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Official publication of The Diocese of Trenton

Vol. 1 • No. 12 • SEPTEMBER 2020






A NEW YEAR IN CATECHESIS With families spending more time at home, much of the focus for catechesis is on the Domestic Church. What is your role in fostering faith in the next generation of disciples?

FROM THE BISHOP: Helping Diocese’s faithful know Jesus is a key responsibility IN FOCUS: Our call to pursue truth, charity and justice in today’s media world EL ANZUELO: Orar Rosario con obispo; reconocer la catequesis; Encuentro

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Gifts to the Appeal are used to support the ministries listed and will not be used to defray legal fees or to fund the Victim Compensation Program.

Faith in the home is a daily routine for the Donlon family of St. Mary Parish, Barnegat. Like faithful across the Diocese, Dan Donlon and his wife, Danielle, will be working with parish catechists to ensure a fruitful religious education year during COVID-19. Full coverage begins on page 39. Dan Donlon photo

Sisters of Life courtesy photo



Contents 5-6  From the Bishop To be an authentic and effective catechist, live faith in witness to the Gospel

MONITOR Official publication of The Diocese of Trenton



Business and Editorial Offices • 701 Lawrenceville Rd. P.O. Box 5147 • Trenton, NJ 08638-0147 • 609.406.7400 Publisher • Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. Associate Publisher • Rayanne M. Bennett • ext. 7188 EDITORIAL Managing Editor • Jennifer Mauro • ext. 7135 Associate Editor • Mary Stadnyk • ext. 7172 Social Media Coordinator • Matthew Becker • ext. 7137

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THE MONITOR MAGAZINE (ISSN#0746-8350) is published 14 times a year by THE MONITOR, 701 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, 08648. Periodicals’ postage paid at Trenton, NJ, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to The Monitor, P.O. Box 5147, 701 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, NJ, 08638-0147. The acceptance of advertising by The Monitor for print or online publication does not constitute an endorsement of any product or service. The Monitor reserves the right to reject any advertising considered objectionable.

For the latest news, scan this QR code with your mobile device and visit The Monitor’s mobile site.

18-19  COVID-19 Updated back-to-school plans; donors support Diocese’s coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund

23  We Believe Pray the Rosary daily for the intentions of the nation, Bishop O’Connell asks faithful

24-25  Respect Life Religious sisters give hope to women, families facing abortion

34-37  El Anzuelo Obispo pide orar el Rosario; la catequesis es de todos y para todos; próximos pasos de Encuentro

REGULAR FEATURES 16  Viewpoints 27  Pope Francis 32-33  World & Nation 48-50  Insight from


Fathers Koch & Doyle 58  Puzzles



September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   3

Readers’ Corner Catechesis and evangelization start at home, not just through religious education lessons, but with the images of Catholic faith that fill our homes, and so much more. Dan Donlon photo

Catechesis is the ‘principal proclamation,’ the way to truth


ver the weekend, I painted my dining room. Typical to any house project, that spruce up led to another, and by the end of the day, our entire living room and entryway had been rearranged – including a small table at the front door and on it, an open Bible. A Message from

JENNIFER MAURO Managing Editor

In our house, there are many icons of the Catholic faith displayed – a crucifix, saint statue, Rosary. The inclusion of the Bible, however, was a direct result of a

recent conversation I had with my father. “Have more religious artifacts around the house,” he said, reflecting on ways he passes on the faith to his grandchildren. “When little children come over, they are going to be very curious. ‘What is this?’ they ask. ‘Well that’s the Bible.’ ‘What is that?’ ‘Well that’s a painting of a guardian angel.’ “Just a few little things will pique the interest of a child,” he said. Our conversation occurred just days before The Monitor Magazine went to press, an issue that discusses this year’s Catechetical Sunday theme, “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you” (1 Cor 11:23). On the following pages, you will read about new models

Looking for event listings? has a CALENDAR OF EVENTS where visitors can see what’s happening in the parishes, schools and other locations across the four counties of the Diocese. You can get to the calendar by clicking on NEWS>EVENTS. Members of the Diocese are invited to post their Church-based events on this calendar as well, free of charge. Find the calendar page, and then click on SUBMIT AN EVENT. A form will pop up for you to fill out and file. Please note: Submissions to the calendar are moderated and may take up to a day or so to populate after you hit SUBMIT. Need help? Write to us at We’ll be happy to help. 4   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

of religious education coming to our parishes in these times of COVID-19. Whether virtual or in-person, catechists in the Diocese agree: This is the year of the Domestic Church. “Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God” (CCC 2226). Similarly, all of us have the responsibility to not only continually learn about our faith, but to exercise our beliefs every day. Throughout our IN FOCUS section this issue, you will read about our calling as Catholics to ensure that media in all its forms is being used to spread truth – to “Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters” (Pope Francis, World Communications Day 2018). And in VIEWPOINTS, columnist Tony Magliano calls upon our obligation as Christians to help one another, which falls in line with the importance of the 2020 U.S. Census, featured on ISSUES & ADVOCACY. My house project may have started with a welcoming coat of green paint, but I hope it leads to a more meaningful conversation – one that says, “God resides here.” “Just think of a beautiful church you’ve been in and ask yourself, ‘What is it about this church that I find so inspiring?’” my father asked during that conversation. “Maybe it’s the art, the architecture, the music all pointing toward the Liturgy. Picture that the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph – built that church, and you’re the child. And just like the Holy Family built that church, the human family should build their home.”

From the Bishop


I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you:

Catechetical Sunday 2020


he Bishop of a diocese is considered the Church’s official “teacher” of the Catholic people entrusted to his care in a particular region. That responsibility is derived from the three-fold mission of Christ that he shares by virtue of his episcopal ordination and consecration: “to teach, to govern, to sanctify.”

The Bishop “teaches” in many ways, primarily through his preaching of the Word of God and other formal instructions; through his pastoral writings and other communication with the local Church; through his sacramental ministry; and through the witness of his other ministries as well as his life and presence among the people of God in the diocese. In a Diocese the size of Trenton, with approximately 735,000 Catholics, reaching out and teaching all the faithful is a tall order. The Bishop could not possibly fulfill his teaching responsibilities alone. For that reason, the Bishop depends upon collaborators from among the clergy, reli

gious and lay faithful of the Diocese who are well prepared to engage in the ministry of religious education and formation known as “catechesis.” The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states that: Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help men believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building up the body of Christ. “Catechesis is an education in the faith of children, young people and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian

 Children from St. Joseph Parish, Toms River, say a prayer over Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., after a Mass for the parish’s summer religious education program in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic. Jeff Bruno photo A Message from

BISHOP DAVID M. O’CONNELL, C.M. doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.” While not being formally identified with them, catechesis is built on a certain number of elements of the Church’s pastoral mission which have a catechetical aspect, that prepare for catechesis, or spring from it. They are: the initial proclamation of the

Continued on 6

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   5

From the Bishop

Catechists are living witnesses Continued from 5

Gospel or missionary preaching to arouse faith; examination of the reasons for belief; experience of Christian living; celebration of the Sacraments; integration into the ecclesial community; and apostolic and missionary witness. “Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church’s life. Not only her geographical extension and numerical increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with God’s plan depend essentially on catechesis (CCC, Prologue, II, “Handing on the Faith: Catechesis”, 4-7).”

 “Catechists have a special ministry among the baptized faithful.” 

A copy of the Catechism, however, and access to a Google search engine do not a catechist make! Lay catechists who are designated in their parishes to help the Bishop discharge his teaching responsibility do so in virtue of their baptism, their training in the faith and teachings of the Church, their commission as catechists and the lived witness of their Catholic Christian lives. In his first encyclical letter Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis wrote, Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity. Precisely because all the articles of faith are interconnected, to deny one of them, even of those that seem least important, is tantamount to distorting the whole…hence the need for vigilance in ensuring that the deposit of faith is passed on in its entirety…and that all aspects of the profession of faith are duly emphasized (Pope Francis, Lumen Fidei, June 29, 203, art. 48). To be an authentic, effective catechist, therefore, one must know the faith – that is, the faith of the Catholic Church – well enough to be able to share it wholly and integrally with those for whom they have

received their catechetical commission. Knowledge alone, however, is not enough. To be an authentic, effective catechist, one must live their faith in witness to the Gospel and be recognized within the community of believers for that witness. Catechesis, then, begins with the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and embraces that proclamation faithfully as it is embodied in the teachings of the Church and its liturgical, sacramental and moral life. It is not “a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” It is not a “cafeteria menu” that one picks and chooses from among its offerings. It is the faith of the Catholic Church, whole and entire, joyfully and attractively presented, leading to a deeper conviction and commitment to its truth in the living of a Catholic Christian life. Every year, on the third Sunday in September, the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates “Catechetical Sunday,” this year on September 20. The theme chosen this year by the United States Conference of Bishops is taken from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you (1 Cor 11:23).” That is an apt description of the work of catechesis and evangelization. It points to both the substance – what I received and handed on – and the relationality – from the Lord to me and through me to you – of catechetical activity. Catechetical Sunday offers us, as Catholics, a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the role that each baptized person plays in handing on the faith and witnessing to the Gospel. Catechists have a special ministry among the baptized faithful, a “missionary vocation,” as Pope Francis has often spoken of it. The Diocese of Trenton is especially blessed by those who have committed themselves to deepening their own faith as they enrich the life and faith of those they teach in our parish based religious education and adult faith formation programs. Collaborating with the diocesan departments of Catechesis and of Evangelization, our lay catechists not

6   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

only instruct in and impart the Catholic faith – they inspire! As Bishop, I am exceedingly grateful to the baptized and commissioned faithful who help me fulfill my own teaching office and responsibilities. I humbly offer you my prayer and blessing. In closing, for our celebration of Catechetical Sunday this year, let me share with you words Pope Francis once directed to catechists: Being a catechist is not a title; it is an attitude of biding with Him and it lasts a lifetime. It means abiding in the Lord’s presence and letting ourselves be led by him (“Address of Pope Francis to the International Congress of Catechists,” Rome, September 27, 2013). Catechists are people who keep the memory of God alive; they keep it alive in themselves and they are able to revive it in others. … So keep this in mind: I didn’t say to do the “work” of catechists, but to “be catechists, because this is something that embraces our whole life. It means leading people to encounter Christ by our words and our lives, by giving witness … (Pope Francis, “Homily for Mass of the World Day of Catechists,” Rome, September 30, 2013.) To those who have served in the diocesan offices and for those who have been catechists in our parishes over the years, a heartfelt “thank you.” To those just beginning this ministry, “welcome, and God’s blessings.” To the whole local Church of the Diocese of Trenton, let us all, together, thank God for the blessings he has given us in and through our catechists and their ministry. Let us pray: Loving Father, we pray today for our catechists. We thank you for their gift of ministry in your Church. Grant them your wisdom; that they may grow in the understanding and teaching of your Word. Grant them also your love; that they may be fruitful heralds of your Word and lead others to love you. Pour forth your Holy Spirit upon them to grant them wisdom about what is important; knowledge of the truths of faith; understanding of their meaning; right judgement about how to apply them in life; courage to persevere even in the face of adversity; reverence before all that is sacred and holy; and that loving zeal which leads others to a transforming encounter with your Son. We pray this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

In Focus


Antidote of Truth’ Catholics called to fight disinformation, serve common good in use of media “A lie can travel around the world and back again while the truth is lacing up its boots.” BY RAYANNE BENNETT 

Associate Publisher AND

EMMALEE ITALIA  Contributing Editor

In an ironic example of possible “fake news,” the above quote – or a version of it – has been attributed to several individuals, including Mark Twain and the 16th century satirist Jonathan Swift. Regardless of who first coined the statement, it is a fair description of human interaction and a plausible explanation of why society is so profoundly impacted by the unfettered expansion of “fake news” or disinformation, particularly in the

media that we consume and share. We all have some kind of connection to the media – whether it is delivered through our televisions, computer screens, phones or print publications. It is a good thing, and we have come to rely on the media for so many aspects of our lives. From the youngest of children watching videos of their favorite shows, to our seniors, sharing news, photos and maybe a recipe or two . . . most of us are in front of screens and consuming digital and social media on a daily basis. For many individuals, the Continued on 8

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   7

In Focus

Staying vigilant Continued from 5

use of new media is more than social . . . it is how we promote our businesses or communicate for our jobs, our studies, etc. And for people of faith, digital and social media has been a means to witness to our spiritual beliefs, to spread the Gospel and advocate for others in the name of justice and charity. WE ARE CALLED

Shutterstock photo

Indeed, for generations, our Church has called upon us to utilize modern media in service to the common good and to counteract the negative influences that threaten our peace, well-being and sense of solidarity. We are  “In order charged with the role of preserving to champion the truth and using it as an antidote to those who mean to do harm, as the truth in Pope Francis has counseled. Understanding the truth is half media, we the battle. In a message published need to stay in early August, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., spoke of truth as informed.”  embodied in our faith. He wrote: “Truth is not true because we believe it. Truth is true whether we believe it or not.  “Truth is not true today and false tomorrow. Truth is not the

8   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

object of whims; it is not the subject of opinion polls or majority votes; it is not the ‘stuff ’ of arbitrary decisions based upon what is easiest or most convenient to follow or what ‘feels good’ at any particular point in time. Truth is the Lord Jesus dwelling among us in the Church he established.” In order to champion the truth in media, we need to stay informed, exercise responsibility and remain mindful of our mandate to “love one another,” even when it is our neighbors down the street who persist in posting hateful and disrespectful content to their Facebook page. It’s a tall order, and easily thwarted by our human failings. Like all media consumers, Catholics need to know whether stories are accurate, biased, merely hearsay or downright fabricated. We need to recognize when sources are questionable, even though they are and posted and re-posted as if credible. Finally, we need to know what to do when something isn’t legitimate or isn’t aligned with what we believe as disciples of Christ. THE THREATS ARE REAL As challenging as all of this may have been in the past, we are now entering a political season that brings with it even greater threats to the common good. National security officials have consistently warned that foreign-led campaigns are underway, attempting to influence our thinking and how we communicate with one another. Add to that the home-grown extremist messages that aim to radicalize and gain followers. Misinformation – and worse, disinformation, designed to cause harm – is pervasive across social media platforms, sometimes with deadly consequences. For instance, survey data collected in six countries by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford determined that 33 percent of people have been exposed to COVID-19 misinformation on social media. Through the use of automated “bot” systems, bad actors have succeeded in infecting social media with an unfathomable number of fake accounts aimed at spreading disinformation and sowing division among those who hold different political, cultural and religious views. To combat this tidal wave of ill-intended content, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have been fighting fire with fire – cracking down Continued on 14

In Focus

The Church, the Media and Us What responsibility do Catholics have to use the media for good? COMPILED BY EMMALEE ITALIA  Contributing Editor

F The Vatican II document Inter Mirifica addressed the importance of the mass media as a means of spreading the Gospel, as well as foreseeing potential for its abuse by some as a tool of dishonest persuasion. Photo from Queen of Peace Catholic Store website

rom the earliest days of mass communications, the Church has astutely monitored its potential to both advance the Gospel and serve others, and conversely, to spread evils such as hate, racism and immorality. Our Church has called upon us to reject the destructive use of media and, instead, fully embrace it to share God’s love. Now that broadcast, digital and social media are such a mainstay in how we communicate and get information, the responsibility that the Church has given us to use it effectively and appropriately becomes even more critical. Here is just some of what our Church has taught through its leaders about media and communications: Continued on 10

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   9

In Focus

Church view Continued from 9

THE BLESSING AND PROPER USE OF MEDIA TO SERVE MANKIND Promulgated in 1963, Inter Mirifica, the Decree On the Media of Social Communications penned as part of the Second Vatican Council and promulgated by Pope Paul VI, was in many ways ahead of its time. Already recognizing the benefit of news organizations spreading information to all corners of the earth, the decree sought not only to praise the media’s potential, but also to issue a warning for its potential to be abused. “The Church welcomes and promotes with special interest those [technological discoveries] which have a most direct relation to men’s minds, and which have uncovered new avenues of communicating most readily news, views and teachings of every sort … The Church recognized, too, that men can employ these media contrary to the plan of the Creator … [and] experiences maternal grief at the harm all too often done to society by their use” [1]. The power of media to influence consumers’ thoughts, the decree notes, makes it all the more necessary that “all who employ them be acquainted with the norms of morality and conscientiously put them into practice in this area … [Media] must  “The decree take into consideration the entire circumstances, namely the persons, sought not place, time and other conditions only to praise under which communication takes place and which can affect or totally the media’s change its propriety … its influence potential, but can be so great that men, especially if they are unprepared, can scarcely also to issue a become aware of it, govern its impact, or, if necessary, reject it” [4]. warning.”  The reporting of news, the decree stresses, “should always be true and complete, within the bounds of justice and charity” [5]. The council exhorted that “every member of society must fulfill he demands of justice and charity in this area … all must strive, through these media as well, to form and spread public opinion” [8]. As to those spreading the news – at the time, newsmen, and other members of the arts and entertainment industries – the council declared that the principal moral responsibility for proper use of media falls squarely on their shoulders. Those in public authority, likewise, bear the responsibility 10   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

With an image of Blessed John  XXIII in the background, a photographer’s laptop and lens are seen as Cardinal Loris Capovilla, who served as personal secretary to Blessed John, speaks via video link to an April 25, 2014  Vatican  press conference in advance of the canonization of Blesseds John and John Paul II. Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II both spoke to the Church at large about the responsibility of the media and the Catholic response – the former convening the Second Vatican Council which produced the document Inter Mirifica, and the latter in his apostolic letter to those in communications. CNS photo/Paul Haring “to exercise a fitting and careful watch lest grave damage befall public morals and the welfare of society through the base use of these media” [12].

MEDIA MUST PROMOTE ACCURACY, RESPECTFUL DIALOGUE St. John Paul II, addressing those in the communications industry, issued an apostolic letter in January 2005, The Rapid Development of Technology. In it he addressed the timely concern of a change in cultural attitude toward the very existence of truth – and how the media are partially responsible for this shift. The Pope exhorted that conveying truth must be the

In Focus

centerpiece of any news medium. “The mass media can and must promote justice and solidarity according to an organic and correct vision of human development, by reporting events accurately and truthfully, analyzing situations and problems completely, and providing a forum for different opinions. An authentically ethical approach to using the powerful communication media must be situated within the context of a mature exercise of freedom and responsibility, founded upon the supreme criteria of truth and justice” [4]. St. John Paul II urged communicators to focus on “formation, participation and dialogue” [11]. Formation would help prevent media running “the risk of manipulating and heavily  “Conveying conditioning, rather than serving people.” The potentruth must tial for promoting dialogue, be the he stressed, would allow media to “become a powerful centerpiece resource for good if used to foster understanding between of any news peoples; a destructive ‘weapmedium.”  on’ if used to foster injustice and conflicts” [11]. Although modern technologies make rapid and voluminous dissemination of information possible, St. John Paul II reminded communicators that “they do not favor that delicate exchange which takes place between mind and mind, between heart and heart, and which should characterize any communication at the service of solidarity and love.” Citing the apostle Paul, he wrote, “Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth … No foul

language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:25, 29).

SOCIAL MEDIA’S POTENTIAL FOR COMMUNICATION, ABUSE In his annual Message for World Communications Day in 2009, 2011 and 2013, Pope Benedict XVI zeroed in on the rapidly growing arena of social media, and the necessity of its users, despite not being journalists, to promote honest communication and respect for all in conversation. “Dialogue between people from different countries, cultures and regions … require[s] honest and appropriate forms of expression together with attentive and respectful listening,” wrote the Pope. “Life is not just a succession of events or experiences: it is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful” (2009). “In the digital age, too, everyone is confronted by the need for authenticity and reflection … It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others … [which means] to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgments that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically” (2011). Because anyone in the social media arena can have an instant platform, without oversight, the newsworthiness of what is shared is often debatable. The medium itself, Pope Benedict XVI wrote, presents “challenges to those who want to speak about truth and values.” The significance and effectiveness of the information shared, he said, “appear to be determined more by their popularity than by their intrinsic importance and value … often Continued on 12

Pope Francis, St. John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI are pictured in a composite photo. All three popes spoke and wrote about the responsible use of media during their papal tenure. CNS photo/ Paul Haring/Joe Rimkus Jr.

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   11

In Focus

Talking Truth Continued from 11

linked to celebrity or strategies of persuasion rather than to the logic of argumentation.” Often drowned out is the “gentle voice of reason” with more attention afforded to “those who express themselves in a more persuasive manner” (2013).

BISHOPS RESPOND TO MEDIA MISUSE Renewing the Mind of the Media, an episcopal document issued in June 1998 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, focuses primarily on the rise of inappropriate and damaging material in entertainment media. The news media, however, are also addressed as a potential breeding ground for negative influence. “Even people who do not consume a great deal of media are well aware that they live in a society whose environment and values are affected by media influence for good or ill, and they can be affected themselves, even indirectly,” the bishops wrote. Although the Internet was not yet rife with social media 22 years ago, the USCCB foresaw the potential for its abuse among the ill-formed and impressionable. “Other forms of media, new and  “We need old, also influence young people and adults to engage in morally and soto discern cially destructive forms of behavior. everything that The utility of the Internet has already been compromised … to transmit encourages messages of hate.” Broadcast news, too, did not go communion unnoticed in its potential for fomentand promotes ing conflict. “Talk radio often assaults goodness.”  its listeners with angry or indecent remarks… [and] those involved in the news media need to ask themselves whether the emphasis placed on the coverage of violent crime and the often-graphic nature of this coverage is warranted. If it is not, they must take responsibility for causing undue anxiety and alarm among their consumers and for their contribution to a climate in which violence becomes commonplace.”

THE ROLE OF FAKE NEWS IN OBSCURING TRUTH Pope Francis, in his January 2018 Message for World Communications Day, addressed the growing trend of “fake news,” and how its increasing prevalence has not only made actual news 12   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

more difficult to discover, but has spread “false information based on non-existent or distorted data meant to deceive and manipulate the reader” [1]. Fake news’ effectiveness, Pope Francis explained, “is primarily due to its ability to mimic real news, to seem plausible. Secondly, this false but believable news is ‘captious,’ inasmuch as it grasps people’s attention by appealing to stereotypes and common social prejudices, and exploiting instantaneous emotions like anxiety, contempt, anger and frustration” [1]. The difficulty, he continued, of thwarting fake news is the echo chamber – the tendency of many people to “interact in homogeneous digital environments impervious to differing perspectives and opinions.” That lack of variety in point of view creates a breeding ground for disinformation to grow. “It risks turning people into unwilling accomplices in spreading biased and baseless ideas. The tragedy of disinformation is that it discredits others, presenting them as enemies, to the point of demonizing them and fomenting conflict” [1]. Recognizing fake news means fighting “deliberately evasive and subtly misleading rhetoric and at times the use of sophisticated psychological mechanisms,” Pope Francis wrote. “Praiseworthy efforts are being made to create educational programs aimed at helping people to interpret and assess information provided by the media and teaching them to take an active part in unmasking falsehoods, rather than unwittingly contributing to the spread of disinformation” [2]. Pope Francis also praised the efforts of institutional and legal initiatives designed to help curb fake news, “to say nothing of the work being done by tech and media companies in coming up with new criteria for verifying personal identities … we need to unmask what could be called the ‘snake-tactics’ used by those who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place” [2]. He compared such tactics to those of the serpent in the Garden of Eden, “who, at the dawn of Creation, created the first fake news (cf. Gen 3:1-15) …” [2]. Defending ourselves, Pope Francis wrote, must be with the

In Focus

antidote of truth. “To discern the truth, we need to discern everything that encourages communion and promotes goodness from whatever instead tends to isolate, divide, and oppose” [3]. People who are ready to listen, the Pope wrote, who take responsibility for their language, are the best antidotes to falsehoods – and journalists bear the greatest weight of that responsibility. “They must remember that the heart of information is not the speed with which it is reported or its audience impact, but persons … ensuring the accuracy of sources and protecting communication are real means of promoting goodness, generating trust, and opening the way to communion and peace” [4].

amount of unevaluated information. … be ready to ask what aspects of life are being neglected, what issues are being ignored, and whether bias or manipulation is involved.” The guide suggests that instead of experiencing media as “one-way communication,” consumers need to use it to start a conversation. “Where media are interactive, you can engage in an actual dialogue. Where they aren’t, you can contact networks, local stations, and newspapers to compliment or complain ...”

TAKE THE PLEDGE: CIVILIZE IT The call to discuss ideas with civility, especially in a presidential election year, has been taken up by the U.S. Conference

HOW CONSUMERS, PARENTS CAN FIGHT THE AGENDA The USCCB’s Committee for Communications released in April its “Family Guide for Using Media,” which can help not only parents, but also consumers at large effectively regulate their consumption of digital and broadcast information, and dialogue about its accuracy and value. “An intelligent use of media can prevent our being dominated by them and enable us instead to measure them by our standards,” the committee wrote. “Reflect on what ethical standards the media are using. What is portrayed and why? What is it saying about human existence … is anything of value also being conveyed? To get the entire picture, finding a variety of sources is especially important, the committee wrote. “Be aware of the potential for receiving partial information or biased views. No communication medium can supply all details about anything. The Internet, in particular, offers a vast

of Catholic Bishops in their pledge project “Civilize It: Dignity Beyond the Debate.” The program asks participants to be a part of rejecting the acrimony surrounding differing viewpoints, with its “non-partisan call to focus on the dignity of all people, even those with whom we disagree, and to put faith in action.” “When personal attacks replace honest debate, no one wins,” the pledge website states. “This kind of attack, no matter the reason, only serves to further divide our communities. As Catholics, we must model a better way.” The Civilize It! pledge focuses on three aspects: civility, clarity and compassion, including “to treat others with respect, and rise above attacks when directed at me … to root my political viewpoints in the Gospel and a well formed conscience, which involves prayer, conversation, study and listening … [and] to encounter others with a tone and posture which affirms that I honor the dignity of others and invites others to do the same.” Pledges can be made as an individual, family or community. The full text of the pledge can be made at

READ MORE  Want to read these full Church texts for yourself? Find links to all of these documents at > Special Projects > Sections & Supplements.  For guidelines and tips on how to be a force for good on social media, check out our Rules of the Road on > Special Projects > Sections & Supplements. September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   13

In Focus

Bearer of truth Continued from 8

on bot-created fabrications with the use of artificial intelligence. In June, Twitter disclosed that 32,242 accounts were permanently removed from service, including three distinct operations they attributed to the People’s Republic of China, Russia and Turkey. “In all instances, accounts were suspended for various violations of our platform manipulation policies,” Twitter posted on its site. Such manipulation can include commercially-motivated spam, attempts to make accounts or content appear more popular or active, and coordinated activity that “attempts to artificially influence conversations through the use of multiple accounts, fake  “Each one accounts, automation and/or of us has scripting.” According to the power MIT’s Technology to mitigate Review, Facebook took down close to destructive 2 billion fake accontent by not counts per quarter in 2019. The tech sharing it.”  giant’s advanced detection systems are often able to uncover fake accounts as they are created or before they go live. Since July, both Facebook and Twitter have banned thousands of conspiracy theorists based in the United States and removed posts or limited functionality for hundreds of thousands of accounts who espouse similar ideology. A FORCE FOR GOOD It is true that disinformation has been weaponized by a myriad of forces who are aligned with influences across the ideological spectrum. There will be fake news articles, doctored photos and videos, posts that viciously attack others, and comments on posts that reflect extremist ideology and seek to pit us against one another. There will be attempts to demean the dignity of people in all stages of life; there will be attempts to incite hatred and contempt. 14   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

But in order to fully succeed in their efforts, they need a catalyst – which society often seems eager to provide. Instead, Catholic Christians can utilize the tools of the Church – the Catechism, teachings from the Holy See, the statements of its bishops – to challenge destructive content in front of the social media community. Staying well-informed about issues through reliable sources and being buoyed by the Gospel gives every person the power to respond in love to the hate that is all too easy to find.


2020 HONOREES RICHARD J. HUGHES, CATHOLIC CHARITIES, DIOCESE OF TRENTON HUMANITARIAN AWARD Thomas J. Keefe and Judithann C. Keefe LIGHT OF HOPE AWARDS Burlington County: Deacon James L. Casa Mercer County: Mary Jo Herbert Monmouth County: Dr. Jack V. Kirnan Ocean County: Oceanaire Women’s Golf Association

Guardian Angel Benefit of Hope VIRTUAL FUNDRAISER


September 30, 6:00–7:30 PM 2020 SPONSORS (at time of printing)


ANGEL OF HOPE Atlantic Lining Company, Inc. Bank of America Merrill Lynch The Domenick Group Drs. Jack and Jean Kirnan NJM Insurance Group Reilly Financial Group St. Catharine - St. Margaret Parish

ARCHANGEL The Allied Group Amboy Bank Archer Law Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine The Walter R. Earle Memorial Foundation The Hibbert Group J.C. Kellogg Foundation OceanFirst Bank Ray Catena Motor Car Corporation Riverview Studios Stark & Stark John and Nancy Tesoro GUARDIAN ANGEL Bayada Home Health Care Circle BMW Retirement Income Solutions Robert and Karen Tanzola

ANGEL John J. Jr. and Barbara Costello Gateway Licensing, LLC Jersey Shore Running Club Law Offices of John F. Marshall New Jersey Natural Gas Occupational Safety Services, Inc. Parker McCay R.P. Mobile Diagnostics, LLC Wells Fargo Bank ANGEL OF PEACE Advanced Coring and Cutting Corporation Michael and Ellen Brogan Brian and Mary Ellen Burriss Causeway Family of Dealerships Church of St. Pius X The Curchin Group, LLC Robert and Maureen Donnelly

Scott and Janet Garley Georgian Court University Gridless Power Peter and Mary Ellen Griffin Hugh and Mary-Ann Guyler Joanne Hall Raymond and Gloria Harter Law Offices of Lynda L. Hinkle Alice Jones JSPM, LLC The Kotzas Family Charitable Foundation McCollister’s Transporation Group Robert and Diane Powderly St. Francis Medical Center Daniel and Debra Stolbof Damian J. Sylvia Woolman Construction

Silent Auction  Basket Raffles  50/50 Super Raffle  Enter tainment

MonitorGABOH_2020_FullPage_8.26_update2.indd 1

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   15 8/26/2020 11:46:29 AM

Viewpoints A woman and child walk through snow at a makeshift camp in Azaz, Syria, in February. A military offensive on an opposition-controlled region of northwestern Syria created one of the worst catastrophes for civilians in the country’s nearly 10-year long war, sending hundreds of thousands of people fleeing, many of them sleeping in open fields and under trees in freezing temperatures. Columnist Tony Magliano challenges his readers to remember that there was suffering before there was COVID, and we are all responsible to help one another. CNS photo/

But what about all of the other suffering?

Khalil Ashawi, Reuters


ith still no end in sight, the highly infectious, deadly, global novel coronavirus naturally continues to command much of our attention. All of us are vulnerable and most of us know it! And so the race is on to find a vaccine, as well as drugs to treat this plague. Vast amounts of money, time, effort and intellectual capital are being invested – and rightfully so. But what about all of the other suffering so much of humanity is enduring?

 Let’s try to put ourselves in the shoes of our suffering brothers and sisters.  Not only now, but long before the coronavirus, countless fellow human beings have been racked with afflictions so terrible that words cannot do justice to their immense suffering – suffering largely unnoticed by most of the unaffected and more economically well-off nations and individuals. Greed, lack of compassion, a weak commitment to Jesus’ Gospel message, or as Pope Francis says, “selfish indifference,” are among the reasons why so many


people have suffered so much, for so long, while so many of us pretty much look the other way. “Out of sight, out of mind” is another reason why we aren’t doing all we can to bring love, social justice and peace to our world. We need to take the blinders off and intently examine all of the misery. Let’s try to put ourselves in the shoes of our suffering brothers and sisters. Let’s use our creative imagination. Just imagine how you would feel if you did not know if you would have any food to eat today, tomorrow, next week. Imagine if you and your family had no place to live tonight. Imagine that your life and your children’s lives were threatened by drug gangs and that you and your children fled for your lives to the border of another country seeking asylum, only to be told that you and your children are not welcomed. Imagine that you are an unborn baby about to brutally dismembered by abortion. Imagine in a frantic effort of fleeing from persecution because of your faith you are tricked by a pimp and become

16   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

trapped into forced prostitution or some other form of human trafficking. Imagine that the water you drink is polluted and disease ridden. Imagine that where you live there is no school for your grandchildren and no medical care either. Imagine that you are trapped in a war zone and that bombs – supplied by wealthy corporations of foreign nations – are exploding all around you. Just imagine! Since all of this is overwhelming, it is very tempting to simply ignore all of it and retreat into our comfort zones. But we must resist this deadly temptation from the evil one. Instead, we must heed St. Ignatius of Loyola’s axiom: “Work as if everything depends on you. Pray as if everything depends on God.” Pray, study, act. And make a difference! We can. We should. We must! In the teaching of St. Pope John Paul II, we need to nurture a sense of solidarity with each other – especially with the poor and vulnerable. Each one of us needs to commit our self to the common good; “that is to say, to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.” Tony Magliano is an internationally syndicated Catholic social justice and peace columnist. Magliano can be reached at tmag6@

Issues & Advocacy

Time running out to complete

2020 Census BY JENNIFER MAURO  Managing Editor


oughly 60 percent of New Jersey’s households have participated in the 2020 Census, but with the coronavirus pandemic front and center in people’s minds, officials fear completing the survey may have now fallen by the wayside. However, the coronavirus pandemic is just one example of why taking part in the U.S. Census is so important, advocates say, for the government uses that data to determine how billions of dollars in federal funding are distributed to States and communities each year, including hospitals and public health initiatives. In addition, Census data

is used for deciding how much a community receives in natural disaster relief; determining grants for schools, teachers and special education; supporting programs that prevent child abuse, and funding public transportation and highway construction, among other considerations. “Being counted in the Census is vital to making sure we as a community, county and State, are considered accurately for federal and State funding of social, medical and  “If we are transportation services as well as for legislative undercounted, representation, which is all based on the number then we will be of residents living here,” underrepresented.”  said Brenda Rascher, executive director of the diocesan Office of Catholic Social Services. “If we are undercounted, then we will be underrepresented and underserved across the board,” she said. “Instead of speaking with a full voice heard by all, it would be like we are softly whispering yet hoping that we are still heard.”  To encourage New Jerseyans to be counted in the Census, the State is offering actions everyone can take: 1. Make sure you have completed the Census. Visit The page also has a full listing of events, documents and information you can share to motivate others. 2. Call, text or email five friends, neighbors or relatives – ask them to fill out the Census now and ask if they can call five people, etc. A personal ask makes it more likely people will take action. 3. If you are leading an organization, group, meeting, etc., consider arranging a Census event online or by phone. If you host an event, the State can provide staff support.   4. Post about the Census on social media (follow NJCensus2020). Use these hashtags: #NJCensus2020, #FillitOutNow, #StrengthInNumbers or #NJGOTC. Use social media to start a dialogue; tag a friend to fill out the Census today. The deadline to be counted in the 2020 Census is Sept. 30. To complete your response visit, call 844330-2020 or mail your completed questionnaire to U.S. Census Bureau National Processing Center, 1201 E 10th Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47132. Trenton’s Mount Carmel Guild has been encouraging Census enrollment with English and Spanish fliers placed in food bags at its food pantry. Photo courtesy of Mary Inkrot

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   17


More than $62K donated to parishes, Diocese through COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund

fertory gifts, to cover expenses related to ministry, utilities, maintenance, staffing, community outreach programs and other pressing needs. The designated parishes will receive 100 percent of the funds; there are no administrative fees charged there were no immediate remedies for by the Diocese. BY RAYANNE BENNETT  many parishes that saw the weekly offer DIOCESAN OPERATIONS AND Associate Publisher tory literally dry up in an instant. MINISTRY NEEDS • Diocesan offices To help parishes stay connected with and ministries supported Bishop O’Conhen Bishop David M. O’Connell’s outreach to his flock via online nell, C.M., made the difficult, their communities and navigate through messages, videos and livestreamed Masses but inevitable decision in late the financial shortfalls, the Diocese set up a COVID-19 Emergency Relief during the shutdown. Funds went to supMarch that the churches would need to port these communications and technoltemporarily close because of the coronavi- Fund soon after the shutdown began. ogy needs, as well as Chancery operations. rus pandemic, he knew that the shutdown Donors were invited to give through an Specifically, the fund helped the Diocese would exact a profound toll on the parish online form that allowed them to specify the parish to which they wanted their provide ongoing health care coverage communities, both spiritually and finandonation directed.  In addition to parish for all parish, school and diocesan staff, cially. While livestreamed Masses could quickly be arranged to provide the faithful support, donors could also direct funds to including those who were furloughed as a diocesan operations, which was impacted cost-cutting measure. with some form of spiritual sustenance by the financial difficulties experienced at  In a report delivered to diocesan offiduring the separation from their church, the parish level. cers in mid-August, Steve Nicholl, direcInformation published when the fund tor of the Department of Development, was established stipulated that all gifts noted that the COVID-19 Emergency would be donor-directed to one or both Fund received $62,294.30 from donors. With gifts amounting to more than $23K, of the following areas: Approximately 600 gifts were received, St. Justin Parish in Toms River benefited from an PARISH OFFERTORY CONTINUwith $41,130 directed to 51 different parinformed and motivated community of parishITY • This would go to the designated ishes, and $21,164.10 directed to diocesan ioners. Find out about this successful effort at parishes, which rely on the generosity of operations and ministry needs. their members, through their weekly ofBishop O’Connell acknowledged the generous response in a COVID-19 RELIEF FUNDS RAISED as of AUGUST 13, 2020: recent note of thanks. He wrote, “I wish to St. Justin the Martyr Parish, Toms River $23,105.00 Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton $125.00 Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton $3,450.00 St. Isidore the Farmer Parish, New Egypt $110.00 express my deep personal St Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral Parish, Freehold $2,850.00 Sacred Heart Parish, Riverton $110.00 gratitude to the faithful St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Cinnaminson $1,660.00 Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown $100.00 of the Diocese of Trenton Holy Family Parish, Union Beach $1,350.00 St. Martha Parish, Point Pleasant $100.00 for their characteristic St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville $632.20 St. John Neumann Parish, Mount Laurel $100.00 generosity in contribSt. Catharine-St Margaret Parish, Spring Lake $600.00 Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, West Trenton $100.00 St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel $600.00 uting to the Diocese’s Incarnation-St. James Parish, Ewing $100.00 Christ the King Parish, Long Branch $560.00 COVID-19 EmergenSt. Clement Parish, Matawan $100.00 St. James Parish, Red Bank $553.00 St. Joseph Parish, Toms River $100.00 cy Relief Fund during Epiphany Parish, Brick Town $500.00 St. Joseph Parish, Trenton $95.00 the past few months. St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral Parish, Trenton $450.00 St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville $85.00 St. Michael Parish, West End $450.00 Although we continue to St. Rose Parish, Belmar $75.00 St. Dominic Parish, Brick Town $445.00 face the consequences of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Brant Beach $75.00 St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Bradley Beach $400.00 the pandemic and will for St. Mary of the Lake Parish, (now part of Our Lady St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton $275.00 some time, the gradual of Guadalupe Parish), Lakewood $75.00 Sacred Heart Parish, Mount Holly $275.00 Sacred Heart Parish, Bay Head $50.00 but steady resumption Mother of Mercy Parish, Asbury Park $215.00 St. Mary Parish, Barnegat $50.00 Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Maple Shade $200.00 of parish life has once Visitation Parish, Brick Town $50.00 St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Hightstown $200.00 again begun to relieve St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square $50.00 St. Theresa Parish, Little Egg Harbor $200.00 some of the financial St. Catharine Parish, Holmdel $50.00 St. Hedwig Parish, Trenton $145.00 burdens occasioned by Diocesan Operations and Ministry Needs $21,164.10 St. Denis Parish, Manasquan $140.00 the restrictions imposed DONATION AMOUNTS UNDER $50 FOR THE FOLLOWING PARISHES: by the Coronavirus.  I am St. Paul Parish, Princeton; Jesus the Good Shepherd Parish, Beverly; Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton; so grateful to those who St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Toms River; St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Red Bank; St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan; offered such wonderful St. Ann Parish, Keansburg, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Whiting $175.00



Total: $62,294.30

18   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

Continued on 59

Covid-19 Students work at their desks on the first day of the new school year Aug. 6 in St. Matthew School in Franklin, Tenn. In the Diocese of Trenton, new COVID-19 protocols will be in place, including temperature screening and mandatory face masks for each student. CNS photo/Rick Musacchio, Tennessee Register

Diocese issues updated requirements for schools to begin in-person learning BY EMMALEE ITALIA  Contributing Editor AND STAFF REPORTS


s guidance from public health authorities continues to be refined about the return to in-person learning during COVID-19, the Diocese’s Department of Catholic Schools has issued an updated and detailed list of requirements for diocesan and parish Catholic schools in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The requirement document was sent to principals Aug. 21 and is to be included by the schools in the re-entry plans that they are sharing with their parent communities. The requirements cover key subjects such as the wearing of masks by students, faculty and visitors; screening processes for fever or other symptoms of students and faculty; adherence to any updates from the New Jersey Department of Health and other agencies based on risks for each community and region, and contingency plans in the event of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in the school. According to the document, face masks will be required for all students and faculty, unless the individual meets specific exceptions. While clear masks are acceptable, face shields do not replace masks as an option – though they may be worn in addition to a face mask. (This reflects the updated Centers for Disease Control guidelines about cloth face coverings being more effective against the spread of the coronavirus.) Periodic breaks when masks may be removed are allowed if social distancing is maintained. Temperature and symptom checks will be instrumental as

part of the screening process for anyone entering school buildings, preferably taken at home by a parent prior to leaving for school each day and then submitted via online/phone app, and alternatively by a school nurse prior to admission. Each school will implement specific protocol, such as social distancing, based on its individual campus and classrooms. Some schools have more space than others, allowing for greater numbers of students per classroom. As reported in their official plans, many schools will make use of outdoor space, including the use of tents, as weather and seasons permit. The New Jersey Department of Health has established a risk matrix by region for New Jersey, with Burlington County in the southwest region, Mercer in the central west region, and Monmouth and Ocean in the central east region. If positive case numbers increase above a particular threshold, the region will be color coded – green for low risk, yellow for moderate risk, orange for high risk and red for very high risk. Regardless of the risk levels, all diocesan schools will adhere to the directive to require students and staff to stay home when sick or if they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days. Parents, guardians, students and staff must notify school administrators of illness. Daily cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces in the school must be done, and adequate hand hygiene supplies must be readily available. Additionally, the use of Continued on 57

To read the full requirements document, visit > Schools. To view the NJDOH coronavirus risk matrix, visit and click on COVID-19 Information for Schools > Learn More. September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   19

Diocese During an Anniversary Blessing Mass in 2018, Bishop O’Connell accepts the gifts of bread and wine that were presented by a couple marking a milestone anniversary. John Blaine photo Oct. 4 and Oct. 25. With these dates already set aside for marriage, the Department of Evangelization and Family Life is planning various marriage-related activities for anniversary couples in the Diocese of Trenton during the month of October 2020. One of the ideas we are most excited about is the launch of three special webpages, currently under construction, one for each milestone anniversary – first, 25th and 50th. Each page will feature a segment titled, “A Walk Down Memory Lane.” Couples will be invited to reminisce and relive that wonderful day when they first became husband and wife, and to consider life as it was the year they were married. These webpages will highlight the blessings of married life with creative ideas for celebrating each milestone anniversary in special ways. Dr. Gary Smalley of the Focus on the Family organization and well-known marriage specialist, writes of the importance of wedding anniversaries for married couples, saying, “Celebrating an anniversary shows that marriage is a priority in our life. It gives us a chance to pull back from the daily grind and relive a moment that changed our life forever.” Dr. Smalley and other marriage experts agree that celebrating each wedding anniversary is just as important as the wedding day itself. For Catholics, the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is deeply connected to our Catholic faith and part of God’s plan for salvation. Even a pandemic cannot stop us from celebrating the amazing gift of Catholic marriage. For the latest updates and information on Anniversary Blessings activities for October 2020, visit Peg Hensler is the diocesan associate director of marriage ministries and NFP in the Department of Evangelization and Family Life.

Nothing can stop the celebration of marriage


he annual Bishop’s Anniversary Blessings for Catholic married couples celebrating first, 25th, 50th or more wedding anniversaries in the Diocese of Trenton will look different this year.

For the first time since 1963, when Bishop George W. Ahr introduced the annual celebration of milestone wedding anniversaries, our anniversary couples from around the Diocese will not be able to gather in person. The global pandemic may prevent us from celebrating in traditional ways, but it will not stop us from creating new ways to honor the significance and sacred character of Holy Matrimony and all those anniversary couples who deserve our recognition and gratitude.

 “Celebrating an anniversary shows that marriage is a priority in our life.”  First, we are pleased to share the selection of dates from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., for the 2021 Anniversary Blessings events (provided they can be held safely) – Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, for Mercer and Burlington County parishes


Associate Director of Marriage Ministries and NFP

in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, and Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, for Ocean and Monmouth County parishes in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold. To ensure that all anniversary couples have an opportunity to receive his blessing in person, Bishop O’Connell is extending his invitation to all couples who will celebrate their first or second anniversary in 2021, their 25th or 26th anniversary, and as always, their 50th or more anniversary. Plans are already underway to make the post-anniversary Mass reception even more festive with live music and some special marriage and family activities that reflect the wonderful diversity of our Church today. The original dates for this year’s anniversary blessings events were Sundays,

20   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 


Episcopal Appointments

Ministrare Non Ministrari

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., has announced the following appointments: Father Michael McClane, pastor of St. Paul Parish, Princeton, to medical leave, effective Aug. 10, 2020. Father Miguel Valle, parochial vicar of St. Paul Parish, Princeton, to administrator, effective Aug. 10, 2020.

Catholic outreach agencies invited to apply for CCHD grants


osemary Goebel can’t say enough about all the services the Social Concerns Ministry in St. Joseph Parish, Toms River, provides throughout the year. Whether it’s operating the daily food pantry, conducting free clothing giveaways in the spring and fall, or collecting items around Memorial Day for men women and men serving overseas, the outreach keeps busy. But for any of these

BISHOP THANKS FORMER DIOCESAN SCHOOLS CHIEF FOR DEDICATION JoAnn Tier may have retired from her role as diocesan superintendent of Catholic Schools, but the Diocese’s shepherd wanted to ensure that her dedication would not be forgotten. Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and Chancery staff visited Tier and her husband, Charles, in mid-August at their Burlington County home. Joined by Joseph Bianchi, chief administrative officer, and Kevin Cimei, chief fiscal officer, the Bishop presented Tier with a plaque that read, “In deepest appreciation for your dedication to Catholic education,

1986-2020.” Tier served in Catholic education for 34 years, 20 of which were in the Lawrenceville Chancery. She served for 11 years as diocesan superintendent. At the time of her July 31 retirement, she reflected on Catholic education in the Diocese of Trenton, saying, “I am truly humbled at the service learning in our Catholic schools. Students recognize the dignity of each person. They see the face of God in those whom they meet. They live the teachings of Jesus.” From staff reports

services to happen, funds are needed. One of the ways the Social Concerns Ministry has received financial assistance is through a social service grant awarded by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the domestic antipoverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The Social Concerns Ministry was one of five outreach agencies to receive a grant in 2019. The application for 2020 begins Sept. 1 and will close Oct. 5; those received after the deadline will not be considered. Grant applications can be downloaded at and emailed to The 2020 CCHD awardees will be announced in early November, funded by the 2019 collection.

 “Locally, we also look to fund programs that offer a hand up.”  “[CCHD] works to break the cycle of poverty by helping low-income people participate in decisions that affect their lives, families and communities,” said Brenda Rascher, executive director of the diocesan Office of Catholic Social Services and acting CCHD director in the Diocese. “Locally, we also look to fund programs that offer a hand up while balancing the need to offer help with such services as food pantries and rental assistance.” Depending on the availability of funds, the CCHD awards three to five grants in the amounts of $2,000 up to $10,000 each year in the Diocese of Trenton. The grant monies are received from a designated collection taken in parishes the weekend before Thanksgiving. Seventy-five percent of monies collected go to the national CCHD, and 25 percent remains in the Diocese. By Mary Stadnyk, associate editor

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   21

In Ministry

Moving Forward Parish ministers encouraged to reimagine ways of connecting, outreach Office of Pastoral Life and Mission. About 215 people viewed the webinar, Contributing Editor and follow-up discussions for ministry or many serving in parish ministry, leaders took place the week of Aug. 25 to the COVID-19 pandemic has prov- share ideas and best practices. en to be one of frustration, individA consultant to the U.S. Conference ually as well as for the parishes in which of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on they serve and worship. But Julianne Catechesis and Evangelization, Stanz is a Stanz had some wisdom to share with renowned speaker and author of several those serving the Diocese of Trenton. books, including “Start with Jesus: How Everyday Disciples Will Renew the Church” and “Developing Disciples of Christ.” “The last few months have been challenging for all of us both personally and as a Church,” said Terry Ginther, diocesan chancellor and executive director of Pastoral Life and Mission, who introduced the webinar. “When it became abundantly clear that going back to where things were will not happen anytime soon, [we determined] we Julianne Stanz thanks diocesan chancellor Terry Ginther for have to move forward.” Ginther first encounthe opportunity to speak about parish ministry during an tered Stanz at a conference Aug. 19 webinar. Screenshot photo of Catholic leaders in Flori“It is no coincidence that we [in da in 2017. particular] are living through a pandemic Referencing a Sunday Gospel reading time; Christ will be with us and equip us from July, Stanz recalled the story of for the time we are living in,” she said. “I Jesus walking on the water toward the want to reframe what’s happening now as disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee a time of possibility and encouragement.” during a terrible storm, likening it to the current storm of the coronavirus. When  “A Church centered on Peter loses his gaze on Jesus, he begins to sink and cries out to Jesus. “Our boats are going to look different,  renewal is one of hope.” BY EMMALEE ITALIA 


Stanz, director of discipleship and leadership development for the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., spoke to parish ministry leaders Aug. 19 during a webinar titled “Finding Strength to Move Forward in Ministry,” sponsored by the diocesan

Continued on 59

WATCH THE WEBINAR View the “Finding Strength to Move Forward in Ministry” presentation at www.

22   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

REASSESSING MINISTRY Drawn from Julianne Stanz’s webinar and the following Q&A session about ministry during the pandemic restrictions, the following is a list of suggestions for parish ministry leaders: THE MISSIONARY THINK TANK – A FOUR-PART PROCESS:

1. Begin with Prayer – Pray together with fellow ministers, and not just a cursory recited prayer; shared, intercessory prayer is essential. 2. Mission – Ask, what is our mission? What are the barriers to the missionary component now? Then talk through them with other ministry members. 3. Inspiration – Look for guidance from the Holy Spirit; take time to discern the best path. Put ideas out there, then start the refining process. 4. Imagination – Some people tend to be against anything new. Don’t placate those people, but rather stay where the energy and new life is; the fruit will come from that energy, and as Pope Benedict said, “The Church will grow by attraction.” POINTS TO CONSIDER:

 Your first mission field is your parish staff. Energize and engage them so they can go out and energize and engage the world – which resides wherever the technology can go.  What ministries are we called to now that we haven’t even thought of yet? Use your imagination to connect with people where they are.  How are we raising up the next generation of saints from this time? Saints born out of times of immense upheaval include St. Joan of Arc, St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, St. Oscar Romero and St. Teresa of Kolkata. The Gospel has been shared in every format … are we spending more time on triaging existing ministries, or leaning in to where the Holy Spirit is moving us?  Define the problem you want to solve, and ask, what’s the opportunity? Nurturing a growth mindset is important. Presume the goodwill of those who disagree, and have conversations where all ideas are respected.

We Believe

Bishop invites faithful

to pray daily Rosary for the needs of the nation


or centuries, Catholics have turned to the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking for her intercession in times of need by praying the Rosary. This great prayer, whose origins date before the 12th century, uses a meditative repetition of prayers that invoke the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary as she leads us to consider the mysteries in the life of her Divine Son, Jesus. History has shown this to be a powerful, effective and calming prayer that has truly changed hearts and lives over the centuries of its use. Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said of the Rosary that it is “the book of the blind, where souls see and there enact the greatest drama of love the world has ever known; it is the book of the simple, which initiates them into mysteries and knowledge more satisfying than the education of other men; it is the book of the aged, whose eyes close upon the shadow of this world, and open on the substance of the next. The power of the Rosary is beyond description.” As Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, I invite all Catholics in the Diocese of Trenton to consider making this powerful devotion part of your daily life of prayer. Please join with me in praying

 Please join with me in praying Our Lady’s Rosary every day between now and October 7.  Our Lady’s Rosary every day between now and October 7, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, for the many intentions and needs of our nation today, especially:  For a true respect for life in all its stages from conception to natural death;  For the strengthening of family life;  For an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and for all those impacted by it;

A Message from

BISHOP DAVID M. O’CONNELL, C.M.  For a lasting resolution to the racial tensions and injustices that have too long afflicted our country;  For an end to the violence and death in our cities, especially among the young;  For the victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking;  For the poor, the unemployed and those who face economic hardship, and  For so many of the other intentions and needs that we face in our country and world. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. PRAY the ROSARY with BISHOP Bishop O’Connell prays the Holy Rosary with the students of St. Paul School, Princeton. Audio or podcast available at https://

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   23

Respect Life

Rescuing Wounded Hearts There is hope after abortion, assert Sisters of Life BY CHRISTINA LESLIE  Correspondent


ane” is among the many women who has found forgiveness from abortion through the Sisters of Life’s intervention program.

Raised in a strict Catholic household in the Philippines, Jane began a relationship with a man who turned out to be abusive. She got pregnant twice, and seeing no way out of her situation, she aborted both children, a fact that still haunts her decades later. “I was in total darkness; we never talked about [the abortions],” she recalled. “Never. I felt that I couldn’t go to Confession, because I was a double murderer. I was in total denial.” Jane married the man and bore him four more children, but the two abortions continued to weigh heavily on her mind.

HOW TO FIND HEALING Contact the Sisters of Life at 866-575-0075 or email at

“I stayed in that abusive marriage for 20 years,” she said. “I became active in my church, but felt like I was living a lie. I used to pray and wake up with a heavy heart. Even after I divorced him, I thought I was free, but I was not happy.” Learning about the Sisters of Life through an advertisement in her parish bulletin, Jane called the order around Christmastime in 2015. The religious sister she spoke with asserted that God “could give me oceans of mercy,” Jane remembered. She accepted an invitation to their monthly Day of Prayer and Healing. “I realized that someone really cares, I felt at home, and they were so welcoming,” she said. “I went to Confession, and it was so freeing.” ‘OUR FIRST WORK IS PRAYER’ A New York-based order founded by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1991, the Sisters of Life offer numerous programs,

24   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

“Our approach is gentle and confidential,” say the Sisters of Life. Photos courtesy of the Sisters of Life

and are once again reminding those in the Diocese of Trenton and beyond that they can help transform the pain of abortion into peace and reminding all of God’s love and forgiveness. “Our first work is prayer,” asserts Sister of Life Veronica Mary, the order’s Hope and Healing mission coordinator. “Our goal is to draw closer to Jesus and know his loving power. To not be judged is immensely healing.” The order’s Hope and Healing ministry includes Days of Prayer and Healing in English and Spanish, where small groups of women meet for testimony, group discussions, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Subsequent events include monthly gatherings, women’s study groups, annual weekend retreats and other special events. She noted that women often travel great distances to avail themselves of counseling for abortion and its aftermath in order to maintain anonymity. “Our approach is gentle and confidential,” Sister Veronica Mary said. “Fear keeps people from reaching out. The pain can be placed in God’s hands; the Light of Christ pierces through. There is a resto-

Respect Life

RESPECT LIFE MONTH IS AROUND CORNER Every October, those in the Catholic Church are called to focus their efforts on promoting the belief that all human life is sacred – from the moment of conception to natural death. Respect Life Month, which this year has as its theme, “Living The Gospel of Life,” will be observed with a variety of activities in the Diocese of Trenton, including Respect Life Sunday Masses on Oct. 4, “Life Chains” and “40 Days for Life” campaigns, all of which will adhere to COVID-19 regulations. For updates and coverage of local events, visit For U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop materials, visit

ration, not destruction, and it turns into something good.” The ministry’s offerings include telephone counseling for men as well, for “men suffer after abortion very deeply, but they tend to suppress it,” she said. “Some are shattered. Abortion affects everybody.”

 “God doesn’t want you to carry that burden … for the rest of your life.”  The Sisters of Life are currently slating programs for this fall, and pandemic circumstances may dictate individual or remote counseling rather than in-person meetings. The schedule should solidify in early September, “but we are in touch with women all the time,” Sister Veronica Mary said. She added that regardless of each woman’s unique circumstances or when the abortion occurred, the time to seek internal peace through God’s love is now. “Everyone I counsel says that they would tell another woman, ‘don’t wait,’” she said. “God doesn’t want you to carry that burden or feel that shame for the rest of your life. He wants you to know his tenderness and his love. The sooner you get help, the sooner you get back to God. “None of us deserve

forgiveness, but mercy triumphs over all because of his love,” Sister Veronica Mary continued. “We deserve mercy because we are his children. He does all the work.” GIVING BACK Jane now volunteers with the Sisters of Life in their ministry. “It is a beautiful way to let a woman know how abundant God’s love is and that he is forgiving,” she said. “I learned I am not defined by my mistakes, and the Lord has the power and the grace to comfort me.” Jane’s advice to women in her situation: Rely upon the Blessed Mother who knew the pain of losing a son. “When I think about my two aborted children, I feel hope is replacing the sorrow,” she said. “The Blessed Mother is there. Let her guide you. Your aborted children are with her.”

The order’s Hope and Healing ministry includes Days of Prayer and Healing in English and Spanish.

LOCAL RESPECT LIFE MONTH EVENTS SCHEDULED If in person, all events will adhere to social distancing, sanitizing, face mask guidelines during the pandemic. Hamilton Square, St. Gregory the Great Parish: The parish will support a simplified “40 Days for Life” program in honor of Respect Life month. For a full listing of events, including holy hours, prayer witnesses, meetings with Cohort 6 members and Rosary recitations, see Lincroft, St. Leo the Great Parish: Respect life monthly (first Friday) prayer gathering, 7 p.m., Oct. 2 events: Hamilton/ Mercer County: Route 33 in Hamilton at Nottingham Way, 1-3 p.m., Oct. 4; contact Bob Pawson at 609-610-3522 Howell / Monmouth County: U.S. Highway 9 at Salem Hill Road in front of St. Veronica Parish rectory; 2:30-3:30 p.m., Oct. 18; contact Thomas Moresco at 732-367-2565 and Hubert Mador at Toms River / Ocean County: Hospital Drive at Route 37 West; 11 a.m.- noon, Oct. 3; contact Ed DeMarco at 732-341-9029

MARCH FOR LIFE 2021 WILL BE MINDFUL OF HEALTH SAFETY WASHINGTON (CNS) • In the midst of the uncertainty of COVID-19, organizers of the annual March for Life rally on the National Mall and march to the Supreme Court are still scheduled for Jan. 29. Beyond that, the details are in flux. “We will continue to discern throughout this year what steps should be taken for the 2021 March for Life, and will share subsequent updates on our website and social media,” said Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund. She said the march would move forward, “unafraid and ever encouraged in our mission to defend the unborn.” That weekend’s events also include the Rose Dinner, for which registration is scheduled to begin Sept. 14, and the Pro-Life Summit, a daylong training event for college and high school students, scheduled for Jan. 30. For updates, visit

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE    25

We Pray

Middletown parking-lot revival with Bishop a time to seek God’s wisdom, healing FROM STAFF REPORTS


n conjunction with the anniversary of 9/11 and the spiritual needs of the faithful during the pandemic, St. Mary Parish, Middletown, will host a three-day, in-car revival Sept. 11-13 in its parking lot at 19 Cherry Tree Farm Road. “9/11 is practically a holy day around here, since so many families from here lost someone,” said Father Jeff Kegley, parish pastor, noting that around 40 people from the community died in the attacks. Themed “God, Country, Family,” the revival will begin the first night with Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. Each night will include talks, prayer and faith testimonials, with Eucharistic Adoration on Sept. 12-13. Participants will be able to listen to the program

in their cars via FM radio or loudspeakers set up throughout the church parking lot. The revival, which will run 6:30-8:30 p.m., is open to everyone. The Bishop will be the homilist for Mass on Sept. 11. Father Kegley will speak Sept. 12, and Jim Tortorici, theology teacher in Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, will speak the last night. Father Kegley said the idea for the revival came out of the parish’s men’s ministry, and the numerous prayer intentions for the country, Church and families. “It just dawned on me that at this point, we need to gather everyone in ways that we can to pray together,” he said. The revival is based on a passage from 2 Chronicles: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

Father Jeff Kegley

wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14). “We need to pray, and we need to come to the Lord,” Father Kegley said. “We need God to heal our land. There’s such confusion and bitterness in our culture now, and anger at politicians … Families are suffering from anxiety and fear, loss of jobs. We have to trust the Lord and be people of hope. “I think the revival is going to be really blessed,” he said. “Obviously the wisdom of man is failing. We need the wisdom of God right now to navigate this pandemic … come and experience an encounter with the Lord.”



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538 Church Street, Middletown, NJ 07748 | 732.671.9100 26   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 |

Pope Francis Pope Francis, seen celebrating morning Mass in the chapel of his residence at the Vatican, says God shows the greatest love and compassion for the greatest sinners. CNS photo/Vatican Media

Trust in God’s compassion, tell him everything MORE FROM POPE FRANCIS ONLINE:  With millions deprived of basic needs, Christians must act, Pope says  Pope to religious: Focus on Christ to discover joy in serving others  Making the poor a priority isn’t political, it’s the Gospel, pontiff says

BY CAROL GLATZ  Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY • Those who take time to understand Jesus will find he loves them and wants what is best for them, Pope Francis said. Once people understand that Christ’s heart is full of compassion and can bear people’s sins, mistakes and pain, then it should be easier to find the courage “to bring our own painful story before God, before Jesus, to touch God’s tenderness, Jesus’ tenderness,” he said. Reflecting on the Gospel reading of Matthew (Mt 15:21-28), the Pope asked people to consider the courage and faith the pagan Canaanite woman had in begging Jesus repeatedly, despite his initial reticence, to help her daughter who was tormented by a demon. She asks that Jesus have pity, but Jesus does not answer and tells his disciples his mission is directed only to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” and not to the pagans. She insists and Jesus puts her to a test, the Pope said, when he said it would not be right “to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She pleads, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their

masters,” to which Jesus replies, “great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” This woman could sense Jesus was good and would respond to the needs of any of God’s creatures, Pope Francis said, adding that her faith was great because she brought her personal “story,” marred as it was by pain and difficulty, and placed it at the Lord’s feet. Everyone has his or her own “story” and it is not always pretty, he said. “Many times it is a difficult story, with a lot of pain, many misfortunes and many sins. What do I do with my story?” Like the Canaanite, people should not hide their stories, but should bring them to the Lord and ask him, “If you will it, you can heal me!” The woman’s story teaches people to have “the courage to bring our own painful story before God, before Jesus,” Pope Francis said. People will be able to do this, “if we understand what Christ’s heart is like” – a heart that feels compassion, “that bears our pains, that bears our sins, our mistakes, our failures.” To understand Jesus, people need to be familiar with who he is, so they should always carry a small pocket-size Gospel or go online and read a Gospel passage every day. “There you will find Jesus as he is,” the Pope said. “Jesus who loves us, who tremendously wants our well-being.”

Pope Francis leads his general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Aug. 26. CNS photo/Vatican Media

 The root of every spiritual error is believing ourselves to be righteous. To consider ourselves righteous is to leave God, the only righteous one, out in the cold. 

@PONTIFEX AUG. 25, 2020

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   27


Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, former Trenton auxiliary bishop, dies at age 84 (Editor’s Note: Following is an obituary on Bishop Edward U. Kmiec that was inadvertently omitted from the August issue of The Monitor Magazine. The staff apologizes for the omission.)

Diocese of Trenton, getting together with them frequently during return visits to his retirement home in Brick.  He was loved and admired,� Bishop O’Connell said. Bishop Kmiec had been in declining health during the past several months, the etired Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, diocese said in a July 12 statement. a native son and former auxiliary “We commend to our loving and bishop of the Diocese of Trenton, merciful Lord the devoted soul of our died July 11 at age 84, it was announced brother, Bishop Edward Kmiec,� said Bishby the Diocese of Buffalo. Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger of Albany, op Kmiec was born and raised in TrenNew York, who is apostolic administrator ton, growing up in the city’s St. Hedwig of the Buffalo Diocese. Parish. He was appointed auxiliary bishop “He served long and faithfully the of Trenton in August 1982 and served Church which he loved greatly as a priest the Diocese under then-Bishop John C. and bishop, and as one whose kindness, Reiss until he was named 10th bishop of warm and pastoral spirit guided, comNashville in October 1992. He served forted and revealed Christ to so many in Nashville for 12 years until he was throughout his nearly 60 years of priestappointed Bishop of Buffalo in October hood,� Bishop Scharfenberger said. 2004, retiring from there in May 2012. “We mourn his passing but are also Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., joyous in the sure knowledge that he is shared the announcement of Bishnow with the One who motivated his life’s op Kmiec’s death early July 12.  purpose and who has called this good and “Bishop Kmiec maintained many faithful servant home,� he added. friendships among the priests of the His funeral Mass was celebrated at noon July 17 in the Cathedral of St. Joseph, but because of the ongoing threat of the coronavirus and the required capacity limitations, it was not open to the public. It was livestreamed. The funeral liturgy was restricted to immediate family members of Bishop Kmiec and invited lay, clerical and religious representatives of the Diocese of Buffalo. New York Bishop John C. Reiss places a miter on the head of Bishop Kmiec Cardinal Timothy during his ordination as a bishop Nov. 3, 1982. Bishop Kmiec served M. Dolan of New as auxiliary bishop of the Trenton Diocese for 10 years before he was York presided at the named Bishop of Nashville, Tenn. In October 2004, Bishop Kmiec was Mass, with Bishop Scharfenberger as appointed Bishop of Buffalo. File photo


28   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE  ď‚Ąâ€ƒSeptember 2020 

Retired Bishop Edward U. Kmiec of Buffalo, N.Y., is seen in this 2004 photo. He died July 11 after a brief illness. He was 84. CNS photo/Rebecca A. Horton via Western New York Catholic

the principal celebrant. Other bishops from the New York region were expected to attend. Entombment followed in the Bishops’ Crypt, directly behind the tabernacle in the cathedral. Bishop Kmiec headed the Buffalo Diocese from 2004 until his retirement in 2012. Before that, he was bishop of Nashville, Tenn., from 1992 until his appointment to Buffalo. He was an auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Trenton from 1982 to 1992. His tenure as Nashville’s bishop “was a time of growth of the Catholic community in middle Tennessee,� the Nashville Diocese said in a July 12 statement. There was “not only an increase in the Catholic population but the establishment of new parishes and schools including Pope John Paul II High School in Hendersonville,� the diocese said. “He is remembered fondly as a shepherd and friend by many in the Diocese of Nashville. Bishop J. Mark Spalding has requested prayers for the repose of his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed. May he rest in peace.�


For more on this story, visit> NEWS > DIOCESE


COVID and creation: bringing lessons learned into prayer, action VATICAN CITY (CNS) • During the height of the COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe and North America, city-dwellers – including Pope Francis – were struck by the hush on the streets, the blueness of the skies and the songs of birds. The experience gives added meaning to the theme of the 2020 celebration of the Season of Creation, “Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope.â€? The Season of Creation begins Sept. 1, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, an observance initiated by the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1989 and adopted by Pope Francis for the Catholic Church in 2015. The season runs through Oct. 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. The theme, “Jubilee for the Earth,â€? refers to the biblical jubilee years in Leviticus 25 – a sacred time every 50 years for renewing one’s relationship with God, restoring justice to individuals and letting

the land recuperate. Father Joshtrom Isaac Kureethadam, an official at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, said the theme was chosen by an ecumenical organizing group before the COVID-19 pandemic began. They wanted to commemorate the A red-tailed black bumblebee collects nectar from lavender blos50th anniversary of soms at Hitchin Lavender farm in Ickleford, England. CNS photo/Peter Earth Day April 22. Cziborra, Reuters But, “the theme has become so relevant in the context of much less pollution, the skies were clear, lockdown, and the pandemic is still raging the dolphins came back� to the waters off across the world,� he said. While the lock- of Italy. down had a hugely negative impact on the The “small gap� of the lockdown, he poor, who could not work from home, it said, showed that, if given a chance, “na“gave us a taste of an environment with ture can flourish again.�

Pennington native makes first profession as Salesian BY EMMALEE ITALIA ď Ž Contributing Editor


rother John Patrick Castonguay believes God has called him to a life of true brotherhood, one in which he will do his best to help young people discover God, “helping them to be ‘Good Christians and honest citizens.’� Brother John made his first profession of vows as a brother in the Salesian of Don Bosco community Aug. 15 at the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw, N.Y. He was one of three to profess vows with many in attendance at the Mass, including 22 Salesian priest concelebrants, 14 Salesians, family members, students and alumni from Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey. Brother John, 27, grew up in Pennington with two younger sisters and a

younger brother. The family belonged to St. James Parish until they moved to Michigan during his sophomore year of high school; his parents, John and Theresa, now live in Richboro, Pa. “I was privileged to be a part of the Children’s Choir starting from age four through high school, eventually assuming a leadership position,â€? Brother John said, reflecting on his time at the Pennington parish. “[It] gave me an extremely positive experience of the Church from a young age ‌ I learned how to place my talents at the service of God and the Church.â€? Brother John credited Children’s Choir director Barbara Lysenko with helping shape his “joyful experience of parish life ‌ My experience taught me that the gifts I have are meant to be shared with others.â€? While pursuing a bachelor of arts

degree in philosophy and history from Fordham University, N.Y., he began considering religious life and the priesthood. “An experience of prayer at Brother John Mass, especially in Patrick Castonguay recognizing the Real Presence in the Eucharist, inspired me to consider placing myself at the service of God and his Church,� Brother John recalled. Father Michael Mendl, SDB, contributed to this article.


To read more about Brother John, visit > Parishes.

September 2020  ď‚Ąâ€ƒ THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   29


BY IAN ALVANO  Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON • With the global pandemic practically shutting everything down for months, the sacramental wine and altar bread business has suffered like other businesses in the country, with COVID-19 preventing most indoor public celebrations of the Mass. Many Catholics are unable to attend Mass in person or receive the Communion host and consecrated wine. And in cases where Mass can be attended by a small congregation that must adhere to health and safety protocols, like social distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitizing, Catholics still might not want to receive Communion. “Nothing has kept this winery from fulfilling its mission the last century and a half, until now,” said Will Ouweleen, who is the vintner at the O-Neh-Da and Eagle Crest vineyards in Conesus, N.Y., in the state’s Finger Lakes region. Hemlock Lake is home to the vineyards, which also produce table wines. “Things are not well. Easter this year was effectively canceled. You were encouraged to stay home and have a spiritual Communion,” he told Catholic News Service. “What that means for O-Neh-Da Vineyard and other vineyards is there is no demand for sacramental wine. We have made very few sales since mid-February.” The winery, which is in the Diocese of Rochester, was founded to make sacramental wine by the first bishop of Rochester, Bishop Bernard McQuaid, in 1872. It is one of the few remaining wineries in the world to make sacramental wine from locally grown grapes. “We are facing a threat here like nothing the winery has seen,” Ouweleen said. There will be “a need for sacramen-

tal wine because priests must celebrate Mass,” but the faithful do not have to take the wine if offered at Communion, because “the body, blood, soul and divinity is present in the host completely.” According to the Catechism of the

 “We are facing a threat here like nothing the winery has seen.”  Catholic Church, Catholics are not required to receive Communion under both forms, because the Real Presence is received under one form alone. However, two orders of women religious who make altar bread and ship it around the country, the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Clyde, Mo., and the Poor Clares of the Franciscan Monastery of St. Clare in Langhorne, Pa., have seen a small increase in sales since

CNS photo/Chaz Muth

Makers of sacramental wine, altar bread suffer economic hit due to pandemic

churches have slowly reopened. But they still have a huge surplus of altar breads. Benedictine Sister Ruth Elaine Starman talked about her religious order’s business picking up slightly. Sister Ruth explained that sales are not back to normal because the COVID-19 shutdown meant there would be no Easter Mass and that was rough on the Benedictine sisters. Easter is one of the main times the nuns sell their altar bread, so they saw their sales decrease dramatically. As of now, “the presider’s bread” (the altar bread for the celebrant of the Mass), is selling much better than the bread used for Communion hosts for the laity. Along with the Benedictine Sisters, the Poor Clares have seen a gradual increase in sales as well. Sister Anne Bartol said the Poor Clares were getting about three orders per week, a dramatic decrease from their usual 40 or 50 orders a week, but at least they were getting something.

PUBLIC INVITED TO ATTEND POPE’S WEEKLY GENERAL AUDIENCES STARTING SEPT. 2 VATICAN CITY (CNS) • Twenty-six weeks after his last weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis will resume his audiences with the public present, but in a Vatican courtyard. The Prefecture of the Pontifical Household said that members of the faithful could attend the Wednesday audience talks starting Sept. 2. Norms for curbing the spread of the coronavirus will be followed, the prefecture said in a written communique, and for the month of September, the audiences will be held in the large

30   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

San Damaso courtyard of the Apostolic Palace. Attendance “will be open to anyone who wishes” to participate, and no tickets are needed, it said. Since March 11, Pope Francis had been livestreaming his general audience talks from the library of the Apostolic Palace. Aides were present to read the Scriptures and summaries of his talk in a variety of languages, but no visitors or pilgrims could attend. The last time the audience was held with the public present was Feb. 26, Ash Wednesday, in St. Peter’s Square.

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   31

CNS Illustration/Dado Ruvic, Reuters

World & Nation

WHO leader supports Pope’s call for fair, global access to vaccine BY CAROL GLATZ 

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY – The head of the World Health Organization, which has been strongly advocating rapid, fair and equitable access to potential COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, voiced support for Pope Francis’ similar call for global protections. Pope Francis made appeals Aug. 19 both on Twitter and at his weekly general audience insisting that any vaccine developed for the novel coronavirus help everyone, not just the wealthiest or one nation over another. “The response to the pandemic is therefore dual. On the one hand, it is essential to find a cure for this small but terrible virus, which has brought the whole world to its knees. On the other, we must also cure a larger virus, that of social injustice, inequality of  “Solidarity opportunity, marginalization, and the is needed to lack of protection for the weakest,” the Pope, @Pontifex, said on Twitter. provide a joint “I couldn’t agree more with Your Holiness,” the WHO’s director-gensolution to the eral, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, pandemic.”  replied as he retweeted the papal tweet on his account, @DrTedros. “The #Covid19 pandemic shows that we must make health a human right for all and not allow it to be a privilege for the few. It also gives us an opportunity to rebuild a better, safer, fairer world – together!” he replied in his tweet Aug. 20. The World Health Organization has been promoting and gaining increasing support from more than 70 countries to join the so-called COVAX facility and advanced market commitment, which would guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. Countries are being asked to finance the vaccines from their own budgets and partner with lower-income countries with possible added support from donations in order to help countries have a guaranteed share and allocation of vaccines. Ghebreyesus said at a news conference Aug. 18 that “the response to this pandemic has to be collective.” 32   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

“We have learned the hard way that the fastest way to end this pandemic and to reopen economies is to start by protecting the highest risk populations everywhere, rather than the entire populations of just some countries,” he said. The world must prevent “vaccine nationalism” and start planning now “to prepare to vaccinate and treat the world as new technologies come down the pipeline.” “As we accelerate the science, solidarity is needed to provide a joint solution to the pandemic,” he added. He said the WHO will continue “to promote science, solutions and solidarity because we believe to our core that we do it best when we do it together.”

CALIFORNIANS ‘ON EDGE’ AS HISTORIC WILDFIRES RAGE WASHINGTON • Some of the few Masses available for Catholics in California’s Bay Area came to a halt the weekend of Aug. 22 as bishops urged parishioners to pray for one another, for firefighters, and to stay home as air quality diminished in some parts of the state because of some of the largest wildfires in California history. “People are just stunned, with the pandemic and the downturn in the economy and the racial issues and then on top of that, the wildfires,” said Bishop Oscar Cantú, head of the Diocese of San Jose. “It makes you wonder, what else? All we need is an earthquake.” Evacuation orders have affected more than 250,000 Californians, including many Catholics in the Archdiocese of San Francisco and the dioceses of San Jose, Sacramento and Monterey. All except Monterey are on a list of cities trending at the national level for fast-rising COVID-19 rates. More than a million acres in the area burned in the span of a week, The Associated Press reported, causing 7 deaths as of Aug. 24. The blazes, which began Aug. 14, are believed to have been caused by lightning strikes and made worse by drought conditions.

World & Nation A man in Sulphur, La., walks past fallen electrical lines to get to his residence Aug. 27 in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura. CNS photo/Adrees Latif, Reuters

HURRICANE LAURA ONE OF MOST POWERFUL STORMS U.S. HAS SEEN WASHINGTON (CNS) • After Hurricane Laura made landfall with winds of 150 mph along the Texas-Louisiana border early Aug. 27, bishops from the dioceses in its path found themselves assessing damages and checking in with others. Bishops from the dioceses of Beaumont, Texas, and Lake Charles, La., issued brief statements via Facebook. Southwest Louisiana, where the Diocese of Lake Charles is located, suffered some of the most damage. At least four deaths were attributed to Hurricane Laura as of late Aug. 27. “This morning ... Psalm 57 of the Church’s morning prayer began with these words: ‘In the shadow of your wings I take refuge ‘til the storms of destruction pass by,’” Bishop Glen J. Provost of Lake Charles wrote. Four days before, at least 12 people were killed as Tropi-

cal Storm Laura lashed Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Go to for coverage of the cleanup and relief efforts that are now underway.


BISHOP SAYS NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS BETWEEN ISRAEL, UAE, CAN BRING PEACE WASHINGTON • The normalization of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates can be a step for peace in the Middle East, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace. Bishop David J. Malloy of Rockford, Illinois, Aug. 20 welcomed the announcement in a statement, saying it was “gratifying” that as part of the agreement Israel said it would temporarily suspend plans to annex disputed Palestinian territory in the West Bank. The planned annexation of Palestinian lands by Israel has been a major point of contention between the Jewish state and much of the Arab world. “The Catholic bishops of the United States have long held that both morally and as a basis for lasting peace, the two parties must negotiate directly and arrive at a fair compromise that respects the aspirations and need of both peoples,” Bishop Malloy said. “As Catholic bishops we join in this aspiration and know much work remains in the pursuit of peace in the region,” he said.  Briefs from Catholic News Service; for full stories, go to

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os movimientos, procesos e iniciativas pastorales que se llevan a cabo por la vida de la Iglesia sirven para nombrar desafíos, obstáculos, realidades o novedades para que la Iglesia se mueva siempre adelante compartiendo el Evangelio y construyendo el Reino de Dios. Hace varios años la Iglesia católica de los Estados Unidos arrancó un proceso pastoral enfocado en las necesidades y contribuciones de la comunidad hispana católica, el V Encuentro. Orientado por POR MATEO GREELEY  la historia del encuentro de los discípulos director asociado en camino a Emaús con el Señor Jesús de comunicaciones resucitado, el proceso de Encuentro ha creado espacio de discernimiento en las parroquias, las diócesis, las regiones episcopales y hasta la plena Iglesia nacional sobre cómo la Iglesia puede responder a la comunidad católica hispana y a la vez cómo la comunidad católica hispana puede fortalecer a la Iglesia.

Parte de la delegación diocesana para el V Encuentro Nacional en 2018: Sandra López, María Olvido de los Santos, Raúl Calvimontes, Adela Madrigal, José Ludizaca y Walter Quiñones. 34   REVISTA EL MONITOR   Septiembre 2020 

José Ludizaca, Juliana Cano, Adela Madrigal y Diane Cardona, delegados de la Diócesis de Trenton, sonríen con la Cruz del Encuentro en Gaylord, Texas, 2018. Fotos por Mateo Greeley La Diócesis de Trenton ha participado en el camino de este V Encuentro desde el comienzo. Se llevaron a cabo el Encuentro diocesano y el regional, ambos en la Co-Catedral San Roberto Belarmino. También, muchos fieles participaron en Encuentros parroquiales en que nombraron necesidades particulares durante discusiones y actividades especiales. Representantes de la mayoría de las 18 parroquias designadas como Centros de Ministerio Hispano en la Diócesis tomaron parte. Luego, una delegación de diez representantes viajó a Texas en septiembre del 2018 para participar en talleres y conversaciones sobre mejores prácticas y visiones posibles para nuestra propia diócesis. Como próximo paso del camino, este octubre la delegación diocesana, que ahora puede doblar a 20 delegados, participará en un Encuentro nacional virtual, por cuestiones de la pandemia, para seguir la conversación. Para prepararse para el Encuentro nacional, la delegación se reunirá para estudiar el plan pastoral diocesano actual para el ministerio hispano con la meta de poder avanzar la conversación en la Diócesis de Trenton sobre el plan pastoral de los próximos cinco años. Se pide orar por la delegación en los meses por venir, por la sabiduría y disponibilidad al Santo Espíritu para el bien de la Diócesis de Trenton y la santa Iglesia.

El Anzuelo

Obispo invita a fieles orar Rosario con

él por intenciones, necesidades del país y mundo


ace siglos los católicos se han dirigido a la Santa Virgen María para pedirle su intercesión en momentos de necesidad a través de orar el Rosario. Desde antes del siglo 12, esta gran oración utiliza una repetición contemplativa de oraciones que invocan la intercesión de la Santa Virgen María a través de considerar, juntos a ella, los misterios de la vida de su Hijo Divino, Jesús. Por la historia, el Rosario ha sido una oración poderosa, eficaz y calmante que verdaderamente ha impactado corazones y vidas de por los siglos de uso. El venerado arzobispo Fulton Sheen una vez dijo que el Rosario es “el libro de los ciegos, donde las almas ven y realizan el mayor drama de amor que el mundo ha conocido jamás; es el libro de los sencillos, que los inicia en misterios y conocimientos más satisfactorios que la educación de

Mensaje del

OBISPO DAVID M. O’CONNELL, C.M. otros hombres; es el libro de los ancianos, cuyos ojos se cierran a las sombras de este mundo y se abren a la sustancia del siguiente. El poder del Rosario es indescriptible”. Como Obispo de la Diócesis de Trenton, invito a todos los católicos de la Diócesis considerar hacer que esta devoción poderosa sea parte de su vida diaria de oración. Por favor, conmigo, recemos el Rosario de Nuestra Señora cada día entre ahora y el 7 de octubre, la Fiesta de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, por las intenciones y necesidades de nuestro país hoy en día, especialmente: z Por un respeto verdadero por la vida

en todas sus etapas desde la concepción hasta la muerte natural; z Por la fortitud de la vida familiar; z Por el fin de la pandemia y por todos que han sido afectados por ella; z Por una resolución duradera a las tensiones e injusticias raciales que afligen nuestro país desde hace demasiado tiempo; z Por el fin a la violencia y muerte en nuestras ciudades, especialmente entre los jóvenes; z Por las víctimas del abuso sexual y el tráfico humano; z Por los pobres, desempleados y quienes afrontan dificultad económica, y z Por las tantas otras intenciones y necesidades que afrontamos en nuestro país y mundo. Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros pecadores ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte. Amén.

Jeff Bruno photo



El Anzuelo

Educación religiosa parroquial avanza con nuevos líderes catequéticos


n medio del caos que la pandemia del coronavirus ha causado, hay también muchas luces. Las parroquias de la Diócesis de Trenton han tenido que mostrar flexibilidad y creatividad en cuanto cómo seguir transmitiendo y formando a fieles en la fe católica. Ahora, la diócesis cuenta con dos nuevos líderes parroquiales catequéticos para coordinar los programas de la educación religiosa en sus parroquias.

Rostro conocido asume liderazgo catequético en más nueva parroquia de Diócesis Pilar Acosta no es nueva al liderazgo parroquial, pero para la nueva Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, la unión de la Parroquias anteriores de San Antonio Claret y Santa María del Lago en Lakewood, es el nuevo líder catequético parroquial. “Todavía estamos intentando aclararlo todo”, dijo Acosta de las circunstancias extrañas impuestas por la pandemia. Pilar Acosta “Espero que pronto tengamos la oportunidad de unirnos todos – los que hablan inglés, español y polaco – como una sola comunidad. Vamos paso a paso”. Que la parroquia goce de una comunidad multicultural, coordinar los programas de educación religiosa y la formación

de fe de adultos es un trabajo bastante único. Acosta ahora se prepara para el nuevo año académico y educación religiosa. El primer desafío, reconoció Acosta, “Traer a la gente de nuevo. Desde el primer día, cuando las personas tuvieron [la opción] de quedarse en casa y empezamos a transmitir la Misa virtualmente” ella se ha preocupado de lo que pasaría cuando pudieran volver. Es importante, Acosta compartió, que las familias y feligreses reconocen que la catequesis no parará a causa de la pandemia. “Tenemos que seguir los protocolos [de seguridad], pero también nos hace falta nuestra fe. Hay que tener más hambre por la esperanza de Dios durante este tiempo. Su promesa es que siempre estará con nosotros, a pesar de las dificultades del momento”. ~ Por EmmaLee Italia, contribuidora de edición

Nuevo líder de educación religiosa en parroquia de Hightstown Cuando Viviana Bonilla llegó a New Jersey hace tres años, la primera cosa que hizo fue buscar a una parroquia católica con que conectar. No solo encontró dirección y un hogar espiritual en la Parroquia San Antonio de Padua, Hightstown, sino un lugar donde ejercer el trabajo ministerial. Nativa de Colombia, Bonilla se hizo voluntaria y Viviana Bonilla asistente de tiempo parcial de la oficina de educación religiosa. Ese puesto se convirtió en un trabajo de tiempo completo como asistente administrativa en que ayudaba

36   REVISTA EL MONITOR    Septiembre 2020 

con traducciones y trabajaba para la comunidad hispana y también la anglosajona. Hace ocho meses, ella asumió el papel de líder catequético parroquial. “Yo sé que Dios ha orientado mi camino y tiene una razón por permitirme compartir mi conocimiento y habilidades por el bien de la comunidad”, dijo. “Me siento bendecida poder trabajar con y por Dios”. En la parroquia, Bonilla tiene la responsabilidad de coordinar la educación religiosa para los niños entre primer y octavo grado. Ella dirige el programa y recluta a catequistas y voluntarios. También apoya al programa parroquial de RICA, el Rito de la Iniciación Cristiana de Adultos. “La catequesis no se trata de solamente asistir a clases de religión”, compartió Bonilla. “Para muchas familias, es su primer intento de acercarse a Dios. La catequesis nos ofrece una manera por la cual podemos involucrar a nuestros hijos en la comunidad, fortalecer la fe y, sobre todo, crecer mano en mano con Dios”. “Una gran oportunidad que tenemos durante esta pandemia”, dijo, “es poder educar y concientizar a las familias que los principales educadores de la fe son ellos. Ahora con el nuevo modelo de aprendizaje en casa se abrirán nuevos espacios de reflexión y unión familiar”. ~ Por Jennifer Mauro, directora de edición Para muchas familias, la catequesis “es su primer intento de acercarse a Dios”, dice Viviana Bonilla. Las parroquias de la Diócesis ahora se preparan para arrancar los programas de educación religiosa. Foto por Jeff Bruno

El Anzuelo

Somos todos llamados a ser catequistas Educación religiosa en el tiempo de pandemia JENNIFER MAURO  directora de edición



l 20 de septiembre, la Iglesia católica celebra el Domingo Catequético para reconocer la importancia y la gracia que se recibe a través de transmitir y formarse en la fe. El lema de este año es: “Lo que yo recibí del Señor, les he transmitido”, una declaración de San Pablo a los Corintios (1 Cor 11:23). La pandemia del coronavirus ha alterado cómo las parroquias organizan la catequesis, pero la catequesis en sí no cambia nunca. “Somos todos llamados a ser catequistas”, dijo Denise Contino, directora del departamento diocesano de catequesis. “Las parroquias pueden ofrecer la educación religiosa este año de varias maneras. Una sola manera no funcionará para todos”. “Tenemos que ser muy creativos”, añadió Viviana Bonilla, líder catequético parroquial de la Parroquia San Antonio de Padua, Hightstown. “Hay que tener varios planes y proveer el apoyo que las familias realmente necesitan”. Pilar Acosta, líder catequético parroquial de la Parroquia Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en Lakewood, está de acuerdo. “Ahora es el momento de implementar la Iglesia doméstica. Tenemos que evangelizar a nuestro pueblo”, dijo Acosta. Las familias “dependen tanto en el catecismo para enseñar la fe, así que tenemos que invitarlas a volver y enseñar a la iglesia doméstica familiar … veremos donde se encuentran [en el camino] y las acompañaremos desde ahí”. Contino subrayó la importancia de los padres de familia en cuanto la transmisión de la fe católica. “Como madre o padre, Usted ya es catequista. Está equipado ya con habilidades y valores. Se puede también formarse al lado de sus hijos. Los hijos solo pondrán en práctica la fe si sale de la familia”. Programas de educación religiosa varían de parroquia en parroquia dependiendo de los recursos disponibles y las realidades prácticas de las comunidades. Muchas parroquias se preparan ahora para ofrecer la educación religiosa remotamente, y en persona si se puede de manera segura y sin mayor riesgo de transmitir el coronavirus. Bonilla compartió: “Los cambios son bien estresantes, pero siempre podemos sacar lo bueno de estas experiencias”. Aprender

“Como madre o padre, ya es catequista”, dice Denise Contino. “Los hijos solo pondrán en práctica la fe si sale de la familia”. Foto por John Blaine

de casa, dijo, puede facilitar mayor conexión entre los padres y sus hijos a través de la fe y establecer una presencia de Dios en el hogar. Las parroquias de la Diócesis de Trenton tienen hasta 4 de septiembre para entregar sus planes para la educación religiosa y cómo implementarla. Habrá reevaluaciones continuas de nivel parroquial en los próximos meses sobre la eficiencia de los programas además de muchos recursos disponibles de la Diócesis y de parroquias para apoyar a los padres y madres en su papal de catequistas. “No estamos formando teólogos”, dijo Contino. “Creamos discípulos. No trata de pasar ningún examen, es sobre una relación con Jesús”.

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Amid COVID, Mount Carmel Guild still going strong BY MARY STADNYK  Associate Editor


nthony Galli is one of thousands of clients who appreciates the assistance and support he receives from the Mount Carmel Guild’s Home Health Nursing program. “Otherwise, I would be at a loss,” he says in a video titled “Aging in Place” posted on the Guild’s website. The Home Health Nursing program is among the main services provided by the Guild, an inner-city Trenton diocesan outreach organization to help residents of Mercer County who are in need. The HHN’s goal is to provide seniors and low-income residents with professional basic health care needs free of charge. Registered nurses who are part of the Guild’s staff visit clients in their homes and perform a variety of tasks such as helping with medication management, conducting health screenings and assessments, acting as patient advocates and offering friendship.

 “Their service is excellent.”  Regarded as a blessing during the COVID-19 pandemic: HHN staff have continued offering modified services. They check in by phone or handle tasks that can be done without having to enter homes, such as prefilling medications, said Corinne Janoska, HHN director and a registered nurse. Thankfully, HHN nurses have not received an increase in patient calls, which Janoska attributes to families having more availability to help their loved ones over

Anthony Galli, a World War II veteran, discusses the benefits of the Mount Carmel Guild’s Home Health Nursing program in this clip from the video “Aging in Place.” Photo courtesy of Mount Carmel Guild

the past six months. A challenge the HHN staff did encounter, however, was having to postpone an initiative in which nurses accompany clients to doctor visits. Being able to meet with physicians would help nurses keep informed of their client’s medications or medical instruction changes. Another hurdle – the loss of a part-time nurse. Because the HHN strives to promote medical stability and safety, the program has become a valuable resource, allowing many patients to remain at home for years, said Mary Inkrot, the Guild’s executive director. Recently, the HHN’s “Aging in Place” project again paired with Johnson & Johnson’s CaringCrowd, a crowdfunding effort in which Johnson & Johnson matches a percentage of one’s online donation. The $15,000 goal that was set for 2020 was reached in August, but additional donations may be made by visiting Galli praised the work of the HHN and noted that the nurses have been helpful with refilling his medications and interfacing with Veterans Affairs on his behalf. “I don’t know what I would do without them; their service is excellent,” said Galli, who served in the Pacific during World War II. Monitor correspondent John Spinelli contributed to this report.

38   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 



ndividuals involved with Mount Carmel Guild were presented with a challenge when they realized the coronavirus pandemic would be lasting longer than expected and interfere with plans for its annual gala and 100th anniversary year. The solution for the inner-city Trenton diocesan outreach: hold a virtual gala Oct. 16 and postpone the centennial celebration until next year.   “We hope that longtime Guild members will be joined by many new friends who recognize the critical need for the basic care services we offer,” Mary Inkrot, executive director, said of the virtual gala. The gala will go live online at 7 p.m.; highlights will include messages from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and Judith Persichilli, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health, among others. The gala link will be sent to all who register at The event is free to attend, and all are invited to log on. The gala’s traditional silent auction will not be held virtually, Inkrot said, but there will be a link allowing guests to donate, subscribe to sponsorships or place ads in the digital commemorative journal.  While there will not be a presentation of awards during the online gala, Inkrot said supporters will be celebrated for their contributions during the centennial celebration. “Our gala is our biggest fundraising event, and its success is key for our ability to continue to serve,” she said, offering praise to her staff for their work during the pandemic with the Guild’s two largest ministries: the Home Health Nursing Program and the Community Support Program, which operates the food pantry. By Mary Stadnyk, associate editor

A New Year in Catechesis

Catechetical Sunday theme a reminder of one’s role as a witness to faith BY JENNIFER MAURO  Managing Editor


atechesis takes dedication – something Mary Mykityshyn witnessed firsthand when Hurricane Isaias swept through New Jersey Aug. 4.

With trees and powerlines down across the state, parents used phones and textbooks to make sure their children did

not fall behind in Mykityshyn’s summer religious education program. Six hundred children took part in St. Gabriel Parish’s

online summer courses, and they would not be deterred. “One parent took her girls and went to a hotel in Philadelphia,” said Mykityshyn, parish catechetical leader in the Marlboro parish. “She later texted me to say the girls had gone online, done all their work and made a little adventure Continued on 42


September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   39

A New Year in Catechesis

COVID, catechesis and the Domestic Church


arlier this year, the COVID-19 pandemic altered the way we encounter one another, our families, friends and parish communities.

I miss being in community at my parish, going to Mass on Sunday, seeing familiar faces, chatting with fellow parishioners and attending the monthly Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast. The simple encounters that we all took for granted have changed. We are all feeling a sense of loss. In reflecting on the definition of Catechesis – “to echo the Word of God” – I realize these times are presenting us with a unique opportunity – one in which families can grow closer to one another and in their relationship with God. Is this the year of the “Domestic Church”? Whether your child attends Catholic School or an after-school religious education program, the influence of the family and how the family practices the faith will have a more profound impact than what a catechist can achieve in an in-person classroom setting or through a virtual platform. “Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2226) The Church celebrates Catechetical Sunday each year in September. This year, we celebrate on Sept. 20. Each year a theme is chosen. Our theme for 2020 is “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you.” The work of catechesis is an invitation to experience and encounter the new life given by Christ himself. So, who are the catechists? By virtue of our Baptism, we are all called to be catechists! Parents are encouraged to remember that they are the primary educators of the faith for their children. The grace we receive in the Sacraments provides the strength to hand on the faith to others, to be catechists. Many

A message from

DENISE CONTINO Director of Catechesis

a family and making a spiritual communion? Do you read Bible stories to your children? Do you have reminders in your home that you are Catholic – for example, a Crucifix hanging above a doorway? Are you praying before meals? Adding a prayer, perhaps a daily Rosary, to your family life can be the first step in catechizing your children and the entire family. Our Catholic faith is filled with traditions. When families celebrate the First Holy Communion of a child, the entire family gathers together. We celebrate in the name of Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us to enter eternal life. Take this celebration of the Eucharist into your home, and talk to your children about the grace we receive in the Sacrament.

In this file photo, a young catechist colors a picture related to his religious education lesson in St. Mary Parish, Colts Neck. Ken Falls photo times, I have heard a parent or family member say, “I cannot teach my child the faith.” This is where Catholic School and religious education can assist the parent and family. The relationship between the religious education teacher/catechist and parent is a partnership. The Church is called to support parents in the formation of their children. Parents, I encourage you to examine the faith practices in your homes. Does your family attend Mass together? In these challenging times, if you cannot go to Mass in person because of the pandemic, are you watching Mass at home as

40   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

 “The Church is called to support parents in the formation of their children.”  “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you.” This is a call to all catechists to continue passing on the faith with love and courage. It is also a reminder for parents to live out their mission of family life, to teach and practice the faith with their children. This is the Domestic Church! A family that prays together stays together. Take some time and reflect on your own family and how you practice the faith at home. Remember, it is never too late to begin a relationship with the Lord! He is waiting for us to encounter him – even when we are far apart physically from our parish communities. Denise Contino is director of the diocesan Department of Catechesis.

A New Year in Catechesis

Continuing to Catechize Religious education teaching models may be changing, but mission holds true BY JENNIFER MAURO 


Managing Editor

ilar Acosta is facing a unique task: coordinating both the religious education programs and adult faith formation in not just one, but three languages – English, Spanish and Polish.

Getting families involved will be key to success, noted Acosta, parish catechetical leader in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood. “This is the time to implement the domestic Church,” she said. “We have to evangelize our people. They have to rely so much on the Catechism to teach the faith, so we have to bring them back and teach the domestic Church family … we’ll see where they’re at, and we’ll have to walk with them.”

 “We’re not creating theologians; we are creating disciples.”  Acosta is among the dozens of religious education teachers and volunteers across the Diocese who will be handing on the faith in new ways this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues. To assist in that process, the diocesan Department of Catechesis sent out guidelines in August so parishes could determine the religious education model best for their communities in the 20202021 year. “There are various ways that parishes could offer religious education this year; it’s not a one-size-fits-all,” said Denise Contino, diocesan director of catechesis.

MORE ONLINE For updates on religious education or catechetical resources, visit the diocesan Department of Catechesis at catechesis

Those models are: supported homestudy, where parish catechetical leaders and volunteers offer parents support; hybrid, where home study includes limited in-person sessions; family catechesis, learning activities for the entire family, in-person support to parents, and in-person check-ins to receive guidance in instruction; remote learning with video instruction, or in-person catechesis. “We must be very creative, have backup plans and provide the support that many families need,” said Viviana Bonilla, PCL in St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Hightstown.

ment reflected in the religious education models a growth opportunity. “In a way, I’m a little excited about the family catechesis, because I get to see where people really are in their faith.” Contino agreed, saying, “As a parent, you are your child’s first catechist. You could learn along with your children. Kids are only going to practice the faith if it’s from the family.” Michelle M. Doré, coordinator of religious education in St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson, has already heard positive news when it comes to the remote-learning model. Parents reached out to her after this summer’s religious education classes, explaining how they read chapters with their children and talked about the lessons as a family. “They felt they were going back to the basic teachings of Jesus Christ,” she said. Continued on 42

FAMILY FAITH With new technology and teaching methods key to passing on the faith during COVID-19, the diocesan Department of Catechesis offered coaching for virtual platforms over the summer. There were videos for catechists, training for Google Classroom with a Google expert, and a workshop for how to keep children engaged online, to name a few. In addition, most religious education series software utilized by parishes have training and teaching tools available through their online parent portals. Acosta calls the increased family involveParents and grandparents are among a child’s first catechists, which is why learning and practicing faith at home are key. John Blaine photo

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   41

A New Year in Catechesis

Proclaim the Word again, again Continued from 39

out of it. That's dedication.” Dedication and a willingness to serve are among the God-given gifts utilized by catechists in the Catholic Church, whether they are parents and families, parish catechists, priests, or men and women religious.

 “In catechesis … we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement.”  With that in mind, this year’s Catechetical Sunday, set for Sept. 20, takes its theme from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you.” Held every year on the third Sunday in September, Catechetical Sunday acknowledges the importance of catechesis and honors those

teaching the Catholic faith. “The Diocese of Trenton is especially blessed by those who have committed themselves to deepening their own faith as they enrich the life and faith of those they teach in our parish-based religious education and adult faith formation programs,” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., said in this year’s message recognizing catechists. Noting their collaboration with the diocesan Departments of Catechesis and Evangelization and Family Life, Bishop O’Connell said, “Our lay catechists not only instruct in and impart the Catholic faith – they inspire!” Catechetical Sunday traces its roots to 1935, when the Vatican published a document (“On the Better Care and Promotion of Catechetical Education”) urging every country to recognize the importance of passing on the Catholic faith and honor those who teach it. In the early 1970s, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops began publishing materials to aid and encourage

FOR MORE INFORMATION Catechetical Sunday materials are available from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Visit

parishes to celebrate Catechetical Sunday at the local level. Traditionally, on Catechetical Sunday, catechists are formally commissioned for ministry, and they rededicate themselves to this mission in their community. With COVID-19 restrictions in place, these commissions may take on different forms this year, but the importance is in no way diminished. For as Pope Francis said in “Evangelii Gaudium,” “In catechesis … we have rediscovered the fundamental role of the first announcement or kerygma, which needs to be the center of all evangelizing activity and all efforts at Church renewal … it is the principal proclamation, the one which we must hear again and again in different ways, the one which we must announce one way or another throughout the process of catechesis, at every level and moment.” Similarly, in his 2020 Catechetical Sunday message, Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron of Los Angeles, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, called catechesis a “beautiful ministry … to further actualize the Body of Christ in our world.” Quoting this year’s theme, he said, “May our lives be instruments of faith, which we have ‘received from the Lord [and…] handed on to you.’”

Creative options considered for religious ed Continued from 41

LEARNING CURVES Bonilla admits she sees challenges ahead, specifically technology and communication. The St. Anthony of Padua Parish religious education program will be online this year, and Bonilla has English- and Spanish-speaking communities to catechize. “Some families do not have an electronic device at home, access to the Internet, or it is difficult for them to use these technological tools,” she explained. “In addition, the main means of communication becomes e-mail. However, due to the stress that many families may currently be experiencing, families may not be as

attentive to this information.” She remains optimistic, however, saying learning from home will hopefully bring parents and children closer together in faith and establish a presence of God in their home. “Changes are stressful, but we can always get good things out of these experiences,” she said. Acosta’s religious education program is also offered in English and Spanish. While the children speak English, many of the parents only speak Spanish. So the parish plans to offer English materials for the children and Spanish for parents, enabling them to work together. The materials available through the

42   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

Diocese, Acosta said, have been great for bilingual families. “The lessons are backto-back English and Spanish – very simple, not complicated.” Similar materials will be accessible for the Polish-speaking adult faith formation classes as well. SAFETY FIRST The successful summer program in St. Charles Borromeo Parish is the basis for the fall classes, which will utilize Google Meets and in-person lessons, Doré said. With about 70 students enrolled in the summer, “I got to see what worked and what did not work. “Having specific guidelines for online Continued on 46

A New Year in Catechesis

New catechetical leaders set to serve in parish ministry


number of parishes around the Diocese are welcoming new staff to oversee their religious education programs and other catechetical offerings as teaching lessons move to new models this year during the coronavirus pandemic. These catechetical leaders bring to their positions strong academic credentials, diverse experiences in ministry and an unwavering desire to bring children, men and women into a deeper relationship with Jesus.

Advocacy champion urges participation in Church In preparing for the new academic year and religious education in Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Lakewood, Pilar Acosta is spearheading a hybrid in-person and Pilar Acosta at-home program that involves families. However, the first challenge, Acosta acknowledged, is “to bring people back.” As a commissioned lay ecclesial minister – a distinction she received from the Diocese of Trenton in 2007 – Acosta said encouraging people to return to regular participation in the Church “has been my concern since day one.” Acosta earned a master’s degree in theology and a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Georgian Court University, Lakewood. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology earned from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, N.Y. A passion for helping impoverished children led her to establish the Building Bridges/Construyendo Puentes program. She traveled to the Dominican Republic to help create the Hogar de Niños Semillas de Fe foundation in 2012, which tends to the poorest children in deficient environments. She is also former diocesan associate director of the Hispanic Apostolate. As the catechetical leader, she oversees religious education and adult faith

formation for the parish’s diverse community, which consists of English, Polish and Spanish parishioners. With the pandemic keeping faithful away from in-person worship and involvement in the parish, Acosta is “concerned people may get detached, including families who tend to get a little comfortable … it’s definitely a challenge to reconnect people with the live Church.” ~ By EmmaLee Italia, contributing editor

For Angelo, serving in catechesis a surprise, gift For someone who never thought that God would call her to serve in catechetical ministry, Michelle Angelo has brought a lot of knowledge and Michelle Angelo experience to St. Catharine Parish, Holmdel, where she coordinates, organizes and supervises the religious education program with more than 800 students in first through eighth grades. She holds a graduate certificate in religious education from Felician College, Lodi, and she previously served in three parishes in several religious education capacities. Angelo holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Kean University, and her earlier work was in education. But her path in catechesis was a surprise, she said, explaining that she ceased prac-

ticing her faith for more than 10 years after considering her Confirmation as a “graduation.” Her reintroduction to the Church came through meeting an Evangelical Christian who asked questions about her Catholic beliefs. “In trying to defend my faith, I ended up learning so much more about the Church. I fell in love with Jesus and my Catholic faith in a whole new and deeper way,” she recalled. “This deeper love for the faith gave me the desire to want to share it with others. I wanted everyone to experience this love, too,” she said. She became a catechist after reading a bulletin announcement in her home parish, St. John the Apostle, Clark. “It is an amazing blessing to serve in catechetical ministry. I love the Lord and his Church and to be able to come to work each day with the opportunity to share that love with others is wonderful,” Angelo said. ~ By Mary Stadnyk, associate editor

Colombia native flourishing in St. Anthony, Hightstown When Viviana Bonilla arrived in New Jersey three years ago, the first thing she sought out was a Catholic parish to call home. Not only did she find spiritual guidViviana Bonilla ance in St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Hightstown, the 33-yearold Colombia native took on many roles in the Office of Religious Education, where she worked with both the English and Spanish-speaking communities. For the past eight months, she has been at the Continued on 44

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   43

A New Year in Catechesis

Leaders get ready for unique year helm as the parish catechetical leader. “I know that God has guided my path and has a purpose in letting me share my knowledge and skills for the good of my community,” she said. “I feel blessed.” In the parish, Bonilla is responsible for coordinating religious education for grades one through eight and managing and recruiting fellow teachers and volunteers. She also supports the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process. Bonilla, who is married to her husband, Jonathan, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Fundación Universitaria San Martin and a master’s in project management from Escuela de Administración de Negocios, both in Bogotá, Colombia. She holds certifications in Christian spirituality and prayer and the Catholic faith and has been enrolled in English as a Second Language courses in Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, for three years. ~ By Jennifer Mauro, managing editor

‘All for the Glory of God,’ Forked River’s new CRE says “Faith, Hope and Love.” These are the three elements Cindy Craft will use to “build a strong foundation” in her new position as coordinator of religious education in St. Pius Cindy Craft X Parish, Forked River. Craft began as a youth minister in 2008 in St. Mary Parish, Barnegat; she became the director of religious education there in 2014. Since that time, she has completed her bachelor of science degree in religious studies from Georgian Court University, Lakewood. Married to Deacon Philip Craft for 37 years, they have three children and six grandchildren. She recalled being involved


Continued from 43

with her children’s faith formation since they were young, saying that when she recognized the need for them “to expand their knowledge in the faith beyond Confirmation,” she was inspired get into youth ministry work. As the coordinator of religious education, Craft will be responsible for developing and implementing the curriculum for grades one through eight. In addition, she will oversee the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process. While the pandemic may bring some hurdles, Craft is determined to persevere in her role. “Each day continues to bring new challenges, but I am tackling them one by one and reminding myself daily that it is all for the Glory of God.” ~ By Matthew Becker, digital and social media coordinator

St. Mary catechist happy to help kids learn faith When it comes to teaching young children about the Catholic faith, Julia Cullen’s main mission is to help them recognize God’s presence in their lives. “It should be our mission [as cate-

44   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

chists] to show them how important it is to practice their faith, to believe in the Word and be the best person they can be, treating others as they would want to be treated,” she said. Julia Cullen Cullen has been an active member of St. Mary Parish, Colts Neck, for the past eight years, serving as a reader for Mass, as a first- and second-grade catechist, and by helping with the Summer Intensive Religious Education program. In July, she became the new pastoral coordinator of faith formation/elementary education, overseeing the parish religious education program for students in grades one through six. Her responsibilities include preparing students for the Sacraments of Penance and First Holy Communion, coordinating the Children’s Liturgy of the Word and helping with the intergenerational program for students and their families. Cullen holds a certificate of completion in Introduction to the Catholic Faith and Introduction to the New Testament from the McGrath Institute for Church Life. She


A New Year in Catechesis

Loving Father, pour forth your Holy Spirit upon me that I may be a good catechist of your Word, your Son, Jesus Christ. Render my mind and heart so open, receptive and responsive to your Holy Spirit that, like Mary, I might become a living instrument of your Word to others. Help me to be a faithful witness to Gospel life so that your Church may become ever more alive. Let the fire of your love so enkindle my heart that I may be an instrument of drawing others to love of you in the Church of your Son. I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. is currently enrolled in the Diocese’s twoyear Catechetical Leadership Program. ~ By Mary Stadnyk, associate editor

St. Hedwig parishioner teaches children to live faith Walter Czajkowski is no stranger around St. Hedwig Parish. He and his six siblings were raised in the 116-year-old North Trenton parish that serves native Pol- Walter Czajkowski ish and Polish-American faithful, they attended the parish grammar school that was staffed mostly by the Felician sisters, and he currently serves as a reader and extraordinary minister of

Holy Communion. Now as the new parish catechetical leader, he places priority on making sure that “our children understand the importance of God in their lives. “I want our students to respond to God’s goodness by knowing their faith and striving to live it as well,” he said.  Czajkowski holds a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy and theology with minors in communication and psychology from St. Mary College, Orchard Lake, Mich. He served in two Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton: the former Holy Cross School, Trenton, and Notre Dame High School, Lawrenceville. In planning for the upcoming catechetical year, Czajkowski said he plans to draw upon his own Polish-Catholic heritage as well as inspiration from the Second Vatican Council document “Lumen Gentium” and Pope John Paul II, who “talked about the family being the domestic Church.” “What I’m trying to do is get the children and their families to see that they are connected to one another and to the Church by doing Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy,” he said. “By nurturing what is true and good and helpful, we will help strengthen the roots of our Catholic faith.”   ~ By Mary Stadnyk, associate editor

Experienced PCL joins Farmingdale team Kay Hetherington, the new parish catechetical leader in St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Farmingdale, has more than two decades’ experience in faith formation and religious education. In addition working in the Diocese of Paterson, she has served as a catechist in St. Joseph Parish, Keyport, (now part of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Keyport), and St. Leo the Great Parish, Lincroft. Hetherington earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and biblical literature, then a master’s degree in student development with an emphasis in pastoral counseling, both from Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, Calif. She worked in higher education before entering into full-time ministry as director of Nazareth Farm, a Catholic

retreat program in rural West Virginia for high school and college-age students. St. Catherine of Siena Parish plans to open this fall with a catechist-led, virtual format, which parish staff see as an opportunity to expand the reach of catechesis. Among the challenges: transitioning the religious education program to an online learning platform, though the parish made technology upgrades to the parish center and implemented virtual training for volunteer catechists and aides. “We are seizing the moment!” parish pastoral assistant Laura Randazzo said, also expressing her joy of having Hetherington on board. “[St. Catherine pastor] Father Angelito Anarcon and I are so pleased to have Kay serve in the role of PCL. Her breadth of experience in religious education is a compliment and wonderful asset to the program.” In a previous interview with The Monitor, Hetherington – the mother to five grown children – explained her goals for religious education. “My desire is for kids to realize they make a difference to the Church now,” she said. ~ From staff reports

Former youth minister returns to N.J. to continue passing on the faith Burlington County native John Klarmann is returning to familiar territory, joining the staff of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Maple Shade, as the new parish catechetical John Klarmann leader in September. But the range of experiences he brings to the position has come by way of his serving as a missionary, working in youth ministry and evangelization, and having had his own “profound encounter with Christ” as a college student in Montclair State University, Montclair. “That was where I fell in love with our faith and with Christ,” he said of his alma Continued on 46

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   45

A New Year in Catechesis

Sharing joy Continued from 45

mater, where in 2015 he earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education with a concentration in physical activity in an educational setting. His passion for the faith also led him and his wife, Ariel – who were married in 2016 in Sacred Heart Church, Mount Holly – to become missionaries with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students at the University of Maine. After four years in Maine, the young couple moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, where Klarmann became director of youth discipleship and evangelization in St. Philip the Apostle Parish. Ariel took on the role of parish adult faith formation assistant. This year, the couple adopted their son, Peter James, who is seven months old. ~ By Mary Stadnyk, associate editor

Earning master’s during COVID, Hopewell PCL ready for online teaching A few months ago, Lisa Ann M. Limongello was happy earning a master’s degree in theological studies from Loyola University Maryland, Baltimore. But she was concerned about Lisa Ann M. the COVID-19 panLimongello demic and the impact it might have on the future. So she placed her concerns before God in prayer, and now “here I am,” said Limongello, newly named parish catechetical leader for the linked parishes of St. James Parish, Pennington; St. George Parish, Titusville, and St. Alphonsus Parish, Hopewell.   Limongello will serve as director of religious education, work with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and oversee adult faith formation. She admitted that accepting the position during a global pandemic has come with immediate challenges that won’t have permanent or

simple solutions. “Our world is changing every day … and we have to constantly reimagine our programs and revisit best practices,” she said. One idea for developing a virtual religious education program is based on her own experience from last spring, when she was a college student, tutor and facilitator, which was accomplished “all while sitting on my couch looking at a computer screen.”  “I know how it felt to be on both sides of the classroom, so I can empathize with our families and catechists,” she said. “My goal is to make virtual learning as informative and energizing as I can.”   ~ By Mary Stadnyk, associate editor

Middletown parish welcomes seasoned PCL With more than 25 years of catechetical experience, Carol Mulkeen has begun her journey as the new director of religious education in St. Catherine Laboure Parish, Middletown. Beginning in 1994, Mulkeen served as a catechist in her home parish, St Mary, Colts Neck. After earning her master’s degree in theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary, School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, in 2016, she became the director of religious education in Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes Parish, Atlantic Highlands, where she served until her new appointment in Middletown. Mother to three children, Justine, Nicholas and Sean, Mulkeen said she has been actively involved in catechesis since her children were young. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mulkeen is formulating a plan for catechesis that is both sage and engaging – one that is likely to include online learning. She believes, however, that “community is a vital part of the religious education experience.” “In-person education is essential to children, and we are committed to returning to weekly in-person classes as soon as it is safe to do so,” she said, adding, “It is such a privilege to be part of the St. Catherine Laboure Parish family, and I am looking forward to my years here.” ~ By Matt Becker, digital and social media coordinator

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New ideas Continued from 42

learning is essential, for example students need to be home, must have their video on, no pictures or emoji’s in their place,” she continued. “I found having no more than 15 students meeting online is a good number.” For programs such as Doré’s, the Diocese has provided guidelines for meeting in person. For example, all teachers, volunteers and children must have their temperature taken upon arrival and disclose possible exposure; face coverings and social distancing are required; cleaning of classrooms must take place before each lesson, and hand-sanitizing stations should be easily accessible. Doré’s religious education children will meet in the parish school for the in-person component, following the school’s safety guidelines as well. She admits her team will be busy cleaning and taking the temperatures of catechists and students, and that there may be learning curves as there are new ways to enter and leave the building. Also, no large gatherings will be allowed or sitting on a classroom rug for discussions. Still, she is more than hopeful for the coming year. “It is extremely important that we continue to catechize during this ever-changing world. We must have faith in God so we can continue his mission of spreading the Good News, and I think that is what the world needs right now – Good News spread!” With every parish required to offer a religious education program – which could include parishes sharing resources – Contino is looking forward to seeing what parishes have planned when they submit their intentions, due by Sept. 4. And with continual re-evaluations on the parish level over the coming months and numerous resources from both the Diocese and parishes available to assist parents in their role as catechists, Contino stresses that children should be well-equipped to learn. “We’re not creating theologians; we are creating disciples,” Contino said. “It’s not about passing a test, it’s about a relationship with Jesus.”

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Spiritual Life

Path of Justice SEPT. 6  JUSTICE IS AT THE CORE OF MOSAIC LAW, JESUS’ TEACHING Readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time: Ez. 33:7-9; Rom. 13:8-10; Mt. 18: 15-20


ocusing on the Jewish character and traditions of his audience, St. Matthew occasionally utilizes legalisms in developing his writing. With that as a backdrop, it is much easier to understand the context of the Gospel for this Sunday. The Mosaic Law is noted for the many ways it regulates the ordinary lives of those who adhere to the laws. With centuries of commentaries and legal opinions on the application of those laws in every aspect of life, it stands as the oldest functioning law code in use today. While some of the laws, especially those governing what we would call the social contract, seem to be harsh and outdated in the contemporary Western world, those laws were remarkable for their thoroughness and the deep abiding sense of justice at their core in the ancient world. While as Christians we are not bound to those laws, some of the underlying principles certainly influenced the development of our own Code of Canon Law, and definitely have an impact on how we understand the principles of justice. On the most practical level, Jesus, in accord with the prevailing sense of justice, teaches that disputes and disagreements ought to be worked out on a person-to-person level. At the core of this attempt at reconciliation should be a prevailing sense of humility. Two people in conflict with each other need a mutual sense of humility in order to mete out


Father Garry Koch

reconciliation. As we know from our own experiences, most interpersonal conflicts are not a matter of one person being right and the other being wrong. There is almost always a shared responsibility for conflict, which demands that each person is humble enough not only to apologize, but also to make the change necessary in the relationship in order to find peace. SEPT. 13  MEETING THE DEMANDS OF MERCY Readings for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Sir. 27: 30-28:7; Rom: 14:7-9; Mt. 18: 21-35


he period of lockdown due to the pandemic has taught us many things, including how reliant we are upon one another. Compliance with the demands of wearing face protection and practicing social distancing have been stressors for many people. At the same time our limited mobility, especially at the beginning, along with the added uncertainty of working from home, home-schooling our children, and adjusting to the strain of constant family time or the deafening silence of being alone, brought out more of the worst instead of the best in people. Couple that with the din of the continuous news cycle and the ever-changing protocols on what to do, how to prepare, and our innate fear of either catching or transmitting the virus, the past six months have been very difficult on all of us. As we face the coming fall

48   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

and the reemergence of the flu and usual colds, etc., it is all so uncertain. It is very easy to understand why Peter asks Jesus the question: “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive? As many as seven times?” Peter is asking a legalistic question. Following immediately from Jesus’ teaching last Sunday, Peter wants to know what is the least one has to do in order to be merciful to another. Jesus responds by telling a parable. Like so many other parables Jesus tells, this one takes us to the absurd. He imagines that a man is settling accounts and a debtor comes who owes him 10,000 talents. Conservatively that

 The period of lockdown due to the pandemic has taught us many things.  would amount to $3,878,400,000 for an average New Jersey resident. This is an unfathomable sum of money. In terms of the grievance that one might have with a relative or friend this would have to be an unspeakable breach of trust. And yet the man who owns the debt just writes it off. In fact as we look at the Greek he even shifts the term from debt to loan. This mind-boggling amount of money is just written off. Yet, when this man who has just experienced this bountiful forgiveness encounters someone who owes him a mere 100 denarii ($24,480) he has that man

 TO READ expanded versions of Father Koch’s columns or TO LISTEN to Podcast messages on Catching The Word, visit

This image of the dove with the olive branch, found in St. Monica Church, Jackson, reflects the overarching themes of the Gospel reflections for September – justice, mercy and fairness. File photo

thrown into prison. Clearly this man learned nothing about the meaning of mercy. When dealing with matters of forgiveness and the dynamics of personal relationships it can get very easy to become legalistic. While prudence dictates that we don’t want to be taken advantage of by people who choose only to use us, we must at the same time reach deeper and deeper into our experience of mercy so that we can extend mercy even to the most egregious of sinners. SEPT. 20  THE JUST THING ISN’T ALWAYS FAIR Readings for the 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Is. 55:6-9; Phil. 1:20C-24; Mt. 20:1-16A


he parable that Jesus tells of a landowner who pays all of those who worked in the vineyard the same pay even though they did not all work the same hours runs rough against our sense of justice. In our country, we still argue about just compensation and wage gaps between various sectors of employees. Jesus is not, however, directing our attention to just wages, but to a deeper sense of justice. The undercurrent that needs to come to the fore is the distinction between what is fair and what is just. When one seeks to be fair one usually is reflecting on a sense of proportionality and a sense of equality in outcome. Jesus, however, calls us to justice. Justice is often not “fair,” and it is seldom “nice.” Justice makes demands on us, calls us to sacrifice, and draws us into an awareness

of our need to live within the context of a community, keeping in mind the big picture. This is far more challenging. Unlike being fair or being nice, justice is predicated on love, often expressing what is called “tough love.” Today Jesus teaches us a few important lessons in justice. First, we are due only what we are due. The laborers who expected more because they worked more were certainly satisfied with their wages at the beginning of the day. It is only when they learn that those who worked less earned the same that they demanded more. We might say it is fair – but is it just? SEPT. 27  DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAYING ‘YES’ AND LIVING THAT ‘YES’ Readings for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Ez. 18:25-28; Phil. 2:1-11 or 2:1-5; Mt. 21:28-32


he parable that Jesus tells us this weekend about a man with two sons, one who does what the father asks despite his earlier refusal and the other who says “yes” but then does not follow through, is thematically reminiscent of the Parable of the Prodigal Son as recorded by St. Luke. We all know that we can quickly respond either “yes” or “no” to a request and then rue our response as we think through the consequences. To say “yes” to everything can make us easy marks in difficult circumstances. The one who constantly says “no” while perhaps protecting their own space or their own time can get to a point where people stop asking anything of them. These two sons are undoubtedly asked

frequently to do something by their father. The father likely would know how each will respond and what each will do in the situation. As with all of Jesus’ parables, this one hits each of us where we live. The basic question that each of us should ask ourselves is “Which ‘son’ am I?” The reality remains that there are certain obligations to which we said “yes,” and often very publicly. This is true in matters of faith when we think of receiving the Sacraments. As they celebrate Matrimony the couple is asked: “Are you prepared, as you follow the path of Marriage, to love and honor each other for as long as you both shall live?” As they celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism for their children, parents are asked: “In asking for Baptism for your child, you are undertaking the responsibility of raising him/her in the faith, so that, keeping God’s Commandments, he/she may love the Lord and his/her neighbor as Christ has taught us. Do you understand this responsibility?” On the day of his priestly ordination this final question, which serves to summarize the questions which preceded it, the candidate is asked: “Do you resolve to be united more closely every day to Christ, the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a pure Sacrifice, and with him to consecrate yourselves to God for the salvation of all?” The answers to all are affirmative, but are we truly living the Father’s will for us? Father Garry Koch is pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel.

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   49

Spiritual Life

Death as consequence of sin; distractions in prayer In one of your recent columns – about Our Blessed Mother’s Assumption – you wrote, “Some theologians feel that, since death is a consequence of sin, Mary would not have had to die.” I have never thought of sin as causing death. Can you explain this a little more? (Montvale, Va.)


At the dawn of creation, the very first human beings were made to live forever and that was the divine intention and desire. The sin of Adam and Eve, however, changed that, and the whole of human history was altered by the fault committed by our first parents. This is reflected in the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Because of original sin, harmony with nature is broken and “creation is now subject ‘to its bondage to decay.’ … The consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: Man will ‘return to the ground,’ for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history” (No. 400).


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50   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 


QUESTION CORNER Father Kenneth Doyle Catholic News Service

I am a layman who likes to pray the Divine Office. When I am praying this (or reading other prayers), if I am distracted, should I go back and reread those sections? (Worcester, Mass.)

First, it pleases me that you have found the Divine Office a helpful resource for prayer, and I wish that more laypeople were aware of this treasure. The office consists primarily of psalms but also includes other biblical texts as well as selections from Church fathers and other spiritual masters. The central parts to the office – morning prayer and evening prayer – can each be recited in five to 10 minutes. Next, you needn’t worry that you sometimes find yourself distracted while praying. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes the universality of that problem, calling distraction “the habitual difficulty in prayer” (No. 2729). Many of the saints have written about the struggle to concentrate while praying. St. Bernard, the 12th-century French abbot, tells of once walking with a farmer who noticed that St. Bernard was keeping his eyes cast downward and asked him why. St. Bernard replied that he was praying and didn’t want to be distract The very ed by the sights of the countryside. The farmer boasted that he himself first human was never distracted while praying, so Bernard made a bargain with him. beings were The saint offered to give the farmmade to live er his mule if he could say the Our Father aloud in its entirety without a forever.  single distraction. The farmer began to recite with confidence; but midway through the prayer, he paused and said to Bernard, “Does that include the saddle and bridle as well?” St. Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower) offered, I think, some helpful advice. She said, “I also have many (distractions). But as soon as I am aware of them, I pray for those people the thought of whom is diverting my attention; and in this way, they reap benefit from my distractions.” It is helpful, of course, to find a quiet place to pray, though that is not always possible. (Remember that Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.”) Now, to your specific question. No, when you are distracted, you needn’t go back and repeat that particular prayer. In fact, I would advise against it. I have known scrupulous people who would repeat prayers endlessly until they “got them right.” Instead, when you are distracted, just pause and then move forward with renewed focus. Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfatherdoyle@ and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, N.Y. 12203.


Spiritual Life


ne of the things I’ve missed greatly during the past six months of living life in various stages of quarantine is time spent with friends. And if ever there was a time when we needed those shared experiences, it’s been the past six months. Right now, for me, all I have are memories, but they always lift my mood. When a seagull swooped over my head in the supermarket parking lot recently, I remembered a day many years ago when two of my longtime friends and I managed to sneak away from work on a late spring day and made some time for a beach retreat. We had our chairs arranged in a circle, our thermoses of coffee, snacks and other essentials within reach, and were talking about recent events in our lives, when I found myself yelling out, “Stop that seagull!” My voice was barely audible over the waves, but my gesturing caught the attention of a friend opposite me, who nearly

There is a delightful, even

humorous story that reflects the importance for disciples to be “guile-less.”  flung herself out of her beach chair onto the sand to retrieve a brown bag full of bagels being dragged toward the water by a very large and brazen seagull. He had been standing next to her chair for an hour, sizing things up, waiting for a crumb to fall, darting forward at our slightest movements, and when he couldn’t stand it anymore he charged forward, grabbed the bagel bag and had it

almost out of reach before we knew what happened. And he had friends. One of them stood directly in front of me, almost on my feet, in a stare-down the entire morning. He seemed experienced in his attempt to weaken my resolve, as if his beady little eyes would entice me to drop a morsel or two for his benefit. But I stayed strong, and he called for reinforcements. Almost immediately I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye, and soon realized we were now surrounded by seagulls that seemed to be putting great effort into acting nonchalant. Nothing to see here. But we knew what they were up to. With seagulls, there really is no acting. Their motive is always obvious. It’s all about the food. With people, motivation is not always so clear. The inclination to use our wiles to get what we want is strong. But in those times, when we give in to the inclination, we put aside honesty, we compromise our integrity. When we resort to cunning and deviousness, embracing “the end justifies the means,” we move away from Gospel values. Catholic author C.S. Lewis put it this way: “Not to be, but to seem, virtuous – it is a formula whose utility we all discovered in the nursery.” That discovery often proves to be a great challenge to living a truly Christian life, and Scripture reinforces that “guile” is no path to God. Dire warnings about the consequences of cunning behavior are repeated in Psalms and Proverbs, but in the Gospel of John there is a delightful, even humorous story that reflects the importance for disciples to be “guile-less.”

Photo by Philipp Sewing on Unsplash

An encounter with seagulls offers a spiritual lesson


Jesus was gathering disciples. Andrew had already joined him when Jesus also found Philip and invited him, saying, “Follow me.” Philip then found Nathaniel and extended the same invitation to follow Jesus, “the son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Philip replied, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” When Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him, he said of this new disciple, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Jesus valued Nathaniel’s forthrightness because Jesus recognized that Nathaniel’s heart, and motives, were pure. If we take the Gospel seriously, it is important for us, then, as disciples, to routinely examine our own hearts and motives to be certain our God will see the same thing in us. As for the seagulls, there were no bagels for them that day. Don’t get me wrong, I love seagulls, but once you feed a scavenger, you will never get rid of them. The next time we retreat to the beach, it’s bright colored umbrellas for us, bagels and a side of water pistols. 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.”

September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   51

Young Catholics

At Hamilton Square Parish, teens bring service mission home BY LOIS ROGERS  Correspondent


t. Gregory the Great Parish’s youth ministry couldn’t travel to Appalachia this year for their annual, weeklong service mission because of the coronavirus. But the pandemic didn’t keep the crew of 24 determined teens from using a lot of elbow grease to spruce up some landscape in need of improvement – their own Hamilton Square parish campus. “I thought [helping the parish] was a good supplement,” said Justin Parisi, 16, a junior in Robbinsville High School. “I always try to help out around the house when I can, and I like to help my dad with his landscaping projects.” With the help of 15 adult volunteers, the crew put 500 hours into a host of outdoor projects during their five-day mission at the end of July, including painting and repairing the four columns in front of the church, scraping paint off the exterior doors of the church/  “We chapel, constructaccomplished ing a new fence around the cama lot in one pus dumpster and power washing. A week.”  lot of effort also went into improving the grounds by edging, weeding and pruning trees, mulching the preschool play area, preparing a new pollinator garden and installing an aluminum screen around the lower fence in the

Youth ministry members Mara Anderson, left, and Brielle Blakely paint the church pillars. Photos courtesy of St. Gregory the Great Parish

Nick Foley uses a power washer to spruce up the campus of St. Gregory the Great Parish.

community garden to keep out rabbits. “I felt it [the mission] would help me later when I have my own house,” said Brianne Wilbert, 16, who helped caulk, scrape and paint the pillars. She added that it gave her joy to see the looks on parishioners faces when they saw the pillars clean for the first time in years. “Some people walked by and said, ‘Thank you guys so much for taking the time.’ I felt good about doing this,” said Wilbert, a Steinert High School junior. MISSION SPIRIT For decades, the youth ministry has been traveling to Kingwood, W. Va., where they devote their energy to housing improvements. The area is a persistent flood zone, said Rich Pieslak, who has

been coordinating the project for more than 20 years. With Catholic Charities on board, the mission grew, and by last year, there were 700 volunteers from all over New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, Pieslak said. “We’ve been doing this faithfully for 36 years, and this year, everyone was trying to make it happen.” Pastor Father Michael Hall, who grew up in the parish and started taking part in the mission 22 years ago as a youth, helped with planning this year’s “mini-trip” at the parish, which included making sure all projects were outdoors, the liberal use of hand sanitizers and requiring participants to wear masks and gloves. A GOOD MOVE Overall, volunteers said, relocating the mission gave both parishioners and participants a lift, and offered the same elements that would have been present on a trip to West Virginia – balancing hard work with fellowship and faith. “The kids were very enthused. They wanted to get their hands dirty. We had a good rapport,” said Chet Siwczak, one of the adult volunteers. Added Dwight Torlay, head sacristan at the parish, “The kids were wonderful … We accomplished a lot in one week. They were very efficient.”

We would like to thank TOSHIBA, exclusive provider of copier services in the Diocese of Trenton Chancery building, for their sponsorship of this page. 52   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

In the Parishes

Three parishes unite for special service project BY LOIS ROGERS  Correspondent


lot more goes into each Blessing Bag for the impoverished than everyday hygiene and food items and a new pair of socks. Prayers, well-wishes and hopes for better tomorrows are also part of the package. And on a Saturday in mid-August, hundreds of members of three parishes in Monmouth and Ocean Counties converged in their respective parish parking lots to hand-deliver the makings that filled nearly 1,700 bags for those in need.

 “So many people participated, from special-needs children to very young children and on up.”  The Supply Gathering and Packing event for the Blessing Bag Brigade took place Aug. 15 with 440 bags packed by volunteers in St. Catherine Laboure Church, Middletown; some 443 in Visitation Church, Brick, and 806 wrapped

up by the crew in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold. Churchgoers of all generations rallied across parish lines for one of the first interparish events since midMarch, when the coronavirus and its restrictions hit New Jersey. The gatherings A Blessing Bag Brigade participant from St. Robert Bellarmine brought joy to hundreds of Co-Cathedral, Freehold, displays two plastic bags being filled faithful, said Jeanne Mariwith supplies. Photo from the St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral Facebook page nello, Co-Cathedral youth group coordinator and one the Blessing Bag Brigade assembly in St. of the Blessing Bag organizers. Catherine Laboure. “We had kids, we had “You could see the passion that went across parish lines to bring people togeth- adults,” Lusquinos said. “It was a meetand-greet group from all over. People er,” she said. “People were seeing people came from Red Bank, from Jersey City. they haven’t seen in months, seeing them and doing good works with them. It was a New people are always finding us.” It was the first three-parish event held thing of beauty.” on behalf of the Brigade, a nonprofit esAll of the parameters – facial covtablished in 2016 by Kevin Garrison, who erings, social distancing and sanitizing grew up in St. Agnes Parish (now part of – were met by each parish, she noted. “It Our Lady of Perpetual Help-St. Agnes was an outdoor event. Everyone knew Parish), Atlantic Highlands. Since then, the rules, all the precautions were taken, the organization has distributed more but seeing so many people unified in an event like this showed the kids especially than 70,000 Blessing Bags to those in need. Joanne Martone, who got the Blessing how to keep the connection with God Brigade ball rolling in Visitation Parish, through service.” said she loved seeing three parishes work “This just really hit home,” together and as well as people from other said Ann Marie Lusquinos, parishes, churches and organizations. volunteer coordinator for St. “There were at least 75 people,” she Catherine Laboure Parish. “So said, noting that some also hailed from St. many people participated, from Dominic Parish, Brick; St. Rose Parish, special-needs children to very young children and on up. It was Belmar; St. Peter Episcopal Church, Freehold, and the area Rotary Club. just such an amazing thing.” “Next time, we hope to have four parishes About 50 people brought supplies and more participated in involved,” Martone said. The next Blessing Bag Brigade is schedBlessing Bag Brigade participants in uled for Oct. 17, said Garrison, a retired Visitation Parish, Brick, survey the Amtrak employee who runs the nonprofit numerous cases of water that were on a volunteer basis. “I relate this to giving donated for the worthy cause. Photo a birthday present, he said. “We get to give from the Visitation Parish Facebook page out birthday presents to people every day.” September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   53

In Memoriam SISTER MARY CATHERINE GURLEY, SERVED 13 YEARS IN TRENTON DIOCESE Franciscan Sister Mary Catherine Gurley, who studied and ministered in the Trenton Diocese, died Aug. 6 in Assisi House, Aston, Pa. She was 77. Sister Mary Catherine, the former Sister Margaret Patrice, was born in Boston, Mass. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia in 1960 and professed her first vows in 1963. She held a bachelor of arts degree in English from Neumann University, Aston, Pa.; a master of arts degree in supervision and administration from Rider College (now university), Lawrenceville,

and a doctor of education degree from The Catholic University of America, Washington. She ministered primarily in education and administration in the Archdioceses/Dioceses of Trenton; Metuchen; Rochester, N.Y.; Portland, Ore.; Paterson, Worcester, Mass.; Philadelphia and Boston. Her 13 years in the Trenton Diocese included teaching in St. Raphael School, Trenton; as principal of Immaculate Conception School, Trenton, and serving as a member of the provincial council for the former St. Anthony Province, which was based in Trenton. In later years, she was dean of the School of Education at Georgian Court University, Lakewood. Sister Mary Catherine also published a number of articles for various publications and played a significant role in the publication of the congregational history

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N REMEMBRANCE, a listing of priests and deacons of  Ithe Diocese of Trenton who have died, can be found on>News>Obituaries

for the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. Sister Mary Catherine is survived by two brothers, Frank and Jim Gurley, and by her Franciscan family. SISTER DOROTHY FRANZ, TAUGHT IN FORMER HAMILTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL Franciscan Sister Dorothy Franz died Aug. 7 in Gilchrist Hospice, Towson, Md., at age 80. Sister Dorothy, formerly Sister Edward Miriam, was born in Baltimore. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia congregation in 1958 and professed her first vows in 1960. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from Neumann University, Aston, Pa., and a master of arts degree in administration from Towson University. She ministered primarily in elementary education and parish ministry, serving as a director of religious education and the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process. In the Trenton Diocese, she served in St. Anthony School, Hamilton. Other positions she served were in the Diocese of Harrisburg and the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Sister Dorothy was survived by a cousin and by her Franciscan family. Memorial donations can be made to the Sisters of St. Francis Foundation, 609 S. Convent Road, Aston, PA 19014.

SISTER MARIE CECILIA IRWIN, NATIVE OF TRENTON Franciscan Sister Marie Cecilia Irwin died Aug. 17 in Assisi House, Aston, Pa. She was 89. A professed member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia for 69 years, Sister Marie Cecilia was born Elizabeth Anne Irwin in Trenton, where she was a member of Blessed Sacrament Parish (now part of Sacred Heart Parish) and a graduate of Cathedral High School, Trenton. She entered the congregation in 1949 and professed her first vows in 1951. She earned bachelor of nursing and master of nursing education degrees from The Catholic University of America, Washington, and ministered primarily in nursing and hospital administration in the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Philadelphia and the Dioceses of Trenton and Allentown. During her 12-year tenure in the Trenton Diocese, she worked in Morris Hall, Lawrenceville, as an administrator and St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton, as assistant to the president and later as vice president of mission and ministry. In 2014, Sister Marie Cecilia moved to Assisi House, where she served in prayer ministry until her death. Sister Marie Cecilia is survived by her sister, nieces and nephew and her Franciscan family.

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Arts & Media A scene from the movie “Fatima” shows Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta encountering the Blessed Mother. CNS photo/Claudio Iannone, courtesy PICTUREHOUSE

Filmmaker led to Church by Fatima now bringing its story to big screen BY AGNIESZKA RUCK  Catholic News Service

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – For B.C. film producer Natasha Howes, “Fatima” is more than just her latest screen project. The Kelowna-based filmmaker credits the miraculous events in rural Portugal a century ago for her conversion to Catholicism and her devotion to Mary. Mary’s appearances before three children are the driving force behind two films Howes has produced: her 2009 film “The 13th Day” and the just-completed “Fatima.” “Fatima” was set to be released in April, but the pandemic and the closing of theaters delayed that plan. The film began simultaneous release in select theaters across North America and on streaming sites, including Apple iTunes and Amazon Prime, on Aug. 28. The film is based on the real-life events of 1917 when Mary appeared to three children with messages of peace, having a significant impact on their country and the Catholic Church. Howes hopes “Fatima” and the story of Francisco, Jacinta and Lucia dos Santos will inspire everyone, Catholic or not. “The story of Fatima is multilayered and very, very deep,” she said. In the new film, “We’ve taken key facets of that story and woven them” into a “deeply human,

emotional, personal journey.” Fatima dives into the events from the point of view of Lucia, a girl growing up during the time of World War I as she tends her family’s sheep along with her cousins, Francisco and Jacinta.

 “The story of Fatima  is multilayered and very, very deep.”  Lucia was 10 when she and her cousins began seeing visions of Mary, who delivered messages about the power of prayer and fasting to bring about peace. Their testimony rocked their families, neighbors, religious leaders, and the secular government as all tried to make sense of what was happening. The number of people interested in seeing Mary for themselves grew, and on Oct. 13, 1917, thousands gathered to witness strange events in the sky described as the Miracle of the Sun and recorded by several sources, including nonreligious newspapers. Francisco and Jacinta died young and are now saints. Lucia become a Carmelite nun and recorded the events in her memoirs. She died in 2005 at the age of 97. Howes said “Fatima” tells “the human story behind the story of the apparitions and the miracle,” with particular research

and emphasis on the “human psychology” of each key player in the story. Developing the script was an “intricate and sensitive” process that involved working with an advisory committee from Portugal’s Shrine of Fatima; consulting Sister Angela Coelho, postulator for the canonization cause of Francisco and Jacinta, and reading eyewitness accounts and Lucia’s memoirs. Fatima is not meant to be a documentary, Howes said. Although inspired by true events, it does not follow them exactly. For example, only four of the six apparitions reported by the children are depicted. Fictional elements were inserted to add historical context. In the film, Lucia’s brother is sent off to fight in the war, when in reality he was never conscripted. As a narrative device, it “heightens the emotional dynamic” within Lucia’s family and helps place them firmly in that era, Howes said. The team behind the film is working with Picturehouse, a film distribution company whose personnel were behind “The Passion of the Christ.” Howes hopes the film will inspire audiences to learn more about the history and impact of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. In a world rocked by pandemic, fear, discrimination and division, the visionaries’ message of prayer and peace is as relevant as ever, she said.

The Diocese of Trenton and The Monitor would like to thank GALLAGHER INSURANCE for their support and sponsorship of this page. 56   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

New COVID guidelines for schools Continued from 19

partitions or physical barriers, as well as keeping students in defined cohorts, are included in diocesan guidelines. If a confirmed COVID-19 case is detected in the school population, the diocesan plan offers safety guidelines for how to quarantine individuals and anyone to whom they may have been exposed, and the potential need for closing the school to curtail community spread. For example, two or more cases within the same student cohort would not be cause for a school closure – the exposed individuals would instead be quarantined for 14 days. If, however, the cause is traced to a school activity, or a significant community outbreak occurs, the local health department would make recommendations about the school closing for two weeks or longer, depending on the risk status of the region.

Come to us for Come to the carethe you us for It is noted by the Diocese Come to us for need. Stay inE care you PG P Athe A G G that the requirements are N IN ICN IPP IL T T T T P P P Ethe E E C C C C C C C A A A A W W W W O O O O N N N N • • • • E E E E E E E E F F F F need. Stay care you Y Y Y Y established in adherence toN home you love. R RE R TR T TO TN N EON ONGovernor’s O NJersey NE NE L in the the New A I need. Stay in the EC A Executive Order 175 and are home you 9 L P 1 S 0 I 2 ! home you subject to change based on ER ySP1E, C 9 e T 1 e 0 r r N updates from the New Jersey f2 a WI JNanTuERonryth1, free! S Department of Health and the ’ a I e Y r mu h New Jersey Department of AR bYe’SfoW2rne dJan mont M nR eo For more information Education. ST. o. vMe Ai geint tbhef e 2nd about LIFE St. Francis, h M ST nodve get t aM d call 609-599-LIFE (5433) or visit n BACKES & HILL For more information Toaadvertise in For more information about LIFE St. Francis, call Attorneys at Law


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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 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.

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September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   57

SCRIPTURE SEARCH® Fun & Games SCRIPTURE SEARCH® Gospel for September 13, 2020 18: 21-35 GospelMatthew for September 13, 2020 SCRIPTURE SEARCH Matthew 18: 21-35

Following is a word search based on the Gospel Gospel for September 13, 2020 • Matthew 18: 21-35 reading for theis24th Sunday Ordinary Cycle Following a word searchinbased on theTime, Gospel Following is a word search based on the A: about true forgiveness. The words can be found reading for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle Gospel reading for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, A: about true forgiveness. Thethe words can can be found inabout all directions in puzzle. Cycle A: true forgiveness. The words be in allindirections in the puzzle. found all directions in the puzzle.









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ACROSS 3 Eastern Church in full communion with Rome 9 Paul told the Corinthians that if anyone was hungry he should eat here 10 French Christmas 11 Religious speeches 12 “the ___ will be first” (Mt 20:16) 14 What we are forbidden to do by the fifth commandment 16 Father-in-law of Caiaphas 17 Common biblical harvest 18 Paul’s hometown is found in this modern-day nation 20 He was beside Jesus on the cross 22 Archdiocese in the Czech Republic 24 Apostle number 26 Commandment word 27 “___ Dolorosa” 30 Bk. of the Pentateuch 32 ___ presence in the Eucharist 34 Adjective for Esau 35 ___ will 36 “Angel of God, my guardian ___…”

37 Italian city of St. Clare DOWN 1 Commandment word 2 French-speaking Canadian diocese 4 Nihil ___ 5 Shroud city 6 Monk walk 7 Apostle of the North 8 The ___ of Confession 13 Abbr. for two NT epistles 15 Not cleric 17 Jesus praised her generosity 19 Letter by which a priest is released from one diocese and accepted into another 21 Catholic university near Naples 23 God loves a cheerful one 24 Hesburgh of Notre Dame, to friends 25 He wrote the 95 Theses 26 Sacred vessels 28 St. Martin was bishop here 29 “___ to God in the highest” 31 Land of Sts. Brendan and Brigid 33 Mary, ___-Virgin

We would like to thank WILLIS TOWERS WATSON, Property/Casualty broker for the Diocese of Trenton, for their sponsorship of this page. 58   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

assistance. May the Lord bless you for your generosity.” Considering that the pandemic has inflicted financial pain on many families, the generosity to this emergency fund has been remarkable, Nicholl said. While many of the gifts are modest, they came at a time when some of the less-technologically equipped parishes reported as much as a 60 percent drop in the weekly offertory. Those parishes that already had online giving established reported more manageable dips, less than 20 percent of the normal offertory in many cases. Nicholl observed that more parishes have established online giving and other digital means of connecting with their communities as a result of the shutdown.

This is proving critically important, he said, given that Mass attendance remains limited with COVID precautions, and it is not as yet known when things will return to full capacity. “We are happy to see some restoration of parish offertory giving, and we ask the faithful who have not yet done so to find a way to financially assist their parish if their personal circumstances allow,” Nicholl said. If you would like to give to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, go to You will be asked to designate your gift to the parish of your choice, and/or to diocesan operations and ministry needs. Bennett also serves as executive director of the Office of Communications and Media.


Continued from 18


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but we are all facing the same storm,” she explained. “If we focus on the storm instead of Jesus, we’re going to sink … keep your gaze fixed on Jesus, who calls us out of the boat – and he will catch us.” A friend of Stanz’s told her she stopped calling 2020 the “year of the pandemic” and began calling it “The Great Pause of 2020.” “The way we live, grieve, celebrate milestones and do formation has changed,” she reflected. “Yet the hope we are called to in Jesus is the same as it was for the disciples 2,000 years ago … do not be afraid to be bold and lean in to this time, bringing hope and encouragement to others.” Stanz recalled the devastation left behind in 1945 when the two atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. One of the only living things to survive the blast, though they appeared dead on the outside, was the native ginkgo trees. “The Japanese call the ginkgo tree the ‘bearer of hope.’ It has deep roots, bark that protects it, and leaves that adapt to grow again,” Stanz said, explaining that the deep roots of the Church are Jesus, the bark that protects is the Church’s

healing, and the leaves that adapt are the Church’s hospitality. “A Church centered on renewal is one of hope, healing and hospitality. The Church did not close during the pandemic, because you and I are the Church, and we did not close,” she continued. “Our structures looked stripped away and have moved online – but the Gospel is portable and sharable, adaptable; it’s nimble and flexible – and so are we.” Encouraging ministers to use their imagination to connect to people where they are, Stanz asked them to reflect on “what is the spiritual moment that God is calling us to” as their specific mission field. Participants responded with a variety of suggestions, including “deep, empathetic listening,”“capturing the gifts of God in the chaos” and “waking up from complacency.” “We need to abandon the complacent attitude that says, ‘We have always done it this way,’” she suggested. “We have to live with fresh ways of thinking and being … not rethinking doctrine or dogma – but can we change our goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization? You bet. “Your life might be the only Gospel that somebody else reads,” Stanz continued. “Can you share your witness with boldness, joy and creativity?”

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September 2020    THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   59

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Answers to puzzle on page 58

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WELLNESS WAITING at St. Francis, we are making it safe to get the health care you need. If you have had to postpone important health care appointments, surgeries, screenings or other visits due to the COVID-19 crisis, now is the time to come in and get your health back on track. Whether you prefer an in-person visit, or telehealth visit, we are here for you.

Make an appointMent at 1-855-599-SFMC (7362) 60   THE MONITOR MAGAZINE   September 2020 

Profile for Diocese of Trenton

The Monitor Magazine September 2020  

INSIDE: A NEW YEAR IN CATECHESIS With families spending more time at home, much of the focus for catechesis is on the Domestic Church. What...

The Monitor Magazine September 2020  

INSIDE: A NEW YEAR IN CATECHESIS With families spending more time at home, much of the focus for catechesis is on the Domestic Church. What...

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