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Religious in diocese celebrate significant anniversaries, pages 13-22

Spirit atholic C THE


FEBRUARY 6, 2020 • VOL. 25 NO. 1 • $2.00

Clergy and laity from the diocese pose for a photo at the Rally for Life at the State House Annex in Trenton Jan. 22. The rally was held on the 47th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Speakers included Jennifer A. Ruggiero, secretary, diocesan Secretariat for Family and Pastoral Life; and Marie E. Tasy, executive director of the Piscataway-based New Jersey Right to Life and a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Milltown, See story page 10. — Christina Leslie photo

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Diocese honors member of Flemington parish for pro-life activities. . .3 This issue was mailed on February 4 Your next issue will be February 20


Help promote, protect sanctity of all human life


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Bishop James Checchio January is a month when we take time to reflect on the sanctity of human life at all stages and in all conditions. I recently had the privilege of joining with more than 100,000 people from across our country standing up for life in Washington, D.C., including hundreds from our own diocese — from our parishes, the Catholic Center at Rutgers University, home school families and our high schools. The opening vigil Mass at the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, along with the Mass the morning of the March at the Capital One Arena were so moving. The Mass at the Shrine had about 10,000 in attendance while some 17,000 youth and young adults filled the Capital One Arena. After Mass, many young people filled the streets of

Washington as the March began. It was such a sign of hope for our country and encouraging for all who attended. Many people are willing to stand up for life! Pope Francis recently told a group of bishops from the United States visiting him at the Vatican that, “If we do not defend life, no other rights matter.” The Holy Father said that “abortion is the first human rights issue.” In January, we sadly remembered that more than 61 million unborn children have been aborted since Roe vs. Wade. The Holy Father’s words ring so true for us in the United States. Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, who is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, preached the homily at the vigil Mass and noted that polls are showing that our nation’s youth are more pro-life than their parents. He also spoke about the hope that “the United States Supreme Court, which imposed by judicial fiat our current liberal abortion policy, may be poised to return to states a greater ability to protect the lives of unborn

The Bishop’s Appointments Bishop James F. Checchio recently announced the following assignments:

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Very Rev. Peter R. Cebulka, C.O., has been appointed rector of the Shrine Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Raritan, while continuing as Head of School, St. Ann Parish, Raritan, effective Jan. 27 Rev. David Pekola, pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Belvidere and St. Rose of Lima Parish, Oxford, has been appointed parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Piscataway, effective Jan. 15 Rev. Robert Pinnisi, parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish, Somerville, has been appointed administrator of Our Lady of Victories Parish, Sayreville, effective Jan. 15 Rev. Charles Sabella, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Piscataway, has been appointed pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Belvidere and St. Rose of Lima Parish, Oxford, effective Jan. 15 Rev. Mark Kehoe, administrator of St. Lawrence Parish, Laurence Harbor, has been appointed pastor, effective Jan. 15 Rev. Virgil Tolentino, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Peace Parish, Fords, has been appointed parochial vicar of St. James the Less Parish, Jamesburg, effective Jan. 22 Rev. Robert Gorman, rector of the Shrine Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, Raritan, has been appointed parochial vicar of Our Lady of Peace Parish, Fords, while continuing as part-time Chaplain, Diocesan Prison Ministry, effective Jan. 27 Rev. Pawel Michalowski, SDB, has been appointed parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Parish, Somerville, effective Jan. 15

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children” through the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that allowed legal abortion virtually on demand. Over the past few years, our federal government has taken numerous actions to protect the unborn, including expanding the Mexico City policy (which blocks U.S. funding for organizations that provide abortions) and issuing a landmark pro-life rule to govern the use of Title X taxpayer funding. Likewise, it is reported that many new judges, even two on the Supreme Court, recognize the flawed legal actions which have allowed abortion on demand. These are encouraging signs that our society is hearing more clearly the call to protect innocent human life. However, as Disciples of Christ, our commitment to pro-life includes all the many stages of life. Immigration and the plight of refugees remains a serious concern of justice that we hear and read about often. As our nation struggles to properly address these issues from a political perspective, we must keep central the human dignity and natural rights of all those involved. As people of life, we must respond to the human and social needs that the Gospel demands of us. This includes that we strive for proper health care for the poor, housing and education; this is why our mission with Catholic Charities and Saint Peter’s University Hospital are so vital to the mission of our local Church and worthy of our support and expansion. While the March for Life in Washington recognized the advances in the cause of protecting new life on the national level, unfortunately, we have had numerous setbacks in our own state of New Jersey in regard to advancing life issues. Tragically, this past year our state became one of eight states to permit assisted suicide for those with a terminal illness and six months or less to live. Our lawmakers gave $9.5 million in state funds to Planned Parenthood to make up for the federal funds that they forfeited. Last month, we also had laws advanced that attack or eliminate our religious freedom related to health care. It is difficult to predict how our lawmakers and judges will deal with abortion and the other life issues. Therefore, it is essential that we do all we can to ensure our voices are heard by those who represent us in our state government while at the same time we strengthen our pastoral outreach in addressing the needs of women facing unplanned pregnancies and their families. For this reason, I join my fellow bishops of the United States in calling for “Walking with Moms in Need — A Year of Service.” This initiative will begin on March 25, 2020, which is the Feast of the Annunciation and, also the

25th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae” (The Gospel of Life) and continue through March 25, 2021. This Year of Service will be an opportunity for our parishes to partner with the local pregnancy help centers and other agencies to assess, expand and communicate resources to pregnant moms and families in need. Based on a recent national survey, we know that more than 500,000 women are helped through a network of more than 2,700 pregnancy help centers across the nation. We know that more than 150,000 low-income mothers deliver their babies at our Catholic hospitals each year, including at our own Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick. We also know that tens of thousands of pregnant and parenting moms are helped through our Catholic Charities programs. While these numbers are encouraging, women are still turning to other places for help in their time of need. We need to do more and I believe are able to do more. Our abortion-healing ministries, most often called Project Rachel or Rachel’s Vineyard remind us of the tragic results for those who have experienced abortion such as intense grief, depression, drug and alcohol abuse and broken relationships. Not only does a baby die in abortion but women and men are deeply wounded. The Our Hope after Abortion National website now averages over 93,000 unique visits per month. Again, we need to do more. We need to let our legislators and state government officials hear our voices clearly on these issues as lives depend upon it. As St. John Paul II urges, “With great openness and courage, we need to question how widespread is the culture of life today among individual Christians, families, groups and communities in our dioceses. With equal clarity and determination we must identify steps we are called to take to serve life in all of its truth.” (EV 95). Let each of us commit ourselves to “Walking with Moms in Need — Year of Service” so that our culture may experience the power of God’s transforming love, that our parishes become “islands of mercy” and that all eyes may be opened to the incredible beauty of every human life. I am so grateful for all your efforts to preserve and promote the sanctity of human life and making it a priority in our diocese and state. Know of my love and prayers for you, and please pray for me.

The Most Reverend James F. Checchio, JCD, MBA Bishop of Metuchen

NOTICE The Bishop’s Schedule for events from Feb. 7 to Feb. 23 can be found on page 4.

of the

By Anthony Salamone Correspondent METUCHEN — Rosemary Kern has spent more than three decades involved in God’s gift of sexuality; the Church’s teaching about and what role it plays in people’s lives from youth to adult. To Kern, the retired manager of the Project Respect Ed program at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick, the lessons she has taught have been more than just teaching sex education to youth. “It certainly has opened my eyes to a whole different world,” she said. “You can get locked into your middleclass, comfortable world, and these kids are in situations that nobody should be living. “So it’s easy to say, ‘Oh, you know, these girls getting pregnant; what’s wrong with them?’

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The grandchildren of Deacon Stephen and Rosemary Kern, Eden Gomes (right), 3, and Augustine Gomes, 1, are shown with their parents, Dennis and Stephanie Gomes of Cherry Hill.

“Well, when you get into the Bishop James F. Checchio poses with, from background and the families and left: Deacon Stephen and Rosemary Kern, what’s been going on, you understand Deacon Gregory and Elizabeth Caruso, Helen and Deacon James Rivera at the their situation a lot more.” The diocese honored Kern with its Respect For Life Mass. The couples were Pro Vita Award at the annual Respect recognized by the diocese for their many Life Mass Jan. 19 at the Cathedral of years of service with Marriage PreparaSt. Francis of Assisi. The annual award tion Ministry. — Ed Koskey Jr. photos goes to a person who has promoted the pro-life message in a variety of ways. “I was not going to be able to do Kern, a member of St. Magdalen the job I was doing in hospital adminde Pazzi Parish, Flemington, oversaw Project Respect Ed, which provides istration,” said Kern of her early years education and support for New Bruns- at Saint Peter’s, “because it was 60 wick-area youth and their families hours a week.” However, one about setting goals, of the nuns at Saint and avoiding high“It certainly has Peter’s asked Kern to risk behaviors such become involved in a as sexual activity. The opened my eyes to teen pregnancy clinic, 65-year-old woman with some clients as said the program has a whole different young as 11 years old. counseled roughly world. You can get Kern became a beacon 3,000 youth per year of hope to thousands in New Brunswick locked into your of girls. area public schools, middle-class, comIn his homily, as well as diocesan Bishop James F. Checmiddle-school stufortable world, and chio, who resided at dents. the Mass, singled out It marked a shift these kids are in situKern for her years in the career path of ations that nobody of promoting the Kern, who earned a Church’s immutable master’s degree at should be living." pro-life message. Xavier University, —Rosemary Kern “We’re grateful to Cincinnati, in hosyou for that,” the bishpital and health care op said. “Thank you.” administration, after The diocese also recognized Kern studying English literature and humanistic studies as an undergrad. But and her husband, and two other couthe birth of Kern’s first child changed ples, Deacon Gregory and Liz Caruso, her priorities between home and work of the Church of the Sacred Heart, life. She and her husband, Deacon South Plainfield, and Deacon James Stephen F. Kern, director, diocesan and Helen Rivera of St. Augustine of Office of the Diaconate, eventually Canterbury Parish, Kendall Park, for raised three children, Kevin, Kristen their service in Continued on page 6 and Stephanie, wife of Dennis Gomes.


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Esther is model of courage, prayerfulness, ingenuity Body & Soul By Father Glenn J. Comandini, STD Curiously, the Jews have no feast for any of the patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac or Jacob. They have no special festival in honor of Moses. There is nothing prescribed on the Jewish religious calendar to pay tribute to the three great kings: Saul, David or Solomon. They do however, have a yearly observance of the life of a great queen. The Feast of Purim celebrates the life and example of Queen Esther, heroine of the Hebrew people, who exemplifies what it means to be completely dependent upon God. She asks for courage, persuasive words in her mouth and the wherewithal

to overpower Haman, the villain of the story who happens to be a high ranking government officer to King Xerxes of Persia, to whom Esther is betrothed. Once Xerxes makes Esther his Queen, her uncle, Mordecai, refuses to offer homage to Haman, who is infuriated and sets out on a plot to obtain from the king a decree of extermination against all the Jews living in the Persian Empire. Then, Esther comes to the foreground as a genuinely pious woman, a God-fearing Jew who receives what she asks for in prayer: courage, prudence and wisdom. These weapons of diplomacy are such that Esther is able to turn the tables on Haman and have the decree of extermination apply now to the enemies of the Jews, including Haman. It’s obvious during the 10 short chapters of this Book of the Bible that Esther is a selfless individual whose major concern

is the welfare of her Jewish subjects. This book was intended as a consolation for the Israelites in Exile, a reminder that God’s providence prevails — even if the Chosen were not living in the Promised Land or had access to the Temple in Jerusalem. It’s a reminder that God loves those who serve him faithfully. Esther is one just person! Would that we could all possess the courage of Esther — the prayerfulness of Esther — the ingenuity of Esther! There would be a genuine love for each other, based not on how one is treated by a particular person (an attitude which would issue from self-centeredness) but an altruistic love which seeks nothing but the overall good of everyone who is made in the image and likeness of God. We would take pleasure in each other’s accomplishments, instead of harboring jealousy. We would be supportive of those who are enduring homelessness, unemployment or

oppression by fighting for social justice. We would rally together for the common good and the success of our primary mission, as Church, which is to sow the Good News of God’s love to those we encounter here, next store, at work or school, at Mass or at play, rather than succumb to complacency and the status quo. Brothers and sisters, like Queen Esther, we are called to be strong! We are called to be prayerful! We are called to set an example for others! We are called to be Christ-centered! Whether we occupy a leadership position, as did Queen Esther, or we are called to follow the leader, all of us are called to be servants to each other who are the Church. The message of Purim is the same for us as it is for the Jews: “Happy the People who trust in the Lord.” Father Comandini is managing editor of “The Catholic Spirit.”

Elders shape future by helping youth look above horizon to stars During February my thoughts turn to two of my favorite biblical figures, Simeon and Anna.

Year of Consecrated Life

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


By Sister Constance Veit, l.s.p.

Simeon is described in St. Luke’s Gospel simply as “a man in Jerusalem” and Anna as an 84-year-old “prophetess.” These two elders greet Mary and Joseph as they bring their newborn infant to the Temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. We celebrate this moment in Jesus’ life, referred to as the Presentation in the Temple, on Feb. 2. Simeon and Anna are not just two pious old people making a fuss over a baby. Each one had been waiting for the coming of the Lord for many years. Their whole lives were defined by their patient, prayerful waiting. When the moment came, they recognized Jesus as the Messiah and testified on his behalf before all the people. Pope Francis wrote, “When Mary and Joseph reached the temple to fulfill the law, Simeon and Anna jumped to their feet. They were moved by the Holy Spirit. This elderly couple recognized the child and discovered a new inner strength that allowed them to bear witness.” Simeon and Anna have an important message for our time. They represent the

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crucial role of older people who “have the courage to dream,” as Pope Francis said. “Only if our grandparents have the courage to dream and our young people imagine great things will our society go on.” Francis believes that older people who dream are able to move forward creatively as they envision a future. “Without the witness of their elders’ lives, the plans of young people will have neither roots nor wisdom,” he said. “Today more than ever, the future generates anxiety, insecurity, mistrust and fear. Only the testimony of elders will help young people look above the horizon to see the stars. Just learning that it is worth fighting for something will help young people face the future with hope.” We Little Sisters are privileged to share our lives with many successors of Simeon and Anna — older people who have persevered in their faith through the years as they sought a better life for themselves and their loved ones. Among them is a woman I know who poured her life-savings into the rehabilitation of a child stuck in the cycle of drug addiction, and who later sacrificed her own comfort to support three generations of her family members who were displaced after a hurricane ravaged their island home. Another resident, a tiny woman in her mid-80s, divides her time between helping in our chapel and working in the parish founded by her priest-brother — the only Vietnamese parish in our diocese — helping with sundry tasks and taking Holy Communion to the sick. I recently attended Mass at this Viet-

If you were sexually abused by a member of the clergy or anyone representing the Catholic Church, or you know of someone who was, you are encouraged to report that abuse to law enforcement and/or by contacting the Diocesan Response Officer at (908) 930-4558 (24 hours/7 days a week). For more information on how to report abuse, visit our diocesan website: https://diometuchen.org/ report-a-suspected-abuse.

namese parish as part of our annual fund raising appeal and enjoyed seeing our resident in action. While she and many of the women of the parish wore their traditional Vietnamese tunics and flowing pants in bright hues and varied designs, most of the young people came to church in the jeans, yoga pants and baggy sweatshirts typical of American youth. The liturgy was completely in Vietnamese. I saw what a fine line these young people walk — with one foot planted firmly in the land of their parents and grandparents and the other in America. I was touched to see that even the young people venerated our resident. As she scurried around the church attending to many details, she would give the young

people a quick word of direction in Vietnamese or a charming smile of encouragement. Our residents embody Pope Francis’ dream of elders as “a choir of a great spiritual sanctuary, where prayers of supplication and songs of praise support the larger community that works and struggles in the field of life.” Although I am not yet a senior, it won’t be long before I am, and I am grateful for the example of our residents who, like Simeon and Anna, are teaching me how to assume the mantle of a wise elder in the believing community. Sister Constance Veit is director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Bishop’s Schedule Feb. 7 7 p.m. Confirmation for Holy Family Parish at Sacred Heart worship site, New Brunswick Feb. 8 5 p.m. Mass for Diocesan Youth Day at St. Joseph High School, Metuchen Feb. 9 11 a.m. Mass and Dedication of the renovated church at Nativity of Our Lord Church, Monroe Township Feb. 11 noon Mass for World Day of the Sick at St. Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick Feb. 18 2 p.m. Installation of the Most Reverend Nelson J. Perez as Archbishop of Philadelphia at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul, Philadelphia Feb. 19 11:15 a.m. Mass for the National Organization for Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy Convention at the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, So. Orange Feb. 20 10:30 a.m. Priest Personnel Board Meeting, Piscataway – private event Feb. 21 10:30 a.m. College of Consultors Meeting, Piscataway – private event Feb. 21 1 p.m. Presbyteral Council Meeting, Piscataway – private event Feb. 21 5:30 p.m. Confirmation for Parish of the Visitation, St. Mary of Mount Virgin worship site, New Brunswick Feb. 22 5 p.m. Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church, Lambertville Feb. 23 9 a.m. Mass at Our Lady Victories Church, Baptistown Feb. 23 11 a.m. Mass at St. Catherine of Siena Church, Pittstown For updates on Bishop Checchio's schedule visit: http://diometuchen.org/bishop/schedule

WASHINGTON — Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and has appointed Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland as his successor. Archbishop Chaput, who has headed the Philadelphia Archdiocese since 2011, turned 75 last September, the age at which canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignation to the pope. Archbishop Perez, 58, was installed as the 11th bishop of Cleveland Sept. 5, 2017. The resignation and appointment were announced in Washington Jan. 23 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The new archbishop said he was looking forward to returning to the archdiocese where he was ordained as a priest. “I am deeply grateful to the Holy Father for this appointment and his confidence in me,” Archbishop Perez will be installed in ceremonies scheduled to be held Feb. 18, 2 p.m, at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul. He was born in Miami June 16, 1961 and was raised in West New York, N.J. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Montclair State University. After entering St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, Pa., he earned Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in theology degrees . He was ordained a priest for Philadelphia May 20, 1989. He ministered as a parochial vicar at St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia; was assistant director of the archdiocesan Office for Hispanic Catholics; founding director of the Catholic Institute for Evangelization; pastor of St. William Parish, Philadelphia; and pastor of St. Agnes Parish, West Chester, Pa. His work in education included teaching psychology and religious studies at La Salle University, Philadelphia, and

Knights coordinating disaster relief in Puerto Rico

A destroyed church is seen in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, Jan. 7, after an earthquake struck the area two days earlier. Jose Lebron-Sanabria, a Knight of Columbus and a general insurance agent for the fraternal organization, is coordinating the Knights’ assistance to Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes. — CNS photo/Marco Bello, Reuters

Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Cleveland is pictured in an undated photo. Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia and has appointed Bishop Perez as his successor.

— CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Cleveland

developmental psychology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Named a monsignor by St. John Paul II in 1998 and a prelate of honor by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, he was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., in 2012. As a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Perez is chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and formerly chaired the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. He also served as the lead bishop for the V Encuentro process for the USCCB.

Retired prelate seeks help for asylum-seekers

Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha, the former archbishop of Lahore, Pakistan, is pictured in a 2011 photo in Lahore. Archbishop Saldanha, who moved to Canada shortly after his retirement in 2011, became a Canadian citizen in 2016. — CNS photo/Mian Khursheed, Reuters

Christians in a country where stringent regulations, such as the blasphemy law that stipulate capital punishment, are used to settle personal scores, they say.

PONCE, Puerto Rico — Jose LebronSanabria, a Knight of Columbus and a general insurance agent for the fraternal organization, is coordinating assistance to Puerto Ricans in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes. He led the Knights’ recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico in September 2017. Among other efforts this time, he is working with the Diocese of Ponce to bring food, water and nutrition drinks, like Glucerna and Ensure, to a religious monastery, home to 25 elderly nuns. “I have a tool to offer my community and that is the Knights of Columbus,” Lebron-Sanabria

said in a statement. The island is home to 5,240 Knights and 81 Councils. The series of earthquakes, the highest being a magnitude 6.4, has leveled towns and parish churches on the southern coast of the island. Gov. Wanda Vazquez Garced has declared a state of emergency. Aftershocks continue to rock Puerto Rico. The Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, Conn., has established an online portal for donations for those affected by the quakes: https://bit.ly/2FN5pG0. Catholic Charities USA has established a Puerto Rico disaster relief fund that can accessed online at https://bit.ly/30hHwQd.

Bryant relied on Catholic faith in tough times CALABASAS, Calif. — As the world mourned the loss of basketball great Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others killed in a tragic helicopter crash Jan. 26, many recalled how Bryant gave much credit to his Catholic faith for seeing him through the bad times and strengthening his marriage and family. A shooting guard, Bryant was drafted into the NBA at age 17 and played his entire 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers. He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships. He retired at the end of the 2015-2016 season. News of Bryant’s death quickly prompted tributes on social media. On Twitter, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles said “he was sad to hear the news” and offered prayers for him and his family. In Rome for his region’s “ad limina” visit with Pope Francis, Archbishop Gomez told Catholic News Service Jan. 27 that Bryant “was a very good Catholic, a faithful Catholic” and recalled meeting the famed basketball player on several occasions. “I remember one time going to the Lakers’ practice, and I had a good conversation with him,” Archbishop Gomez told CNS. “We are pray-

Retired NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, were among nine people killed Jan. 26, 2020, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. The two Catholics are pictured during a game in Las Vegas July 27, 2020. — CNS photo/Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

ing for the eternal repose of his soul, his daughter who also died and for the family. It must be a very challenging time for his family. So, let’s pray for him and pray for his family.”


LAHORE, Pakistan — A Pakistani Catholic archbishop who migrated to Canada after his retirement said his focus now is on helping persecuted Pakistani Christians who seek asylum in Canada. Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha, the former archbishop of Lahore who moved to Canada shortly after his retirement in 2011, celebrated 60 years of priesthood Jan. 16. He became a Canadian citizen in 2016. “We live in a dark and dangerous world that is threatened by climate change, wars, economic hardships, and large-scale migrations. In the past seven years, the problem of asylum-seekers has grown acutely,” the 83-year-old archbishop told ucanews.org in an e-mail. In Pakistan, Church leaders say Christians often become the targets of violence, rape and harassment and are treated as second-class citizens for following a religion other than Islam. Besides physical violence, the judiciary and governments at all levels are habitually biased against

Compiled from the Catholic News Service


New archbishop of Philadelphia appointed




Promoters of life honored by diocese at annual Mass at Cathedral


Continued from page 3

marriage preparation ministry. The diocese particularly noted Rosemary Kern has also trained hundreds of couples in Natural Family Planning, which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop says is the method married Catholic couples can use to either achieve or postpone pregnancies. “They have pointed out the Lamb of God by these actions, by these ministries they participate in, by how they live their lives,” Bishop Checchio said of the couples. Erika Arias, Project Respect Ed’s current manager who has worked with Kern for 17 years, called the award a “blessing” to the organization. Arias, a member of Holy Family Parish, New Brunswick, also considers Kern a mentor. She and the agency’s counselors attended the Mass and posed for photographs afterward with Kern.

“Sometimes we deal with children who are perhaps dealing with personal issues, and they have no one to talk to,” Arias said. “They see us as a sense of hope and someone they can trust and get advice.” Kern, who continues to work part time for Project Respect Ed through grant writing and teaching, said she sees “small miracles” every day with troubled youth in helping them find a more positive “sphere of influence” in their lives. “That’s what it’s all about,” she said. Jennifer A Ruggiero, secretary, diocesan Secretariat for Family and Pastoral Life, announced Kern’s award near the Mass’ conclusion, while Cristina D’Averso-Collins, director, diocesan Office of Family Life Ministry, presented the couples to the bishop and congregation.

Since, 1998, the diocese has celebrated a Respect Life Mass in conjunction with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the January 1973 United States Supreme Court decision giving a pregnant woman the right to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. That ruling, according to the bishops’ conference, “effectively removed every legal protection from human beings prior to birth.” Bishop James F. Checchio stands with Rosemary Kern after presenting her with the 2020 Pro-Vita award at the Respect For Life Mass Jan. 19 at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, Metuchen. Kern, retired manager at the Project Respect Ed program at Saint Peter's University Hospital, is a member of St. Magdalen de Pazzi Parish, Flemington. — Ed Koskey Jr. photo

Free diabetes program scheduled to begin Feb. 12 at Health Center

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


NEW BRUNSWICK — Saint Peter’s Healthcare System continues to help people prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes through a free, year-long program that teaches improved nutrition, increased exercise, stress management and weight loss. The latest session of classes will

begin Feb. 12 and be held on Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The year-long program meets every other week for its first six months, followed by monthly meetings in the second half of the year. All sessions take place at Saint Peter’s University Hospital’s Family Health Center, 123 How Lane,

New Brunswick. Pre-registration is required. The Prevent T2 program is open to anyone 18 years or older diagnosed with prediabetes or with a history of gestational diabetes. Taught by registered dietitian nutritionists, Prevent T2 has already shown promising outcomes. Following the completion of three, year-long sessions, participants reported a collective weight loss of 145 pounds and an increase of 130 minutes a day in physical activity. Sessions are an hour in length with

weigh-ins for the 15 minutes before and after class. For each session, there’s a fun and educational component. Lifestyle coaches track progress and give away prizes. The class provides group support for living a healthy lifestyle. The program is fully funded by a grant from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies Contribution Fund. For more information or to register, call (732) 339-7772. Space is limited. Classes will be offered in English (and Spanish as needed).

Sing Along Gujarati Catholic Samaj of USA, a not-for-profit organization established in 2010, held a celebration of “Christmas Garba/Dance Night 2019” at the Church of the Sacred Heart, South Plainfield. The event was planned and organized by the Youth wing of Gujarati Catholic Samaj of USA. Special guests were Father John P. Alvarado, pastor, and Father Pervaiz Indrias, parochial vicar. Father Alvarado concluded the event by leading attendees in praying the “Our Father” in Gujarati. — photo courtesy of Gujarati Catholic Samaj of USA

Members of the Knights of Columbus receive rosaries Jan. 1 at St. Mary Church, New Haven, Conn., as part of the fraternal organization’s new ceremony that is designed to condense its three degrees into one. In addition, the ceremony is conducted in public instead of in a secret, members-only occasion. — CNS photo/courtesy Joe Cullen

The fourth-degree ceremony will remain unchanged and will continue to be open to members only. “Secrecy has to be understood in the context of the 19th century,” Anderson said. “There was incredible bigotry against Catholics,” with the anti-Catholic KnowNothings in control politically in New England at the time, and the Ku Klux Klan later became a powerful political force across the country, he said. “There was some appeal to secrecy.” Also at the time, the idea of progressing through the degrees as a journey toward Knighthood was popular. But today, those features have proved to be an impediment to men joining, particularly young men, Anderson said. The new single ceremony takes about 30 minutes, Anderson said.

By opening the ceremony to the public, “families and friends can see what we’re all about and hopefully decide I or my brother or my husband should join,” Anderson said. The new degree ceremony pulls from the three previous ceremonies to pass along the organization’s history and the impor-

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After 142 years, the Knights of Columbus is pulling down a veil of secrecy that has surrounded its initiation ceremonies in an effort to better showcase the order’s core principles and its drive to help Catholic men become disciples. Since its founding in 1882, the initiation ceremonies for the first three degrees of Knights membership — focused on the principles of charity, unity and fraternity — have been separate and open to members only. The fourth degree, dedicated to the principal of patriotism, was added later and this initiation also is secret and for members only. But starting this year, the Knights have adopted a new ceremony. Called the Exemplification of Charity, Unity and Fraternity, it combines the initiation for the first three degrees into a single ceremony that will be open to family, friends and fellow parishioners. “There is nothing we do that is secret or needs to be secret,” Supreme Knight Carl Anderson told the “Tennessee Register,” newspaper of the Diocese of Nashville. “We decided this is a way to let other parishioners know, family members know, what the Knights of Columbus is all about. We think that’s a good thing.” The Knights of Columbus is a fraternal organization of Catholic men that was founded by Father Michael McGivney, a young priest serving at St. Mary Church in New Haven, Conn. Father McGivney is a candidate for sainthood and has the title “Venerable.” The Connecticut State Council used the new ceremony for the first time Jan. 1 at St. Mary Church, the birthplace of the order, which has more than 2 million members worldwide who are involved in charitable and service works. Although membership as a whole is growing, not all areas are showing increases, Anderson said. “The Catholic Church is growing more quickly in some areas than in other areas. Those trends affect us as well,” he said. “When you see dioceses with parishes closing, that has to affect all the Catholic organizations in those dioceses.” At the Knights’ Supreme Convention last summer, a resolution from the Illinois delegation calling for combining the first-, second- and third-degree ceremonies into one and removing the condition of secrecy was approved. Anderson directed a review of the ceremonies “with an eye toward staying true to our roots while at the same time presenting our principles of charity, unity and fraternity in a more clear and convincing way.” Anderson unveiled the new ceremony in November at the midyear meeting for the order’s state deputies, who are the highest official in each jurisdiction. He said the ceremony “stays true to our traditions while addressing the needs of our times.”

tance of the principles rooted in the organization. “We need to impress on the members the importance of charity, unity, fraternity, how they are linked, and how in Father McGivney’s vision of Christian discipleship ... charity, unity and fraternity become a path of discipleship for the Catholic man,” Anderson said. A ceremony that focuses on the three principles enhances the Knights involvement in the Church’s work of evangelization, Anderson explained. The order’s principles “are really at the core of Catholic life, and [the new ceremony] makes it clear we have a responsibility and the responsibility extends into the whole person, the spiritual dimension, the fraternal dimension, and the financial dimension.” The script for the new degree calls for the ceremony to be conducted in a church or similarly appropriate location, with a priest or deacon participating. The expectation is that the new ceremony can be held after a Mass when the congregation can be invited to stay and watch. The script for the new ceremony was made available to all councils Jan. 15. It was left to each state deputy to decide how and when the new ceremony will be rolled out in their jurisdiction. Telli is managing editor of the “Tennessee Register,” newspaper of the Diocese of Nashville.


By Andy Telli Catholic News Service


Fraternal organization unveils initiation ceremony that will be public


May God continue to bless all who work to protect life at every stage.


     wishes to thank all the volunteers who work tirelessly and with determination in support of human life. 

Please mark your calendars and join us as we witness God’s truth and embody our Lord’s command to love one another as He loves us! Our Pro Life/Respect Life Ministry group meets Wednesday’s in the St. Anthony Room on the following dates:

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


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St. Philip & St. James Church Phillipsburg, New Jersey


e thank God for the many eorts, prayers, and good works of our Celebrate Life Committee, Cenacles for Life, and the faithful who pray at the local abortion mill each week.

“The light shines on in darkness� John 1:5


March for Life

Among the estimated hundreds of thousands who gathered in Washington, D.C., for the National Prayer Vigil for Life Jan. 23 and Youth Rally and Mass for Life and March for Life Jan. 24 were Bishop James F. Checchio, clergy, religious, laity and students from Immaculata High School, Somerville; Saint Jospeh High School, Metuchen, and Mount Sant Mary Academy, Watchung; and members of the Catholic Center at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Among the students from Mount Saint Mary Academy were juniors Katie Kwiatkowski, Maya Rivera and Isabel Pecoraro. “Being my fifth year coming, the March for Life is an inspiring and impactful experience that I am proud to take part in,” Kwiatkowski said. “My highlight was the rally and hearing our president speak and support our mercy core values of nonviolence,” Rivera said. “As my second year coming to the march, this is always my favorite trip and the community of boys and girls is inspiring.” Said Pecoraro, “This day every year is so inspiring and life changing to me and encourages me to keep fighting for my beliefs.” — Immaculata High School, Deacon Stephen F. Kern, Gerard Wutkowski Jr., Susan Choma, Becky Marchinda and Elaine Yunker photos



Rally at State House Annex celebrates intrinsic value, sanctity of life Pa. opened the rally by leading the group in a sung, chant-like “Our Father” and urging them to “pray for one TRENTON — Hundreds stood in the soul at a time” in their efforts against shadow of the State House Annex Jan. abortion. Jennifer A. Ruggiero, secretary, di22 prepared for the task ahead. Clad in heavy coats to protect them from the ocesan Secretariat for Family and Pastoral Life and director, 34-degree temperature, diocesan Office of Hueach man, woman and “New Jersey is man Life and Dignity, child would cheer as expressed well wishes legislators, clergy and one of the few on behalf of Bishop others declared their James F. Checchio and respect for life in all states with no told the crowd, “Laws forms and at all stages. restrictions on are guidelines for what Sponsored by the is acceptable in society. Piscataway-based New abortion. Is this Today, as we begin Jersey Right to Life acceptable? " another year, our laws (NJRTL), the state’s make it possible for a largest and most active —Jennifer A. Ruggiero baby to be unsafe in nonprofit pro-life nonhis mother’s womb, for partisan organization, a frail elderly or dying the Rally for Life was person to be lured into held on the 47th annian efficient death by asversary of the United sisted suicide. States Supreme Court “New Jersey is Roe v. Wade decision one of the few states to legalize abortion. with no restrictions on Each speaker abortion. Is this acceptstepped up to a poable?” she asked, to dium behind a blue and white banner that proclaimed, “We’re which they responded with an emphatic “no.” Ruggiero concluded, “Pope FranBringing New Jersey Back to Life.” Father Stanley Krzyston, pastor of cis repeatedly challenges us to go to the St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Yardville, margins… we need to do more.” By Christina Leslie Correspondent

Marie Tasy, executive director, NJRTL, said more than 61 million unborn children have been aborted since Roe v. Wade. In the last 10 years, she added, Planned Parenthood has performed 3 million abortions and has received $5 billion from United States taxpayers. The organization plans to

spend $45 Million to support proabortion candidates for president and Congress. During the years New Jersey Planned Parenthood affiliates were not Continued on next page

Jennifer A. Ruggiero, secretary, diocesan Secretariat for Family and Pastoral Life, speaks at the annual Rally for Life at the State House Annex Jan. 22. The event was held on the 47th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision to legalize abortion. — Mike Ehrmann photos

Celebrate Life!

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Human life must always be defended from its beginning in the womb and must be recognized as a gift of God that guarantees the future of humanity. -Pope Francis

“A P E R S O N I S A P E R S O N NO MATTER HOW SMALL” — D r. S e u s s

The Church of St. John Vianney RESPECTS LIFE

and the science, and that each life is a gift from God.â€? Karen Falkowski, a member of St. James the Less Parish, Jamesburg, explained how her presence at the rally represented those without a voice. “I’m here because babies can’t talk and they need to have a say like everyone else,â€? she said. Sue Hoffman, a registered nurse from St. Mary Parish, South Amboy, added, “I am hoping this may be seen as a prayer for the most valuable.â€? Numerous pro-life legislators described their efforts to preserve life and the difďŹ culties they experienced as they deďŹ ed their fellow elected ofďŹ cials. Assemblyman John Dimaio (R-23) noted, “Each year the number of abortions is a little bit lower. We have a pro-life president. Don’t give up the ďŹ ght.â€? Assemblyman Mike Doherty, who hails from the same district, added, “There is no more important issue than standing up for life‌ You won’t receive recognition on this earth, but God wants you to do the right thing.â€? Assemblyman Ron Dancer (R-12) urged the group to “remain steadfast, unmoved. Your work for the Lord is not in vain,â€? and outlined pro-life legislators’ attempts to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and another which punishes doctors who perform abortions. Quoting from Deuteronomy 30:19, he concluded, “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live.â€?


receiving taxpayer funds, she said, their annual reports showed that the entity was more than able to raise their own funds. According to their 2016 IRS 990 Financial Report, which is the most recent report publicly available, Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and Southern New Jersey’s total revenue including private contributions was $30.5 million. Their employee salaries totaled $14.9 million. Their net income after expenses was $4.2 million. “Despite these facts and overwhelming opposition to giving Planned Parenthood our tax dollars, Governor [Phil] Murphy and the Legislature gave the abortion empire a total of $20 million dollars this year,â€? said Tasy, who is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Milltown. Rosanda Grau, executive director of Life Choices Resource Center, Metuchen, which serves mothers and families who are faced with difďŹ cult or unplanned pregnancies, revealed to the crowd she has ďŹ rst-hand experience with abortion. Through tears, Grau said that she experiences “distress, shame and regretâ€? because of having undergone two abortions as a young woman. Today, her work includes chaperoning women during ultrasounds and educating them about their unborn children. “Now, the veil of the womb has been lifted and there is no mystery who and what is inside,â€? Grau said. “Though we are in the information age, women still don’t know the facts. How can this be health care if someone has to die? Remember the facts


Continued from previous page

Top, speakers Rosanda Grau (left) and Jennifer A. Ruggiero (right) pose with participants of the Rally for Life at the State House Annex. Right, Marie E. Tasy, executive director, New Jersey Right to Life, speaks to the crowd. Left, Father John F. Primich (left), chaplain to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Flemington, poses with Father Edward Jawidzik, parochial vicar, St. Raphael-Holy Angels Parish, Hamilton. — Mike Ehrmann photos

Life is a Human Right! St. Theodore Parish Port Murray

LIFE is BEAUTIFUL Thank you to our Respect Life ministers for celebrating every life Saint Joseph Parish, Hillsborough

The Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi Metuchen


The First Right is the Right To Life!

By Jennifer Ficcaglia Catholic News Service

When King David moved to Jerusalem, he had the ark of God brought to the city. The ark was housed in a tent, as it had been when Moses and the Israelites were wandering in the desert. But David thought the ark should be housed in a much better dwelling and wanted to build a temple for it. God had other plans, however, so he told the prophet Nathan to give David a


The ark was carried to the inner sanctuary of the Temple.

— CNS Artwork

message about the ark. “When your days have been completed and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you ... and I will establish his kingdom,” God said in his message to David. “He it is who shall build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever.” God was referring to David’s son, Solomon. After becoming king, Solomon began preparing the materials that would be needed to build a temple for the ark. The actual construction of the Temple began in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, which also was the 480th year since God had freed the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. As the Temple’s construction was nearing completion, the word of God came to Solomon. “As to this house you are building — if you walk in my statutes, carry out my ordinances, and observe all my commands, walking in them, I will fulfill toward you my word which I spoke to David your father. I will dwell in the midst of the Israelites and will not forsake my people Israel,” God told the king. When the Temple was finished, the

priests took up the ark and began moving it to its new dwelling. As the ark was being moved, King Solomon and the entire community of Israel gathered before it and made many sacrifices. The ark was carried to the inner sanctuary of the Temple. Then the glory of God,

in the form of a cloud, filled the Temple. “The Lord intends to dwell in the dark cloud; I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever,” King Solomon said. The king then turned and blessed the whole assembly of Israel.

Read more about it: 2 Samuel & 1 Kings Q&A

1. Whom did God want to build a temple for the ark? 2. Where was the ark housed when it was first brought to Jerusalem?


Using the hints provided, put a T next to the sentences about Solomon's life that are true and an F next to the ones that are false.

____1. Solomon asked God for riches and a long life. (1 Kgs 3:7-9)

____ 2. Solomon decided which woman was the mother of a baby. (1 Kgs 3:27) ____ 3. The Queen of Nineveh came to test Solomon. (1 Kgs 10:1) ____4. All of his life, Solomon followed only God. (1 Kgs 11:4)

Answers: 1. F; 2. T; 3. F; 4. F


Kids Corner Solomon builds a temple for God

Thank you to all who tirelessly work to protect God's gift of life.

Every life counts: from the beginning to the end, from conception to natural death

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish in Middlesex supports life and asks God’s blessing on those who work so tirelessly in support of LIFE!


World Day of Consecrated Life gives pause to my journey as a religious By Sister Anna Hang-Nga Nguyen, SCC Diocesan office of the delegate for religious

phases of joys, difficulties and suffering we, too, commit to a total following that would not be for a day or for a period of time, but for life. It’s that radical. “This then is the consecrated life…[the] prophetic vision that reveals what counts.” (Pope Francis, Homily on Feb. 2, 2019) As lofty as the call to follow Jesus may sound, many of us are humbled by our calling knowing full well our weaknesses and struggles. In close circles of friends, we often share examples of how we are unlikely candidates and undeserving of the Kingdom of God. Giving up everything to follow Christ is not about how good we are. It is about how awesome God is. We never cease to be amazed at what God can do in our lives. God continues to reveal himself in new and surprising ways, creatively designed for each person he has chosen. For a young woman to leave ‘the world’ for the convent or a young man for the seminary may be understood as loss. This negative view can only be reversed when family and friends can see how joyful it is to embrace Christ and his way to holiness. What we give to God is but a drop in the ocean when compared to what God gives to us. Persons in consecrated life spend their lives giving witness to the joy, peace and love of God that is unfathomable and unending. Let us all express our deepest gratitude to the women and men who have consecrated their lives to God and live to serve among us each day. We are truly blessed because of them. Please pray, too, for more vocations and for the grace for us in consecrated life to be faithful in good times and in difficult ones. Only then can we say, “Yes, Lord,” […] “you know that I love you.” [Jn. 21:15]


This past Sunday, Feb. 2, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, the Church celebrated World Day for Consecrated Life. Hearts were lifted in prayer and gratitude for all those who have dedicated their life to Christ. Pope Saint John Paul II instituted this day in 1997 to recognize nuns, monks and hermits who lead a contemplative life, as well as to show appreciation to religious sisters and brothers, and consecrated virgins who live an apostolic life. Those who lead a contemplative life focus on silence and prayer. Religious in apostolic life are in ministry. All forms of consecrated life, be these contemplative or apostolic, are characterized by their commitment to the evangelical counsels [the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience] and to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the common prayer of the Church. The religious in apostolic communities are engaged in works of charity locally or globally. Many of these religious orders often serve in response to a need of the local Church within their diocese. Other apostolic religious minister to Catholics in countries around the world. Some communities here send brothers or sisters to places that are in crisis. Case in point, there are religious providing services in Australia, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. The Diocese of Metuchen is fortunate to have nearly 300 religious in contemplative as well as apostolic communities. They minister throughout the four counties which comprise the Diocese of Metuchen and daily give of themselves in prayer and in

ministry. They serve in many fields became aware of their calling, what including spirituality, healthcare, made them say, “yes” and most imporeducation, legal and social services, tantly, what helps them through tough prison and parish ministries. Others times. lead their congregations on leadership Each person’s experience of enteams, and still others work in dioc- countering the Lord is unique and is esan offices. I, for example, am the somewhat of a mystery. No one can religious delegate in our diocese. explain their relationship with the It is interesting to note that one invisible God fully. But all in conseof the first things people say about crated life would say that once they religious sisters and brothers is, “They have decided to be a sister or brother are so happy!” I couldn’t agree more. there is peace and joy. They can speak Joy was what first attracted me to dis- to the deep meaning, something fresh cern my vocation and new, that they with the Sisters found in a life of Christian Chardedicated to prayer ity in Mendham. and service to the World Day for Joy has been what Church. Religious I hear repeatedly of today take pride Consecrated Life is yet whenever I have in being set apart another reminder of the an opportunity to by God for a spejoin the vocation cial purpose even reality that Jesus conteam of the diocese in this challenging tinues to call women to give vocation time. awareness talks at “What reand men to follow him various parishes ally is God’s call, and schools. Vosome might ask?” as he did the apostles. cation directors, When all is said This day is also a time being aware of and done, it is a the decline in men call to love-- love for the laity to learn and women enterGod and love your more about those who ing religious life, neighbors. “…Do dedicate much enyou love me more have responded to ergy toward raising than these?...” awareness among Jesus asks Peter God’s call. youth and young [Jn. 21:15] during adults that there is one of the final joy in response to moments before God’s call. Jesus returns to World Day for Consecrated Life heaven. Normally, life’s options for is yet another reminder of the reality young people could include a family that Jesus continues to call women of their own, a house, a rewarding job, and men to follow him as he did the a nice car, and perhaps more. It takes apostles. This day is also a time for the courage to leave all of these life oplaity to learn more about those who tions that the world offers to follow have responded to God’s call. “What the Shepherd’s voice. Their ‘fiat’ is can they tell us?” The women and men like that of our Blessed Mother. Just in religious life can speak to how they as she journeyed in life through all


Mercy Sister Mary Martha Harcar Mercy Sister Mary Martha Harcar was born and raised in Trenton. One of George and Mary Harcar’s 12 children, Sister Martha and three of her siblings embraced religious life. Her brothers, Spiritan Father George Harcar, Conventual Franciscan Father Cecil Harcar, and Father Anthony Harcar, are now deceased, but this year Sister Martha celebrates her 80th anniversary as a Sister of Mercy. Sister Martha attended Trenton’s Immaculate Conception School and graduated from Cathedral High School in 1940. She entered the Sisters of Mercy from Immaculate Conception Parish Sept. 22, 1940. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree at Georgian Court College (now University), Lakewood, and a Master of Arts degree at Seton Hall University, South Orange. As many Mercy Sisters did at that time, Sister Martha began her religious life as a teacher. For more than 50 years, she taught primary grades in parish elementary schools in the Camden, Trenton and Metuchen dioceses. Among the schools she was assigned to were ones in Lambertville, Atlantic City, South Amboy, Paulsboro, Bordentown, Sayreville, Bernardsville and North Plainfield. In 1993, Sister Mary Martha was

Prayer for Vocations

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Loving God, you call all who believe in you to grow perfect in love by following in the footsteps of Christ your Son. Call from among us more men and women who will serve you as religious. By their way of life, may they provide a convincing sign of your Kingdom for the Church and the whole world. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. Gracious and loving God, help the men and women of our parish to hear the call to serve in the Diocese of Metuchen Our needs are great and our people thirst for your presence. Open the hearts of many, raise up faithful servants of the Gospel, dedicated, holy priests, sisters, brothers and deacons, who will spend themselves for your people and their needs. Bless those who are serving now with courage and perseverance. Grant that many will be inspired by their example and faith. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

transferred to St. Paul Parish in PrincThe school was dedicated to the eton. In her new ministry, Sister Mary parish’s Sisters of Mercy to show the Martha was a gratitude of the parish visitor community to the who shared her religious comAs many Mercy Sisters did at caring ways, munity that had gentle wisdom that time, Sister Martha began been a part of and faithful exSt. Paul from the her religious life as a teacher. ample of God’s very beginning. loving attention “The Sisters For more than 50 years, she to those in need. of Mercy are the taught primary grades in She served at very bedrock St. Paul Parish upon which St. parish elementary schools over the next 23 Paul School was in the Camden, Trenton and years and during built. For nearly that time, came 135 years, the Metuchen dioceses. Among to know several sisters have generations of been giving their the schools she was assigned families, their heart and soul to to were ones in Lambertville, joys and sorrows. the children of Two decades our parish and Atlantic City, South Amboy, after she started school,” said Paulsboro, Bordentown, her parish visitor Ryan Killen, the ministry at the school’s princiSayreville, Bernardsville and Princeton parish, pal. Among the St. Paul marked attendees of note North Plainfield. a milestone in at the dedication its history. In of the preschool an article published in 2013 it stated, was Sister Mary Martha, who had “Named the Little Lions Preschool in become a steady presence in the comThe Sisters of Mercy Early Learning munity. Center, the new facility is the latest adIn 2016, after 137 years of service, dition to the St. Paul Parish complex.” the Sisters of Mercy convent closed and

they bade farewell to St. Paul’s Parish. Among the last to leave, Sister Mary Martha moved to her religious community’s McAuley Hall Health Care Center in Watchung. She continues to live there in quiet retirement. The motto Sister Martha chose upon entering the Sisters of Mercy was, “Thy will be done.” Throughout the past 80 years, that motto has been her way of life. — Sister Patricia Kenny

Mercy Sister Margaret Ann Brown

Celebrating 75 Years

Over the past 75 years, Mercy Sister founded in 1959 by Father John Margaret Ann Brown has served in Scully, was run by the Sisters of schools across the country. When Mercy from Worcester. Three years asked about her later Sister Margaret multiple assignAnn was asked to ments, she said she go across country The motto she chose must have been hard to teach in Immacuwhen she entered the to place. A Mercy late Heart of Mary Sister who knew School in Santa Ana, Sisters of Mercy was, her well said, “On Calif. After only “to know to love, Jesus.” three years there she the contrary, she was one who would was reassigned to St. That motto was the cheerfully go where Patrick. and when she was Once she comone constant in Sister asked.” pleted her assignMargaret Ann’s life as Born in Shelment in Florida, burne Falls, Mass., Sister Margaret Ann she crisscrossed the to Ruth and Richard left the education country serving Jesus Brown, Sister Marfield. She returned garet Ann entered to Worcester, where to whom she had the Sisters of Mercy she served at St. dedicated her life. in Worcester, Mass., Joseph Home for in 1945. Women and assisted Her early asthe Mercy Sisters signments were to at their Convent of elementary schools in the Worcester Mercy. diocese where she taught in seven In a January 2018 article Emily schools. She was named principal of Reed, digital records archivist at the Sacred Heart School, Worcester, in Mercy Heritage Center, described St. 1966 and served there for six years. Joseph’s Home as a place that “proIn 1975, Sister Margaret Ann vided a place for immigrant women to was transferred to St. Patrick Catho- establish themselves, save money and lic School in Largo, Fla. The school, stay safe in an unfamiliar land.”

In 2007, Sister Margaret Ann moved to Marian Woods Convent, an eldercare facility for the religious in Hartsdale, N.Y. She lived there until 2018, when she moved to the Mercy Sisters McAuley Hall Health Care Center, Watchung. The motto she chose when she entered the Sisters of Mercy was, “to know to love, Jesus.” That motto was the one constant in Sister Margaret Ann’s life as she crisscrossed the country serving Jesus to whom she had dedicated her life. — Sister Patricia Kenny


They reconnected in 2011 at a St. James take care of housekeeping and hospitalalumni dinner dance and afterwards ity–related services at the Mount made continued to keep in touch. her a volunteer extraordinaire,” said one After Sister Jane left St. James, she Mercy Sister. was assigned to St. Mary-Stony Hill In 2017, Sister Jane made the Parish, Watchung. news when Carl She served in secPeters, managing retarial services and editor of the Camden From 1947 to 1968, auxiliary services diocese’s newspaper, for the next 25 years. “The Catholic Star Sister Jane taught She retired in 1999 Herald,” wrote a feabut continued to volture story about her the upper grades in unteer there. long-running trips elementary schools, Beginning in to Broadway with a the early 1990s, Sisformer student. including St. Joseph ter Jane also served Forty years School in North in various capacities after he graduat St. Mary-Stony ated from St. Plainfield; St. John Hill Parish. In an John School in interview, Father Collingswood, Joe School in CollingBrian Nolan, then Quigley, of Hadswood; Immaculate pastor, said, “For 20 don Heights, who years, she attended had been taught by Conception School daily Mass, prayed a Sister Jane, unexin Camden; and morning rosary with pectedly met his a group of lay people former teacher at a St. Mary School in and frequently went function the Mercy Trenton. out for coffee after Sisters were attendMass with parishing. He did not recioners.” He added, ognize his favorite “She was a faithful teacher, but once volunteer at the parish.” he met her the two began to catch up She was recognized, too, for her and talked for three and a half hours. volunteer work at the Mount. “Jane’s They stayed in touch and for 14 years attention to detail and willingness to Quigley would take Sister Jane to


Sister Jane Dever knew from an early age that she would enter the religious life. Born in Philadelphia to Joseph and Jane Dever, Sister Jane grew up in Atlantic City. She attended Holy Spirit elementary school and high school in Abescon, just outside of Atlantic City. As a student Jane came to know the Sisters of Mercy who served at the schools. After graduation, she entered the religious community. It was 1945 and Sister Jane was just 19 years old. She enrolled in Georgian Court College, (now University), Lakewood, and earned a degree in elementary education. In 1951 she professed her final vows as a Sister of Mercy. From 1947 to 1968, Sister Jane taught the upper grades in elementary schools, including St. Joseph School in North Plainfield; St. John School in Collingswood; Immaculate Conception School in Camden; and St. Mary School in Trenton. For the next six years, Sister Jane served in the main office at St. James School in Woodbridge. Robert Golden, who, at the time, was chairman of alumni for the Student Advisory Council of the school, said Sister Jane was “a big part of the history of St. James School.” After Sister Jane left the school in 1974 and Golden graduated in 1977, the two did not see each other for decades.

Broadway plays four times a year: in January, April, July and October. The trips began when Quigley, who had a passion for the theatre learned that Sister Jane had never been to a Broadway play. They came to an end in 2017 when Sister Jane reached 91 and the trips to Manhattan, N.Y., became too difficult for her. Sister Jane lived at Mount Saint Mary in retirement until 2019, when she moved to McAuley Hall Health Care Center. — Sister Patricia Kenny

Little Friends of Jesus Nursery School Asks God’s blessing’s on

Sister Perpetua da Conceicao, SDV as she celebrates her 50th anniversary!

“O my God and my All! Father, Son and Holy Spirit, may your will be done, your love reign, your glory shine always more in me and in everyone, as in yourself, O My God and my All.”

(Mark 10:21)

God Calling you to serve as a priest, religious sister or brother? If you think maybe...

Contact the

Office of Vocations: (732) 562-2453 or e-mail: vocations@diometuchen.org

Sister Mary Martha Harcar - 80 years Sister Margaret Brown - 75 years Sister Jane Dever - 75 years Sister Louiseann Fritz - 60 years Sister Irene Gormley - 60 years Sister Maria Cordis Richey - 70 years Sister Margaret Mary San Antonio - 75 years Sister Margaret Waldron - 70 years

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“Come follow me”

Congratulations to the following Sisters of Mercy who are celebrating their jubilees this year in the Diocese of Metuchen:


A career in nursing is what led Sister Margaret Mary San Antonio to a life of service as a Sister of Mercy. Born and raised in Lakewood, Sister Margaret Mary came to know the Mercy Sisters when she attended Lakewood Academy, which was staffed by the religious community. After graduating from Lakewood High School, she enrolled in St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., from which she graduated in 1944. “My graduation day was D-Day, and I used to joke I was the nurse the sailor was kissing,” recalled Sister Margaret Mary. The ninth child and first daughter of 11 children born to August and Eleanor San Antonio, Sister Margaret Mary said a desire to serve the Lord was instilled in her by her parents. It was her work as a nurse, however, that would lead to her entering the Mercy community. Sister Margaret Mary came to Mount Saint Mary as a private duty nurse to Mother Margaret Mary Cash. The friendship between them inspired the young nurse to enter the community which her younger sister, Gervase, had joined the previous year.

By the time Sister Margaret Mary leave nursing in the early 90s due to arprofessed her vows, Mother Margaret thritis in her knees, but she would soon Mary had died so her religious name begin a new role. was given to the nurse who had cared In 1998, Sister Margaret Mary befor her. The young nun came director of volunserved as a staff nurse teers at McAuley Hall and health instructor at and from 2008 to 2010 When McAuley Mount Saint Mary unserved as president of til 1953, when she was the resident council. Hall HealthCare assigned to Georgian She also served as direcCenter opened Court College, (now tor of Mercy associates, University), Lakewood. volunteered at the blood in 1966, Sister In 1964, Sister bank and was a member Margaret Mary Margaret Mary spent a of the local nurses’ asyear in professional desociation. returned there velopment at Columbia Through the years, Presbyterian Hospital Sister Margaret Mary and has lived and in New York. During has witnessed many worked there that time, she became changes to McAuley a valuable asset to the Hall and in the staff. ever since. hospital and was asked “Now it is very difto stay an additional ferent. Before we had year. Reflecting on her all nuns as the adminwork there she said, “At that time, it istrators, director of nursing — everywas the largest hospital in the United thing. Now we have lay people. They States and nurses from all over the are all very lovely. It is wonderful to world worked there.” see what can happen because there are When McAuley Hall Health Care so few individuals entering into the reCenter opened in 1966, Sister Marga- ligious life,” she said. ret Mary returned there and has lived As she celebrates her 75th anniverand worked there ever since. She said sary as a Sister of Mercy, Sister Margait was heartbreaking when she had to ret Mary still has a remarkable memory

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Sister Margaret Waldron Over the past 70 years, Mercy Sister Margaret Waldron has had a long and rewarding career in education. The daughter of John and Margaret Waldron, Sister Margaret was born and raised in Plainfield. She had three sisters and a brother. After graduating from St. Mary School in Plainfield, she enrolled in St. Vincent High School, now Academy, in Madison. Founded by the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, the four-year college prep high school, Sister Margaret said, “was for young ladies who thought they wanted to enter religious life.” Still undecided about entering religious life, Sister Margaret left St. Vincent’s after her junior year and spent her senior year at Plainfield High School. After graduation, she worked for five years as a telephone operator. Still hearing a call to the religious life, Sister Margaret said, “I went to a priest for help and he suggested three different religious communities. I visited each one of them and chose the Mercy Sisters at Mount Saint Mary in Watchung.” In 1950, Sister Margaret entered the Sisters of Mercy. For eight years, she taught in the elementary grades in East Trenton, Bound Brook and Alpha. While in Bound Brook, sister joined a small group of Mercy sisters who, in the evenings, visited the inmates at Rahway State Prison. During these years, she earned degrees in mathematics, science, administration and supervision at Georgian Court College, now University, Lakewood; and

which has made her the unofficial historian of the Mercy community in New Jersey. Her friends are quick to tell you that “her story-telling, warm hospitality and genuine concern for every patient and visitor have made her special to many.” — Sister Patricia Kenny

Celebrating 70 Years

Rutgers University, New Brunswick. SisAfter more than four decades in the ter Margaret then began teaching math at field of education, Sister Margaret accepthigh schools in Atlantic City, Lawrencev- ed a position in the finance office of the ille and Phillipsburg. Sisters of Mercy, Watchung. She served at In 1973, Sister Margaret was ap- the Mount until being appointed coordipointed vice-principal of St. Pius X High nator of St. James Convent, Red Bank. School, Piscataway, which After serving at St. today is the St. John NeuJames Convent, Sister Marmann Pastoral Center. Her garet retired and returned to After more than next assignment was in the Mount and the Gabriel four decades 1974 when she became Hall community where she vice principal of St. Mary lives. in the field of High School in Perth AmStill active in retireboy. After a year, she was ment, Sister Margaret coneducation, Sister promoted to principal, tinues to serves as treasurer Margaret accept- of the Gabriel Hall coma position she held until 1981 when she had to munity. ed a position oversee the closing of the During the time she in the finance school. was at the Mount, Sister After leaving Perth Margaret was involved in office of the Amboy, Sister Margaret several activities, one of returned to her alma mater, them was the Sisters of Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court College, Mercy HOPE (Helping Watchung. where she spent a year Other People Everywhere) assisting in the administraministry. In a 2016 post tion of its evening divionline, she was mentioned sion. She was again appointed principal, as one of the Mercy Sisters helped by stuthis time at St. Mary High School in South dents from the Mount, who prepared 125 Amboy. At this time, St. Mary’s was a pa- lunches for the Plainfield Salvation Army. rochial high school, but the year after the Sister Margaret recalls having been Diocese of Metuchen was established the inspired by a book she read while she was high school became a diocesan school. in grade school. The book was on the life Sister Margaret left St. Mary’s in of Blessed, now Saint, Martin de Porres 1982 when it was no longer a parish who showed kindness and gentleness school. She concluded her career in edu- toward everyone. He was especially socation as a Math teacher at Union Catho- licitous of the sick and cared for animals, lic High School, Scotch Plains. even rodents. Pope Gregory XVI beatified

Martin de Porres Oct. 29,1837, and nearly 125 years later, Pope John XXIII canonized him in Rome on May 6, 1962. The motto sister chose to be placed in the ring she received at her profession of vows is “Love serves,” which she encountered in reading about the lives of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict. St. Scholastica, Benedict’s sister, told her Holy Rule conscious brother that it is the service of love that animates the Holy Rule. — Sister Patricia Kenny

co-educational evening undergraduate her a favorite of many students throughprograms. Under her direction, several out the years.” new majors were approved by accrediIn 2016, Sister Maria Cordis retors. ceived an honorary Doctor of Letters Following her term as president, degree from Georgian Court during the Sister Maria Cordis continued to teach university’s undergraduate commencea myriad of courses in the English de- ment ceremony. Introducing her, Mary partment until her reChinery, dean of the tirement in December university’s School 2011. of Arts and Sciences, An accomplished After retiring, the said the honorary gardener, Sister professor emerita of degree was being beEnglish and renowned stowed on Sister MaMaria Cordis’ Chaucerian and ria Cordis “for your specialty is roses, Shakespearean scholar dedication to gencontinued to share her erations of Georgian and they were talents. Her love of Court students, who literature and passion benefited from your often the subject for “The Canterbury perfect prose and love of her poems Tales” inspired one of of literature, as well her former students to for your leadership in and paintings. film a DVD of her disexpanding possibili“They blossom cussing Chaucer’s pilties at Georgian Court grims in relation to our during your tenure as and I blossom life’s pilgrimage. In its sixth president.” an article, that former In her remarks, with them and student, Elaine WargaChinery noted that because of them,” Murray, wrote that in Sister Maria Cordis the DVD, Sister Maria is well known for her she once wrote. Cordis “reads from poetry. Her work has her personal, wellappeared in literary marked copy of ‘The reviews and magaCanterbury Tales’ as zines for many years, she guides the viewer through a presen- including the “Sewanee Review,” “Contation of the mural of ‘The Canterbury tinuum Quarterly,” “Sisters Today,” Tales,’ painted by Robert Sewell, and “Sign Magazine” and other periodicals located in the Georgian Court Mansion in the United States, Ireland and New in Lakewood. The video provides evi- Zealand. Emphasizing her love of poetdence of her decades of commitment to ry, Chinery recalled that as a student at excellence in education as well as her the Court, “It was not unusual to see my brilliance and charm, which have made fellow classmates standing before Sister

Sister Mary Louiseann Fritz

Maria in the garden reciting a poem.” An accomplished gardener, Sister Maria Cordis’ specialty is roses, and they were often the subject of her poems and paintings. “They blossom and I blossom with them and because of them,” she once wrote. Today, Sister Maria Cordis lives in Gabriel Hall at Mount Saint Mary, Watchung. She calls this period of her life not “retirement” but “entirement” – a word she coined to show that in age people should, if their health permits, not “draw back from” but “draw into” all the dear life in our dear world. — Sister Patricia Kenny

Celebrating 60 Years

— Sister Patricia Kenny

For additional copies of this special issue, call Laura, (732) 562-2424 or e-mail lferreras@ diometuchen.org

FEBRUARY 6, 2020

Her first assignment was to Immaculate Conception School in inner-city Camden, a challenge to one who grew up in a small suburban town. Her next assignment took her to Alpha, a small rural community, where she felt right at home. She then served at St. Mary’s School, South Amboy; St. Joseph School, North Plainfield; St. Francis Cathedral School, Metuchen and St. Joseph School, Bound Brook. Her expectations of her students were high and she held them to high standards. When she completed her work in the education field, Sister Louiseann was invited to a ministry of service to retired sisters at Gabriel Hall, Mount Saint Mary’s. Watchung. Now, in her role as Life Coordinator at Gabriel Hall, she finds peace and contentment in knowing she has faithfully and gratefully followed her call to Mercy.


For the past 60 years, Mercy Sister Mary Louiseann Fritz has given 100 percent of her energy and enthusiasm to every ministry in which she has been asked to serve. In return, she said she has experienced a sense of joy and fulfillment. Born in New Brunswick, Sister Louiseann was the daughter of Alfred and Helen Fritz. She attended Our Lady of Victories School, Sayreville, and St. Mary’s High School, South Amboy. The example of the Sisters of Mercy who staffed both schools and her father’s devotion to the Blessed Mother inspired her vocation, which she recognized in the fifth grade. Sister Louiseann entered the Mercy community after graduation and continued her education at Georgian Court College, now University, Lakewood; and Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, where she earned degrees in elementary education and reading.


Mercy Sister Maria Cordis Richey was the sixth president of Georgian Court College, now University, Lakewood, and a beloved professor there. She is a published poet and an accomplished gardener and this year celebrates her 70th anniversary in the Mercy community. The daughter of Joseph and Florence Richey, Sister Maria was born and raised in Princeton. She attended Saint Paul School in Princeton and Mount Saint Mary Academy, Watchung, both staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. She received an A.B. degree from Georgian Court College, founded in 1908 by the Sisters of Mercy. She entered the Mercy religious order in 1950. Sister Maria Cordis continued her education at Fordham University, Bronx, N.Y., where her love of language and literature determined her areas of specialization: medieval and renaissance literature with an emphasis on Chaucer and Shakespeare. She earned both master’s and doctoral degrees. Meanwhile, she taught for five years at St. Mary High School, Perth Amboy, before being assigned to Georgian Court College in 1957. At her alma mater, Sister Maria Cordis began her collegial teaching ministry, which was to last more than five decades. As a teacher, she became a professor and chair of the English Department, a position she held for 33 years, and in 1974 was appointed president of Georgian Court College. During her six-year tenure as head of the college, Sister Maria led the establishment of its first master’s degree programs. She also initiated the Court’s

Celebrating 70 Years


Sister Maria Cordis Richey


Sister Irene Gormley “Christ my life, my only way” is the motto Mercy Sister Irene Gormley chose when she entered the Mercy community 60 years ago. Reflecting on the past six decades, Sister Irene said her motto has been her guide. “It has put me where I have been all these years – following Christ by serving the sick and suffering.” She added that she feels blessed to be a Sister of Mercy who has been able to walk with her sisters through their final days. Sister Irene was born in Atlantic City to John and Irma Gormley. She attended Star of the Sea School, Long Branch, and Holy Spirit High School, Absecon. Her family was closely connected to the life of the parish, the schools and the Sisters of Mercy who staffed them. Sister Irene’s vocation to the Mercy community was matched by a call to serve in health care. She pursued degrees in nursing at Gwynedd Mercy College, Gwynedd Valley, Pa., professional arts at St. Joseph College, Standish, Maine; and hospital administration at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind. Over the years, she served as a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, nursing supervisor and director of health at six health care facili-

Celebrating 60 Years

ties in New Jersey. She was appointed Hall.” director of health care and retirement The responsibility of maintaining for the Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic the high standards Sister Irene set for Community in McAuley Hall 1992. and attending With her rare combination A year later, to the changing Sister Irene was health needs of of objective judgment appointed adminall the religious istrator at McAusisters in the and patient sensitivity to ley Hall Health community was each individual, Sister Irene Care Center. daunting. With That year, her rare combiearned the trust of the preparations benation of objecMercy sisters in her own gan toward the litive judgment censing of McAuand patient sencommunity, as well as the ley Hall, which sitivity to each religious sisters of several was awarded a individual, Sister five-star rating Irene earned the other religious communias one of the top trust of the Mernursing homes cy sisters in her ties, diocesan priests and in the country in own community, laypersons who have 2009. as well as the In a 2016 religious sisters experienced quality care at story published in of several other McAuley Hall Health Care the Home News religious comTribune about munities, diocCenter. the 50th anniveresan priests and sary of McCauley laypersons who Hall, Sister Irene have experienced reflected on her ministry at the Health quality care at McAuley Hall Health Care Center. “My life has been forever Care Center. changed by the residents and staff who A spare-time walker and biker, have walked with me and supported Sister Irene has organized and particithe mission and values of McAuley pated in many projects to raise funds

for various causes. “Through bike rides I was able to raise a lot money for AIDS, breast cancer and other worthy fundraisers,” she said. Today, as coordinator of health care for the Mercy Sisters in New York and New Jersey, she is often faced with difficult tasks and decisions, yet she maintains a hopeful, joyful outlook and welcomes new challenges and opportunities to serve and do what needs to be done for others. — Sister Patricia Kenny

CONGRATULATIONS to our dear Sisters

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Sister Christine Quense and Sister Ellen Kraft May Jesus Our Hope who has graced you during these past 25 years, bless you abundantly in the years yet to come! Love,

Your Sisters of Jesus Our Hope

Father Dolindo Ruotolo said, ‘Jesus, you Cherry Hill. She has served at the St. Jotake over.’ seph Senior Home since 2012, first as its “Very similarly, Padre Pio said, administrator of assisted living for five years, then in the activities and recreation ‘Pray, hope and don’t worry.’” At first, Sister Jaddepartment. Sister Jadwiga wiga stayed in the order’s also worked at St. Philip “When I made motherhouse in Cherry the Apostle Parish, Saddle Brook, for six years. Hill, then went on to my final vows, The religious leafed study English as a second through a photo album, language at Middlesex I chose as filled with pictures of smilCounty College, Edison. my motto for She earned a bachelor’s ing residents and featuring degree in religious studies photos of the center’s 2006 my life, ‘I can anniversary celebrations at Seton Hall University, do all things with Bishop Emeritus Paul South Orange, in 1998. The religious became a G. Bootkoski. Each face in with Him who the album is smiling, no U.S. citizen in 2000. The feeling of joy in doubt echoing the visage strengthens service has permeated the of the long-time nun. me.’ [Phil 4:13” “I enjoy work with entirety of her half-century the residents, the students of religious life. Sister Jad… it doesn’t matter,” Siswiga reflected, “Wherever I worked, I was so happy. When I made ter Jadwiga confided. “I am looking for my final vows, I chose as my motto for what God wants from me. I am happy my life ‘I can do all things with Him who wherever I am.” Her advice to those contemplating strengthens me.’ [Phil 4:13].” That service has enriched the lives religious life is simple: love God and folof those she touched from small children low where he leads your life. “If you do, you will able to serve to retired adults. Among the sites of her ministry were a Clifton Heights, Penn., him and serve the people,” she said. convent, and a pre-school, St. Mary’s “Consider your prayer life, spend time nursing home and Edmund Center in with God and always be sure to ask God

Sister Perpetua da Conceicao

in silent prayer, ‘What do you want of me, Lord? Where do you want me to serve you?’” Sister Jadwiga concluded, “I am sure that if God is calling you, and [you] say ‘yes’ freely, Jesus will say, ‘Come follow me.’ “If you hear in your heart [that call], say ‘yes.’ From that moment on, you can be really happy.” — Christina Leslie

Celebrating 50 Years

Sister Perpetua said the memory Elizabeth College in Morristown. of making her vows remains one of her The Vocationist charism is both favorite moments in life. “I felt like prayer and work, she explained. really, I was getting married for Jesus. Throughout her years as a Vocationist, I was really giving my life completely she has taught religious education in for him,” she said. “I have never regret- parishes and in schools, working with ted in 50 years. I am children and youth very happy.” groups to help young “We sing, give gifts In 1978, she was people learn the Cathsent to the United olic faith. and just share like a States, where she In Florham Park, lived in Newark until she served as director family together. We 1989, then moved of Magic Kingdom also get together to Florham Park for Day Nursery School 18 years. She moved for many years. She on the occasions back to Newark for also served as mother like Thanksgiving, five years, then Florsuperior of the conham Park for another vent in Florham Park. Christmas, Easter. The six years, before movCurrently, she is ing to Martinsville, mother superior of the community is very where she has lived sisters in Martinsville. important. We try to for two years. One of Sister Moving to so Perpetua’s favorite be always together many new homes and aspects of life as a Voand to share our new jobs has been a cationist is the family challenge, and Sister life the sisters share as spiritual life.” Perpetua admitted she a community. has found it difficult “We live as a fam“to get used to the new ily,” she explained. place, the new environment, the people “We really share whatever we have. We you work with, and you live with.” have our celebrations together – every “It’s not so easy,” she said. “But other month we get together in Florham with God’s grace, you can do it.” Park and we share with anyone who She earned a bachelor’s degree has had a birthday with joy. We sing, in education at Seton Hall University, give gifts and just share like a family South Orange, and became a certified together. We also get together on the teacher. She also studied theology at St. occasions like Thanksgiving, Christ-

mas, Easter. The community is very important. We try to be always together and to share our spiritual life.” The sisters also take frequent retreats together, and each day they pray together four times: in the morning, at noon, in the evening, and at night. “For me, it’s beautiful, to experience this family in the community,” she said. Sister Perpetua looks forward to the canonization of the Vocationists’ founder, Blessed Justin Russolillo, which she hopes will happen “very soon,” as the process is well underway. — Teresa Murphy


Sister Perpetua da Conceicao entered religious life 50 years ago, and in all that time, has never regretted her decision. She was raised in Maceió, Brazil by parents Maria and Antonio da Conceicao, along with her seven siblings. She attended public school for elementary and high school in in Maceió. At 15, a Vocationist seminarian who was visiting Maceió persuaded her, along with a group of other teenage girls, to visit a convent of Vocationist sisters in Salvador, a town in northern Brazil. She stayed there about two weeks, and felt the call to join the community. She was particularly inspired by a Vocationist priest in Maceió, who was like a father to her. “He was really the one who inspired me to go ahead with my vocation, and to live with the community,” Sister Perpetua said. “He showed me how to live.” At 17, in 1970, she joined as a postulant in Ouro Fino, a city in southern Brazil. After about eight years of formation, she made final vows in 1977. During formation, the novice mistress, Sister Antônia, was an inspiration to her. “She was the one who taught me how to be generous with the others,” Sister Perpetua said. “She forgave immediately, and this was something that she taught me. It’s not easy to forgive when someone hurts you.”


Little Servant Sister of the Immaculate Conception M. Jadwiga Zaremba, now marking 50 years of religious life, is truly celebrating her vocation. “I love to work for the glory of God,” said Sister Jadwiga, who ministers to residents at St. Joseph Senior Home, Woodbridge. “I love my community, like this place, and want to bring as many people as close as I can. That is my goal.” Sister Jadwiga’s journey of faith began in Poland as a parish religion teacher. Over the years, her faith-filled example led 14 girls to become religious and five boys to pursue the priesthood. Realizing that assuming the habit was also her destiny, she entered religious life in 1970, took her first vows in 1973, and professed her final vows in 1978. The nun transferred to another convent and became its mother superior. Sister Jadwiga came to the United States in 1993 without command of the English language, she recalled with a chuckle. Duties such as obtaining a driver’s license and conquering local roads to find Newark Airport were a struggle. But the stalwart Polish religious relied upon the sage advice of two Italian priests to adapt to the new land. “I like to pray,” she confided, “as

Celebrating 50 Years


Sister M. Jadwiga Zaremba


Sister Bernice Marie Wall For Sister Bernice Marie Wall, her 50 years as a Little Sister of the Poor have been full of “opportunities to make someone happy.” Sister Bernice was raised in Philadelphia by parents Dorothy and Thomas Wall, along with two sisters and a brother. She attended St. Francis of Assisi parochial school, followed by Raven Hill Academy, both in Philadelphia. She first thought of entering religious life during elementary school, inspired by her teachers, the Sisters of St. Joseph. But she first felt the attraction to join the Little Sisters of the Poor when she was a teenager. She and several friends volunteered on weekends in the kitchen at a home in Germantown, Pa., run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. “I got a desire for the vocation to be a Little Sister pretty young,” she said. But after graduating high school, she thought, “Maybe that’s not really for me.” More than 10 years after high school, she started to visit the sisters again. She entered the postulancy in Baltimore, where she stayed for six months, and then she moved to Queens Village, N.Y., where she completed the two-year novitiate. After making her initial profession, she was sent to Scranton, Pa., where she studied theology at Marywood University. She received a licensed practical nurse degree at Mercedian School of Practical Nursing, also Scranton. From Scranton, she was sent to Detroit,

Celebrating 50 Years

where she worked in the infirmary. She was sent back to New York City, where she again worked in the infirmary caring for sick and elderly Little Sisters of the Poor. Next, she moved to the Motherhouse in Saint-Pern, France, to prepare for making final vows. She was then sent to the Sisters’ home for the elderly in LeHavre, France, where she stayed for about two years before transferring to Chicago for about two and a half years. She again spent some time in Queens Village before she was sent to Montreal as Mother Superior. She held that position for about five years, and then was Mother Superior of the Sisters’ home in Bronx, N.Y. She again served as Mother Superior in Montreal to help the sisters sell their home and transfer the sisters to the United States. She is currently Mother Superior in Flemington. Only one other sister lives with her permanently, and they are responsible for running retreats for sisters who come from all over the Brooklyn Province of the Little Sisters of the Poor, which extends north all the way to Montreal. “We never know where we’re going to go, because we have homes all over the world,” Sister Bernice said. “It’s a blessing, too, because you get to learn a lot more about different countries from the people who have actually lived there, or are from there. “The most challenging thing is to learn how to accept the different changes, and also

to adapt myself to different circumstances,” she added. “You get a special grace anyway if you accept all of those different changes.” The charism of the congregation is to care for the elderly poor. “It’s joyous,” Sister Bernice said. “We take care of the residents until the very end, and the watch of the dying is a very important aspect of our lives. It brings us great spiritual strength, and also shows us that life is short. “Our residents have been such a joy. They’re so good, and some of them have had such difficulties in their lives.” Sister Bernice said one of her patients had a lasting impact on her life. “There was one old man that I cared for in [LeHavre] France and it just brought home to me the need for us to do everything we can to show the residents that their life is worthwhile. That no matter what has happened to them in the past, there’s always an opportunity for them to experience love.” He was “difficult,” and purposely made her tasks harder, she recalled. She cared for him with loving patience, and after he died, she found that he had been abandoned as a child, and later his wife left him. He then cared for his son until the child died of illness at age four. “His whole life, he never experienced love,” Sister Bernice said. “He had no one, absolutely no one. I’m so happy that I never really got angry with him for doing things

to me, and I still remember every little thing that happened between myself and him.” Sister Bernice said that she and the other Little Sisters of the Poor throughout the world strive to show residents “that they are worth something. They’re not just another human being on the face of the earth. They are cared about.” “That’s what our mother foundress always wanted us to do – that when we’re with the elderly, we should help them to feel happy, to help them heal some of the wounds that they may have been carrying all their life,” she said, referring to Saint Jeanne Jugan, the canonized woman who founded the Little Sisters of the Poor.




We thank God for sending you into our school and parish as a joyful beacon of hope. Thanks for teaching, by word and example, the Good News of Jesus Christ. Saint Philip and Saint James Church

430 South Main Street • Phillipsburg, NJ 08865

— Teresa Murphy

to Poland for my formation,” the religious recalled. “I didn’t know anyone, and it was a different culture from Asia,” Sister Leila explained, “but I trusted in the Lord and our Blessed Mother. My difficulties with the language barrier became the language of silence. I learned silence and total trust, deepened my relationship with God, and I treasured it.” Finally approved for travel to the U.S. in 1998, she arrived at St. Mary’s Catholic Home, Cherry Hill, where she worked in social services. Sister Leila professed her final vows Aug. 15, 2003. After earned a degree in social work at Stockton College (now University), Galloway, in 2004, and certification in assisted living administration, she was assigned to the Philippines for mission work. “I loved it,” she recalled with a smile. “I helped with a feeding program at Catholic Charities, where we fed people and taught

Sister Christine Quense Joy exuded by the Sisters of Jesus our Hope and encouragement by her brother, Stephen, who is a member of the community, inspired Sister Christine Quense to seek a vocation to religious life. Currently, Sister Christine serves as Community Sister Servant, a role that in other communities might be referred to as “mother superior.” Her role also involves directing the formation of the younger members of the community, which includes the theology and catechesis of religious life, including a study of the vows. In addition, she leads a discernment group for women alongside her novices. When asked to describe what a Sister of Jesus our Hope is at the core, Sister Christine said that while the religious order takes vows similar to most religious (poverty, chastity and obedience), their particular charism could be described as “joyful hope in the merciful love of Jesus.” She added that Sisters of Jesus our Hope are called to embody that joyful hope in a particular way,

— Christina Leslie

musical improvisation with the religious playing an array of instruments. She also enjoys ice skating and walking the community’s two Labradors. The greatest challenge in her vocation, noted Sister Christine, is the desire to “bring hope to others that do not know Jesus’ love... that don’t know how happy they could be with knowledge of the Lord.” As part of this mission, she emphasized wanting to share the sacraments and wishing “to help people to know how beautiful our Catholic faith is.” Another part of this challenge, she explained, was that of “convincing young people that God has a good plan for them.” Sister Christine’s advice to young people discerning a vocation is: “On the broadest level, trust that the Lord has a loving plan and look into help with discernment.” She mentioned that discernment groups, such as the one she runs, help people to figure out their vocation in general, but also supply specific info about that community. She strongly recommends, too, frequenting the

sacraments, adoration, daily pray, silence, and finding a good spiritual adviser. Regarding her own vocation, Sister Christine expressed “great gratitude for the faith and support of my family and my religious community and the many people we’ve met — in a particular, the priests that have served my vocation, and the gift of good priest friends who have cared for my spiritual life over the years.” — Alexandra Gillett

Celebrating 25 Years

to be open to the possibility of becoming a religious. “He would always say, ‘Give God permission’ and encouraged us to pray: ‘Lord, whatever you want me to do, I will do.’” She also credits her parents for being faithful Catholics who took her to Mass, were faithful to each other, taught her to pray and to love the Eucharist. As to what the interior life of a Sister of Jesus our Hope is, she said the name of Jesus is an important as part: “He is the reason we exist, the reason we go out and serve and the reason we have hope! ‘Our hope is in Jesus alone.’ Our foundation is a relationship with Jesus that gives hope to every day and every event because of who he is.” Sister Ellen said the most enjoyable parts of her vocation are doing things to-

gether with her religious community at their house and going on outings together, such as the recent March for Life in Washington, D.C. She also enjoys being able to have time and space to be alone while not being cloistered, and that having such a sense of community followed from prayer. She added that these moments went hand in hand with more challenging parts of the vocation. She described the hard work of growing in holiness: “The more you pray, the closer you get to Jesus, the more you see the long way you have to go, but as you get closer, the greater is the hope that he can overcome. Hope is the cure for all challenges.” As for what advice she Ellen would give to someone discerning a vocation, she said: “Ask the Lord specifically, ‘How did

you create me to love?’ “Talk to someone that’s been married and ask how they did it and talk to a religious sister and ask how they did it. Then, in prayer you can ask the Lord to help you know which is the deepest desire of your heart.” — Alexandra Gillett


Reflecting on her 25 years as a religious, Jesus our Hope Sister Ellen Kraft said she appreciates being able to share life with her community, but have time alone, too, and most of all continue to deepen her relationship with Jesus. Sister Ellen currently serves as a third grade religion teacher at Saints Philip & James School, Phillipsburg. She also regularly assists in the business office at her community’s residence in Bloomsbury. While Sister Ellen says that “the idea of a vocation came out of the blue from God,” she also recalls that Father Bob Bedard, chaplain of her young adult group and founder of a community of priests in Ottawa, Canada, created an atmosphere of openness to the Lord’s will that inspired her

Sister Leila speaks two Filipino dialects, Polish, English and some Spanish, but used Latin to describe the joy she feels as a religious. “Totus Tuus,” [Totally thine],” Sister Leila said. “I came here because I was going to deepen my faith, my relationship with God. That is what matters.”

Celebrating 25 Years

in order to remind everyone of it. “We live in a vibrant community of religious who all live this hope within themselves, with their sisters, and for all the world, even in the midst of its inconsistencies. Hope is not just for the future, but for now, too.” While Sister Christine says she greatly benefited by having parents who took her to Mass, were faithful to each other, taught her to love the Eucharist and to pray, she had no initial desire to explore religious life. However, her brother, Stephen, a member of the Brotherhood of Hope, encouraged her to visit the community. She also recalled being taught by the Sisters of Jesus our Hope in school and was inspired by their joy in living the religious life. Sister Christine said one of the most enjoyable parts of her vocation are the way the community prays: “I love the Liturgy of the Hours and having Jesus in our chapels,” and the way the “sisters” laugh. “I am one of the happiest people I know, because I live with joyful sisters.” She recalled scenes of

Sister Ellen Kraft

them Catechism. We monitored the weight of the little ones and taught their mothers cooking and arts and crafts. We helped the families and fed them body and soul.” In 2012, Sister Leila began serving at the St. Joseph Senior Home, Woodbridge, where she is activities director. She also taught religious instruction for first communicants at St. John Paul II Parish, Perth Amboy, for four years. Her advice to those considering a lifetime of religious service is to embrace it. “Loving God is just like when you are growing,” she said. “It is the source of your strength, of the way you live. Put God first in everything you do. “I always emphasized to the children and their parents to come to church. If you miss those things in the beginning, you lose so much. Come to church because you are meeting Jesus our Savior.”


Though Little Servant Sister of the Immaculate Conception M. Leila Braganza considers herself a late vocation, achieving the milestone of 25 years in religious life was worth the wait. “I had a municipal government job in [the Philippines] and I was also active in my church in the Legion of Mary,” she said. Through two years of correspondence with her cousin, Sister M. Beatrix, a Little Servant Sister stationed at their motherhouse in Cherry Hill, she realized a life of service in that order would be her destiny. “My cousin asked me to enter, and I said ‘yes.’ That was my fiat,” she recalled. But her path to the religious life would be a long, multinational endurance test. Called by the Mother Provincial to come to America, she was unable to obtain a visa. “I thought, ‘God’s plan is not our plan,’ and the Mother General invited me to go

Celebrating 25


Sister M. Leila Braganza


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Bishops laud witness born from men and women in religious life Research in the Apostolate (CARA) to conduct a survey of those solemnly professed in the United States in the WASHINGTON – Each year, the past year. Some of the major findings Catholic Church celebrates the World of this year’s report are: • The average age of the profesDay for Consecrated Life. Instituted by Pope John Paul II in 1997, the sion class of 2019 is 39. Half of the rerecelebration is in conjunction with the sponding Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, ligious are age 34 or younger. The also known as Candlemas Day, com- youngest is 24 and the oldest is 71. • Two-thirds of the responding memorating the coming of Christ, the Light of the World, through the religious (69 percent) report their prisymbolic lighting of candles. Simi- mary race or ethnicity as white. One in larly, consecrated men and women are ten (10 percent) identifies as Hispanic, called to spread the light and love of and one in ten (9 percent) identify as Jesus Christ through their unique wit- Asian. • Three in four of responding ness of selfless service, such as caring for the poor, the contemplative work religious (74 percent) were born in the of prayer, or through their profes- United States. Of those born outside sional careers. On February 2, 2020, the United States, the most common Pope Francis will celebrate Mass at country of origin is the Philippines. • Twenty-five percent of reSt. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to recognize and pray for the essential role sponding religious earned a graduate degree before entering of consecrated pertheir religious instisons in the life of the "By dedicating tute. Three-fourths (74 Church and to express percent) entered their gratitude for their their entire lives to religious institute with service to the Church. following Christ, at least a bachelor’s Similarly, parishes in degree (77 percent for the United States will consecrated women and 69 percent also celebrate consefor men). crated life during the persons are par• Around nine weekend of February ticularly able to in 10 responding re1-2 and recognize the ligious (89 percent) essential role of conreach out to those served in one or more secrated persons in in the peripheries church ministries bethe life of the Church. fore entering their reAs engaged members of our society and ligious institute, most of their local comcommonly as a lector munities, consecrated bring the message (51 percent), altar men and women bring of the Gospel to all server (44 percent), or the presence of Jesus Extraordinary Ministo all they encounter those in need." ter of Communion (42 throughout their day, —Bishop James F. percent). allowing his Spirit to Checchio • On average, live and move within responding religious them so that the truth report that they were of the Gospel can be 19 years old when they first considproclaimed to all. Bishop James F. Checchio of ered a vocation to religious life, but Metuchen, chairman of the U.S. Con- half were 18 or younger when they ference of Catholic Bishops’ Commit- first did so. • Nine in 10 responding relitee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations, reiterated the importance gious (91 percent) regularly participated of the witness offered by those in con- in some type of private prayer activity secrated life: “Consecrated men and before they entered their religious instiwomen are a special treasure in the tute. Three-fifths or more participated Church who allow the love of Jesus to in Eucharistic Adoration or prayed the become tangible. By dedicating their rosary before entering. Nearly six in ten entire lives to following Christ, conse- participated in spiritual direction or recrated persons are particularly able to treats before entering. The full survey from CARA, as reach out to those on the peripheries of our society and bring the message of well as resources for use by parishes are available at: http://cms.usccb. the Gospel to all those in need.” Each year, the Committee on org/beliefs-and-teachings/vocations/ Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Voca- consecrated-life/world-day-for-consetions asks the Center for Applied crated-life.cfm By Brian Salamanca, USCCB January 24, 2020


Bug’s Life


Students from St. Francis Cathedral School, Metuchen, had a special visit from award-winning author, photographer, musician, educator, entrepreneur and environmental activist, Jennifer Vitanzo during Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 27-Feb.2). In the photo at left, Vitanzo shares the stage with Aria IslamGomes, Carina Gonzalez, Eric Titsch and Adam Preesada. Vitanzo discussed her book, “Santiago: True Tales of a Little Bug in a Big World” and her day-today experiences with her pet praying mantis, Santiago. She told the children about her life in Africa where she worked with rhino relocation, baboon management, cheetah rehabilitation and field guide training. Vitanzo explained how an idea becomes a book and how important bugs are to our ecosystem. Afterwards, some students ate lunch with her in the school library.  — Elaine Scull photo

Polar Plunge Mercy Sister Lisa D. Gambacorto, holding flag, directress of Mount Saint Mary Academy, Watchung, poses with students and members of the school’s community at Sea Bright on Jan. 26. For the second consecutive year, the Fathers Club and students participated in the Polar Plunge of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Sister Lisa accepted the challenge to take the plunge for $10,000. The school raised $12,900 for her efforts. The total raised was more than $15,000 after pledges were made for the nine Mount students and 18 parents. Sister Lisa was the only faculty/staff member to join in the fun. Proceeds from this year’s Polar Plunge will be used to replace the bleachers in the Mother Mary Patrick Gymnasium on the Mount campus. — photo courtesy of Mount Saint Mary Academy

The Office of Family Life Ministry Diocese of Metuchen Celebrates

For more information and resources, visit foryourmarriage.org.

FEBRUARY 7-14, 2020

For more information and resources, visit: www.foryourmarriage.org

FEBRUARY 6, 2020






Church, Alpha movement/Women deacons Pope Francis


January 8, 2020 Dear Brothers and Sisters: Today’s catechesis occurs in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, whose theme this year — on hospitality — was prepared by the Christian communities of Malta and Gozo. The theme is based on Saint Paul’s dramatic experience of being shipwrecked at Malta, and the welcome he and his companions received there. Indeed, in contrast to the sea’s violence, the survivors received “unusual kindness” (Acts 28:2), reflecting God’s love for them. This hospitality was then repaid when Paul healed many sick people, thus revealing God’s merciful love. Hospitality is an important ecumenical virtue, which is open to listening to the experience that other Christians have of God. When we welcome Christians of a different tradition we reveal God’s love to them and receive the gifts that the Holy Spirit has sown in them. In this way, we Christians are challenged to overcome our divisions and to show Christ’s love more effectively to others, especially the many migrants who, like Paul, face danger at sea, as they flee from peril. Working together like this will make us both better disciples of the Lord and more united as the People of God.

FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Prayer for a Married Couple (National Marriage Week will be observed Feb.7-14 and World Marriage Day Feb. 9) Heavenly Father, we come before you to thank you for all you have done and continue to do in our lives and marriage. We come before you today, God, asking for a stronger bond of unity in our marriage covenant. Father, we ask that you will give us the ability to be a united front for you letting nothing come between us. Help us, Father, to identify and work through anything that is not pleasing to you so we can continually reach higher levels of unity in our marriage – spiritually, physically, and mentally. We are thankful and excited to see the work of your hand as we do our best to seek your face daily. We love you and thank you for all of these things. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!

A number of Catholic parishes here in my archdiocese have hosted programs on the Alpha movement in Christianity. I have found conflicting guidance as to the legitimacy/orthodoxy of this movement. Can you advise me as to whether it is approved for Catholic membership? (Tigard, Ore.)


Question Corner By Father Kenneth Doyle Alpha is a program of Christian evangelization first developed some 30 years ago at an Anglican charismatic parish in London. It consists of about a dozen interactive sessions in which participants discuss basic questions of faith – for example, “Who is Jesus?” and “Why and how do I pray?” – the goal being to bring them into a closer personal relationship with Christ. Alpha is compatible with Catholic teaching, although it does not deal specifically with issues like the theology of the sacraments. (There is available a version called “Alpha for Catholics,” which supplements the basic program with teachings specific to Catholicism.) Since its inception, Alpha has been used in thousands of Catholic parishes in more than 70


Clearly there were women in the early church who were called “deaconesses.” What is not clear is what, exactly, their role was and whether their ordination was a sacramental one. St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans (16:1) refers to a certain Phoebe, whom he calls (in some translations) “a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae.” And the saint you mention – Olympias – was, according to the New Advent

Catholic Encyclopedia, “consecrated [a] deaconess” by the bishop of Constantinople in the fourth century. She had been widowed at an early age and chose to remain unmarried, dedicating her considerable fortune to helping the poor. In the early centuries, deaconesses seem to have played a major role in the baptism of women. (Christians then were baptized naked, many of them as adult converts; since the clergy were male, modesty demanded that deaconesses take women converts into the water.) Catholic scholars have divided opinions as to whether these ancient deaconesses were actually ordained to a degree of holy orders or were simply blessed for service, like lectors or acolytes today. In 2016, Pope Francis, with the encouragement of the International Union of Superiors General, created a study commission to examine the matter of women serving as deacons. Since then, members of that commission have arrived at varying points of view. Pope Francis spoke about this with journalists in May 2019 on the papal plane returning to Rome from North Macedonia. As to whether women in the early centuries of Christianity had been ordained sacramentally, the pope said that the Church has yet to give a “definitive response.” Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfatherdoyle@gmail.com and 30 Columbia Circle Drive, Albany, N.Y. 12203.

that good humor is evidence of faith. More than once, he has observed that a person who believes in the Gospel and wants to share it with others cannot be a “sour puss” but must be a person brimming over with joy. He has used as an example King David who is described in the Second Book of Samuel as dancing before the Ark of the Covenant, much to the embarrassment of his straitlaced wife. By “joy,” Francis does not mean giddiness. In fact, he has cautioned that mindless happiness, “transforming itself into lightness, superficiality” can lead to “a state lacking Christian wisdom; it can make us fools, dupes, no?” What Pope Francis means by joy is that our faith is a faith in resurrection and salvation, not in death and condemnation, and that’s something to be joyous about. There are many things in the world, even in our personal lives, that are no laughing matter, but we are joyful because we know God accompanies us through our trials and that we will triumph with him in the everlasting life he has promised those who love him. People who satirize the Church often present it as a purveyor of guilt, an institution that dwells on the baseness of humanity and intimidates its members with onerous rules and dire warnings of divine punishment.

If that image were valid, it would be a wonder that any but the most neurotic of people would set foot in a Catholic Church. And that’s an image that Pope Francis tries to contradict and urges all Catholics, in our roles as evangelizers, to contradict as well. He tells us that the way to evangelization is to make the Church “attractive” to others and that their most immediate experience of that attraction should be the joy with which we practice and share our faith. The pope has also made clear his idea that people will not be attracted to the Church by venturing inside and observing us at prayer. Our joy will have its impact only “out there,” outside the walls of the church, beyond the parish grounds. The fact that ours is a joyful faith means that it cannot be solitary, something we keep to ourselves. As Pope Francis once explained, God’s gift can’t be “bottled up so we can keep it with us. If we want this joy for ourselves, in the end it will make us sick and our hearts will shrivel up and our faces will not transmit that great joy.” Joy, the pope has said, is a “pilgrim virtue” that impels Christians out into the world to live and preach the Gospel. Deacon Paolino exercises his ministry at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Whitehouse Station

countries. Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron notes that “many parishes in Detroit have found Alpha a great tool for helping men and women hear the initial proclamation of the Gospel.” Father Raniero Cantalamessa, the preacher to the papal household, is a “great friend of Alpha,” and Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna has said, “Alpha is for meeting Jesus. . . . For me, the Christian life has something to do with simplicity, friendship, closeness and joy. That’s what I feel about Alpha, and I think that’s a sign that it works and that it’s given from the Lord."

A book on lives of the saints which I am reading lists a St. Olympias in the fourth and fifth centuries and says that she was a deaconess of the Church, “an office which existed at that time.” When did the Church stop ordaining women as deacons and why? (Dunnsville, Va.)



Be joyous about resurrection, salvation When I was a boy, I read a news item about members of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team visiting Pope Pius XII in the Vatican.

Mustard Seeds By Deacon Charles Paolino According to this item, when the pope was introduced to the players and their wives, he said something to the effect that he, too, had once been a cardinal. It may seem like an obvious joke, but it would have seemed unusual then, because before the arrival of John Paul I — “il sorriso di Dio,” “the smile of God,” — popes were more formal than they are now. From the vantage point of the 21st century, they might even seem humorless, even dour. But the world has changed, and that includes popes and communications, and in the age of Pope Francis, humor and laughter are part of the widely circulated papal image. I don’t think that this is an accident or a coincidence — in other words, that the College of Cardinals elected a pope who just happens to have an upbeat personality. No, it’s clear that Pope Francis believes


Dispelling the darkness Just last week, the Church celebrated the Feast of the Lord’s Presentation in the Temple, the occasion on which the venerable Simeon testified that Jesus is the “light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for [God’s] people Israel (Lk 2:22). A major theme of that feast was the revelation that Jesus is the Light of the World. In this Sunday’s Gospel, part of St. Matthew’s presentation of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his disciples that they too are meant to enlighten the world. In fact, he tells them that they are to be light, salt, and a city on the hill for all to see.


WEEK IN SCRIPTURE Sun 9 Mon 10 Tues 11 Wed 12 Thurs 13 Fri 14 Sat 15 Sun 16 Mon 17 Tues 18 Wed 19 Thurs 20 Fri 21 Sat 22


Is 58:7-10 • Ps 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 • 1 Cor 2:1-5 • Mt 5:13-16 1 Kgs 8:1-7, 9-13 • Ps 132:6-7, 8-10 • Mk 6:53-56 1 Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30 • Ps 84:3, 4, 5, 10, 11 • Mk 7:1-13 1 Kgs 10:1-10 • Ps 37:5-6, 30-31, 39-40 • Mk 7:14-23 1 Kgs 11:4-13 • Ps 106:3-4, 35-36, 37, 40 • Mk 7:24-30 1 Kgs 11:29-32; 12:19 • Ps 81:10-11ab, 12-13, 14-15 • Mk 7:31-37 1 Kgs 12:26-32; 13:33-24 • Ps 106:6-7ab, 19-20, 21-22 • Mk 8:1-10 Sir 15:15-20 • Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34 • 1 Cor 2:6-10 • Mt 5:17-37 Jas 1:1-11 • Ps 119:67, 68, 71, 72, 75, 76 • Mk 8:11-13 Jas 1:12-18 • Ps 94:12-13a, 14-15, 18-19 • Mk 8:14-21 Jas 1:19-27 • Ps 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5 • Mk 8:22-26 Jas 2:1-9 • Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7 • Mk 8:27-33 Jas 2:14-24, 26 • Ps 112:1-2, 3-4, 5-6 • Mk 8:34 – 9:1 1 Pt 5:1-4 • Ps 12:2-3, 4-5, 7-8 • Mk 16:13-19

Miguel Febres Cordero Munoz 1854-1910 February 9


Born with crippled legs to a prominent Ecuadoran family, Francisco was schooled at home until age 9, when he began attending a new school run by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Though his family initially opposed it, 14-year-old Francisco joined the Institute in 1868, becoming Brother Miguel. He taught Spanish and religion in Quito for 38 years, wrote a number of well-regarded textbooks and was elected to several national academies. He died in Europe, and was declared Ecuador’s first saint in 1984.


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Immediately following the Beatitudes, Jesus makes an important point to his disciples — by becoming his followers they have become the salt of the earth. In the ancient world, salt was one of the most important necessities of life. Salt was used to preserve food — those who had sufficient salt could preserve food to last all year long. Those without such a supply were doomed to periodic months of famine. It was from this vital usage that salt obtained its metaphorical significance in the ancient world. Salt was a sign of fidelity (it made things last), a sign of sacrifice (sharing salt was sharing one’s ability to feed one’s family), and, of course, a useful condiment (it made things taste good). So important was salt that rabbinic literature even refers to the Torah itself as salt for the People of Israel. By referring to his disciples as salt, Jesus was highlighting the necessity of the role they had assumed. Their mission to the world was absolutely vital; if they carried out their responsibility of proclaiming the message of Jesus, all the world would be able to feast at the heavenly banquet. If they failed to do so, the world would starve without the revelation of Christ. Just as salt does not exist for itself but only achieves its potential by preserving or enhancing other foods, so also the disciples were not to focus upon their own good, but rather upon the lives of the people whom they could preserve and enhance. In addition to telling his followers that they are the salt of the earth, Jesus also tells them that they are meant to be the light of the world. By their message and their lives they are to high-

light Jesus’ presence among his people. How are they to do this? At least part of the answer comes in our First Reading this Sunday, taken from the prophet Isaiah; Isaiah counsels, “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless, clothe the naked . . . remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech . . .” (Is 58:7,9b). Doing so, Jesus reminds his followers, will enable them to be “a city set on a mountain [that] cannot be hidden” (Mt 5:14). The goodness of their deeds will so bring light and life to their words, that their message will shine before all. Jesus assures his followers, those in ancient Palestine as well as us today, that the light of faith is already gleaming within them. They must let that light shine before all people. Jesus warns that their failure to do so will make them like lamps put under a bushel basket — they suffer the tragedy of achieving no purpose and simply die out. Their faith is like the light — it must not only burn within them, it must brighten the lives of others. Religion may be personal, but it is never a purely private matter. Finally, Jesus turns to the chief goal of his mission and that of his followers. By becoming salt and light for the world, they bring the goodness of the Gospel message to others, thus enabling them “to see their good deeds” and most importantly, to “glorify their Father who is in heaven” (Mt 5:16). And it is certainly the Father of heaven who is worthy of all glory, for every good thing springs from his overwhelming love for his creation. In our Second Reading today, St. Paul explains this, assuring his followers that they have no cause to worry that they are ever kindling their flame or spreading their salt alone. He writes that “I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (1 Cor 2:3-5). Our readings this Sunday are an invitation to revel in that power which ennobles us, and then to become its instruments in uplifting the lives of others. As disciples, may each of us strive to dispel the darkness by bringing the light and hope of the Father’s glory more and more into our world. Msgr. Fell is a Scripture scholar and director, diocesan Office for Priest Personnel


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中區 Our Lady of西 Mt 華 Virgin Church 650 新Religious 澤 人Gift 天 主 教 會Harris Ave, Shop nd Sunday Middlesex NJ 08846 Every 2 3:30pm 中區 Our Lady of Mt Virgin Church 650Chinese Harris Mass Ave, atAndrew Mount Kim St. Mary's 北區 St. Church 280 Parker Ave, nd Middlesex NJ 08846 Every 2 Sunday 3:30pm Chinese Mass Jersey Chinese Catholic Apostolate Maplewood NJ 07040Cards Every 2pmParker ChineseAve, Mass Christian Gifts, &Sunday Rosaries 北區 St. Andrew Kim Church 280 Njcca.catholicworld.info See updates on facebook 新澤西華Catholic 人 天 主 教 會 Medals • Books • Bibles Maplewood NJ 07040 Every Sunday 2pm Chinese Mass Prayer Meeting 廣東話祈禱會 Trappistine Candies r Lady of Mt VirginCantonese Church 650 Harris Ave, Njcca.catholicworld.info See updates on facebook nd 2 Saturday at 3:30pm nd WE ACCEPT PAYMENT BY CASH OR PERSONAL NJ 08846 Every 2 Sunday 3:30pm Chinese Mass CHECKS. Cantonese Prayer Meeting 廣東話祈禱會 NO CREDIT nd forCARDS. 8626861170 rides Ang7371@gmail.com St. Andrew Kim Call Church 2802Parker Ave,at “Molly” was facing eviction. Her neighSaturday 3:30pm (908) 754-3663 , ext. "0" ood NJ 07040 Every Sunday 2pm Chinese Mass bors were complaining about her behavCall 8626861170 for rides Ang7371@gmail.com Tues., Wed. on & Thurs.: a.catholicworld.info See updates facebook10 am – 3pm ior and her landlord was not willing to 10 am – 2 pm onese Prayer Meeting Friday: 廣東話祈禱會 compromise. Saturday: 2nd Saturday at 3:30pm9:30 am – 12 noon Catholic Charities’ Program for AsClosed Sunday, Monday & Holidays 26861170 for rides Ang7371@gmail.com sertive Community Treatment (PACT)

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Team developed a plan to help. They provided outreach to Molly five days a Jersey Chinese Catholic Apostolate NewNew Jersey Chinese Catholic Apostolate week; they monitored and adjusted her New Jersey 新澤Chinese 西華人Catholic 天主教Apostolate 會 medication. The team secured an attorney 中區 Our Our Lady ofof Mt Virgin Church 650 Ave, for her and accompanied her to 新澤 西 華 人天 主教 會Harris Lady Mt. Virgin Church court. With this plan in place, the landMiddlesex 08846 Every 2nd Sunday 650 Ave., NJ 3:30pm 08846 中區Harris OurNJLady ofMiddlesex, Mt Virgin Church 650Chinese Harris Mass Ave, nd St. Andrew Kim nd lord dropped the case and allowed Molly 北區 Church 280 Parker Ave, Every 2 Sunday, 3:30 MassChinese Mass Middlesex NJ 08846 EveryPM 2 Chinese Sunday 3:30pm Jersey Chinese Catholic Apostolate Maplewood NJ 07040 Every Sunday 2pm Chinese Mass to stay in her apartment. 北區 St. Andrew Kim Church 280 Parker Ave, Holy Cross Church Njcca.catholicworld.info See updates onChinese facebookMassThe PACT Team of Middlesex 新澤西華16 人 天 主 教 會 Maplewood NJ 07040 Every Sunday 2pm Church Square at Harrison Ave. Cantonese Prayer Meeting 廣東話祈禱會 r Lady of Mt Virgin Church 650 Harris Ave, County is an initiative funded through Njcca.catholicworld.info See updates on facebook Harrison, NJ 07029 - Every 1st, 3rd, 4th 2nd Saturday at 3:30pm NJ 08846 Every 2nd&Sunday 3:30pm Chinese Mass Cantonese Prayer Meeting 廣東話祈禱會 the state of New Jersey that serves per5th Sunday, 2 PM Chinese Mass nd for rides 8626861170 Ang7371@gmail.com St. Andrew Kim Call Church 2802Parker Ave,at Saturday 3:30pm sons in the community with serious and See updates on Facebook ood NJ 07040 Every Sunday 2pm Chinese MassAng7371@gmail.com Call 8626861170 for rides persistent mental illness. a.catholicworld.info See updates on facebook Cantonese Prayer Meeting “The PACT Team is guided by the onese Prayer Meeting 廣東話祈禱會 principal that individuals with mental illnd nd 2 Saturday at23:30pm Saturday at 3:30 PM ness, even those with the most impaired CallAng7371@gmail.com (862) 686-1170 for free rides 26861170 for rides functioning, can reside in normal settings Ang7371@gmail.com in the community if adequate supports and services are provided,” said CathoNew Jersey Chinese Catholic Apostolate lic Charities’ PACT Director Ann Marie New Jersey 新澤Chinese 西華人Catholic 天主教Apostolate 會 Grossman. “PACT’s mission is to ensure that 中區 Our Lady of西 Mt 華 Virgin Church 650 新澤 人天 主教 會Harris Ave, Middlesex 08846 2nd Sunday 3:30pm Mass people 中區 OurNJLady ofEvery Mt Virgin Church 650Chinese Harris Ave, with serious and persistent mental 北區 St. Kim2nd Church Parker Ave, illness Middlesex NJAndrew 08846 Every Sunday280 3:30pm Chinese Mass receive services that provide the Jersey Chinese Catholic Apostolate Maplewood NJ 07040 Kim Every Sunday280 2pmParker ChineseAve, Mass greatest degree of personal freedom and 北區 St. Andrew Church


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Birthday wishes

FEBRUARY 6, 2020

Prayer Meeting 廣東話祈禱會 Dr. Robert J. Bruzzichesi, right, a member r Lady of Mt VirginCantonese Church 650 Harris Ave, Njcca.catholicworld.info See updates on facebook nd 2 Saturday at 3:30pm of St. James Parish, Basking Ridge, speaks NJ 08846 Every 2nd Sunday 3:30pm Chinese Mass Cantonese Prayer Meeting 廣東話祈禱會 nd for rides 8626861170 Ang7371@gmail.com to Deacon Thomas H. Klaas before he gave St. Andrew Kim Call Church 2802Parker Ave,at Saturday 3:30pm ood NJ 07040 Every Sunday 2pm Chinese MassAng7371@gmail.com a blessing at Bruzzichesi’s 50th birthday Call 8626861170 for rides a.catholicworld.info Seeplus updates on facebook party Jan. 18 at the Madison Hotel, Mortax onese Prayer Meeting 廣東話祈禱會 ristown. In lieu of a present, Bruzzichesi and gratuity 2nd Saturday at 3:30pm encouraged the 125 or so guests, includ26861170 for rides Ang7371@gmail.com 487 Route 27, Iselin,NJ 08830 ing members of the parish and Knights


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dignity, self-determination, and the highest realization of individual achievement and contribution to community and family life.” PACT Team services include psychiatric assessment/evaluation, substance abuse counseling, individual and group counseling, mediation administration and management, crisis assessment and intervention, 24 hours a day/7 days a week. On-Call support, health and nutrition education, money management, housing assistance and referrals, employment services, recreational and social support, family and social network support, assistance with transportation when needed as well as legal assistance and referrals. PACT teams work with consumers to promote appropriate self-management of symptoms, enhance quality of life, prevent unnecessary psychiatric hospitalizations, and maximize independence and community integration. Last year, PACT consumers received more than 21,992 hours of support from Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen. Overall, Catholic Charities provided 172,000 hours of service last year in the counties served by the diocese -- Middle-

of Columbus Council 2393, to donate to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen. Bruzzichesi said more than $4,300 was raised for Catholic Charities and an additional $500 for Council 2393, in which he is a Fourth Degree member. Bruzzichesi said he hopes the idea of asking guests at a birthday party to donate to charity instead of bringing a present will inspire others to do the same. —photo courtesy of Dr. Robert J Bruzzichesi

Representatives of The Knights of Columbus Bishop Edward T. Hughes Council 15540 at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Three Bridges, delivered 100 quilts as part of a Quilts for Kids program to The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, New Brunswick, Jan. 23. Posing in the photo at the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit: registered nurse Lisa McGowan; Knight Andrew Casella and volunteer quilter Gretta Casella; registered nurses Margaret Scott; Debbie Wilburn; Emily Stoto; Kerrin Tierney and Phyllis Onofri; and Pat and Knight Tom Monroe and registered nurse Dolly Allen. Quilts for Kids is a nonprofit organization with a network of volunteers who produce and deliver thousands of patchwork quilts to comfort children facing serious illness, injury or trauma in hospitals throughout the country. The quilts are placed on the hospital beds of admitted children and then given to them to take home. The Knights also delivered their second $1,000 contribution to Pam Fox, director, Quilts for Kids, for fabric purchases earlier in the day. — photo courtesy of Bishop Edward T. Hughes Council 15540

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“A morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together. An evil end corrupts the action, even if the object is good in itself [such as praying and fasting “in order to be seen by others”)” (ccc 1755). “It is therefore an error to judge the morality of human acts by considering only the intention that inspires them or the circumstances [environment, social pressure, duress or emergency, etc.] which supply their context. There are acts which, in and of themselves, independently of circumstances and intentions, are always gravely illicit by reason of their object; such as blasphemy and perjury, murder and adultery. One may not do evil so that good may result from it” (ccc 1756). So often we make the mistake of assuming that “the end justifies the means” or whatever we do, as long as we know it will produce something valuable or good, is acceptable. This section of the Catechism tells us that it is not acceptable to do evil in order to arrive at a morally good conclusion. Good intentions are never enough however valuable they may seem, whatever anyone may say. Father Hillier serves as director of the diocesan Office of the Pontifical Missions, the Office for Persons with Disabilities, and Censor Librorum

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heaven given to humanity by which we is intrinsically disordered, such as lying can be saved” (Acts 4:12). According to and calumny, good or just. The end does the fourth evangelist, the name of Jesus not justify the means. Thus, the condemis the source of all strength: “If you ask nation of an innocent person cannot be the Father anything in my name, He justified as a legitimate means of saving will give it to you” (Jn the nation. On the other 16:23). hand, an added bad What would you intention [such as vainIn short, Christ is and I like to ask of God, glory] makes an act evil Truth personified. As that, in and of itself, can our loving Father? We By Father John Gerard Hillier certainly need greater such, Christ the Truth be good [such as almsfaith in our world; we giving]” (ccc 1753). sets us free, and need greater zeal and The Catechism exWhat does it mean to live a moral life? many other special plains further that “the following the (true) Most of us would immediately answer by blessings and virtues, circumstances, includinvoking the name of Jesus and stating including the virtue of ing the consequences, freedom of Christ that following in the footsteps of Christ courage. Many things are secondary elements is to a live a moral is to live a moral life. frighten us today. Freeof a moral act. They This includes, among other things, dom from fear has not contribute to increaslife. No wonder the that we must make sacrifices if we want yet come to our world. ing or diminishing the opening paragraph moral goodness or evil to be followers of Jesus. In the Gospel The apostles, the marof Luke, we read: “If anyone wishes to tyrs, and all the heroes human acts [for exin this section of the of come after me, he must deny himself and of Christian history, ample, the amount of take up his cross daily and follow me” received their bravery Catechism (ccc 1749) a theft]. They can also (Lk 9:23). That doesn’t mean we have to through the powerful diminish or increase affirms that true do something so big that it makes it onto name of Jesus. So will the agent’s responsithe evening news. Neither do we have to you and I, if we call bility [such as acting freedom makes us fast all of the time or pray most of the day upon that same, sweet out of a fear of death]. moral subjects. into the night. name, because Jesus is Circumstances of themChrist knows that we lead mostly our moral compass, the selves cannot change ordinary lives, working at ordinary Truth who sets us free the moral quality of acts jobs, doing housework, raising a family, (Jn 8:32). As Jesus says, “I am the way, themselves; they can make neither good studying or cooking, or waiting to pick and the truth, and the life. No one comes nor right an action that is in itself evil” up a child from school. He also knows to the Father except through Me.” (ccc 1754). that from time to time we are called on to In short, Christ is Truth personified. make some extra effort to help someone, As such, Christ the Truth sets us free, especially in our own family. Jesus knows and following in the (true) freedom of that our lives are often difficult, but He Christ is to live a moral life. No wonder also knows that love makes it easier. No- the opening paragraph in this section of tice in Sacred Scripture how Jesus says the Catechism (ccc 1749) affirms that He will repay each of us according to our true freedom makes us moral subjects. conduct: “For the Son of Man will come The next paragraph states: “The moralwith his angels in his Father’s glory, and ity of human acts depends on: the object then he will repay everyone according to chosen; the end in view or the intention; his conduct” (Mt 16:27). Later, St. Paul and the circumstances of the action” (ccc reaffirms this when he writes to the Ro- 1750). mans: God “will repay everyone accordAlthough this sounds like a lot of ing to his works” (Rom 2:6). philosophical jargon, the next paragraph SPOTLIGHT PILGRIMAGE: Such is the case when we do what explains that “the object chosen is a good is right and just for God and neighbor. toward which the will deliberately directs We perform human acts in a way that itself. It is the matter of a human act. The produces positive results rather than object chosen morally specifies the act of ALASKA DISCOVERY negative ones. When we do things in the the will, insofar as reason recognizes and LAND & CRUISE name of Jesus, our Savior, great things judges it to be or not to be in conformity featuring a 7-night can happen. In fact, the Sacred Scriptures with the true good” (ccc 1751). Princess Cruise teach that Jesus’ name can work wonders In other words, “a good intenwith Twp. of for us. St. Luke teaches in the Acts of the tion [for example, that of helping one’s Edison Senior Center Apostles, “There isFamily no otherCare name Placement, under neighbor] does not make behavior that


Article 133 - Catechism of the Catholic Church Series Paragraphs 1749 -1756


Great things happen when done in the name of Jesus


OBITUARIES Mercy Sister Louise Gorka, formerly Sister Mary Paulita, 87, of Mays Landing, died Jan. 21 at Atlantic City Hospital. Born in South Amboy, she had lived in Sayreville before she entered the Sisters of Mercy religious life Sept. 24, 1952. Sister Louise taught at St. Nicholas School, Atlantic City; St. Mary High School, Perth Amboy; Mount Saint Mary Academy, Watchung; and Phillipsburg Catholic High School. Following her teaching career, Sister Louise felt called to parish ministry at Holy Family in Union Beach. After 14 years at Holy Family, Sister Louise and Sister Peggy Noone founded The Gathering Place, an adult education and spiritual retreat center in Middletown. All of these ministries were permeated with music, which was an integral part of her life. She was predeceased by her parents,

Louis and Stella Gorka; and a brother and his wife, George and Jamie Gorka. Surviving are a brother and his wife, Paul and Gloria Gorka, numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins, as well as her religious community, the Sisters of Mercy. A funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 28 at St. Catherine’s Church, North Middletown. Burial was at St. Stanislaus Kostka Cemetery, Sayreville. Arrangements were handled by Maliszewski Memorial Home. Sayrevill. Memorial Donations in her memory may be made to the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Mid-Atlantic Community, 1645 US Highway 22, Watchung, NJ 07069.

Sister Mary Blaise Miller, 93, died Jan. 16 at McAuley Hall Health Care

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administrative assistant to the development director at Georgian Court College (now University), Lakewood. Sister Blaise also enjoyed creating original wood-craft items for the annual bazaar at Mount Saint Mary. Traveling was another of her favorites and she enjoyed many trips with her friends. Sister Blaise retired at Mount Saint Mary and finally to McAuley Hall Health Care Center in early 2019. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews and Sisters of Mercy. A funeral Mass was celebrated Jan. 21 at Mount Saint Mary. Burial was at Holy Redeemer Cemetery, South Plainfield. Arrangements were handled by Higgins Home for Funerals, Watchung. Donations in memory of Sister M. Blaise Miller may be made to Sisters of Mercy Mid-Atlantic Community, 1645 Highway 22, Watchung, NJ 07069.


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Center, Watchung. She was a native of Atlantic City, and was the daughter of Charles and Anastasia Miller. She attended public schools and came to know the Sisters of Mercy at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Atlantic City. She was favorably influenced by the Sisters and entered the convent at Mount Saint Mary, Watchung, in 1952. Her earliest assignments were clerical and secretarial at the Motherhouse in Watchung, where she was also kept busy chauffeuring those not driving at that time. Sister Blaise came to know the students at Mount Saint Mary Academy as the school bus driver and became their confidante and advisor. She became the secretary to the directress of the Academy and served for three terms until she was named its treasurer. Sister Blaise also served as the


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Cranbury/South River Rd., Jamesburg, NJ

Featuring … Mary Sorrowful Mother Mausoleum Crematory at Holy Cross Cemetery

Resurrection Cemetery Hoes Lane & Park Ave., Piscataway, NJ

Announcing The new Mausoleum of the Holy Spirit (Financing Available - Credit Cards accepted)

For information about purchase of crypts, niches or plots at the diocesan-owned and operated Cemeteries, please call:




513-515 State St., Perth Amboy, NJ • Tel. 732-442-0702 Established 1905 Theodore J. Ricci, CFSP, Manager, NJ Lic. No. 4455 Member of NJ Pre-Paid Funeral Trust

To advertise in this directory call Nan at (732) 765-6444
























25 26












DOWN 2 The Church Militant is here 3 “…your ___ and your staff comfort me.” (Ps 23:4) 4 “Fort” diocese in Indiana 5 This becomes the Body of

8 9 13 14 15 17 19 21 25 27 29 30 31 32 34

Christ at the consecration Mount to which Abraham took Isaac Catholic United States Supreme Court justice Abbr. for two OT books Biblical instruments Some houses Church spire Abraham was one “You are the ___ of the world.” (Mt 5:14) St. Juan ___ Saint who translated the Bible into Latin “Whoever corrects the arrogant __ insults” (Prov 9:7) Catholic actor of “The Wizard of Oz” fame Wealthy biblical land A dove brought back this branch back to Noah Catholic international aid org. Liturgical color






ACROSS 1 Biblical language 6 The Road to ___ 10 Good ___ 11 Protection or liberation from the power of the devil 12 They visited the newborn Jesus 16 Make up for sin 18 Blow on the cheek delivered by the bishop at Confirmation 20 “…the Lord is with ___.” 21 Notre ___ 22 “…from now on will all ___ call me blessed.” (Lk 1:48) 23 “…a person will ___ only what he sows “(Gal 6:7) 24 Sea of ___ 26 Catholic comedian Carrell 28 Greek term for Mary as the Mother of God 32 ___ Works of Mercy 33 Type of monk 35 Member of a religious order 36 Save

answers can be found on page 30

Business Directory


Bob Stilo “Specializing in Asphalt Paving”

GENERAL CONTRACTING 2907 So. Clinton Ave., South Plainfield, NJ 07080

908-754-0776 • Fax: 908-754-0425




Josef Bas, Owner 732.579.2490 Fully Insured

free estimates

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REAL ESTATE HVAC Mechanical Contracting

Thomas Pado President

heating air conditioning sheet metal fabrication building automation systems


OWEN S. DUNIGAN & CO., INC. PLUMBING & HEATING State Lic. #7121 Certified Backflow Inspector Lic. #8714

Gutters Leaders Gutters Covers Gutter Cleaning New Installation & Repair Roofing Chimney Repair


• • • •


t: 609.426.1966 f: 609.426.1766 400 Rike Drive, Millstone Twp., NJ 08535







Prayer and Worship

The Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, Raritan, will celebrate a sung Mass every Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Latin. The Mass is celebrated according to the 1962 Missal in compliance with the “Summorum Pontificum.” For details, call the Shrine Rectory Office, (908) 300-8167. Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Piscataway, will hold a Holy Hour of Prayer for the Dying every Thursday from 3 to 4 p.m. in the church. Come and pray for those who are dying, especially those who die suddenly and unprepared to enter eternal life. For information, call (732) 9685555. Feb. 23, 1 p.m. — Immaculata High School, Somerville, will hold its annual

Spartan Memorial Mass in the gym. The Liturgy will honor all deceased alumni, faculty and religious.

Fun and Food

Feb. 12, 4 to 7 p.m. — St. Mary Byzantine Catholic Church, Hillsborough, will sponsor a Slavic dinner in the parish center. The dinner will include all you can eat pierogis, stuffed cabbage, kielbasa, mashed potatoes, dessert and more. The cost is $15 for those nine years old and older and $5 for children eight years old and under. To-go orders are available. For information, call (908) 725-0615. Feb. 22, 7 to 10 p.m. — Our Lady of Lourdes Council 6930, Knights of Columbus, Whitehouse Station, invites all to Mardi Gras in Community Hall. The evening will include dinner, dessert,

The The Shrine Shrine of of St. St. Joseph Joseph GIFT & BOOK SHOP GIFT SHOP 1050 Long& HillBOOK Road, Stirling , NJ 07980

1050 Long Hill Road, Stirling, NJ 07980 A Mission of the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity Seven-Day The Sister Servants of Jesus invite our friends, old and new, Seven-Day The Sister Servants of Jesus invite our friends, old and new, Prayer to visit our charming Gift and Book Shop, featuring a wide Prayer Intention to visit our charming Gift and Book Shop, featuring a wide Intention array of religious selections for you and your loved ones. Candles! array of religious selections for you and your loved ones. Candles! Religious Books • DVDs • CDs • Cards • Bibles • Gifts • Medals Religious Books • DVDs• Boys • CDs&• Girls CardsCommunion • Bibles • Gifts • Medals Rosaries • Statues • Crosses Clothes & More Rosaries • Statues • Crosses • Boys & Girls Communion Clothes & More

908-647-2766 •• www.stshrine.org 908-647-2766 www.stshrine.org Hours: M-Sat: 10am - 5pm • Sun: 11am - 3pm Hours: M-Sat: 10am - 5pm • Sun: 11am - 3pm

wine, beer and dancing. Music will be provided by “Blue Jersey Band.” Tickets are $35 per person. To purchase tickets, call Roman Hnidj, (908) 256-9760 or email romanhnidj@verizon.net. Feb. 23, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. — Holy Trinity Parish, Bridgewater, is sponsoring a pancake and eggs breakfast in the parish center. Cost is $7 for adults, $3 for children 7 to 12, free for children six and under. Menu also includes breakfast sausage, fresh fruit, bagels, donuts, juice, milk, coffee and tea. Tickets will be sold at the door or call (908) 526-2394.

Special Programs

Feb. 8, noon to 2 p.m. — St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Old Bridge, is offering a monthly soup kitchen in the school auditorium. For information contact, Mary

Crossword Puzzle Answers H E B R E W A O A F R I D A Y T N S H E P H E R I E A L A P A T I E R A G E S R E H J A S T E V E T A R C O R P O R A R N M S I S T E R





FEBRUARY 6, 2020


Retreat Guide ... recharge your soul BLUE ARMY OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA SHRINE 674 Mountain View Rd. E., Asbury, NJ 08802 908-689-7330 • retreat@bluearmy.com

SAN ALFONSO RETREAT HOUSE 755 Ocean Ave., Long Branch NJ 07740

Lift Up Your Soul at the tranquil 150-acre Fatima Shrine. Host Your Retreat for Youth, Couples, Parish or Vocational Group.

732-222-2731 • info@sanalfonsoretreats.org www.sanalfonsoretreats.org

LOYOLA JESUIT CENTER 161 James St. • Morristown, NJ 07960 973-539-0740 • Fax: 973-898-9839 Retreats for lay men, women, priests, religious; days/evenings of prayer. Groups planning their own programs are welcome.

www.loyola.org • retreathouse@loyola.org MALVERN RETREAT HOUSE 315 S. Warren Ave., Malvern, PA 19355 610-644-0400 • Fax: 610-644-4363 An oasis of peace set on 125-acres of wooded countryside. Retreats for men, women, families, youth, religious and clergy.

malvernretreat.com · mail@malvernretreat.com MOUNT ST. MARY HOUSE OF PRAYER 1651 U.S. Highway 22, Watchung, NJ 07069 Retreats, Spiritual Direction, Programs

908-753-2091 • www.msmhope.org e-mail: msmhope@msmhope.org

A Redemptorist Spiritual Center overlooking the Atlantic Ocean offering preached retreats, days of prayer and use of the facility for outside groups.

ST. FRANCIS CENTER FOR RENEWAL, INC. 395 Bridle Path Road, Bethlehem PA 18017

Phone: 610-258-3053, ext. 10 • Fax: 610-258-2412 E-mail: stfranrh@rcn.com • stfrancisretreathouse.org ST. JOSEPH BY THE SEA 400 Route 35 North, S. Mantoloking, NJ 08738 A Retreat House Sponsored by the Religious Teachers Filippini overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay. Offering days of prayer, retreat weekends, spiritual programs, meetings and staff days. 732-892-8494 • e-mail: sjbsea@comcast.net


Lenten Fish Dinners

The Knights of Columbus will once again be holding its annual Lenten Fish Fries from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Council home (647 Grove St., Dunellen) on all Fridays during Lent (Feb. 28 to April 3). Dinner options are fried fish ($14), shrimp ($14), fish combo (fish, shrimp, and clam strips, $16), and meatless Italian ($12). All dinners are served with a choice of soup or salad, roasted potatoes, steak fries, or mac-and-cheese and include dessert and coffee or tea. Takeout is available and there is an option of buying five dinners with a coupon for the sixth dinner free. For more information or to place an order, call (732) 968-2544. THE UPPER ROOM SPIRITUAL CENTER 3455 W. Bangs Ave., Building 2, Neptune, NJ 07753 Phone: 732-922-0550 • Fax: 732-922-3904 www.theupper-room.org · office@theupper-room.org

Day & Overnight Retreats Gift & Book Shop - open daily

VILLA PAULINE RETREAT AND SPIRITUAL CENTER 352 Bernardsville Road, Mendham, NJ 07945 Preached/Directed/Guided & Private Retreats, Spiritual Direction, day & weekend programs, Spiritual Direction Formation Program

908-647-0208 · www.stshrine.org

this months This month’sfeatured featuredretreat retreathouse house:

973-543-9058 e-mail: quellen@scceast.org • wwwscceast.org

 ∙  ∙ 

610.867.8890 • stfranciscenter@gmail.com www.stfrancisctr.org


Feb. 29, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Mary, Mother of God Parish, Hillsborough will host The Cursillo Movements 11th Annual Encounter with Christ. The speakers will be Franciscan Father Glenn Sudano and Deacon Sal Bonfiglio, (Secular Franciscan Order). The theme of the encounter is “One Does Not Live on Bread Alone”. Coffee and light lunch will be served. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; sacrament of reconciliation and Mass will be included. The event is free, but a free will offering will be accepted. To register, RSVP to Regina Neri, reginaneri@metcursillo.org or online at http://metcursillo.org/events-encounter. htm

THE SHRINE OF ST. JOSEPH 1050 Long Hill Road, Stirling, NJ 07980

55 acres of natural beauty await you! Programs for personal and spiritual enrichment, directed and solitude retreats. Air conditioned facilities for retreats, spiritual programs, meetings and staff days for church related and not-for-profit groups.

ST. FRANCIS RETREAT HOUSE 3918 Chipman Road, Easton, PA 18045

Anne Donoghue, tdmaatwest@optonline.net or Chris Doyle, cdoyle167@ optimum.net.


House of Prayer

An Oasis of Peace, Contemplation & Hospitality

Mount Saint Mary House of Prayer is a peaceful, hospitable oasis. A spiritual center where you can recharge and connect to God through prayer and solitude, spirituality programs, retreat experiences, spiritual direction and more.

Upcoming Directed Retreats: March 6-8, April 3-5, May 1-3, June 19-26, August 7-14 Lenten Programs: Ho Hum, It's Lent Again... Make This Year Count, February 29 Spiritual Awakening - Contemplatives in Action: Modern Day Discipleship, March 14

 U.S. H  ∙ W, N J -

-- ∙ ..

Visit msmhope.org for complete information on our retreats and programs.

To join this retreat guide, call Nan at 732-765-6444



February is...

CATHOLIC PRESS MONTH In every issue, The Catholic Spirit brings you news of diocesan and parish events, programs and services. It shares stories of how individuals live as disciples of Christ. It serves as a resource on the Catholic faith and offers inspirational articles and columns. It is inviting, easy to read and offered to all parishioners. And while The Catholic Spirit nourishes your faith throughout the year, during February, Catholic Press Month, we ask for your financial

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Seminarians, families bond, break brea d at barbeque

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By Chris Donahue To help make the journey smoother for both, Bishop James F. Checchio decided to hold a barbeque for HILLSBOROUGH — A the diocese’s seminarian’s 15 seminarians. The event was held July 13 journey to the priesthood may sometimes at the home of Peter Pe be rsp Mary Tabernero, lonely, econe tivthat es includes questions, un- whose son, Michael, isandstudying certainties and challenges. at St. Vincent Seminary, Latrobe, Pa. Families of seminarians may Our Fa 4 share ith Bishop Checchio said he thought similar experiences the during the years of barbeque would be a way to “bring the formation it takes depending on Arlevel their sons’ 24 -25 of our seminarians families ound together so that of education the Dio afterce they graduate from they could get to know each other, and prose vide Diocesan 30mutual support for them in the great Ev




Faith Journey

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JUNE 16, 2016

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Raising Awarenes

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Bishop Jam Father Mau es F. Checchio, seco nd from righ ricio Tabera t, Vasquez, Father Roy poses with Bishop Eme Quesea and Father Mho ritus Paul G. Bootkos nchan Ezu ki ng after a and, from left, new Mass of ordi ly ordaine 30 nation. 31 “Good such a won morning and wel com derf e to prie ul day for 31the — sts from ordi our the dioc in Jesus nation of three new Church represen Christ,” ting the sem ese and cler priests said Bish gy new chio, prin prie op Chec- nandi; and deacon inaries of the ordi cipa after a proc l celebrant and s. - Father sts — Father Mho Family, homilist, nchan Roy Emeritus ession that include Mass from some of whom cam Tabera Vas Quesea and Father Pau d Hawaii and e to M quez. celebrating l G. Bootkoski, Bishop friends the Philippi the and who nes, prie ordination the 50th anniversary was new prie members of the stly ministry pari sts to the prie as parochia sthood thatof his tion were had served while shes the Bernard in formaamong the l vica of Clairva day; cam ux Parish, con ter; Father e to offe Brid r prayerfu gregation that Que sea as St. Joseph l support Parish, Nor parochial v to the th Plainfie ld


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Diocesan Events

From left, Dale and Barbara Hoff and Robert and Linda Rosso were among more than 160 couples who attended the Silver and Gold Anniversa for Catholic marriages of 25, ry 50 or more years at the Cathedral Prayer Service Assisi, Metuchen, Oct. 27. See of St. Francis of story on page 6.


es 17-41

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78 pilFor three days in late October, Metuchen, grims from the Diocese of went led by Bishop James F. Checchio, The on a spiritual journey to Mexico. the for pilgrimage was in preparation through Jesus diocese’s consecration to Dec. 12, her on Guadalupe of Lady Our feast day. apIn 1531, the Blessed Mother and directed peared to St. Juan Diego so she could him to have a “temple” built Today the bring individuals to her son. of Lady Our of church, now the Shrine devoGuadalupe, encompasses several origithe tional sites, such as Tepeyac, appeared to nal place where Our Lady and basilica original the Diego, St. Juan in 1976, the “new Shrine,” constructed Juan Diego, that houses the “Tilma” of the image of which is emblazoned with to him. The Our Lady as she appeared te larger shrine was built to accommoda annuwho the nearly 300,000 pilgrims love to visit ally come in a journey of “She is our Our Lady, who told us that

mother.” in The diocese’s pilgrims arrived of Oct. 20. Mexico City the evening headed first Early the next morning they Tlatelolco, to the Church of Santiago, and where Juan Diego was baptized, the Shrine then they attended Mass at in the Old of Our Lady of Guadalupe Basilica. at the Bishop Checchio presided homily he Mass in the Shrine. In his with encounters told the pilgrims, “Our that should God are sacred moments and evoke humility, gratitude, reverence unlives our praise. God is in control of home. us calls til He



This issue

pacts undly im

24 NO. 20 • $2.00 NOVEMBER 14, 2019 • VOL.

, pages 11 to15


Deacons gather Christ at three-day retr eat. . . 3


Ave Maria

of Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

By Thomas J. Smith and Joanne Ward

• $2.00 NO. 25 VOL. 20



Catholic Spirit Men, women from diocese

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Perspectiv es

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Diocesan Events

Moral Decisions

Speakers at conference encourage attendees

Classifieds to keep Christ in mind at home, work. . . 3

4 18-19 26 27 27

Our Faith Around the

Milestone in

Bishop emeritus


celebrates 50th

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February 6, 2020  

February 6, 2020