said. For example, LeMura cited her state’s Excelsior program, which provides free tuition at state and city institutions for families and individuals making up to $125,000 per year. LeMura detailed how instead of helping students, it has instead encouraged them
to apply to schools that don’t have the track record of private institutions, and has caused enrollment at schools like Le Moyne to go down. “[Excelsior] aids those that already pay a low amount of tuition, so poor students are not really benefitting as we might think they would,” she said. “It’s taking away from the private sector and putting some of these students into some institutions whose retention and graduation rates [are less successful].” All three presenters advocated for other means to offer tuition assistance to lower-income families through use of larger Pell Grants, tuition assistance programs and scholarships. Heller’s proposition is to put the same money into federal Pell Grants, which would allow the grants to double from the current maximum amount of $6,195 to $12,690. “It would target the students whom
For more information on the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and its February virtual conference, visit www.accunet.org. we know really need the assistance,” he suggested, “and it would allow students to use the Pell at any institution in the country, including institutions like ours that have higher tuition rates.” The state-based free tuition program in New York “is a stark departure from the bipartisan commitment to fund students based on the institution that really represents the best match for a student’s career aspirations,” LeMura explained. “A better option in our view would have been to take those resources and put them in the tuition assistance program – a clear, means-tested program that has helped educate thousands over the decades.” Marian University gives scholarships to students who qualified for free and reduced lunches in their K-12 schools.
Elsener said that the scholarship option, as well as following each student with counseling, have resulted in their graduating at a higher rate than the general population. “If I would have told them ‘come here for free,’ I would have offered them a commodity, something not all that special that they didn’t have to invest in,” he said. “We raised money from foundations to put in systems and processes to coach and mentor these students.” “It’s not just about getting in the door,” Elsener continued. “Our voices should be out in the public square. It’s about serving them well, not having them borrow money and drop out … Let’s be targeted, let’s make sure that whatever program we start can pass the next economic sobriety test.” B B. B.S .S. S. . i M N in in n C A EW E He sp om JO al or pu RS th ts te ca M r re a Sc Ad na ien m gem ce in ist en ra t tio n
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March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 43
Obispo escribe carta pastoral esperanzadora sobre la
Presencia de Dios
hora que la pandemia pasa el hito de un año entero y sigue presente en el 2021, un efecto secundario profundo ha surgido: el aislamiento. La experiencia no solo deja a personas separadas de los demás por la enfermedad, distanciamiento social y hacer cuarentena, sino que, a menudo, las deja “cuestionando dónde está Dios”, escribe el obispo David M. MARY CLIFFORD O’Connell, C.M., en su MORRELL nuevo escrito: “‘Y yo les Corresponsal aseguro que estaré con ustedes siempre’, una carta pastoral sobre la presencia de Dios”. El título de la carta viene del Evangelio de Mateo 28:20, que dice, “Y yo les aseguro que estaré con ustedes siempre, hasta el fin del mundo”. Publicada por escrito el 22 de febrero, 2021, en la Fiesta de la Silla de San Pedro, la carta pastoral fue publicada el 1 de marzo a través de los medios diocesanos como texto escrito y podcast en inglés y español. También fue enviada a todas las
Para leer y orar con la carta pastoral del obispo O’Connell, visite al PecesdeTrenton.org. 44 REVISTA EL MONITOR Marzo 2021
parroquias y escuelas para distribución en sus comunidades locales. En ésta, su tercera carta pastoral como el décimo Obispo de Trenton, el obispo O’Connell se enfoca en la realidad dolorosa de la separación y soledad, ofreciendo dirección a los fieles para profundizar la seguridad de la fe y recuperar un sentido de la presencia de Dios. El obispo también recuerda a quienes “el distanciamiento social ha sido su realidad durante mucho tiempo y no por ninguna opción propia: … los pobres, marginados, maltratados, quienes viven solos, ‘en cuarentena’ por cualquier razón. El distanciamiento social y aislamiento son sentencias impuestas por la sociedad sin ninguna posibilidad de la libertad. “… No podemos olvidarnos de ellos”. La primera carta pastoral por el obispo O’Connell, “Creo y creemos en la Iglesia: Una, santa, católica y apostólica”, fue publicada en el 2012 como respuesta al “Año de la Fe” que celebró el 50 aniversario del Segundo Concilio Vaticano y el 20 aniversario del Catequismo de la Iglesia Católica. Su segunda carta pastoral, “La misericordia y verdad se encontrarán”, fue publicada en el 2015 para observar el Año Jubilar de la Misericordia proclamado por el papa Francisco. Al presentar esta carta más reciente, el obispo O’Connell escribe: “Escribo esta carta pastoral no para intentar de comprobar la existencia de Dios ni convencer a los nocreyentes. Escribo simplemente como un creyente y pastor de otros creyentes en la Iglesia Católica para reafirmar la creencia fundamental y no-negociable que compartimos. Es decir que Dios existe”. Al reflexionar sobre los textos del maestro místico Eckhart, el obispo O’Connell reflexiona sobre la frase: “Es por lo que Dios está más cerca del alma de lo que lo está ella misma. Dios me es más próximo que yo mismo lo soy de mí mismo; mi ser”. En tres secciones particulares – la presencia de Dios, la práctica de la presencia de Dios, y vivir en la presencia de Dios – el obispo O’Connell estresa la importancia de la oración, enfatizando que “Reconocer a Dios y su presencia eterna es lo que da sentido y significado a todas nuestras ‘oraciones’. Es lo hace que ‘sean oraciones’”. El “punto clave”, escribe el obispo O’Connell sobre la carta pastoral, es reconocer que debemos, “como creyentes, ubicarnos en la presencia de Dios donde estemos y elevar nuestras vidas, sentimientos, necesidades, esperanzas y planes, nuestros queridos a Dios en oración. Y, entonces, dejarnos a vivir en la presencia de Dios”.
Se puede ver esta estatua de San José en la Iglesia San Antonio de Padua en Hightstown
Ventana pintada en la Casa Mercer • Princeton
Este cuadro de San José, padrastro del niño Jesús, está en la Parroquia San Bernabé en Bayville
San José: Guardián del Redentor y su Iglesia
Lea el mensaje por completo en PecesdeTrenton.org. Lo siguiente son extractos del mensaje sobre el Patrón de la Iglesia Universal
i no fuera por la Santa Virgen María, la Madre del Señor Jesucristo, y su “Sí” a Dios, el mundo nunca habrá oído de José, el “carpintero de Nazareth”. Aun así, este hombre de que las Santas Escrituras dicen tan poco es el patrón universal de la Iglesia Católica. Este título, entregado a San José hace 150 años (el 8 de diciembre, 1870) por el beato papa Pio IX, impulsó al nuestro Santo Padre el papa Francisco a declarar el 8 de diciembre, 2020, un año entero dedicado a su memoria.
Es claro que José lleva un papel grande en la vida de Jesús y, entonces, en la historia de la salvación, pero es cierto que las Escrituras no presentan mucha información específica “sobre” él. No sabemos nada sobre su propia familia ni su edad cuando Jesús nació. No tenemos muchos detalles sobre la vida y actividades de la Sagrada Familia. No sabemos cuándo murió ni dónde le enterraron. Quizás, sin embargo, el “silencio” relativo histórico y escritural sobre José el hombre, asimismo, nos dice algo instructivo espiritualmente sobre José el santo. “Dejémonos ‘contagiar’ por el silencio de san José. Nos es muy
necesario, en un mundo a menudo demasiado ruidoso, que no favorece el recogimiento y la escucha de la voz de Dios” (Benedicto XVI, “Ángelus”, 18 de diciembre, 2005).
OBISPO DAVID M. O’CONNELL, C.M.
Es asombroso considerar su impacto espiritual en la fe y devoción católica, en las oraciones e intercesiones innumerables, obras de arte, estatuas, música y su patronaje de catedrales, iglesias y escuelas de por todo el mundo, especialmente cuando uno reconoce lo poco testimonio histórico y espiritual sobre su papel privilegiado en la vida de Cristo y su declaración eventual por el beato papa Pio IX como el patrón universal de la Iglesia Católica hace 150 años.
Al mismo fin, de nuevo, se han escrito y recitado tantas oraciones, capillitas y novenas de por los tiempos; se han creado y admirado tantas pinturas, estatuas y ventanas pintadas; tantas personas y cosas han llevado su nombre. Y todo esto que no hubiera pasado ni hubiera sido posible si no fuera por la Mujer que amaba y el Dios en que ambos confiaban. Ella dijo “Sí” a Dios primero y le invitó a José a formar parte de su “Sí”, una invitación que él humilde y fielmente aceptó. Y el mundo nunca será igual.
Marzo 2021 REVISTA EL MONITOR 45
La cuarentena por COVID-19
y el desierto de Cuaresma POR EL PADRE CARLOS AGUIRRE Párroco de la
Parroquia Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, Trenton
ace ya un poco más de un año que el mundo entero comenzó a escuchar hablar sobre un nuevo virus, el Covid-19 que, poco a poco, nos fue cambiando nuestra forma de relacionarnos, de trabajar, de adorar. Nunca imaginamos llegar a vivir una pandemia como la que hemos experimentado. Poco a poco fuimos conociendo sus síntomas, formas de contagio y como evitarlo. Como sacerdote, pude conocer y acompañar el dolor de muchos pacientes a los cuales administré el Sacramento de la Unción y de muchas familias que perdieron a sus seres queridos debido a este virus. También experimenté a nivel familiar la pérdida de familiares en Colombia que perdieron su lucha contra esta enfermedad. Y finalmente, yo mismo viví los efectos del Covid-19 el año pasado y pude sentir la oración de intercesión de muchas familias por mi pronta recuperación. Al mismo tiempo, pude entender que Dios me brindaba una nueva oportunidad para crecer en mi relación con Dios y mi prójimo. Y esa oportunidad no solo se me ha dado a mí sino a todos nosotros para que nos reencontremos con Jesús y su Evangelio a través del perdón, del amor y de la misericordia con nosotros mismos, con nuestras familias y con nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Cristo. Y que mejor manera de comenzar este
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El padre Aguirre bendice las ofrendas durante una Misa transmitida por la página parroquial de Facebook. Imagen de una toma de pantalla
caminar que viviendo a plenitud este nuevo tiempo de Cuaresma el cual dimos inicio con el Miércoles de Ceniza este 17 de febrero. La Cuaresma es ese tiempo maravilloso que la Iglesia nos “Pidamos brinda para que vivamos un “nuevo encuentro con Jesús”, y menos y que mejor motivación que el hecho de poder estar con salud agradezcamos y con nuestras familias para dar más a Dios...” un cambio a nuestras vidas. Que este tiempo de oración, ayuno y sacrificio lo enfoquemos para que reflexionemos en cómo es nuestra relación con Dios y cómo la vivimos a través de nuestras acciones del día a día. Esta experiencia de la pandemia debe ayudarnos a dejar a un lado todas aquellas diferencias y actitudes que nos alejan de Dios y por consiguiente de nuestros hermanos. Comencemos a orar más y a quejarnos menos, dejemos a un lado las críticas y divisiones y comencemos a servir y ser medios de unidad fraternidad. Pidamos menos y agradezcamos más a Dios y permitamos que su voz nos guie en nuestras vidas y acciones. Que este tiempo de pandemia haga de esta Cuaresma la oportunidad precisa para redescubrir nuestra vocación de cristianos en el amor, en la oración, en el perdón y en el servicio.
Más milagros de Caná, como el agua al vino, ahora comunidad virtual se convierte en familia sólida MATTHEW GREELEY Reportaje de equipo
a boda de Caná ofrece una conexión íntima a Jesucristo y su Madre para matrimonios católicos y, por eso, la Iglesia usa las imágenes y detalles de aquel momento milagroso para el programa de preparación matrimonial, Pre-Caná. En la Diócesis de Trenton este año, el departamento diocesano de la evangelización y vida familiar coordinó un especial Rosario de Caná interactivo virtual en las fuentes digitales diocesanas como parte de la Semana Nacional del Matrimonio. Se llevaron a cabo los Rosarios virtuales en inglés y en español. Y, de manera muy obvia y especial, se vio muchísima participación e interés por parte de la comunidad hispana. Mucha gente participó, añadiendo su oración, intenciones, testimonios y amor. El Rosario de Caná brindó la oportunidad de iluminar el amor y compromiso de varias parejas de muchas partes de la familia diocesana durante el video en vivo cada noche de orar la Novena. Dirigido por Rocío y Alejandro Osorio, feligreses de la Parroquia San Antonio de Red Bank, matrimonios se unieron desde sus hogares para rezar el Rosario y alimentarse por las historias, oraciones, reflexiones y testimonios de las parejas líderes. Al repasar las experiencias, Josue Arriola, director del departamento organizador, compartió que hubo muchos logros durante la Novena. “Llevó sanación a muchas parejas que están pasando momentos difíciles al escuchar los testimonios de las parejas que lideraron los Santos Rosario”. En la última noche, al presentar el Rosario, Rocío agradeció a todos quienes los habían acompañado por las nueve noches de oración. “Gracias por estar en sintonía con nosotros y rezar con nosotros. Ojalá que nuestro pequeñísimo sacrificio que hicimos en estos nueve días haya servido y haya llevado paz y, como hemos dicho, hemos visto milagros y mucha felicidad en estos días”. Esa felicidad se puede ver en la decisión hecha por parejas participando en los Rosarios desde casa. Ya se ha visto un aumento de parejas que desean casarse por la Iglesia y también que quieren ser parte del equipo de Pre-Caná. Cada noche, Alejandro y Rocío coordinaron con otras parejas para liderar el Rosario y compartir. “Decidimos buscar a parejas que conocemos”, dijo Rocío, “que sabemos que están entregadas a la Iglesia que tienen años casados… que son un ejemplo”. Los encuentros impartieron sorpresas y momentos especiales para todos que participaron cada noche, pero una sorpresa muy grande pasó para Alejandro cuando su madre, que vive en el estado de Puebla, México, se puso en sintonía y vio a su hijo
dirigiendo el compartir tan profundo. En esta toma de El momento emocionante sirvió como pantalla, Alejandro y otra conexión entre todos en línea. Rocío Osorio, encargados “Para mí, que mi madre me ve ahí, de la Novena del Rosario es algo hermoso”, compartió Alejandro, de Caná, conversan con “porque hay veces que pensamos que Josue y Brenda Arriola y las bendiciones vienen porque tienes con la pareja invitada de un carro nuevo … o una casa nueva. Y esa noche, Ines y Bernabé eso es bueno, pero también es bueno Ramírez de la Parroquia estar bien con tu pareja. A veces San Marcos, Sea Girt. tenemos cosas buenas, pero hay un costo. Y a veces es la familia que tú sacrificas y eso no es el punto”. Las parejas que escucharon y escribieron en el chat sacaron mucho fruto del Rosario de Caná, pero tal vez los líderes aun más. “Aprendimos tantas cosas [durante la novena]”, dijo Alejandro. “Todos vivimos la vida diferente, pero todos tenemos problemas. Y escuchar a todas las parejas compartir, ‘Yo lo superé, nosotros lo superamos’, es algo hermoso. La Iglesia es como un mercadito. Te dan muchas cosas. Te da grupos de apoyo, los movimientos. No todos tal vez por el mismo rumbo, pero todos somos católicos”. Y, recordó Alejandro, todos se unieron gracias a la Santa Madre, María, quien intercede por nosotros ante su Hijo.
La próxima iniciativa de unirse en oración y testimonio se arranca el 17 de marzo para preparar a la comunidad para celebrar la Solemnidad de la Anunciación, el 25 de marzo. Siga Familia Vive Su Fe en Facebook para no perder otra gran oportunidad de fe y hermandad. Gracias y bendiciones a las parejas del Rosario de Caná:
Juan y Glenda Guzmán – Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Keyport Sabino Chico y Juana Grande – Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Lakewood Andrés y Maria Luna – Parroquia Santa Ana, Browns Mills Claudia y Jairo Torres – Parroquia San José, Trenton Olga y Walter Quiñones – Parroquia San José, Trenton Isabel y Fidencio Flores – Parroquia Madre de Misericordia, Asbury Park Vicente Vázques y Faine Corona – Parroquia San Antonio de Padua, Red Bank Alex y Lety Gonzáles – Parroquia San Pablo, Princeton Inés y Bernabé Ramírez – Parroquia San Marcos, Sea Girt Marzo 2021 LA REVISTA MONITOR 47
For the sake of the Kingdom
Father Garry Koch
MARCH 7 JESUS CHALLENGES US TO UPSET THE MONEYCHANGERS IN OUR LIVES Ex 20: 1-17 or 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17; 1Cor1:2225; Jn 2: 13-25
It is interesting to note how the Church sets in juxtaposition on the Third Sunday of Lent the giving of the Decalogue to Moses and then the account of Jesus as he throws the moneychangers out of the Temple. Hearing anew the reading of the Decalogue reminds us of the ideals with which we ought to embrace in our lives. It causes an immediate examination of conscience and challenges us to deepen our Lenten journey by making a good Confession and reorienting our lives toward the Lord. When we listen to the Commandments, each one of us hears them in a slightly 48 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
different way. There are particular sins that strike our hearts. Perhaps some unresolved sin from the distant past, or a more recent sin that has taken hold of us. Often we glance over the first three Commandments and focus instead on the middle five: Commandments four through eight. The last two seem to be more obscure – the experience of covetousness, while very real, demand from us a higher level of self-awareness. As Jesus enters the Temple precincts, he is struck by the profiteering taking place. They would only accept the Temple currency for the purchase of the animals and grains for sacrifice, so the people had to exchange their Roman coins for Temple coins. Of course, the moneychangers set the price for the exchange and you can be pretty certain it wasn’t based on a one-toone ratio. Jesus draws our attention to those first three Commandments. What do we owe God but the very best of who we are and what we have? The Laws of Moses mandate the choicest portions be given to the Lord and then to
the priest offering the sacrifice. Without even thinking, we can often treat our faith like any other commodity. Our Lenten challenge is to put the Lord first and foremost in our lives.
response-in-faith to the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.
MARCH 14 GOD’S LOVE FOR US IS MANIFEST THROUGHOUT THE SCRIPTURES
Jer 31:31-34; Heb 5: 7-9; Jn 12:20-33
2 Chr36: 14-16, 19-23; Eph 2:4-10; Jn 3:14-21
Again the Church offers a curious combination of Readings carrying an important underlying theme. In the last chapter of 2 Chronicles, the historian reflects on the events that had recently occurred in Judah and Jerusalem and their meaning. The Babylonians have destroyed Jerusalem, burned the Temple and exiled the king and the residents of the land. All of this took place in 586BC. The historian seems to calmly note that it was due to the sinfulness of the kings, the priests, and the people that God chastised and removed from the land. They sinned for generations and had turned their backs on the Covenant. God, while not forsaking the Covenant, allowed them to suffer the consequences. We contrast this with the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who comes to speak with Jesus. Nicodemus asks Jesus the key question that frames Jesus’ ministry in John’s Gospel: “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus tells him that he must be “born again.” This rebirth comes through the waters of Baptism. It is through this sharing in the Death of Jesus that we come into our inheritance. This teaching from Jesus was something new for Nicodemus. There is no parallel teaching in Judaism.
“What do we owe God but the very best of who we are.” But Jesus takes this to another level. The sacrifice that Jesus is to make on the Cross is a manifestation of the totality of the love of God for the world he created. Eternal life is the consequence of our
MARCH 21 JESUS CALLS US TO ENCOUNTER HIM, NOT JUST TO MEET HIM Having completed the signs that form the literary structure of first section of John’s Gospel, Jesus now focuses on the Cross. Two important themes are coming to the listeners of this passage. First, Jesus draws our attention to the demands of discipleship and the connection between faithful discipleship and resurrection to new life. Here Jesus speaks of death, but he is speaking of death on two distinct levels. For his disciples, and those who would follow him, there is a necessary death to self. Jesus emphasizes the necessary sacrifice of one’s own will in order to be a disciple. While it might look to the reader that Jesus is not addressing the question at hand – that two men approached Philip because they wanted to meet Jesus – he is rather placing the condition on their encounter. This is the only time in the Gospels when someone seeks an introduction to Jesus. Others, even lepers and outcasts approach Jesus with alacrity seeking healing and the forgiveness of their sins. These two men seem to be approaching Jesus more out of curiosity. Do they just want to “meet” Jesus, so that they can tell their friends that they did, or are they interested in encountering Jesus? Jesus is telling them, and us, that it is not enough to know him, or to have met him. There has to be an encounter, and an encounter bears a consequence. Discipleship comes at a great cost, but it also comes with a great reward – the promise of eternal life. Jesus also reflects on where he is going next. In the context of the Gospel it would appear that we are just days ahead of the Passover where he will hand himself over to Death for the sake of the Kingdom. MARCH 28 THE CROWD IN JERUSALEM TIRES QUICKLY OF JESUS’ TEACHING Mk 11:1-10 or Jn 12:12-16; Is 50: 4-7; Phil 2:6-11; Mk 14: 1-15; 47 or 15: 1-39
The rhythm of the liturgy on Passion
or Palm Sunday feels like a rollercoaster ride as we transverse the journey from the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and conclude with Jesus being buried in the tomb. Jerusalem then, for the only time in the public ministry of Jesus, becomes a focal point. While Jesus has traveled back and forth between Galilee and Jerusalem many times throughout his life, it is this pilgrimage at this Passover that is most significant. Jesus is not staying on the cramped streets of Jerusalem with the other pilgrims, instead staying across the Kidron Valley in Bethany. His approach to Jerusalem, then, each day of the festival week, takes him over the Mount of Olives and to the Temple through the magnificent gate on the valley side. What exactly incites the crowd to welcome Jesus as the messianic figure is unclear, though Jesus certainly invokes that image as he chooses to enter the city on a colt, a messianic image from the prophet Zechariah. What it must have been like to be in that crowd. Certainly there were those zealous for the coming of Jesus, carrying their hopes and dreams of the arrival of the Messiah. There were those who might have been uncertain, but got swept up in the fervor anyway. Some idle onlookers stood by no doubt, while others went about their business ignoring the whole affair. In the Synoptic accounts Jesus enters the Temple area but leaves immediately and returns to Bethany. The next day, and after cursing a fruitless fig tree, Jesus erupts in righteous anger as he overturns the tables of the moneychangers. Jesus teaches the crowds in the precincts and returns each morning. The officials of the city and the Sanhedrin conspire to have him killed. What becomes of this crowd, the crowd that gave such enthusiasm to his arrival, witnessed his indignation in the Temple, and listened intently to his teaching? As the week moves on, they seem to disperse, leaving Jesus increasingly alone with his disciples. The crowd turns on him, and in the end, they call for his Crucifixion. Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 49
Wording of Nicene Creed; conflicted about cremation I recall some time ago a change in the language of the creed we say at Sunday Mass to make it more inclusive. The new phrases were things like “For us and for our salvation” and “was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became one of us.” I realized recently, though, that our parish no longer uses this newer language and has gone back to “for us men” and “became man.” When was it decided to revert to the older language? Or perhaps the inclusive language was not universal – in my case, perhaps it started at the parish of the university I attended. (Lansdale, Pennsylvania)
QUESTION CORNER Father Kenneth Doyle Catholic News Service
“For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” Should it be of any comfort to you, as I have mentioned before in this column, the Latin word from which the English is translated – “homines” – is generic; it means “person” or “human being,” not “member of the male sex.” But the average participant at Mass can’t be expected to know this, and so I look forward to the day when the Mass text in English will reflect more clearly that wider meaning. Meanwhile, I often choose to use instead the Apostles’ Creed, which is a permissible liturgical alternative and whose language cannot be misunderstood as exclusive.
The phrases that you quote – “for us and for our salvation” and “became one of us” – are “homemade versions” of the language of the Nicene Creed and have never enjoyed any official status. My guess is that the priest at the university parish you attended crafted that wording himself, so as Ready to take the next step? not to offend any members of the congregation. The actual text – as approved for use at Mass and as it appears in the Catechism of the Catholic Church – is the following:
I’ve been having conflicting ideas about cremation. My husband wants to be cremated; at first, I was all for it, but now I’m having a difficult time with that decision. I know in the Apostles’ Creed it says, “the resurrection of the body,” and I also know that the Church prefers burial of the body, even though it does allow Ready to take the next step? cremation followed by immediate burial of the ashes. Can you help me We arededicated dedicated to providing health care and in acaring environment,with these two options? (Wichita, Kansas) We are to providing quality healthquality care in a loving, spiritual to help loving, spiritual andlifecaring environment, helpa support every system for families and every resident experience to the fullest. In addition, we to provide friends involved in the careto of the resident. The health andaddition, safety of our residents is very important to us Ready take next step? resident experience life to thethe fullest. 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We invite you totolearn more our community. andPrevention Preventionand andthe theDepartment Department learn moreabout about our community. flects a greater reverence and respect for the deceased and more guideline as **excluding Meadows** **excluding Morris Morrisof HallHealth. Meadows** We invite youand ment of Health. We invite you to learnShared more about with our community. Campus St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center MOVE-IN SPECIAL established by MOVE-IN SPECIAL CIAL Campus Shared with St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center clearly expresses the Christian belief in an eventual resurrection, the Centers forAssisted Living when a person’s body and soul will be reunited. 1stmonth month30% 30%discount discount St. Mary’s count 1st Morris Hall Senior Care Communities includes: St. Mary’s Assisted Care LivingAssisted Living As the appendix to the Order of Christian Funerals puts it: Disease Control MOVE-IN SPECIAL GardenSkilled Memory MOVE-IN SPECIAL 2ndmonth month2020%%discount discount •Grace St. Garden Joseph’s Center PECIAL count2nd Grace Memory Nursing Care Assisted Living “The body of a deceased Catholic Christian is also the body once St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing and Prevention and • Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing 1st 30% discount 1stmonth month 30% discount 10% discount St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing discount 3rdmonth month 10% discount count 3rd • Morris St. Mary’s Assisted Living, Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing washed in baptism, anointed with the oil of salvation, and fed the Department of 2nd month 20 % discount Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing 2ndfeemonth 20&%&Grace discount discount Waived community forfor St.St. Mary Gardens • Grace Garden Memory Care Waived community fee Mary Grace Gardens Grace Gardens 3rd month 10% discount with the bread of life. ... The body of the deceased brings forcea $2,500 value. Health. We invite you 3rd month 10% discount - a $2,500 value. • New Palliative Care Unit at St. Mary’s discount **excluding Morris Hall Meadows** **excluding Morris Hall Meadows** ** Waived community fee for St. Mary & Grace Gardens fully to mind the Church’s conviction that the human body is in Waived community fee for St. Mary & Grace Gardens Waived community fee for St. Mary & Grace Gardens to learn more about yy & Grace Gardens Waived community fee for St. Mary & Grace Gardens & Grace Gardens Located in •• For more please visit us -- aa -$2,500 value. in Lawrenceville, Lawrenceville, NJ Formore more information, information, please visitvisit us at at us at value. aa $2,500 value. Located in Lawrenceville, NJNJ • For information, please -$2,500 $2,500 value.Located **excluding Morris Hall Meadows** www.morrishall.org or contact us at email@example.com or 609-895-1937 Christ a temple of the Holy Spirit and is destined for future glory **excluding Morris Hall Meadows** **excluding Morris Hall Meadows** www.morrishall.org or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-895-1937 adows** our community. **excluding Morris Hall Meadows** or contact us at email@example.com or 609-895-1937 adows** www.morrishall.org Shared with Campus Shared withSt. St.Lawrence LawrenceRehabilitation RehabilitationCenter Center at the resurrection of the dead” (No. 412). ith St.Campus Lawrence Rehabilitation Center Campus Shared St.St.Lawrence with St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center Campus Sharedwith with LawrenceRehabilitation RehabilitationCenter Center So the choice is yours to make, but the Church’s preference is St. Mary’s Assisted Living St. Mary’s Assisted Living St. Mary’s Assisted Living Hall Senior Care Communities includes: Morris Hall Senior Care Communities includes:Morris Morris Hall SeniorAssisted Care Communities includes: clearly for traditional burial. And as you mention, if the option is St. Mary’s Living St. Mary’s Assisted Living St. Mary’s Assisted Living Grace Garden Memory Care Assisted GardenSkilled Memory CareCenter Assisted Living Garden Memory Care AssistedLiving Living St.St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing Center •Grace St. Garden Joseph’s •Grace Joseph’s Skilled Nursing Center Garden Memory Care Assisted Living Grace Memory Nursing Care Assisted Living •Grace Grace Garden Memory Care Assisted Living made for cremation, the cremated remains should be buried in a St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing • Morris Meadows St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing Morris Hall Meadows Skilled St. Hall Joseph’s Skilled Skilled NursingNursing • • Morris St.St. Joseph’s Skilled Nursing Joseph’s Skilled NursingNursing • Morris St. Mary’s Assisted Living, Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing • St. Mary’s Assisted Living, grave or entombed in a mausoleum. Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing • St. Mary’s Assisted Living, Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing Morris Hall Meadows Skilled Nursing
50 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at firstname.lastname@example.org and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, New York 12203. 9704326-02
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t is not unusual for an important truth to come rolling, unobstructed, from the mouths of babes. Our challenge is to pay attention. One of these priceless moments was gifted to us on a day when my husband decided to take two of our young granddaughters bike riding to a local park. On these days, there is always lots of noise and ample instructions as Pop makes sure the girls are appropriately dressed, have their water bottles and their helmets, and finally, their bikes. One day, one of the girls surprised my husband on the driveway as she pulled along a bike with training wheels. “Why didn’t you tell me you couldn’t ride a two-wheeler?” my husband asked, realiz-
choices. Joseph doesn’t argue the point, ask for an explanation or offer alternative suggestions. His response is an interior one, a yes that leads to action and, hopefully, an understanding on our part of why God chose him as protector of the Holy Family. Many popes have written and preached about St. Joseph, encouraging devotion to the humble man to whom was entrusted the care of God’s son. By listening to God and doing his will, Joseph ennobled the role of spouse, father and worker and serves as an example of faithfulness for the world. In his Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), announcing the Year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis reminds us of Jesus’ words, “'Learn from me, for
St. Joseph calls us to a
THINGS MY FATHER TAUGHT ME Mary Clifford Morrell
We may not always think of ourselves this way, but we are those disciples. We need what Jesus sought to teach his disciples in real time, and what St. Joseph taught him: a deep interior life that grows in silence. But how, in a world such as ours, filled with noise and endless distractions, can we deepen our interior lives? How can we engage in the spiritual conversation with both the God that we know and believe is present in our lives and the God that we don’t understand? And where should those conversations lead us? The first step is to decide that a deeper communion with God is what we want. The rest will fall in to place. Step by step, as we learn to quiet our thoughts, even brief moments of silence allow God the space to call our names and allow us to reply, “I am here.” As we grow in this endeavor we may become, as Pope Francis described St. Joseph, a person “who knows how to accompany others in silence,” the kind of person much needed in our world. Christianity, wrote Trappist monk Thomas Merton, “should make us more visibly human, passionately concerned with all the good that wants to grow in the world and that cannot grow without our concern.” The rich inner life of a Christian can lead us there. Mary Clifford Morrell is the author of “Things My Father Taught Me About Love” and “Let Go and Live: Reclaiming your life by releasing your emotional clutter.”
ing plans now had to change to accommodate her slow pace. She replied frankly, “I tried to, Poppy, but you wouldn’t stop talking.” Definitely one for the family books, and a memorable lesson for learning the value of being silent long enough to listen. There is power in silence. Rather than being a void that needs to be filled, silence is the space between notes where the song breathes life. It is our opportunity to expand our understanding by listening to the truth of others and the truth of God’s creation. Most importantly, it is the place within which we may encounter the whispers of God. Among the saints, there is one who is known for his silence – St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus and husband of Mary. Scripture does not reveal one word St. Joseph spoke, yet his devoted presence in the life of the Holy Family is unmistakable. Scripture relays that God speaks to Joseph in life-changing dreams that required difficult
I am gentle and lowly in heart.’ … The lives of the saints too are examples to be imitated. St. Paul explicitly says this: Be imitators of me!’ … By his eloquent silence, St. Joseph says the same.” Mothers and fathers of the Church describe Joseph as a man with a profound interior life, one which can only be a result of embracing the silence that allowed Joseph to know God’s will for him. It is likely, these holy men and women share, that he was influential in helping Jesus develop his own interior life, as well. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI observed, “It is not exaggerated to say that Jesus will learn – on a human level – precisely from ‘father’ Joseph this intense interior life, which is the condition of authentic righteousness, the ‘interior righteousness,’ which one day he will teach to his disciples.”
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 51
Local Knight wins NJ Governor’s Award for military outreach BY CHRISTINA LESLIE Correspondent
ames E. Stoever of Epiphany Parish, Brick, was named a medallion winner of the 2020 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award in a virtual ceremony held Feb. 21. Stoever, who is state secretary for the New Jersey Knights of Columbus, was recognized for his creation of and work with the “Send a Hero Home” program, which raises funds for junior enlisted servicemen and women to travel home during the holidays.
“It is vital that we receive donations all year long.” The awards are the state’s official recognition for community service and are in partnership with the Governor’s Council on Volunteerism. Members of the community are encouraged to “nominate a volunteer who makes a difference in the community” with those selected recognized for achieving measurable community impact and representing outstanding acts of public service, without the expectation of recognition or compensation. Said the awards emcee, “‘Send a Hero Home for the Holidays’ has raised
over $310,000 over the Thanks to the “Send a Hero past seven years. This Home” program, more than has enabled 585 [person$310,000 has been raised nel] to travel home for to help servicemen and the holidays at no cost women travel home during to them or their families the holidays over the past where they otherwise seven years. CNS photo/Carlos James E. Stoever would not have been Barria, Reuters able to.” pandemic. Stoever expressed hope that the Winners were announced in over 20 Jefferson Award might prompt addicategories spanning the focus of aiding tional donors to help deserving military the hungry and homeless, environmental personnel unable to pay for their way stewardship, social justice, animal causes home to their families. and emergency services. Each award “With the number of men and womwinner, notified prior to the virtual ceren needing the assistance … increasemony, was presented with a certificate ing,” he said, “it is vital that we receive signed by Gov. Phil Murphy; one winner donations all year long rather than in just the last quarter of the year when the per category learned they had received a gold medallion for excellence during the holidays come to mind. live virtual presentation. “I’m hoping that the attention this Stoever won top honors in the “Seraward has brought to [the program] will vice to Veterans / Military Service” cathelp donors see what it does, and spur egory, underwritten by PSE&G, which them to contribute to its success.” recognizes extraordinary volunteer The Jefferson Awards were created service by, or in support of, veterans and in 1972 by former First Lady Jacqueline those in active military service. Kennedy Onassis, Ohio Sen. Robert The foundation noted, “Using the Taft Jr., and entrepreneur Samuel Beard resources of the diocesan [Trenton to recognize the efforts of volunteers Federation] of the Knights of Columon both the local and national level. bus, James initiated a program to pay Nicknamed the Nobel Prize of comtransportation costs for active duty munity service and public service, they military personnel to return home for commemorate those who promote their the holidays.” talents without expectation of award. For more information, or to donate, The 2020 ceremony, originally slated for this past summer, was delayed due to the visit www.njkofc.org/sendaherohome/.
52 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
‘Dead Man Walking’ author to speak at CFJ virtual event BY EMMALEE ITALIA
ister of St. Joseph of Medaille Helen Prejean – brought to national prominence after her memoir hit the big screen in “Dead Man Walking” – will speak during a virtual event March 25 at 7 p.m., sponsored by the Lawrenceville-based Center for FaithJustice. “I was a high-schooler when ‘Dead Man Walking’ came out, and I always followed Sister Helen after that,” said Stephanie Peddicord, president of the social justice organization. “She made an impression … speaking about how faith and the call to justice intersect in a way I had never thought of before.” Sister Helen is hosted by The Magdalene Circle, a Center for FaithJustice faith-based women’s philanthropy launched in 2017 that gives grants to young adult service leaders. “It’s designed to help young people find their passion in the world … we anchor every year in a special event normally in the fall, to elevate, lift up and celebrate the voices of female Catholic thought leaders,” Peddicord said. The Magdalene Circle had Sister Helen in mind as a speaker since early 2019. Sister Helen’s appearance was planned as an in-person event long before COVID-19 overtook the globe, and even before the spate of federal executions resumed in mid-2020. The evening will include Sister Helen’s presentation of her 2019 book “River of Fire,” which speaks about her life and ministry prior to “Dead Man Walking.” The second half of the evening will be reserved for a question-and-answer period, which Peddicord will moderate. “She will also be talking about vocations, gifts and where God is calling you,” she said. With the rush to execute 13 federal death row inmates in the past year, Sister Helen, who has worked for decades trying to abolish the death penalty, “was thrust back into the spotlight,” Peddicord continued. “She’s just as passionate now as she was back in the 1980s when she started … [During her presentation] she will speak to the recent re-opening of federal executions, mass incarceration and the impact of COVID on the justice system.” A silver lining of the online venue has been the option to invite more participants to Sister Helen’s talk. “This is something we wouldn’t ordinarily be able to invite as many people to,” Peddicord said. “Normally it would be during the day hours and a ticketed event, but now we are
Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille Helen Prejean is pictured in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. Sister Helen, who has worked against the death penalty for decades, will be speaking as a guest of the Center for FaithJustice. CNS photo/Paul Haring encouraging schools to get students to come. “We’re so grateful for voices like hers,” she continued, “[someone] not afraid to speak and provide a voice to those whom society has shunned.” Sister Helen’s talk is free and open to the public; however, participants must register by visiting www.eventbrite.com/d/online/ sister-helen-prejean/ and clicking on the March 25 event.
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 53
In the Parishes
Meeting a ‘Great Need’ In midst of pandemic, parishes work diligently to restore Perpetual Adoration BY ROSE O’CONNOR Correspondent
t 3 a.m. on any given Thursday morning, Father Jeffrey Kegley is found in what he calls “an incredibly blessed time,” praying before the Blessed Sacrament in his parish’s recently renovated Perpetual Adoration Chapel. “The presence of the Lord on the altar is absolutely breathtaking,” said Father Kegley, pastor of St. Mary Parish, Middletown, and diocesan liaison to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. “Parishioners have shared with me that there is something special going on in the chapel. Beautiful things are happening [in] there.” St. Mary is but one parish in the Diocese that has Perpetual Adoration, making it possible for faithful to spend time in prayer day or night. DEDICATED TO PRAYER The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety regulations that have since been mandated impacted the availability of Adoration chapels. Because of the small sizes of chapels, some parishes had no choice but to indefinitely discontinue Adoration. There were parishes that resumed Adoration with abbreviated hours, and others that were able to move Adoration to larger quarters, such as inside the church. St. Mary Parish used the lockdown months to undertake an extensive chapel renovation project. The Monmouth county parish has had Perpetual Adoration since 1997, and the most recent Adoration chapel was 54 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
located inside the Mary, Mother of God Church. With a seating capacity of 24 people, Father Kegley explained, plans had been discussed to enlarge the chapel. It was instead decided to move Adoration into the parish’s “Adoration St. Mary Chapel, which had been the church prior to the construction of is a unique Mary, Mother of God Church. Father Kegley thanked the “army opportunity of volunteers” who worked on the rento adore, ovations of the chapel that included a new floor, roof, lighting and installing converse … a new handicap accessible restroom and installing livestream capabilities. with Jesus.” “There is such a great need for people to pray,” he said. “There are so many problems in the world today, and Eucharistic Adoration is the answer to the world’s problems. Jesus is the answer to the world’s problems.” Of the new chapel, which opened Ash Wednesday, Father Kegley said there are currently 400 “committed adorers, two people for every hour,” in attendance for prayer. It’s his goal, he said, to “have 1,000 people offering an hour to the Lord” in the future. THE POWER OF PRESENCE St. Mary of the Lakes, Medford, and St. Raphael-Holy Angels, Hamilton, are two more parishes in the Diocese that found creative ways to resume offering Perpetual Adoration in a safe manner. Christine Brandt, a pastoral associate in St. Mary of the
In the Parishes
Students from St. Mary School, Middletown, pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the parish’s newly renovated Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Courtesy of Matt Marzorati Lakes and coordinator of the Adoration Chapel schedule, reflected on how happy parishioners were to return for Adoration in June. “They were over the moon,” she said. “They were so happy to be able to spend time with Jesus in this way again. They missed it so much.” Because of social distancing measures, the chapel, which is located inside the church building, now only allows for one adorer at a time. But since the chapel has clear glass walls, additional adorers are able to stand outside the chapel with a view of the Blessed Sacrament. Parishioner and adorer Terri Vosbikian acknowledged Father Daniel Swift, pastor, for following the pandemic mandates while “doing everything he can to make us still feel like a community.” “As personal as adoration can be, we as the faithful need to pray for the Church and the world,” Vosbikian said. “These are dark times so filled with sin and corruption that the weight of the burden can only be eased in the presence of Jesus,” she said. “I may not have the power to change circumstances, but through prayer, I can gain a new perspective.” Fellow parishioner Carol Wagner, who has been attending Adoration for over 25 years, is happy to once again be able to “sit in the peaceful presence of the Lord.” “I can share my blessings, my doubts, my problems, and the Lord just says,
‘Trust in me, and I will take care of it. It’s simply an experience like no other,” Wagner said. For John Vasturia, a parishioner of St. Mary of the Lakes since 1991 and a regular adorer on Thursday evenings, the experience of returning to Adoration was much like returning to Mass for the first time. “It felt like a missing piece was back,” he said. “Adoration is a unique opportunity to adore, converse, listen and pray with Jesus. The Adoration Chapel is a holy and special place. We are fortunate to have this space.” John Margicin, coordinator of the Adoration Chapel in St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, said that prior to the pandemic, people came from out of state
to attend Adoration. “Truck drivers would stop by during the day, and people stopped on their way to work,” he said. He noted that Adoration in the chapel resumed on Ash Wednesday with abbreviated hours on Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the chapel can hold 12 people safely. While official plans to restore Perpetual Adoration have yet to be decided, Margicin said many prayers are being offered where “we will eventually be able to get back to 24/7.” “People just want to sit in the presence of Christ,” he said. “They want to thank God for the blessings of the day and ask for help where it is needed. They put their faith in Jesus.”
MARCH EVENTS IN LAWRENCEVILLE PARISH Lawrence Council, Knights of Columbus and St. Ann Parish, 1253 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, will host a Lenten retreat March 13, 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the church. Presenter Father Garry Koch will share a message of faith and hope based on 2 Thessalonians 3:5, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and the endurance of Christ.” To register if attending the retreat in-person, contact John Sikorski at 609883-2509 or Jwsikorski@yahoo.com. To view the livestream, access the parish YouTube page at https://churchofsaintann.net/news/livestreamlinks. The parish will observe the Year of St. Joseph with a virtual celebration March 18 from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Entitled “It’s All About Joseph,” the presentation will include reflections and music by internationally known and local Catholic musicians, artists and priests and religious focusing on various topics on St. Joseph, the husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary, foster father of Jesus and patron of the Universal Church. Topics and presenters include: “Joseph on the Journey” with music missionary and composer, John Angotti; “Joseph: the Honor of Duty,” with Capuchin Franciscan Father Simeon Gallagher, preacher and retreat director; “Joseph the Family Man,” with Louis Monticchio, an associate with the Sisters of St. Joseph in mission and member of St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton; “Go to Joseph,” with Oblate of St. Francis De Sales Brother Mickey McGrath, artist, author and speaker; “Joseph in the City,” with Sister of St. Joseph Donna Minster, director of the Camden County Department of Children’s Services, and “Joseph the Dreamer,” with Don and Desiree Bowsher, music ministers in Holy Spirit Parish, Las Vegas. Representatives from St. Ann Parish and School will also participate. To register for the virtual presentation, visit the parish website at https:// churchofsaintann.net. The parish will hold a virtual Tenebrae Service on Palm Sunday, March 28, starting at 7 p.m. The service will be shown on the parish’s YouTube channel at https://churchofsaintann.net/news/livestreamlinks. March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 55
VILLA VICTORIA ALUMNA STRESSES CONFIDENCE, SELF-RESPECT
Notre Dame High School SHADES Club students participate in the Diversity Mass. Courtesy photo
NDHS CELEBRATES DIVERSITY AT ANNUAL MASS The students of Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville, highlighted their differences while rejoicing in the principles they shared during the school’s Feb. 24 Diversity Mass. School chaplain, Father Jason Parzynski, was principal celebrant of the annual liturgy held during Black History Month to celebrate social justice, diversity, inclusion and the progress of people. NDHS senior Tiera Figaro, Co-Vice President of the SHADES Club, stated the event’s purpose: “to praise God for his great gift of cultural diversity and help us discover the depth and richness of all his people of every race, culture and nation. “May we continue to celebrate our differences and unite in our common belief to create a just, compassionate and harmonious world for all,” Figaro prayed. Fellow SHADES Club students and members of the school’s Justice Club led prayers at Mass and shared messages of inclusion from prominent African American writers while students from the world language department offered intercessions in multiple tongues. Following the Mass, the SHADES Club sponsored a video, “Why do we celebrate Black History Month,” which explained the importance of spreading pride in African American heritage. Poetry by Maya Angelou, praise songs and a dance duet rounded out the event. From staff reports
During an interview with alumnae and fashion designer Elizabeth Kennedy, the student body of Villa Victoria Academy learned that the traits of self-respect, confidence and truly listening to others never really go out of style. Kennedy, a graduate of the Ewing A Villa Victoria Academy student shows off school, recently visited virtually with the the pair of spirit socks she received from students as part of Villa Victoria’s “Alumfashion designer and academy alumnae Elizabeth Kennedy. Courtesy photo nae Speaker” series. The series, created in 2017, aims to introduce the students to a wide range of career opportunities by showcasing young Villa alumnae. Kennedy, a 2003 graduate, earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in fashion design from the Parsons School of Design, New York. After graduation, she worked for renowned designers Donna Karan, J. Mendel and Isaac Mizrahi, where she became the head designer at age 22. She later launched her namesake custom couture brand, designing numerous gowns for the red carpets, including clients Oprah Winfrey, Lena Dunham, Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez. In her virtual presentation, Kennedy noted that through her work in the fashion industry, she has learned that to be respected she must respect herself. Following her presentation, each student received a pair of specially designed Villa Victoria spirit socks as a memento. From staff reports
GRANT ENABLES BELMAR TO ENHANCE REMOTE LEARNING St. Rose Grammar School, Belmar, was the recent recipient of a $15,000 grant from the Patricia A. O’Callaghan Catholic Charitable Foundation. The funds were directed to be used to enhance the school’s remote learning capabilities, according to Gregory Guito, principal. “In an effort to keep our school competitive, we have done many things to modernize the building and its curriculum during the past year, he said. “This year in particular has brought an unprecedented amount of demands for our school to protect our students while also providing an education that is both in-person and virtual,” Guito continued, noting that the donation went toward purchasing Gregory Guito, principal of St. Rose Grammar School, Belmar, extra equipment including left, Msgr. Edward Arnister, parish pastor, right, and students network cameras, Bluepose for a photo after receiving a generous grant that allowed tooth microphones and the school to enhance its technology efforts. Courtesy photo Chromebooks.
56 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
Graduates of the Trenton Catholic Academy Class of 2017 get ready to move their tassels across their mortarboards during the school’s commencement exercises. Joe Moore photo
TCA legacy built on changing lives, serving others
A Trenton Catholic Academy Lower School student gives the thumbs-up sign during his in-person lesson. Face coverings, social distancing and other health safety measures have been a must in all Catholic school classrooms since fall 2020. Courtesy photo
BY RAYANNE BENNETT Associate Publisher
AND EMMALEE ITALIA Contributing Editor
ince the January announcement that Trenton Catholic Academy in Hamilton would close this June, those tasked with preparing for the new reality have been unabashed in their feelings for the school community. “Trenton Catholic Academy has changed lives, mine included,” said president Michael Knowles. “It has been a beacon of light in the darkness. It has served the community well.” “TCA is more than a school for our students, it is family,” said Anne Reap, lower school director. “It’s not about the building – it’s about the people who had a dream long ago and those who believed in it. It is about those who still have that same dream decades later. May we be better as a community because we believed.” Trenton Catholic Academy’s Upper and Lower Schools were formed in 2005 through the restructuring of Holy Cross School, Holy Angels School, Immaculate Conception School, St. Anthony School and McCorristin Catholic High School. In its more than 15-year history,
Sister Dorothy Payne speaks to the Trenton Catholic Academy graduating Class of 2017 following the Baccalaureate Mass. President of TCA from its opening in 2005 until her death in February 2019, Sister Dorothy “made Trenton Catholic Academy a reality.” Joe Moore photo the Academy has educated tens of thousands of students in grades pre-K3 through 12th grade, and graduated more than a thousand seniors, most under the loving guidance of the founding president, Sister of St. Joseph Dorothy Payne. Fiercely loyal to TCA students, whom she described as “Good kids that live good lives that make the world a better place,” Sister Dorothy helped the school earn a strong reputation in the areas of academics, athletics, community
involvement and spiritual development. Sister Dorothy died in 2019. Sister of St. Joseph Phyllis Tracy, human resources, attested that “Sister Dorothy dedicated her life to providing a quality education in a Catholic setting for the children of families sharing the same dream. She demonstrated care and concern for her students, faculty and staff.” Sister Dorothy and the team she had assembled worked tirelessly in delivering a Catholic education to students of diverse ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, aided significantly through diocesan subsidy and a specially-established fund, as well as a strong network of benefactors, community partners and supporters of its mission. But years of cumulative deficits and the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic took their toll, leaving the school dependent on $2 million in financial support annually for the past 12 years. The inevitable decision was reached to close the school. PUTTING GOD, OTHERS FIRST Leading his community through this difficult time, Knowles is grateful for Continued on 58
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 57
CBA president to step down this spring FROM STAFF REPORTS
hristian Brother Frank Byrne, president of Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, will end his term at the school to become Auxiliary Provincial for Brothers’ District of Eastern North America (DENA) as of Sept. 1. Reflecting upon his term as principal, Brother Frank said, “I have enjoyed my 12 years as president of CBA tremendously. It has been an honor to come back to my alma mater and work with a group of dedicated faculty, staff and administration. The students, parents and alumni have been supportive, and I will truly miss my day-to-day interaction with the CBA community.” During his presidency at CBA, Brother Frank led an expansion of
offerings across campus. Assuming his role at the start of the academy’s “Project 50th” capital campaign, he oversaw the additions of the Quinn Library & Media Center; new administrative and guidance office suites; multiple new classrooms and labs, and an expanded fitness center. CBA earned the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for high performing schools in 2017 (the second time in the school’s history) under the direction of Brother Frank, Principal Ross Fales and Associate Principal Sean Nunan. The religious also was the main catalyst in expanding the school’s scholarship and financial aid offerings, as well as maintaining strong enrollment numbers. The academy now has 84 named scholarships, and awards $1.9 million each year in scholarships and aid.
TCA’s long legacy of shared faith Continued from 57
all those who have played an integral part in what TCA had become. Among those he credits is Reap, calling her “the best of the best when it comes to leadership in Catholic education. Year after year, she challenges everyone – herself included – to be better than the year before.” Reap would be the first to point out that the school’s Catholic faith and rich traditions of the Church have always been at the heart of TCA. “We have evangelized and taught as Jesus did,” she explained. “Our faculty and staff are first and foremost Catholic school teachers in all that they do and say. It is who they are – they walk the talk.” Rose O’Connor, marketing director, said TCA has worked over the years to develop the spirituality of the students it serves by providing opportunities for both personal and communal prayer, such as daily prayer sprinkled through-
out the school day, and a chance to receive Holy Communion each morning at a Communion Service before school. “All liturgical traditions are shared,” Reap explained, “whether Stations of the Cross, monthly prayer services by class or by unit, or service learning experiences.” The atmosphere of shared faith and a re-engagement with the parishes in Trenton have led to a growing number of Catholic students over the years to the current 68.7 percent. “Because we live our faith, it’s natural for our (non-Catholic) students to want to become part of the Catholic faith,” Reap acknowledged. “Our students are active members of their parish communities and participate in the sacramental life of the Church,” O’Connor pointed out. Participation in diocesan spiritual programs such as the annual pilgrimage in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the Catholic Athletes for Christ program has offered ample
58 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
Christian Brother Frank Byrne has been president of Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, for 12 years. Courtesy photo Christian Brother Thomas Gerrow will succeed Brother Frank as president of CBA beginning with the 2021-2022 academic year. Brother Thomas, the former president at both La Salle Academy, Providence, R.I., and St. John’s College High School, Washington, has been appointed with the CBA Board of Trustees in accord. opportunities for students to grow in their faith. Part of the spiritual mission is a firm commitment to service. “While Trenton Catholic Academy serves many low-income families, service is the middle name of our student body,” said Sister Phyllis. “Our students collect food and donations for needy families and they provide many service hours to local organizations supporting those in need.” The school community has adopted many special programs to support charitable organizations and causes, such as an annual Pajama Day, which allowed students to wear pajamas to school for a donation. The proceeds supported Christine’s Hope for Kids in honor of college student Christine Gianacaci who died in an earthquake while on a mission trip to Haiti in 2010. Other activities included outreach to local senior facility residents and participation in annual service days run by the Diocese. Continued on 67
St. Rose’s Antognoli excels on, off basketball court BY RICH FISHER Contributing Editor
hen St. Rose High School girls’ basketball coach Mary Beth Chambers starts discussing the attributes of Abby Antognoli, the conversation can turn into a marathon session. “I could just go on forever saying good things about her,” Chambers said. The parishioner of Sacred Heart Parish, Bay Head, is not only a 1,000-point scorer for the Belmar school, she is also the senior class president and valedictorian for the Class of 2021, and her grade point average is “near 103 in all my classes.” On the court, the lifelong point guard led the Purple Roses in scoring (21.8 points per game), assists (53) and steals (31) through their 10-2 start this year. She also led St. Rose in steals and assists the previous two seasons, and helped her team to NJSIAA Non-Public B titles as a freshman and sophomore. “Being on a state championship team for two years pushed me to learn how to lead, how to compete, and how to win,” Antognoli said. “It was an adjustment going from a role player my freshman year coming in off the bench, to the leader and floor general my sophomore year. It was a great experience as well as a learning curve. Winning states is an amazing feeling, and those memories last forever.” Another great remembrance was scoring her 1,000th point this season, which is an accomplishment that seemed
St. Rose’s Abby Antognoli, center, celebrates scoring her 1,000th point this season with the Belmar team. Courtesy photo precarious due to the campaign being shortened by COVID-19. Not to mention her role on the floor is to help others score instead of looking to score herself. “I am so happy that I reached the 1,000 point mark, but it would not have been accomplished without my amazing teammates and coaches,” Antognoli said. Those coaches and teammates feel the same way about Antognoli, too. Chambers praises Antognoli’s leadership prowess and calls her a “role model for any young player because she plays hard every possession. She’s a very competitive leader that makes everyone around her better. “Her work ethic is off the charts,” Chambers continued. “Her skill sets have improved exponentially every year – to the point where it’s just hard to guard her this year.” It is the result of constant hard work, even though her athletic career started in soccer. Since it was the sport her mom played, Antognoli initially played travel soccer more than basketball.
“But when I started dribbling the soccer ball on the sideline, my mother knew she was in trouble,” said Antognoli, who quickly switched to AAU hoops with the Toms River Stars in fifth grade. She moved to John Mayo’s Lobos a year later and then played with the Jersey Shore Wildcats (now the CJ Hawks) to play for Joe Whalen. Whalen was the St. Rose coach at the time, which prompted Antognoli to want to play for the Purple Roses. He resigned prior to her freshman year, but she still enrolled and has never looked back. She ran track as a freshman to stay in shape for basketball and won the Non-Public B gold medal in the 1600 and silver medal in the 800. But track was one and done as she continued to work on basketball. Her next goal is to excel at the collegiate level, with plans to play for Pennsylvania’s Lafayette College next year. “My main priority was to play at a school that has an equal focus on academics and basketball,” she said.
March 2021 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE 59
In Memoriam FATHER GERALD A. MARCHAND, WEEKEND ASSISTANT IN POINT PLEASANT Father Gerald A. Marchand, who served as a weekend assistant in St. Martha Parish, Point Pleasant, died Feb.15. He was 92. Father Marchand was born Aug. 3, 1928, in Bayonne and attended the town’s St. Vincent Parish and Grammar School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Seton Hall University, South Orange, and a master’s degree in divinity from Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Newark May 29, 1954, by Archbishop Thomas A. Boland. He then began a 24-year term as parochial vicar in St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Irvington, simultaneously serving as chaplain to the city’s police and fire departments. In 1978, Father Marchand became the fourth pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, West Orange. Father Marchand retired from active ministry in the Archdiocese of Newark in 1998 and moved to Point Pleasant Borough, where he served in St. Martha Church. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Feb. 23 in St. Martha Church. Burial was in St. Catherine Cemetery, Sea Girt. SISTER ROBERTA ANN BUCCI, FORMER EDUCATOR IN MIDDLETOWN, TOMS RIVER SCHOOLS Sister Roberta Ann Bucci, a Dominican Sister of Hope, died Feb. 17 in St. Mary Assisted Living Facility on the campus of Morris Hall, Lawrenceville. She was 94. Born in Camden, Sister Roberta Ann entered the novitiate of the Dominican Sisters of Newburgh, N.Y., Sept. 8, 1956; made her first profession June 13, 1958, and final profession Aug. 21, 1961. She held a bachelor of arts degree in education from Mount St. Mary College, Newburgh. Sister Roberta Ann spent nearly 40 years in the Catholic education ministry serving in schools in Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. In the Trenton Diocese she taught in St. Mary School, Middletown, and for 27 years in St. Joseph School, Toms River. In retirement, she served as a clerical assistant and provided congregational services at the Center of Hope in Ossining, N.Y. She lived in Lawrenceville for the past nine years. Because of COVID-19 restrictions a funeral Mass will be held at a later date. Burial was Feb. 24 at the Dominican Sisters Cemetery at Mariandale, Ossining. Memorial donations may be sent to the Development Office of the Dominican Sisters of Hope, 299 North Highland Ave., Ossining, N.Y. 10562.
IN REMEMBRANCE, a listing of priests and deacons of
the Diocese of Trenton who have died, can be found on TrentonMonitor.com>News>Obituaries
OBITUARY INFORMATION Additional obituaries will be posted to TrentonMonitor.com as information becomes available. 60 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
GERARD QUINN, FATHER OF PRIEST, DIES Gerard “Jerry” Quinn, died Feb. 22 in his home in Leonardo following a brief illness at age 91. Mr. Quinn was the father of Father Jarlath Quinn, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Parish, Atlantic Highlands. Born in 1930 on a small farm in Quignashee, Ballina, County Mayo in the west of Ireland, Mr. Quinn was one of 10 children born to William and Catherine Fox Quinn. He emigrated to New York in 1954 after which he joined the Longshoreman’s union and worked in the construction field for 50 years. He and his wife, Julia (Shiela) Ward, met in Newark in 1961 and they were married in Shiela’s hometown of Caltra, Ballinasloe, County Galway, Ireland in 1964. The couple purchased their home in Leonardo in 1968 and together they raised three sons and two daughters, all of whom were educated in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton. Mr. Quinn was predeceased by his parents; a sister; seven brothers; three sisters-in-law, and two sons, David Desmond and Brendan David. In addition to his wife of 57 years and Father Quinn, he is survived by two other sons, Gerard and Kenneth; two daughters, Edel and Siobhan; seven grandchildren; a sister, Sister Josephine Quinn, and many nieces, nephews and friends. MARY LOU NELSON OLIVA, ACTIVE MEMBER IN SPRING LAKE PARISH Mary Lou Nelson Oliva, a longtime member of St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish, Spring Lake, and parish archivist, died Feb. 26 in Jersey Shore Medical Center, Neptune. She was 84. Born in Elmhurst, N.Y., in 1937, Mrs. Oliva was the first registered student at The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica Estates, N.Y., where her father had built the church and school. She also held a bachelor of arts degree in speech with a minor in English, and a master of business administration degree in records management. She worked at Merck, Rahway, until she retired and then as a consultant for PJO Consultants. Mrs. Oliva had been continuously active in St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish ever since she and her now late husband, Peter, had moved to Spring Lake in 1994. She was secretary, vice president and president of the parish council; an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion; reader; sacristan; choir member and participated on the parish centennial, restoration, respect life, Faith to Move Mountains and Faith in Our Future committees. On Nov. 18, 2016, Mrs. Oliva was invested into The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Membership in the Order is conferred upon Catholics of exemplary faith and moral conduct, who are actively involved in and generously support the activities of their parish and/or Diocese, and who are willingly to commit themselves to the mission and goals of the Order. The following year, she was recognized during the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton Guardian Angel Dinner Dance as a Light of Hope Award recipient for Monmouth County.
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In Memoriam HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE SISTER DIANNA ORTIZ DIES AFTER BRIEF ILLNESS
Deacon James Aloysius Kelly died Feb. 26 at age 78. Born in 1942 in Manhattan, N.Y., Deacon Kelly was the son of the late Catherine and Andrew Kelly. He was raised in Highlands and raised his own family in Rumson. He was a 1960 graduate of Red Bank Catholic High School, Red Bank, and served in the U.S. Navy on the U.S.S. Diamond Head. He enjoyed a career in electronics sales, purchasing and restaurant management. Deacon Kelly was ordained a permanent deacon by Bishop George W. Ahr May 12, 1979, in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. He served in several parishes including Holy Cross, Rumson; Holy Trinity (now part of Christ the King Parish), Long Branch; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Highlands (now part of Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Parish, Atlantic Highlands), and Nativity Parish. He was chaplain for the Rumson Fire Department, a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #3187 and parish coordinator at The Chapel of Fort Monmouth for 15 years until the Fort closed on Sept. 15, 2011. Deacon Kelly was predeceased by his wife of 42 years, Kathleen; three sisters and one brother. He is survived by three sons and daughters-in-law: Patrick and Colleen of Kirkwood, Pa.; Phillip and Melissa of Rumson, and Peter and Catherine of Tinton Falls; six grandchildren; a brother and sister-in-law, and numerous nieces and nephews.
CLEVELAND • Ursuline Sister Dianna Ortiz, 62, died while in hospice care in Washington early Feb. 19 after a return of cancer. She was teaching indigenous children as a missionary in Guatemala in 1989 when her ministry was torn apart during the country’s brutal civil war. Guatemalan soldiers abducted her Nov. 2, detaining her for 30 hours. She reported being gang Sister Dianna Ortiz, a member of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount St. raped and tortured repeatedly until she escaped. Returning to Joseph, Pax Christi USA’s deputy the United States, Sister Dianna director, is seen in this 2012 photo. CNS screen grab/Ursuline Sisters of Mount became a human rights advoSt. Joseph cate and peacemaker, starting an organization for torture survivors and becoming a visible presence of nonviolence at vigils and marches in the nation’s capital. Friends and colleagues recalled Sister Dianna, who for the last year was deputy director of Pax Christi USA, as having a gentle spirit. “She was a witness to justice and human rights. So much of what she did was pretty quiet,” recalled Marie Dennis, senior adviser to the secretary general of Pax Christi International, who lived with Sister Dianna in the Assisi Community in Washington since the early 1990s. Catholic News Service
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THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON is committed to the initiatives outlined in the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and to its own policies and guidelines in regard to the reporting and investigation of sexual abuse allegations involving minors. If you have been sexually abused as a minor by a member of the clergy or anyone representing the Catholic Church, or if you know of someone who was, you can report that abuse through the diocesan
ABUSE HOTLINE: 1-888-296-2965
or via e-mail at email@example.com. The Diocese of Trenton reports any allegations of sexual abuse to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. Anyone with an allegation is also encouraged to provide that information to local law enforcement authorities.
ASHES SHOW DESIRE TO MAKE AMENDS Continued from 14
is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, rich in kindness. Showing repentance … can turn God’s judgement to mercy.” Msgr. Sean P. Flynn, pastor of St. Mark Parish, explained that at first glance, it can seem contradictory to speak of the Lenten practice of self-denial in relation to hope. “When you think of Lent, you often think of fasting, and that doesn’t sound too hopeful. But really we are The journeying with Jesus to Calvary, to Monitor the Cross – and it doesn’t end there,”
Msgr. Flynn said. “Through the pain, through the suffering, a better day lies ahead – the Resurrection. And it’s the same with the [COVID-19] virus – we’re getting vaccines.” “We don’t understand all the suffering, the sorrows and the difficulties,” he continued. “We can’t say, ‘I know why this is happening.’ All we can do is say we have faith. It doesn’t answer the ‘why’ of these things, but it gives us the strength to cope with them. … And Lent helps us look forward to the fact that there is more to come than this life offers.” That sentiment was one to which Joe Walsh could relate. “Lent is a time to reflect on the things
you can improve on in your life and understand that you are probably going to fail a couple of times during the 40 days – but to pick yourself up and keep going.” Indeed, persistence, Msgr. Flynn said, is an opportunity to focus on one’s direction in life. As such, he advised the faithful not to allow the pandemic to encroach on the spirituality of Lent. Prayer, fasting and almsgiving can be accomplished in the home as well as in the pews. “Remember, we can pray anytime, in any situation – and we
tend to pray more when we’re going through difficulties. Lent is not just for denying ourselves something, but for positive things like spending more time reading the Bible, or other spiritual books. We can help others in need, even in our own families, and be more patient and compassionate. “This is a time to transform our lives and try to become the people we should be but often don’t work on becoming,” he said. Video interviews by photographer Rich Hundley contributed to this report.
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LENTEN LESSONS IN TIME OF COVID Continued from 13
with our own adult children, grandchildren, extended family or friends. My quarantine was but a moment, compared to what we have gone through over the past year. I believe that the Lord has allowed a “time-out” in this fast-paced world for me to reflect on what’s really important. Prior to COVID-19, did I really appreciate all the freedom of interaction between family and friends? Or did I take everything for granted? Was I abrupt over nonsense with my adult daughter, who now puts her life in danger as a counselor to the medical community in the hospital? Have I appreciated the small favors of friends? I am much more aware after they stopped by my door with homemade soup or fruit during my illness. How lost I would be if my wife, Mary Ann, didn’t recover from the virus. I thank her for putting up with me under “cabin fever” syndrome. The Lord has allowed me a “heads-up” during this pandemic to appreciate the importance of the gift of life itself. I’ve been given this opportunity to pray more and complain less, especially in the Lenten season. This is a great time to get closer to
the Lord each day by praying with an open heart, to recognize His love in each person and to appreciate all that I have been given – especially in a world that appears to be filled with anger and division. I ask the Holy Spirit to allow the Light of Jesus’ love to shine through me, and be reflected to all those I encounter – regardless of race, religion and neighborhood, “blue or red” – and to embrace the goodness in all God’s creation. Deacon John R. Isaac serves in St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square.
CHURCH TO WELCOME NEW FAITHFUL Continued from 20
Community was at the heart of Gabriele Nieves’ decision to enter into the Church, too. Nieves, 14, took part in the Rite of Election in St. Anthony Church, part of Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton. Her path began when she started attending Mass with her best friend, Melissa Ribeiro. She said she was particularly drawn to the music and singing and hearing about the life of Jesus through the Readings. Nieves joined the RCIA in October 2019, but her journey to the
64 THE MONITOR MAGAZINE March 2021
Church was interrupted by the pandemic. Still, she continued to learn, first in-person and then through a virtual format, she said, noting that topics she found particularly interesting included Confession, the forgiveness of sins and how to pray the Rosary, which has become a favorite devotion. Most importantly, she said, “I learned that we are not alone, that God is always with us.”
FAITH MILESTONE In his homily, Msgr. Thomas N. Gervasio, pastor of the Hamilton parish and diocesan vicar general, reflected on how the election of catechumens is cause for great joy. “Each elect has a story of how the Lord was at work in their lives, inviting them to a life of faith in the Catholic Church,” he said. Along with elect Nieves, the parish has two baptized candidates who will complete their Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil and another two candidates on Pentecost Sunday, May 23. “Today, Gabriele and catechumens throughout our Diocese leave the church not as catechumens but as God’s elect,” Msgr. Gervasio said, adding that elect does not come about by “any casting of ballots but by God’s own initiative.” “Whatever the story, the Lord
says to the elect, ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine. … It was not you who chose me but I who chose you to go and bear fruit that will remain,’” Msgr. Gervasio said, quoting Scripture. Video interviews by freelance photographer Rich Hundley contributed to this story.
COVID BILL PASSES Continued from 27
Congressman quoted a letter that Biden, who also is Catholic, “once wrote to his constituents explaining his support for laws against funding for abortion by saying it would ‘protect both the woman and her unborn child. ... Those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them.’’’ “Most Americans agree – 58 percent according to the most recent Marist poll,” added Smith, who was among the 212 House members who voted against the measure. All of the Republicans and two Democrats rejected the bill. It passed with 219 votes. As of press time, allocations in the American Rescue Plan include $17 billion for vaccine-related activities and programs and $110 billion for other efforts to contain the pandemic; $130 billion for public
schools; and $143 billion to expand child tax credit, child care tax credit and earned income tax credit mostly for one year. Other provisions include $45 billion to temporarily expand Affordable Care Act subsidies for two years and subsidize 2020 and 2021 coverage; $50 million for family planning; $25 billion for grants to restaurants and bars; $7 billion to allow more loans under the Paycheck Protection Program; $6 billion to increase nutrition assistance; and $350 billion for states and localities. The bill also provides for checks of $1,400 to go to individuals who earn up to $75,000 a year, heads of households earning $112,500 or married couples earning $150,000. Eligible dependents, including adult dependents, also would each get $1,400. The House measure also mandates phasing in a hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. The Senate was expected to take up its version of the measure the first week of March, but news reports said many in the chamber are divided over the size and scope of the bill. The minimum wage provision will not be included; the Senate parliamentarian said under budget rules, it cannot be considered.
ST. JOSEPH RETREAT Continued from 31
promotion for the Diocese of Syracuse, N.Y. Other talks include “Encountering God Through Our Work” with Father John Paul Walker, pastor of St. Mary Parish, New Haven, Conn.; “A Feminine Approach to St. Joseph” with Catholic writer Simcha Fisher; “Living Our Rose as Protector of the Vulnerable” with Gez Ford, musician
and retreat leader from St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton; “Devoting Ourselves to God Through the Intercession and Model of St. Joseph” by Dominican Sister Mary Rachel Capets, and “Praying with St. Joseph Through Art” with Catholic writer and speaker Katie Woltornist. The following day will open with Morning Prayer at 9 a.m., followed by pre-recorded talks. The retreat will conclude with Mass at 4 p.m. in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, 61 Georgia Road, Freehold, which may be attended in-person or online. There is no fee to attend the retreat, but a $10 donation is suggested. To register, visit https:// dioceseoftrenton.org/yaretreat. For information, call 609-403-7182 or email agomez@dioeseoftrenton. org.
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Following is a word search based on the Gospel reading for the Third Sunday of Lent, Cycle B: the marketplace in the Temple. The words can be found in all directions in the puzzle.
Gospel for March 7, 2021 John 2:13-25
Search FUN & GAMES at TRENTONMONITOR.COM to find more SCRIPTURE SEARCH puzzles to print at home.
Answers on back page.
ACROSS 1 Ordinary ___ 4 Month of the Feast of the Assumption 8 Amo, ___, amat 9 Holy ___ 10 Clerical color 12 “They shall ___ their swords into plowshares…” (Isa 2:4) 13 St. ___ Stein 14 Also known as Golgotha 17 “When we ___ this bread…” 18 The whole earth had one before the Tower of Babel 22 Symbol of Confirmation 24 Founder of Our Sunday Visitor newspaper 25 “On the Waterfront” character based on real-life priest, Fr. Corridan 26 God, in ancient Rome 28 “For us ___, and for our salvation…” 29 The gifts 30 Type of cross 32 Religious speeches
33 St. Juan ___ 35 John Paul II’s “On Human __” 36 Catholic cartoonist of “Family Circus” 37 “…he suffered, ___ and was buried.” 38 Diocese on the French Riviera 39 He fought the battle of Jericho 40 Sacred image DOWN 2 One of the prophets 3 “…world without ___. Amen” 4 Catholic sovereign of Monaco (with II) 5 Exodus pest 6 Commander of the army who was made king over Israel 7 OT historical book 11 Not ordained 12 Alien god of the Exodus 13 “Tantum ___” 15 Veronica’s covering 16 ___ Coeur 19 “So be it!” 20 His yoke, as Jesus describes it 21 Golden Rule preposition
22 Nordic Saint 23 Peter or Paul, for example 26 “Te ___” 27 Catholic songwriter Guthrie 28 An evangelist 30 Saint of Avila 31 First name of John XXIII 32 ___ of Man
33 “Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows, you will ___ me three times.” (Mt 26:34) 34 “___ homo” 35 The Pharisee was surprised to notice that Jesus did not do this 37 “Agnus ___”
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TEST YOUR CATHOLIC KNOWLEDGE
Some former students, O’Connor noted, have taken service into their personal missions beyond high school. “Several of our alumni have formed their own nonprofit service organizations and have returned to TCA to share their experiences and stress the importance of service to others.”
ACADEMIC, ATHLETIC ACCOLADES Garnering millions of dollars in college scholarships annually, graduates have earned advanced degrees, entered law enforcement, started businesses, achieved executive status as professionals and become community activists, noted Charles Kroekel, Upper School director. “TCA graduates go out into the world prepared to make it a better place,” he emphasized. The diversity of students enrolled in TCA means that “some are academic standouts, some are athletic all-stars, some are interested in the arts or sciences, and all are open to discovering who they really are or can be,” Reap reflected. “At TCA we celebrate the good in all of our students. Our children come to us with varied talents, and our goal is to provide opportunities for growth to further enhance their God-given gifts.” Athletes – with the team name “Iron Mikes” – have competed in scores of tournaments and championships across the county, state and conference in all sports. Carrying their athletic prowess into college, countless student athletes have earned Division I athletic scholarships. One former TCA graduate became a Harlem Globetrotter, and three have entered the NBA. “No matter where they go, they bring the values that come from their family and TCA and reflect the good from both,” Knowles exclaimed.
THE WAY FORWARD As plans for students and faculty take place in the coming months, Knowles’ prayer for students “is that they can attend a school that will meet their individual needs and help them to continue their pathway to become better versions of themselves.” Reap hopes that “they continue their education in a local Catholic school where they can grow in their relationship with Jesus and the Church.” “We were tasked with consolidating five Trenton schools, each with their own identity, rich
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Continued from 58
history and charisms, and create an entirely new school community,” O’Connor said. “I am proud of the work we have done and the students that we have served.” Knowles summed up the TCA experience with Franciscan inspiration: “To paraphrase St. Francis, TCA has done what was ours to do, it is for Christ to show others what is theirs.”
TCA’S PROUD HISTORY
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BUSINESS MANAGER Church of St. Catharine • Holmdel The Business Administrator is responsible for the business, operational and administrative functions of the Parish. He/she supervises and supports all paid staff and lead volunteers in their specific areas of ministry. Provides full-time, on-site management of the following: facilities/property; financial management/contract administration; stewardship/coordination of resources for all parish missions, programs, and ministry; security/risk management; supervision of administrative and custodial staff; and oversight of office operations, technology, and church-related communications. Education and Work Experience: Bachelor’s degree in business or a related field preferred. Knowledge of accounting principles. Demonstrated ability to lead and manage staff in areas of administrative, facility, financial, human resources, and operations. Proficient with technology and have a working knowledge of Microsoft office applications and/or Google Workspace.
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