December 2020 by The Catholic Spirit - Issuu

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2020 Bishop’s Annual Appeal final report, 16

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THE OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF METUCHEN

DECEMBER 17, 2020 • VOL. 25 NO. 13 • $2.00

INSIDE Perspectives Our Faith

Special Recognition

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Diocesan Events

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Classifieds

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Bishop leads Missionary Childhood Association Award Ceremony. . .3 This issue was mailed on December 15 Your next issue will be January 21, 2021


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Bishop: faith, good works, generosity of faithful inspiring faithful throughout the diocese have word they spoke. Yes, this graced season of hope is demonstrated. Prayer is so powerful — a time when we prepare our hearts for it changes everything and I am fortuthe birth of our Lord as we are called nate to have a unique window into your to focus more intently on Him and His prayer lives and the opportunity to pray coming more fully into our world and daily for your intentions. The sacrifice and generosity I have our lives. He is ultimately the answer to all our struggles. He desires to be with witnessed in recent months has been so The Season of Advent is my fa- us, always. As we see so many in our truly inspiring. Our pastors submitted vorite liturgical season as it is a season world looking for answers and mean- nominations for Disciples of Mercy of hope. Hope is a combination of the ing in all the wrong places, we are re- who were recognized at our recent desire for something and the expecta- minded anew where we are to place our Catholic Charities Virtual Gala. The tion of receiving it. Our desire is for hope each day. We still have some time commitment of these disciples to serve the least of our brothers Jesus, and that is what Advent prepares left in Advent to commit and sisters in need during us for, Jesus’ coming to us again and ourselves to increased Even with all of the this pandemic was aweagain! During Advent, we are regularly time in prayer and good reminded in our readings about all that works. It is not too late! challenges we have some! Their creativity and perseverance, too, God has done throughout the millenThis year, as we been confronted was something to benia before Jesus’ birth to meticulously reflect on Advent, most prepare the world for His arrival. We of us will also remem- with, I am excited hold. My heartfelt thanks goes out to all of them. are also reminded that we are a pilgrim ber COVID-19, which Our parishes, St. Vincent and so grateful people as we read about generations of has greatly impacted de Paul Societies, Social our ancestors longing for the coming of our lives not only durto share with you Outreach committees the Messiah. We join with them, know- ing the four weeks being we were made for and destined fore Christmas, but also that we have not and our own Catholic Charities initiatives to for heaven with our Lord, guided on during the past eight only reached but help those in need during our way by His Mother and the saints months. Most especialwho intercede for us as our friends in ly, we grieve with those surpassed our 2020 the pandemic continues to be amazing. I thank all heaven, assisting us on our way. who have lost loved Bishop’s Annual who are striving to live Our recent renewal of our conse- ones. In addition, all of the Gospel message in cration to Jesus through Our Lady of us have learned to work, Appeal goal of our challenging times. Guadalupe was another reminder of go to school and even Even with all of the God’s desire to reach out to us through seek recreation in new $7.2 million! challenges we have been His dear mother. For me, having lived ways. Many are or have confronted with, I am many years in Rome, where so many been isolated because of illness or in an saints are buried, it was always inspir- effort to try and stay safe. Many of you excited and so grateful to share with ing to read their stories and visit their have shared with me that you are still you that we have not only reached but tombs to seek their intercession and attending Mass virtually instead of in surpassed our 2020 Bishop’s Annual learn from their example of how to person, but longing to receive the Eu- Appeal goal of $7.2 million! This is a live in the world. So many dedicated charist. Together, we have experienced tremendous accomplishment that we lay faithful, clerics and religious built extraordinary and challenging times as achieved together as a community of up the Kingdom of God in their own life seems to constantly change. Yet, faith through prayers and sacrifice. It unique ways. They remind us that even with all of the uncertainty, we have had is a testament to your commitment to in our struggles, which have been plen- to stay awake, stay attentive as Advent ensure that the ministries in the Diotiful for us this Advent, we always have reminded us, to witness moments of cese of Metuchen remain vibrant. The Church of Metuchen is alive thanks to to keep heaven in mind! The saints grace. were not perfect; they had their own Hopefully, we have made these your good efforts! Your generous and struggles and challenges, too, but they months into a time of more intense faithful support gives me great hope always strove to stay united with Christ prayer, devotion and sacrifice. I have that we will continue to be a source of in prayer and let that friendship guide seen this in our diocese and have been hope, love and charity to one another every decision they made and every inspired by the spiritual connection our and our neighbors who need Christ the most. You will find a final report on the Bishop’s Annual Appeal on page 16 in this edition of “The Catholic Spirit.” THE Please know that the funds raised in the Bishop’s Annual Appeal are beTHE OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF METUCHEN ing used exclusively for the ministries Serving the Catholic community in Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and Warren Counties outlined in the Appeal materials. These e-Mail: news@catholicspirit.com funds are restricted to the many vital The Catholic Spirit Subscription and advertising deadlines: Tuesday, 1 p.m. needs made possible through your supP.O. Box 191 • Metuchen, NJ 08840 PHONE: (732) 562-2424 • FAX: (732) 562-0969 The acceptance of advertising by The Catholic Spirit port for the formation of our seminarfor print or online publication, does not constitute an PUBLISHER ians and deacons, outreach to our youth Bishop James F. Checchio endorsement of any product or service. The Catholic Spirit reserves the right to reject any advertising it and young adults, and programs to EDITOR considers objectionable. assist couples through marriage prepaFather Timothy A. Christy, V.G. The Catholic Spirit is a member of the ration. With your help we are able to Catholic Press Association and the MANAGING EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR New Jersey Catholic Advertising Network Father Glenn J. Comandini, STD Chris Donahue continue our efforts in evangelization (732) 562-2461 (732) 529-7935 The Catholic Spirit (U.S.P.S.#14-804) is and catechesis, advocacy for human published every other week, by the Roman ADVISOR life and dignity, and effectively minisCatholic Church, Diocese of Metuchen, 146 Metlars Joanne Ward Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854. Subscription price is $30 ter to people of varied ethnicities and BUSINESS MANAGER GRAPHIC DESIGNER per year. Periodicals postage paid at Bellmawr, NJ and Judy Leviton • (732) 529-7934 Jill Gray • (732) 529-7956 languages. additional mailing office. ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT In particular, the ministry of CathPOSTMASTER: Send change of address notice to Nanette M. Kubian • (732) 765-6444 Laura Ferreras • (732) 529-7932 The Catholic Spirit, 146 Metlars Lane, olic Charities continues to provide vital

DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

UP FRONT

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Bishop James Checchio

Catholic Spirit

Piscataway, NJ 08854.

services by assisting the homeless, hungry, or those without emotional support both in ordinary times and in the difficult days of the pandemic. These needs have only expanded during this time. Indeed, many lives have been impacted and transformed by Catholic Charities. I invite you to learn more about this ministry, specifically the response from Catholic Charities during the pandemic, by visiting www.diometuchen. org/champions and watching the 2020 Champions for Catholic Charities Virtual Gala. You will see how the Works of Mercy are alive in our diocese and how we are serving thousands of people in need every day. The support to our 2020 Bishop’s Annual Appeal will have a significant impact on the lives of so many. Your faith and generosity are deeply appreciated and I am so grateful to be a part of such a loving and generous diocese. We face an unknown future together. There are some who have been affected economically by the pandemic and as a result have not been able to support this year’s Bishop’s Annual Appeal. Yet together, we are able to put the love of Christ in action, serve as disciples of Christ, and continue to live our mission. Indeed, we are able to accomplish many great things because of your generosity. You make the Kingdom of God alive in our midst; you bring Christ to others, making Him and His love known right here in Central New Jersey. While we are all on different paths of our spiritual journey you can be confident that God is guiding us. He always is. This is what Advent and our upcoming Christmas celebration remind us of so poignantly. There have been so many acts of selflessness in recent months. It is because of this that I know so many of you are renewing your trust in Him and are answering His call. Again, thank you to all those who supported this year’s appeal, whether it be through prayer, financial support or both. Please know of my daily prayers for all of you. It is such a great joy to be your Bishop. Please pray for me, too. I love you and look forward to continuing to work with all of you to make God’s presence known in our parishes and our beautiful diocese. God bless you all! A blessed Advent and Christmas to all of you and your loved ones. With renewed best wishes, I remain Yours in Christ,

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


of the

OUR DIOCESE

Where in the diocese can it be found?

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Image Week

Last issue's image... Bishop James F. Checchio, left, assisted by Father John G. Hillier, right, director, diocesan Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies, presents a Missionary Childhood Association Award to Oratorian Father Jeffrey M. Calia, pastor, Holy Trinity Parish, Bridgewater, at the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center chapel. — Mike Ehrmann photo

Continued on page 9

The image, which was featured on page 3 of the November issue of The Catholic Spirit, can be found at Blessed Sacrament, Martinsville.

The winner is...

As of press time, no one has correctly identified the image. To be a winner, you must call (732) 562-2424 after 9 a.m. Monday. The first caller to correctly identify the image and its location will receive a one year subscription, renewal or gift subscription to The Catholic Spirit. Those who correctly identify an image are not eligible to take another guess for 90 days.

DECEMBER 17, 2020

“Giving praise to the Father for bringing Christ into the world, we then receive the Body of Christ. We become the Body of Christ. We take on Christ and we take Him out into the world,” asserted Bishop Checchio. “That’s what you’re doing so well and that’s why missions are such a beautiful thing to think about and to be able to help with.” Addressing the families, pastors, teachers, school administrators, and catechists present, the bishop said, “I’m so grateful for all you do to support, not just the children in our parishes but, children throughout the world.” Bishop Checchio also thanked and praised the work of the diocesan Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies. He said the office is very active and the missionary work continues year-round, with endless requests for help from around the world. “You’re helping to answer those needs,” he said to the students, “and most importantly, you’re helping our Lord answer those needs.” Father John G. Hillier, director, diocesan Office of the Pontifical

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

priests and welcome them in before Mass, and how he spoke of the pasPISCATAWAY -- When Bishop James toral joy he felt during the many bapF. Checchio addressed the small crowd tisms that took place after the Mass. “With the coronavirus, things are gathered recently in the chapel at the St. John Neumann Pastoral Center, he all the more complicated there,” said recalled a past visit to a friend of his Bishop Checchio. “They’re really sufwho was a priest ministering in a vil- fering this year, so your generosity and sacrifice is even more lage in South Africa. “The children in the important this year beIn the chapel were cause the people there Catholic school and school and parish are in even greater religious education need right now.” students, who were programs who will Acknowledgjoined by members of their families, pas- receive awards tonight, ing that the pandemic has led to significant tors, teachers, school as well as others struggles and challengadministrators, and throughout our es for many and even catechists. They were the diocese’s representing their diocese, did so much affected normal celebration of schools and religious World Mission Suneducation programs, to help so many in day, Bishop Checchio which were honored spite of the many encouraged prayer. Oct. 14 at the diocese’s “There are many Missionary Childhood challenges they people making more Association Awards have faced these sacrifices and facing Ceremony, for their challenges, but commitment, generoslast months with the more they’re praying for us ity, and sacrifice to the Church’s missionary ongoing coronavirus and we’re praying for them, too,” he said. activity. All listened pandemic.” “That’s the beautiful intently as the bishop —Father John G. Hillier thing about missions in spoke. the Catholic Church — The bishop said his friend told him the people in the we’re all united together.” He reminded the students that village “were so joyful, even though they lived in such poverty.” He talked when they gather to celebrate the Euabout how the priest recalled the grati- charist, they are connected, in a way, tude of the people there, who traveled to the different Eucharistic celebrato the edge of the village to greet the tions going on throughout the world. By Tara Smith


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Remember reason for season: Jesus is God with us

PERSPECTIVES

We all have Christmas expectations. We imagine that Christmas should be marked by snowflakes gently falling from the sky; not a lot of snow that would cause travel hazards, just a little coating of the white stuff so that it looks like a Currier & Ives postcard. Instead, maybe we get a “nor’easter.”

Body & Soul By Father Glenn J. Comandini, STD On Christmas, we want peace on earth, good will toward all — but in reality, we live in a world where it’s not unusual for us to experience strife, friction and division, at home, work or, yes, even in Church. Ideally, Christmas should be spent in the company of family and friends

— but sometimes that is not how we so guaranteed — but who would have find ourselves due to the death of a thought that Joseph would have to loved one, a divorce, a son leave not only Bethlehem Israel itself and flee into or daughter in the military Little did she but or another who lives 2,000 Egypt with Mary and Jesus. miles away — grandkids [Mary] expect Who would have expected growing up without us. a carpenter’s life to become Well, this contrast be- such a tough one of a fugitive? Why was tween our Christmas expectime finding his life as a father cut short tations and Christmas reality before his son even began a place to his public ministry? mirrors, to a certain degree, the first Christmas. After all, Our lives have changed stay in such a drastically the angel made everything because of the seem so simple to Mary. dingy town as COVID-19 pandemic. We have to gather in small Little did she expect such a Bethlehem. groups. We have to avoid tough time finding a place to stay in such a dingy town physical contact with othas Bethlehem. Little did she ers, no more handshakes expect to have a baby in a barn on dirty or hugs, just fist bumps or a wave. We straw. Little did she know that her heart cannot go out with the whole family to would be pierced by many swords — a restaurant for dinner; furthermore, we all because she was the mother of Jesus. have been told to keep family gatherJoseph, too, had received instructions ings small even at home. We now wear by an angel about his mission in life. masks as we would everyday clothAgain, everything seemed so simple, ing. Social distancing requires that we

not sit or stand alongside each other, whether in church, work or home. A vaccine is on the horizon but it will take time to inoculate every person who calls the United States home. Despite the uncomfortable restrictions COVID-19 has draped over our lives, let us not forget the true meaning of Christmas that warrants love, gratitude and joy. A savior is born, who is Christ the Lord. Expectations are often remolded after a head-on collision with reality. But that’s okay because whether we spend Christmas in snow or a nor’easter — whether we spend Christmas with lots of people or spend it alone — whether we are dressed in silk or denim — it’s Christmas and no one can take that away from us. We have glad tidings which bear repeating: Jesus is God with us. Merry Christmas! Father Comandini is managing editor of The Catholic Spirit

Community’s quest for religious liberty continues We are grateful for the many people case. We never wanted this fight and who have reached out to support us after our victory at the Supreme Court and assure us of their prayers. in 2016 we thought it was over. However, we have also been subWe were relieved beyond meajected to criticism, derision and even sure to retreat from the limelight and death threats. We’d like nothing better return to our mission of caring for the than to return to our mission unhin- elderly without the threat of multidered by the fear of milmillion-dollar fines hangWe have been ing over our heads. But lions of dollars in fines. But our name still appears then a number of states subjected to in the daily news cycle sued to take away our and much of what is said criticism, derision hard-earned exemption. about us is inaccurate. Faced with the possibility and even death of huge fines once again, To clarify the conOur mission calls us to live far fusion I would like to threats. We’d like we had no choice but to from the spotlight, but in the last sev- respond to some of the return to Court. nothing better en years we have found ourselves in most common questions Second. We are not the public square more times than we and criticisms we face, trying to impose anything than to return could have ever imagined or desired. including the following: on anyone. We feel that Despite three wins at the Su- 1) You shouldn’t be inothers have repeatedly to our mission preme Court, an Executive Order and volved in politics; 2) You tried to impose their vala new rule that protects us and other seek to impose your re- unhindered by the ues on us by insisting nonprofit religious groups from the ligious beliefs on people fear of millions of that we cooperate in the unconstitutional HHS contraceptive who do not share your provision of services that dollars in fines. are incompatible with our mandate, our legal saga is not yet faith; 3) You do not care completely over. Several states and about women who are Catholic faith. We wish many politicians have promised not to prescribed hormonal cononly to remain faithful to rest until they succeed in stealing our traceptives for a variety of health is- our own deeply held beliefs. hard-won exemption from the HHS sues; 4) Your religious liberty claims Our employees come from many mandate away from us. are really nothing more than a cover different religious backgrounds and For many of our Sisters, this time for discrimination. they are free to use contraceptives. in the public eye has been a source of First. We are, and always have These are readily available through anxiety and a chronic distraction from been, apolitical. We have been very many channels, often at no cost, withour mission of caring for the elderly. distressed by the politicization of our out our involvement. Third. We understand that many women are prescribed hormonal contraceptives to treat serious health If you were sexually abused by a member of the clergy or anyone representing the Catholic Church, or you issues. Catholic teaching has always know of someone who was, you are encouraged to report that abuse to local law enforcement, the New allowed the use of “contraceptives” Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency at 1-877-NJ ABUSE (652-2873) or 1-800-835-5510 for legitimate therapeutic purposes. (TTY/TDD for the deaf), and also the Diocesan Response Officer at (908) 930-4558 (24 hours/7 days a week). So, our employee health plans have always covered them in this context. For more information on how to report abuse, visit our diocesan website: Fourth. The accusations of dishttps://diometuchen.org/healing

DECEMBER 17, 2020

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

As Little Sisters of the Poor we find our joy in sharing our lives with those whom many in our society would prefer to forget — the elderly poor.

How to report abuse

crimination have been particularly hurtful to us. Throughout our 181year history, we Little Sisters of the Poor have cared for needy elderly persons of every race or religion, even in a number of predominantly nonChristian countries. We employ individuals regardless of race or religion and welcome the collaboration of people from diverse walks of life. We believe that our willingness to care for and work with anyone is one of the truest ways to live out the religious faith that animates our ministry. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has released a document entitled “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship” (https://www.usccb.org/offices/ justice-peace-human-development/ forming-consciences-faithful-citizenship). In the document, the USCCB states: “As Catholics, we are part of a community with a rich heritage that helps us consider the challenges in public life and contribute to greater justice and peace for all people.” The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all more aware of our interdependence as brothers and sisters in one human family. We pray that this heightened sense of solidarity will foster a stronger sense of civility and mutual respect so that all Americans can freely live according to their sincerely held religious beliefs. Sister Constance Veit is the director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor


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Compiled from the Catholic News Service

Pope Francis meets with NBA players’ union delegation to discuss promoting social justice VATICAN CITY — A delegation representing the National Basketball Players Association, a union representing professional athletes from the NBA, met with Pope Francis and spoke with him about their work in promoting social justice. The players association said the group meeting the pope Nov. 23 included: Marco Belinelli, a shooting guard for the San Antonio Spurs; Sterling Brown and Kyle Korver, shooting guards for the Milwaukee Bucks; Jonathan Isaac, power forward for the Orlando Magic; and Anthony Tolliver, a 13year power forward who is currently a free agent. The NBPA said the meeting “provided an opportunity for the players to discuss their individual and collective efforts addressing social and economic injustice and inequality occurring in their communities.” NBA players have been vocal on social justice issues throughout the year, especially after the shocking death of George Floyd by police officers in May sparked massive protests across the United States. Before resuming the basketball season following its

suspension due to the NBA reached a deal to display social justice messages on their jerseys. Michele Roberts, executive director of the NBPA, said in a statement Nov. 23 that the meeting with the pope “validates the power of our players’ voices.” “That one of the most influential leaders in the world sought to have a conversation with them demonstrates the influence of their platforms,” said Roberts, who also was at the meeting. “I remain inspired by our players’ continued commitment to serve and support our community.” According to ESPN, union officials said an “intermediary” for the pope reached out to the NBPA and informed them of Pope Francis’ interest in their efforts to bring attention to social justice issues and economic inequality. Korver said in a statement that the association was “extremely honored to have had this opportunity to come to the Vatican and share our experiences with Pope Francis” and that the pope’s “openness and eagerness to discuss these issues was inspiring and a reminder that our work has had a global impact

Pope Francis poses for a photo with a delegation from the National Basketball Players Association during a private audience at the Vatican Nov. 23, 2020. The group included Marco Belinelli of the San Antonio Spurs; Sterling Brown of the Milwaukee Bucks; Jonathan Isaac of the Orlando Magic; Kyle Korver of the Milwaukee Bucks; and Anthony Tolliver, a free agent who most recently played for the Memphis Grizzlies. — CNS photo/Vatican Media and must continue moving forward.” “Today’s meeting was an incredible experience,” Tolliver said. “With the pope’s support and blessing, we are excited to head into this next season

reinvigorated to keep pushing for change and bringing our communities together.”

Pope Francis creates 13 new cardinals

Lights! Camera! Plenary!: What goes into planning

VATICAN CITY — One by one 11 senior churchmen, including two U.S. citizens-Cardinals Wilton D. Gregory of Washington and Silvano M. Tomasi, a former Vatican diplomat -- knelt before Pope Francis to receive their red hats, a cardinal’s ring and a scroll formally declaring their new status and assigning them a “titular” church in Rome. But with the consistory Nov. 28 occurring during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis actually created 13 new cardinals. Cardinals Jose F. Advincula of Capiz, Philippines, and Cornelius Sim, apostolic vicar of Brunei, did not attend the consistory because of COVID-19 travel restrictions; however, they are officially cardinals and will receive their birettas and rings at a later date, the Vatican said. According to canon law, cardinals are created when their names are made public “in the presence of the College of Cardinals.” While many Rome-based cardinals attended the consistory, more members of the college were “present” online. The pandemic also meant the gathering was unusually small; each cardinal was accompanied by a priest-secretary and could invite a handful of guests, so there were only about 100 people in the congregation at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica. The new cardinals came from eight countries: Italy, Malta, the United States, Brunei, the Philippines, Mexico, Rwanda and Chile.

WASHINGTON — There’s a theater adage that if you have a lousy dress rehearsal, you’re likely to have a great performance. Well, what if you had four dress rehearsals -- twice as many as you had anticipated -and the outlook was still dodgy? The adage still apparently held true for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general meeting Nov. 16-17, held virtually due to the pandemic. Considering the many complexities that had to be worked out, the entire two-day meeting worked out smoothly, said Amy Newlon, manager for meetings and events at the USCCB. When the USCCB spring meeting was canceled, the thinking

emerged that the U.S. bishops might not be able to gather in person in November either, according to Newlon. “We started forming a working group back as early as May looking at all the implications,” she told Catholic News Service in a Nov. 18 phone interview. “We started looking at what other bishops’ conferences were doing” in lieu of in-person meetings. “The actual decision didn’t get made until August, but we were working on it, knowing that was probably a likely thing knowing the state of Maryland had a ban on conventions,” Newlon said. For most of the 2000s, the USCCB has held its fall general meeting in Baltimore.

WASHINGTON — In response to the upcoming federal execution of Orlando Hall Nov. 19, and two more federal executions scheduled to take place in December, two U.S. bishops’ committee chairmen called on the government to end this practice. “We ask President (Donald) Trump and Attorney General (William) Barr, as an act of witness to the dignity of all human life: stop these executions,” said the Nov. 18 statement from Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities. “Sadly, we must call on the administration

yet again to stop an execution,” the archbishops said, noting the country is “now on pace for 10 federal executions in 2020, more than double the previous record of four in 1938.” The archbishops’ statement said the death penalty is “not necessary to protect society. It is not necessary to hold people accountable for grave crimes. The decision not to execute someone, even someone who has done something terrible, is not ‘soft on crime’; rather, it is strong on the dignity of life.” They also quoted “Fratelli Tutti,” the recent encyclical by Pope Francis, which says: “The firm rejection of the death penalty shows to what extent it is possible to recognize the inalienable dignity of every human being and accept that he or she has a place in the universe.”

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020

U.S. bishops: “Stop federal executions”

Cardinal Wilton Gregory, Archbishop of Washington, D.C. pledges obedience to the Holy Father at the consistory held at St. Peter’s Basilica on November 28. Cardinal Gregory is the first African-American Cardinal. Like the other newly designated princes of the Church, Cardinal Gregory had to promise to give up his life, if necessary, for the faith.

WORLD & NATION

WORLD & NATION


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Outdoor Mass celebrated in thanksgiving for God's gift of nature By Christina Leslie Correspondent BOUND BROOK — The young sapling stood along busy Mountain Avenue, its leaves rustling in the morning breeze. Though spindly now, it represented hope for a better tomorrow, an attitude more tuned to nature and respect for the environment, declared Msgr. Joseph J. Kerrigan, pastor, St. Joseph Parish. “‘The harvest is abundant, but laborers are few’ is no longer just a metaphor for the fruits of the Gospel mission,” he said during an Oct. 1 outdoor Mass in thanksgiving for God’s creation. “The preservation of the harvest itself, Mother Earth itself, has become an urgent part of the mission of proclaiming and living God’s reign.” An anonymous gift of the young red oak tree to the parish prompted its pastor to hold a Mass to honor God’s gift of nature and pledge to protect it. “Since Pope Francis issued ‘Laudato Si’ [On Care for our Common Home] five years ago,” he said, “the impetus has been to redouble our efforts. This is the season of creation.” Msgr. Kerrigan noted that “Pope Francis’ words ring even more with an alarm bell. Mother Earth cries out to us because of the harm we have in-

flicted upon her by the irresponsible as the “Little Flower” who had utuse and abuse of the goods of which tered, “I am only a very little soul God has endowed her. A little gesture who can offer very little things to our like today, hopefully, all that see us Lord,” he declared, “Even a legacy of know we are serious about taking our a little flower can bloom and flourworship into creation.” ish. If we just let creCaring for the “It is our time to care ation be creation, we environment is the reare fine… If I had no sponsibility of all, the for [the environment] homily today, I think priest asserted, and the adlibbing it as crein a more enthusi- just pandemic “has tragiation unfolds before us cally brought out our astic way. What we would give us all we interconnectivity. It is need.” do with the relative our time to care for [the As Tony Varas, environment] in a more director, diocesan Ofamount of seconds enthusiastic way. What fice of Worship, beat a we have in the we do with the relative drum and sang “From amount of seconds we corner of creation history of the planet the have in the history of to the center where we the planet has an enorstand / Let all things be has an enormous mous impact on the blessed and holy. All years for everybody impact on the years is fashioned by your who follows us… for everybody who hand,” Msgr. Kerrigan “The harvest of walked a few yards follows us…” mother earth is, thank from the steps of the god, still abundant, we — Msgr. Joseph J. Kerrigan church to a grassy hill can see it in the beauty upon which the red of the trees, the birds, oak was planted, and the sky. It is there for the taking. The blessed it. labor of those who work for it and The red oak (Quercus rubra) was champion it are few,” Msgr. Kerrigan chosen the New Jersey state tree in said. 1950. It is a moderately fast-growing Noting that Oct. 1 is the feast of oak with a deep root system which can St. Therese of the Child Jesus, known reach heights of 60 to 75 feet and a

Msgr. Joseph J. Kerrigan, pastor, St. Joseph Parish, blesses a red oak (Quercus rubra) — the New Jersey state tree — at an outdoor Mass. — Christina Leslie photo

spread of 45 to 50 feet. The tree was donated as part of the parish’s ongoing landscaping and beautification project.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen

DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

ANNUAL RESPECT LIFE MASS & PRESENTATION OF PRO-VITA AWARDS Join us on the actual anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion in the United States

January 22, 2021 • 5:00 PM We celebrate God’s gift of Human Life and the 2021 Pro-Vita awardees (to be announced)

Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi 32 ELM AVENUE, METUCHEN

Celebrant and Homilist Most Reverend James F. Checchio

JCD, MBA, Bishop of Metuchen

The Mass will be live streamed. Tickets are available for those who wish to attend. Seating is limited so registration is required. Please register here: www.diometuchen.org/humanlifeanddignity For more information contact human.life.and.dignity@diometuchen.org or call the Office of Human Life and Dignity at 732-562-1990, ext. 1629 or 1543.


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Safely treating you better...for life. Sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020

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8 OUR DIOCESE DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Parochial school students earn top prize in design competition

Their submission for the “new workplace” included cubicles with fabric walls sprayed with a Microban solution to minimize germs, a dry erase KENDALL PARK — Girl power plus wall and a personal sanitizing station. great education has equaled a winAutomatic doors would be installed ning combination for St. Augustine of throughout the building. Single bathCanterbury School classmates Alyssa rooms with motion-sensor faucets and Olegario and Gisel Calullo. hand sanitizer dispensers located at the The middle school collaborators door were also incorporated. Reception are the winners of the Workspace Catareas were designed with limited seategory Contest recently hosted by Work ing. While conference rooms were also Design Magazine. Despite being the designed with limited seating, cubicles youngest entrants, their ingenuity has would be outfitted with intercom syscarried them to top honors amongst tems to allow employees to remotely tough competition from design firms join meetings. and individuals of all ages. In addition, ultraviolet light panels “My dad found this contest on would be utilized in cubicles to sanitize LinkedIn and showed it to me,” exthe area and in the HVAC system to aid plained Alyssa. “When I read about the HEPA filtration. Monitors would be aucontest, I was immediately fascinated tomated to move in and out of cabinets and I wanted to enter. That's when I for cleaning and storage. Employees asked Gisel to join me. We were really would simply need to clean their own excited to work on this together.” keyboards. For these girls, who have been “I was already so happy when I friends since they were 5 years old, entering the contest provided an oppor- Alyssa Olegario, left, and Gisel Calullo, seventh-graders at St. Augustine of Canterbury found out that we were finalists,” Gisel tunity to learn as well as a way to use School, Kendall Park, pose for a photo. The classmates, who have been friends since said. “When I found out that we actuthe knowledge, skills and confidence they were five-years-old, collaborated to win a Workspace Category Contest hosted by ally won the contest and that we were they have gained each day at St. Au- Work Design Magazine. Their design included conference rooms with limited seating the youngest team, I was ecstatic. The and cubicles with intercom systems to allow employees to remotely join meetings. win was all the more sweeter because I gustine’s. —photo courtesy of St. Augustine of Canterbury School won with my friend Alyssa. I am really “One of the things I love most grateful to her for sharing the opportuabout St. A’s is the school’s dedication to making sure its students are ‘life- just happen in the classroom. Many of Goldberg…St. A’s really encourages nity with me.” When asked to submit a photo of long learners’ as our principal, Sister us are involved with sports and clubs this ‘beyond the classroom’ learning Mary Louise, often says,” noted Gisel. in and outside of school. Many of us and is so supportive every step of the themselves to the magazine, the girls chose to be photographed in their St. Au“For St. A’s students, learning doesn’t compete in Odyssey of the Mind, Rube way.” As the girls set off brainstorming, gustine uniforms. While the win in itself they developed many creative ideas was wonderful, yet not surprising news they bounced off each other to ensure for school principal Sister Mary Louise, a member of the Relithey maintained focus gious Teachers Filippini and met their joint vi“We met several community, knowing sion for the workspace. the girls had chosen to The most practical and times [remotely] to represent St. Augustine effective ideas were those they chose to talk about our ideas, made it very special. “These young laincorporate. which allowed us dies are so talented,” Then, working in a manner of true colto have more time said Sister Mary Louise. “Their work in science, laboration and profesin the end to put technology and math is sionalism which could always outstanding and be held as an example together our final very creative. They are for many adults well beyond their years, submission and make 21st century outsidethe students devised sure it met what our the-box thinkers and doers.” a plan with tasks and According to a schedule allowing original vision was for Sister Mary Louise, them to evenly divide the space. creativity is part of St. work. Tasks were as—Alyssa Olegario Augustine’s mission signed based on their statement and is one of individual strengths the qualities they strive and interests. “We met several times [remotely] to develop in students. With inspiring to talk about our ideas, which allowed teachers, thought provoking programs us to have more time in the end to put and impressive maker-spaces, developtogether our final submission and make ment of creative minds is carried out Second-graders at St. Helena School, Edison, are not letting travel restricsure it met what our original vision was from the youngest to the oldest starting tions stop them from trips across the world. In December, they plan to take for the space,” noted Alyssa. She added in Pre-K. Alyssa and Gisel are prime virtual visits to different countries and learn about how people there spend that her education definitely helped examples of the success of this mission. the holidays. The students created suitcases to take home souvenirs from the “Needless to say, we are very proud with planning. “I feel that the teachers places they visit. Some even came to class with masks on to stay safe from the have prepared us to handle projects. I of these young women,” stated Sister coronavirus during their travels. have learned to improve my time man- Mary Louise. “They are young leaders — photo courtesy of St. Helena School of tomorrow.” agement and organization skills.” By Stacey Daly Correspondent

World Travelers


entries were sent last year to the MissionMission Societies, agreed with the bishop. ary Childhood Association from Catholic “The children in the school and parish schools and religious education programs programs who will receive awards tonight, in the diocese. as well as others throughout our diocese, In total, 22 winning entries were sedid so much to help so many in spite of lected for the 2019-2020 school year and the many challenges they have faced these are currently on display at the Basilica of last months with the ongoing coronavirus the National Shrine of the Immaculate pandemic,” said Father Hillier. “Even in Conception, Washington, D.C., where they these most challenging times, our children will be exhibited throughout the Advent prevailed — a great example to us.” and Christmas seasons. Speaking of the students in the dioFather Hillier noted that the Missioncese’s schools and religious education pro- ary Childhood Association, a Pontifical grams, Father Hillier stated, “They did not Mission Society that is charged with enforget their responsibility as followers of couraging all children to be aware of the Jesus to do all they could do through their needs of children living in mission diogenerous prayers and their material support ceses throughout the world and to support to help other children their exact age, who them both spiritually and sacrificially, “is live in poverty, often in dangerous and hor- uniquely the only association that involves rifying conditions marked by diseases and children helping children.” violence. On behalf of those children, who “I cannot express enough what a fanbenefit from your generosity, I say to you, tastic example you are to me and to all of ‘thank you.’” us,” added Father Hillier. In addition to those honored for their Smith is associate director, diocesan support of mission work throughout the Office of Communications world, one student was honored for her winning entry in the Missionary Childhood Top photo, Father John G. Hillier speaks to Association’s annual Christmas artwork students from the diocese’s schools and religious education programs at the Childcontest. The artwork of Elizabeth Bera, a hood Missionary Association awards cerseventh-grade student at St. Stanislaus emony. Below left and right, Bishop James Kostka School, Sayreville, was selected F. Checchio poses with Father Anthony M. pastor, St. Helena Parish, Edison, from among entries submitted by Sirianni, Arch10,000 of Newark 20-21.pdf 4 9/17/20 1:44 PM students from across the United States. and award winners. — Mike Ehrmann photos According to Father Hillier, more than 200

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Children who helped children with prayers, material support honored


10 OUR DIOCESE DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Annual gala reflects giving spirit of members of Diocese of Metuchen By Christina Leslie Correspondent “Catholic Charities is part of the mission of us all: to be baptized to spread the heart and mind of Jesus everywhere we go,” declared diocesan vicar general Father Timothy A. Christy during the 2020 Champions for Catholic Charities virtual gala and fundraiser Oct. 22. Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, the event’s usual gala dinner and awards ceremony took the form of a half-hour live broadcast and streaming video on the diocesan website. From left, the winners and their parishes of the Spirit of St. Francis Award announced at the 2020 Champions for Catholic Charities Diocese of Catholic Charities virtual gala Oc. 22: Mary Lynn Pappas, Immaculate Conception, Spotswood; Cheryl Gatti, St. Metuchen (CCDOM), which is supMary-Stony Hill; Lisa Hummel, St. Philip and St. James, Phillipsburg; and Joan Holmes, St. James, Basking Ridge. Not ported by the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, shown: Michael Bielawa, St. Elizabeth-St. Brigid, Peapack. serves the needy with more than 100 programs in about 20 locations. During this past year, staff and about 650 Charities’ “Keeping Families To- sure she was doing well during the volunteers and donors. The winners volunteers offered 40,000 hours of and their parishes include: Michael gether” program. Once addicted to pandemic isolation. counselling; cared for 1,594 children; Heidi reflected, “I was over- Bielawa, St. Elizabeth-St. Brigid, drugs, Amanda had lost custody of supplied the hungry with 155,014 her son and been arrested. “Keeping whelmed, anxious and depressed. Far Hills-Peapack; Cheryl Gatti, St. meals and helped more than 50,000 Families Together” program manager Now I have somebody to talk to me. I Mary-Stony Hill; Joan Holmes, St. people, according to its website. James, Basking Ridge; Lisa Hummel, Marci Booth noted that the first-of-its- realize that they are there for me.” Most recently, explained Julio “Catholic Charities is Christian St. Philip and St. James, Phillipsburg; kind program had assisted the young Coto, the agency’s acting executive woman with housing discipleship at its most fundamental,” Mary Lynn Pappas, Immaculate Condirector, the ongoing vouchers, therapy and said Msgr. William Benwell, pastor, ception, Somerville, and Knights of pandemic has strained "Catholic Chari- employment services. St. Mary-Stony Hill Parish, Watchung, Columbus Council 6930, Our Lady of already tight resources. and chairman of the CCDOM Board Lourdes, Whitehouse Stations. Today, Amanda is ties is Christian Over the past five The gala concluded with a living with her son inde- of Trustees. He noted that the agency months, Coto said, discipleship at its pendently and enrolled “didn’t miss a beat” during the coro- prayer from Bishop James F. ChecCCDOM has supplied in college full-time navirus, and advised the event’s view- chio, filmed standing within the food about 3,000 families most fundamental. studying medical tech- ers, “You are being the disciple that pantry at New Brunswick’s Unity with $1.3 million in Jesus talks about, the one who helps Square. nology. You are being the rental assistance and “There are corporal works of “You aren’t alone, people in need.” delivered 7,000 bags of disciple that Jesus Father Christy introduced the mercy going on all over our dioyou don’t have to be food. talks about, the alone,” she told her un- winners of the annual “Spirit of St. cese,” he said. “[Catholic Charities] Msgr. Joseph G. seen audience. “You are Francis Award,” given by CCDOM continues to be the beating heart of Celano, episcopal vicar one who helps not the only one going to illuminate the good works of its Christ for so many.” of administration and something. You people in need.” through pastor of Immaculate can make mistakes, but Conception Parish, — Msgr. William Benwell you can also fix them.” Somerville, said the The film shared a gala was “a celebration glimpse into the life of of and an invitation CCDOM client Heidi, to partner with the work of Catholic who had fallen into a deep depression Charities” during the recent panafter her husband died. The widow demic; he expressed gratitude for the benefited from the New Brunswicknumerous parishes which had stepped based PACT program, or Program forward to offer funds to the agency of Assertive Community Treatment. during the unprecedented year of need. Kevin Mal, a member of the program, Msgr. Celano introduced a segarranged for Heidi’s psychological ment about a client named Amanda, care, counseling, medicines and nurswho had been aided by Catholic ing, and visited her frequently to as-

Father F.A. Leonard Rusay, pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Whitehouse Station, presents the Spirit of St. Francis Award to, from left: Gery Boylan, Ralph Fortunato and Roman Hnidj, members of the Our Lady of Lourdes Knights of Columbus Council 6930, at Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Nov. 14.

— photo courtesy of Knights of Columbus Council 6930


OLD BRIDGE — St. Thomas the Apostle Parish began its 100th anniversary celebration Oct. 13 when a 20-gallon tank with a time capsule inside was unearthed. Father Jerome Johnson, pastor, was joined by parishioners, students and staff at St. Thomas the Apostle School, and Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry to watch the tank get uncovered. The time capsule was buried Nov. 3, 1996, when Msgr. John B. Szymanski was the pastor and Bishop Edward T. Hughes was shepherd of the diocese. They directed it to be opened in November 2021. Father Johnson said once the tank with the time capsule is removed from the ground, it will be cleaned and displayed in the vestibule of St. Thomas the Apostle Church. The parish will also have historical displays, church tours and a gala for its 100th anniversary celebration. The time capsule will be opened at the end of the parish’s 100th anniversary celebration in November 2021, Father Johnson said. After that, new items will be placed inside the time capsule, which will be reburied and opened again in 25 years. According to its website, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, which now serves about 4,700 registered families, began as a mission church of Our Lady of Victories parish,

Sayreville. The first St. Thomas Church was built on Old Bridge Turnpike and dedicated in 1921. The church was canonically established Nov. 21, 1932, but remained a misison of Our Lady of Victories. In 1941, Bishop William Griffin, the sixth shepherd of the Diocese of Trenton, established St. Thomas the Apostle as an independent parish. Father James Stephen Foley was appointed as its first pastor. Msgr. Szymanski, who became administrator of the parish in 1969 and pastor in 1973, wrote about its history in his book, “Towards New Horizons.” He described how Charlotte Elizabeth Hurtzig donated three acres of land for the building of the first St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. She was raised Protestant, but converted to Catholicism in 1917. The land was located at the entrance to the district of Old Bridge, where for generations, Catholics were not known or welcome, Msgr. Szymanski wrote. He noted that the parish was also adjacent to the Chestnut Hill Cemetery, where Catholic burials were not permitted. Writing about the parish’s first pastor, Msgr. Szymanski said in his book that Father Foley’s exceptional pastoral leadership at the crucial beginnings of the parish’s life set a standard for all his successors to emulate… He left a legacy of parish unity, pride, and purpose. By 1951, the parish served about 200 registered families. Middlesex County was

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Father Jay Johnson, fourth from left, pastor, St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Old Bridge, poses with (from left) Diane Zarate, vice principal, St. Thomas the Apostle School; eighth-grader Olivia Colangelo; Annette Pioppo, principal; Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry; Eileen Tabert, who leads various parish organizations; eighthgrader Alexa Ramirez; and Debbie Yesis, parish catechetical leader. — Mike Ehrmann photo

experiencing a steep growth in population and the parish had a growing number of members. Most of the new families had young children whose parents wanted to enroll them in a parochial school. In 1957, Father Walter Aloysius French, pastor, bought 11.7 acres of land on Route 18 in what was then Madison Township. On that site, a new parish church,

school, auditorium, and rectory were built. It is the current location of St. Thomas, which now serves about 4,700 registered families. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, no large-scale plans have been made for the 100th anniversary, Father Johnson said. However, he plans to lead a walk from St. Thomas’ previous location to its current site as part of the celebration.

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12 OUR DIOCESE DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Pastor of Nativity of Our Lord Parish for 18 years mourned at Masses By Chris Donahue Associate Editor and Christina Leslie Correspondent MONROE TOWNSHIP — Father Edward R. Flanagan, who was named pastor of Nativity of Our Lord Parish in 2002, had a great devotion to Jesus suffering on the cross. When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, he considered the illness a blessing to share in the suffering of Christ. This past July, Father Flanagan discussed the latest cross that he bore in a letter to his “parish family” that was published in the Sunday bulletin. His treatment he told them included whole brain radiation that had “horrific side effects” such as extreme fatigue, exhaustion and dehydration. “Like St. Paul on the road to Damascus I am now plunged into darkness,” he wrote. “I am stripped of any sense of consolation when it comes to my sensory perceptions: I am not able to drive, read, write or text due to the vision impairment that has left me unable to perform these simple tasks.

“When I spoke with the Bishop [James F. Checchio] I shared that one of my biggest ‘sorrows’ is not being able to celebrate daily Mass. I struggle for a new purpose in my life as a priest.” That purpose came from St. Bernadette, who had been a great intercessor for Father Flanagan. “She was once quoted as saying that her vocation was to suffer. Perhaps this is my chosen vocation: to make my suffering, my prayer, my spiritual path,” he explained. On Nov. 8, the cross that Father Flanagan carried was lifted from him when he died at the age of 58. Bishop Checchio presided at Father Flanagan’s funeral Mass Nov. 14. Father John Gabriel, pastor, St. Paul Parish, Ramsey, gave the homily. A fellow seminarian of Father Flanagan at St. Andrew’s College Seminary, Seton Hall University, South Orange, Father Gabriel began his homily by quoting a Latin epitaph at the tomb of architect Christopher Wren at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Wren helped rebuild the cathedral after it was destroyed by fire in 1666. “Reader, if you seek his monument — look around you,” quoted Father Gabriel. “Today, as we come to pray and give thanks for the life of a priest, in a powerful and especially appropriate way we say, ‘If you seek his monument, look around you.’ “As a servant of this parish family of Nativity of Our Lord for so long, we see Father Ed in the beauty of this temple, this house of God…We see a monument to Father Ed in the beauty of his relationship with his people. Those whom he served as he lived out the things that make up the life of a parish priest — baptizing, anointing and burying and allowing Christ to nourish his people through your ministry…”

Above, pallbearers carry the casket holding the remains of Father Edward R. Flanagan (right) at a funeral Mass at Nativity of Our Lord Church Nov. 14. Below left, Bishop James F. Checchio blesses the casket with holy water, and watches Father Robert G. Lynam pray during the consecration. Father Edmund A. Luciano III assists. — Mike Ehrmann photos

“Today the Lord calls us to a “Know he is with you and carries deeper faith, trust and love. As Father you in prayer before the face of God Ed preached so often to his people today. He was so grateful for all you from this very place where I stand did to help him throughout these few now, and we remember as we pray years of his illness and preparing for today, the words from an old German death.” proverb, which says, ‘Those who live The day before the funeral, a priin the Lord never see each other for vate reception of Father Flanagan’s the last time.’” body was held. Father Before Bishop Steven Murray, pasChecchio led the fi- “He loved his people. tor, St. Andre Bessette nal commendation He wasn’t afraid of Parish, Malone, N.Y., at Father Flanagan’s presided, and Father suffering. He wasn’t Adolph Kowalczyk, casket, he thanked the late priest’s family and pastor, Our Lady of afraid of dying. The the everyone at the parish Sacred Heart Par“who helped take care only time I saw him ish, Orchard Lake, of Father Ed the past N.Y., gave the homily. get upset during few years as he suffered A Mass of Commemoso much, but certainly my visits to him was ration followed with never gave up.” Father Paul D. Seil, when he would talk pastor, St. Bernadette “The renovation of the church took place about his parishioners Parish, also Orchard during his illness, but Park, presiding and nothing deterred him and he would start Father Robert G. Lyfrom continuing it,” nam, pastor, St. Ausaid Bishop Checchio, crying [and say], ‘I am gustine of Canterbury who dedicated and going to miss them. parish, Kendall Park, blessed elements of the giving the homily. They are so good.’" newly renovated house Father Seil and of worship in February. —Bishop James F. Checchio Father Flanagan met “He loved his peowhile studying at ple. He wasn’t afraid Christ the King Semiof suffering. He wasn’t nary, East Aurora, afraid of dying. The only time I saw N.Y. He visited his brother priest at him get upset during my visits to him Nativity of Our Lord frequently over was when he would talk about his pa- the years. rishioners and he would start crying Father Lynam and Father Flana[and say], ‘I am going to miss them. gan’s friendship, which began They are so good.’ Continued on next page


13 OUR DIOCESE

Above, Bishop James F. Checchio incenses the casket holding the remains of Father Edward R. Flanagan at a funeral Mass at Nativity of Our Lord Church Nov. 14. Right, Father John Gabriel, pastor, St. Paul Parish, Ramsey, gives the homily. Father Flanagan and Father Gabriel were fellow seminarians at St. Andrew’s College Seminary, Seton Hall University, South Orange. — Mike Ehrmann photos

Continued from previous page

thedral, Metuchen, by Bishop Emeritus Edward T. Hughes. He served as a parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish, Somerville; St. James Parish, Woodbridge; Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, South Plainfield; Immaculate Conception Parish, Spotswood; and St. Bernadette Parish, Parlin; and as administrator of Queenship of Mary Parish, Plainsboro. Father Flanagan served the diocese as a member of the Presbyteral Council, the College of Consultors and as a delegate to the Diocesan Synod. In addition to his sisters, he is survived by Maureen’s spouse, Joseph, of Delray Beach, Fla.; his nieces, Courtney Millan and Mia Stanzione, and his nephew, Edward Flanagan. Burial was at St. Joseph Cemetery, Toms River. Arrangements were handled by M. David DeMarco Funeral Home, Monroe Township. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Dominican Nuns — Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, 543 Springfield Ave., Summit, NJ 07901-4498 — www.summitdominicans.org or the Carmelite Monastery — 26 Harmony School Rd., Flemington, NJ 08822-2606 — www.flemingtoncarmel.org/donate.

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020

when they were seminarians, was renewed when both were members of the diocese’s Forsgate Deanery. Long meetings and lunches, as well as a trip to Rome together during the 25th anniversary of Father Lynam’s ordination to the priesthood, cemented the friendship. In his homily, Father Lynam reminded the congregation, “God is always speaking to us in the ordinary events of our lives. We have to have ears of faith and eyes of faith.” “Because of Father Ed’s spirituality, he was able to embrace the cross and knew he was not alone. His companion through his illness was Padre Pio. And he was never alone: you were with him,” Father Lynam said. “As Mary stood beneath the cross of Christ Jesus, you stood beneath the cross of Father Ed. “He got a glimpse of heaven when this church was consecrated anew,” he continued. “Today, he is sharing Easter joy with his mother and his father and many of his parishioners. He will always be with us, praying with us.” Born and raised in Jersey City, Father Flanagan was the son of the late Edward and Muriel (Hayes) Flanagan. Father Flanagan attended St. Nicholas School and Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey City. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in religious studies and philosophy at Seton Hall University, South Orange; and a Master of Divinity Degree at Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora, N.Y. Father Flanagan was ordained to the priesthood May 28, 1988, at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi Ca-


14 OUR DIOCESE DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Diocese receives $2,000 award for advocacy campaign for needy By Anthony Salamone Correspondent The faithful of Hispanic descent in the diocese brought it national notoriety in one effort to curb global hunger, which has been exacerbated by the nearly yearlong coronavirus pandemic. Their effort catapulted the diocese to place first in a contest called “Lidera el Camino: Advocacy Award” from the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry. Lidera el Camino is Spanish for “Lead the Way.” The diocese received $2,000 for the effort, according to Allan Caballero, director, diocesan Office of Hispanic Evangelization and Pastoral Ministry. The money will be donated to four local pregnancy centers, he said Dec. 10. “I think the bigger prize was not the money, but to see how committed

our people are and how we are improv- Some 20 dioceses from 15 states paring with our communications effort,” ticipated, she said. The association Caballero said recently. was grateful for all parThe national assoand especially “The fact that ticipants ciation sponsored three thanked two major antiawards to Hispanic minwe’re this small poverty organizations for istry directors who coltheir support: Catholic diocese in lected the largest number Relief Services and Bread of letters, e-mails and for the World. central New other communications adThe Diocese of San Jersey, and we Bernardino, Calif., placed dressed to Congress during several weeks in the and received had the most second fall pushing them to pro$1,000, and the Archdiovide assistance to the poor cese of Newark finished people sendand needy worldwide, third and collected $500. ing out letters noting how the global Caballero, who in COVID-19 pandemic has to legislators, it November was named diintensified the extent of rector, diocesan Office of means a lot." famine in nations, includEvangelization, has been ing the United States. director, diocesan Office —Allan Caballero Lia Salinas, vice of Hispanic Evangelizapresident for the National tion and Pastoral Ministry Catholic Association, said the contest and since July 2019. He said the diowas open to all dioceses nationwide. cese worked with lay parish leaders to

Giving Thanks St. James Parish, Basking Ridge, honored and prayed for law enforcement and first responders in Bernards Township and surrounding areas with a Blue Mass Oct. 28. Several of the officers who attended have children who attend St. James School. Msgr. Sylvester J. Cronin, pastor, and Father Leo Salvania, parochial vicar, celebrated Mass; Deacon Peter J. DePrima and Deacon Frank A. Sinatra assisted, at St. James Church and chapel, as students spread out in accordance with COVID-19 restrictions. After Mass, students gathered in front of the church and Msgr. Cronin led a blessing over all law enforcement officers. The school sang ‘God Bless America’ as students handed out cards they made showing their gratitude. — photos courtesy of St. James Parish

encourage people to submitting letters to lawmakers asking for additional funding to serve the poor. “I’m really surprised and happy with our people,” said Caballero, who is conferring with diocesan leaders to determine how best to apply the $2,000 to help the poor in the diocese. “The fact that we’re this small diocese in central New Jersey, and we had the most people sending out letters to legislators, it means a lot. “It speaks volumes in terms of the commitment of our people, and the engagement, and how effective the diocese is in getting the word out.” Noting how the Newark Archdiocese has many more members of Hispanic descent than Metuchen, a smiling Caballero also said he recently told Jennifer A. Ruggiero, secretary, who heads the diocesan Secretariat for Family and Pastoral Life, “I don’t know what’s better, beating Newark or the $2,000.”


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Above, Grace Mandy, left, and Maddie Rogala, members of Girl Scout Troop 83806, hold flags that were placed with the help of other members of the troop at the graves of veterans at Holy Cross Cemetery, East Brunswick. Right, Mandy, a member of Nativity of Our Lord Parish, Monroe Township, and Rogala, a member of Immaculate Conception Parish, Spotswood, pose in front of a memorial for military veterans at Holy Cross Cemetery. For their Silver Award Project, they have entered more than 5,500 graves on the “Find A Grave” website and have compiled a list of more than 1,200 veterans. The project must be completed by Dec. 31. —Michelle Rogala photos

at Holy Cross gave me a really good feeling knowing that we were honoring these people and how their families would appreciate what we were doing. I’m very proud of Maddie for taking on such a large project for her silver,” Michelle said.

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THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020

split the cemetery in two and began their time-consuming project. Grace, a member of Nativity of Our Scouting and history are a huge part of Lord Parish, Monroe Township, who atMaddie Rogala’s life. Her mother, Mi- tends Monroe Township High School, chelle, is the leader of her Troop 83806 liked the fact that she is linking families and her grandmother was Michelle’s together through “Find A Grave.” This leader. With such a legacy to follow, it is especially important since she also was no surprise that Maddie, a mem- has several family members buried in ber of Immaculate Conception Parish, the cemetery. She also has family memSpotswood, is spending her time trying bers who are veterans and found it fascito complete her Silver Award Project by nating to learn the different markers that can be found on a grave and what they the year’s end. The Rogala family enjoys vising signify. The Silver Award is the second famous people’s graves while on vacation. Their family tree includes Abra- highest award in Girl Scouts. The Scout ham Clark, a signer of the Declaration must choose a project that will take at least 50 service hours to of Independence from “Helping the girls complete. New Jersey, and George “This project is at Jacque Dantone, a leadwith the flags at least five times the reing figure in the early stages of the French Holy Cross gave me quired hours. The girls have been working on Revolution, in particular a really good feel- this since the summer as the first president of the Committee of Public ing knowing that and are about 75 percent complete,” Michelle said. Safety. we were honoring While they are still “I was originally completing their project, going to paint a mural these people and together the girls have in my local library for how their families entered more than 5,500 my Silver Project. When graves on the website and the pandemic hit I had would appreciate have compiled a list of to change my plan and more than 1,200 veterans find something to do what we and the list is still climboutside,” said Maddie, a were doing.” ing. freshman at St. Thomas “I, personally, am —Michelle Rogala Aquinas High School, overwhelmed by the Edison. enormity of the project Because of her fascination with history, her next idea was and believe that such a project is very to categorize the graves at the diocese’s beneficial for people trying to find a Holy Cross Cemetery, East Brunswick, loved one,” said Grace’s mother, Jowhich is near her home and the final hanna Mandy. Silver Award Projects are normally resting place for many of her family due in September of the Scout’s freshmembers. “The original plan was to go around man year of high school, but because of the cemetery and take pictures of each the pandemic they were awarded three of the graves and then upload it into the extra months for completion. All work database called “Find A Grave” so that must be done and submitted by Dec. 31. As the girls were documenting the when people come in they can see where graves, they took carful notice of the their loved ones are buried,” she said. While working on the project, she veterans who were buried there. In addiquickly noticed it was too much for one tion to their project, they added another person to do. Grace Mandy, another aspect to it: enlisting the help of eight member of Troop 83806 in Monroe other Troop members to place flags on Township, was also searching for a new all of the graves of the veterans in the project because her first idea would days leading up to Veterans Day. In all, have taken place in the library working 250 flags were placed in a three-day on a music library.Family The girlsCare decided to period. Placement, “Helping the girls with the flags

By Karen Corpora Correspondent

15

Scouts collaborate on massive documentation project at cemetery


OUR DIOCESE 16

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DECEMBER 17, 2020

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Your financial gift to the Bishop’s Annual Appeal helps to advance our mission to make Christ known throughout the Diocese of Metuchen. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

Parish Name Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Church Saint Peter the Apostle Parish Most Holy Name of Jesus Saint Ann Church Church of the Annunciation Saint Luke Church Our Lady of Victories Church Sacred Heart Church Saint Joseph Church Our Lady of Fatima Church Saint Joseph Church Saint Frances Cabrini Church Saint Elizabeth-Saint Brigid Church Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church Queenship of Mary Church Saint Rose of Lima Church (Oxford) Saint Mary's-Stony Hill Church Saint Mary of Ostrabrama Church Our Lady of Mercy Church Saint John the Evangelist Church Saint Joseph Church Saint Charles Borromeo Church Saint Thomas the Apostle Church Saint Ambrose Church Our Lady of the Mount Church Saint Cecilia Church Mary, Mother of God Church Saint Joseph Church Our Lady of Fatima Church Saint Matthew the Apostle Church Saint Catherine of Siena Church Saints Peter & Paul Church Saint Helena Church Saint Bartholomew Church Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Church Saint James Church Saint Mary Church Saint Jude Church Saint Ann Church Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi Saint James Church Saint Matthias Church Saint Augustine of Canterbury Church Our Lady of Lourdes Church Saint Cecelia Church Our Lady of Czestochowa Church Immaculate Conception Church Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church Saint John Paul II Parish Saint Anthony of Padua Church Good Shepherd Parish of the Visitation Our Lady of Mt. Virgin Church Our Lady of Victories Church Saint John Vianney Church Sacred Heart Church Blessed Sacrament Church Our Lady of Peace Church Immaculate Conception Church Saint Andrew Church Most Holy Redeemer Church Church of the Holy Trinity Saint Bernadette Church Saint Mary Church Our Lady of Lourdes Church Parish Name de Pazzi Church Saint Magdalen Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church Saint Lawrence Church Saint John the Evangelist Church Saint John Neumann Church Holy Trinity Church Saint Theodore Church Saint Joseph Church Saint Edward the Confessor Church Nativity of Our Lord Church Assumption of Mary Church Corpus Christi Church Our Lady of Peace Church Saint Mary of Czestochowa Church Saint Joseph Church Transfiguration of the Lord Saint James the Less Church Christ the Redeemer Parish Saint Philip & Saint James Church Saint Patrick Church Divine Mercy Parish Holy Family Parish Immaculate Conception Church Saint Joseph Church Saint Stephen Protomartyr Church

2020 BISHOP'S ANNUAL APPEAL - FINAL REPORT

Parish Pastor Goal Amount Percent Three Bridges Father Serafin $ 130,000.00 $ 172,147.41 132.42% New Brunswick Father Pavich $ 50,000.00 $ 65,848.98 131.70% Perth Amboy Father Machado $ 19,000.00 $ 24,035.16 126.50% Raritan Father Odorizzi $ 70,000.00 $ 88,200.90 126.00% Bloomsbury Father Coruna $ 13,000.00 $ 16,325.00 125.58% North Plainfield Monsignor Corona $ 32,000.00 $ 38,962.00 121.76% Baptistown Father Kaczynski $ 34,000.00 $ 40,515.50 119.16% South Plainfield Father Alvarado $ 95,000.00 $ 112,896.19 118.84% Bound Brook Monsignor Kerrigan $ 32,000.00 $ 37,938.00 118.56% Perth Amboy Father Njobam $ 14,000.00 $ 16,523.75 118.03% Washington Father Selvester $ 27,000.00 $ 31,628.00 117.14% Piscataway Father Considine $ 35,000.00 $ 38,412.48 109.75% Peapack Monsignor Puleo $ 230,000.00 $ 251,995.75 109.56% Sayreville Father Murphy $ 48,000.00 $ 51,775.80 107.87% Plainsboro Father Paderon $ 158,000.00 $ 169,179.45 107.08% Belvidere Father Sabella $ 11,000.00 $ 11,737.73 106.71% Watchung Monsignor Benwell $ 312,000.00 $ 331,975.44 106.40% South River Father Gromadzki $ 42,000.00 $ 44,611.00 106.22% South Bound Brook Father Lee $ 35,000.00 $ 36,923.49 105.50% Lambertville Father Kolakowski $ 125,000.00 $ 131,671.25 105.34% North Plainfield Father Farrell $ 33,000.00 $ 34,673.00 105.07% Skillman Monsignor Malovetz $ 124,000.00 $ 129,921.76 104.78% Old Bridge Father Johnson $ 87,000.00 $ 90,387.62 103.89% Old Bridge Father Grimes $ 80,000.00 $ 82,680.29 103.35% Warren Father Kenney $ 378,000.00 $ 386,914.49 102.36% Monmouth Junction Father O'Connor $ 72,000.00 $ 73,421.15 101.97% Hillsborough Father Rozembajgier $ 166,000.00 $ 168,824.94 101.70% Hillsborough Father Hilton $ 135,000.00 $ 137,039.19 101.51% Piscataway Father Da Silva $ 80,000.00 $ 80,870.75 101.09% Edison Father Targonski $ 59,000.00 $ 59,512.84 100.87% Pittstown Father Zalubski $ 38,000.00 $ 38,301.18 100.79% Great Meadows Father Podsiadlo $ 15,000.00 $ 15,020.45 100.14% Edison Father Sirianni $ 150,000.00 $ 150,000.00 100.00% East Brunswick Father Walsh $ 173,000.00 $ 173,000.00 100.00% Bridgewater Monsignor Vashon $ 135,000.00 $ 134,258.70 99.45% Basking Ridge Monsignor Cronin $ 342,000.00 $ 339,470.14 99.26% South Amboy Father Weezorak $ 49,000.00 $ 48,372.00 98.72% Blairstown Father Jandernoa $ 42,000.00 $ 41,373.06 98.51% Hampton Father Saharic $ 33,000.00 $ 32,319.70 97.94% Metuchen Monsignor Zamorski $ 338,000.00 $ 329,361.29 97.44% Woodbridge Father Naduviledathu $ 63,000.00 $ 61,075.00 96.94% Somerset Father Orapankal $ 172,000.00 $ 166,697.48 96.92% Kendall Park Father Lynam $ 146,000.00 $ 140,559.63 96.27% Whitehouse Station Father Rusay $ 110,000.00 $ 104,433.99 94.94% Iselin Father Nwagwu, SDV $ 64,000.00 $ 60,556.48 94.62% South Plainfield Father Tran $ 34,000.00 $ 32,164.00 94.60% Somerville Monsignor Celano $ 179,000.00 $ 169,058.34 94.45% New Brunswick Father Nacarino $ 37,000.00 $ 34,737.24 93.88% Perth Amboy Father Romanowski, C.Ss.R $ 23,000.00 $ 21,380.50 92.96% Port Reading Father Smith $ 24,000.00 $ 22,180.75 92.42% Perth Amboy Father Burdzy $ 24,000.00 $ 21,903.99 91.27% New Brunswick Father Fragoso $ 46,000.00 $ 41,651.00 90.55% Middlesex Father Skoblow $ 74,000.00 $ 66,438.45 89.78% Sayreville Father Pinnisi $ 91,000.00 $ 81,024.73 89.04% Colonia Father Gloss $ 120,000.00 $ 105,540.75 87.95% South Amboy Father Gromadzki $ 55,000.00 $ 48,156.00 87.56% Martinsville Father Nolan $ 150,000.00 $ 130,795.31 87.20% North Brunswick Father Krull $ 124,000.00 $ 106,815.50 86.14% Spotswood Father O'Kane $ 85,000.00 $ 72,855.00 85.71% Avenel Father Kosmoski $ 41,000.00 $ 34,594.75 84.38% Matawan Father Carina $ 65,000.00 $ 54,581.46 83.97% Bridgewater Father Calia $ 65,000.00 $ 53,879.86 82.89% Parlin Father Hagerman $ 58,000.00 $ 48,011.77 82.78% Alpha Monsignor Lawler $ 54,000.00 $ 44,087.71 81.64% 2020 BISHOP'S ANNUAL APPEAL REPORT$ Milltown Father Czarcinski $ - FINAL 59,000.00 48,041.41 81.43% Parish Pastor Brighenti Goal Amount Flemington Father $ 158,000.00 $ 127,995.75 Percent 81.01% Bernardsville Father Siceloff $ 188,000.00 $ 150,537.41 80.07% Laurence Harbor Father Kehoe $ 30,000.00 $ 23,983.86 79.95% Dunellen Father Kariuki $ 32,000.00 $ 25,468.65 79.59% Califon Father Rusk $ 38,000.00 $ 29,817.83 78.47% Helmetta Father Wieliczko $ 15,000.00 $ 11,665.00 77.77% Port Murray Father Tomiczek $ 7,000.00 $ 5,422.50 77.46% Carteret Monsignor Gordon $ 32,000.00 $ 24,731.25 77.29% Milford Father Kaczynski $ 27,000.00 $ 20,765.00 76.91% Monroe Township Monsignor Brennan $ 88,000.00 $ 67,648.65 76.87% Hackettstown Father Arockiadoss $ 45,000.00 $ 34,369.00 76.38% South River Father Breen $ 33,000.00 $ 24,963.13 75.65% Fords Father Paratore $ 64,000.00 $ 48,171.47 75.27% Bound Brook Father Stec $ 33,000.00 $ 24,758.95 75.03% Raritan Father Kelly $ 25,000.00 $ 18,532.50 74.13% Highland Park Father Lotha $ 48,000.00 $ 35,085.50 73.09% Jamesburg Father Gaviria $ 80,000.00 $ 57,794.96 72.24% Manville Father Slaby $ 52,000.00 $ 37,356.75 71.84% Phillipsburg Father Barbella $ 78,000.00 $ 55,196.50 70.76% Belvidere Father Sabella $ 29,000.00 $ 19,635.50 67.71% Carteret Father Shallow $ 25,000.00 $ 16,574.00 66.30% New Brunswick Father Ryan $ 14,000.00 $ 9,118.75 65.13% Annandale Father Toborowsky $ 167,000.00 $ 105,517.87 63.18% High Bridge Rev. Kyrpczak $ 37,000.00 $ 22,921.00 61.95% South River Father Szczepanik $ 19,000.00 $ 8,925.00 46.97% TOTAL (includes non-parish affiliated gifts) $ 7,208,865.20

Parish Total $ 21,073.71 406 $ 7,924.49 108 $ 2,517.58 161 $ 9,100.45 220 $ 1,662.50 63 $ 3,481.00 84 $ 3,257.75 103 $ 8,948.10 374 $ 2,969.00 149 $ 1,261.88 95 $ 2,314.00 144 $ 1,706.24 168 $ 10,997.88 222 $ 1,887.90 221 $ 5,589.73 182 $ 368.87 39 $ 9,987.72 174 $ 1,305.50 158 $ 961.75 158 $ 3,335.63 186 $ 836.50 156 $ 2,960.88 262 $ 1,693.81 431 $ 1,340.15 389 $ 4,457.25 270 $ 710.58 229 $ 1,412.47 496 $ 1,019.60 370 $ 435.38 339 $ 256.42 311 $ 150.59 112 $ 10.23 92 13 14 385 525 261 119 168 665 309 366 470 338 309 144 375 313 156 176 149 159 312 320 419 242 339 206 329 224 242 190 205 256 253 Parish Total395 200 139 136 1 of96 2 70 40 191 108 405 126 149 252 114 74 167 218 279 279 125 121 62 334 87 36 $ 115,935.54 20,206


One is a New Jersey native; the other moved to the Garden State from South America while in high school and recently, Bishop James F. Checchio appointed both to head key ofďŹ ces in the diocese. Allan Caballero, who grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and came to New Jersey at 17, became director of the diocesan OfďŹ ce of Evangelization effective Nov. 16. He will continue to serve as director of the diocesan OfďŹ ce of Hispanic Evangelization and Pastoral Ministry, a position he has held since July, 2019. Megan Vantslot, who was active in the youth group at her home parish, Immaculate Conception, Annandale, became director of the diocesan OfďŹ ce of Youth and Young Adult Evangelization Nov. 2 In their signiďŹ cant roles, both are seeking to impart their experience and exuberance as they spread Bishop Checchio’s message about the importance of evangelization and living a consecrated life. Caballero, for example, spoke about how he became consecrated to the Virgin Mary. “It’s a huge piece of my spirituality,â€? he said, noting how the bishop has dedicated the diocese to Jesus through Our Lady of Guadalupe. Caballero, 27, lives in Piscataway with his wife, Veronica, two daughters, Gianna and Luciana, and their dog, Celia. Vantslot, 25, the daughter of David and Susan Vantslot, returned to Pittstown after most recently working as a missionary with Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS). In an interview via Zoom, the new directors discussed how they became immersed in the faith, and shared personal reections on whether they had considered religious life.

Caballero: I think it would be impossible for one person or one ofďŹ ce to cover 90 parishes, so something that we have been trained to do is to train people and provide our lay leaders with the resources that they need so that they do the work at the parish level. Vantslot: I’d deďŹ nitely echo that. That is essentially discipleship, to be able to recognize I can’t, as one person, be in every single parish, but if people are living in a relationship with Jesus and praying and being ďŹ lled in small groups and things of that nature, all of a sudden, I’m not just one person. It’s people all over the diocese who are teaching other people in the diocese. And so, it becomes way more than just myself. And that’s ultimately my

Q: What do you enjoy about your roles thus far?

Caballero: I enjoy meeting people and learning about their journey to heaven and seeing the love they have for God. It’s been an honor and a blessing to see and serve God’s people in our diocese. Vantslot: So far, I’ve just been blown away at how the Lord allows speciďŹ c people on different days, either to give me a phone call or send an e-mail. It’s always in these different ways that He’s surprising me with how he wants to use me in this role. And it’s ways I didn’t necessarily expect, but ways that are cool. And at the end of the day I’m like, “Thank you Jesus for bringing me here,â€? and I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Megan Vantslot

become evangelical agents. We just don’t know what is going to happen. It’s difďŹ cult to see what’s going to happen in a year or two when we’re trying to answer Caballero: We’re such a large diocese the daily needs of our diocese. with almost half a million Catholics. I Vantslot: Because of my experience think one of the challenges with intentional discipleship  is ďŹ nding effective ways of and investment and sharcommunication to reach out  ing my life and sharing my to all of them. prayer with others, I see my Vantslot: For me, the  role as ďŹ guring out how to do challenge is speciďŹ c to startthat on the larger scale. And ing in the middle of a pan-    I think, in my mind, prayer demic and being completely     changes everything, so I remote. I’ve only met a few want to see that as my the   of my coworkers in person, most important thing that I and on top of that, getting   can be doing personally and to meet youth ministers and then instill that in the people young adult leaders.  in the diocese with whom I Caballero: We have trying to love and try am seen an increase in paring to build friendships and ticipation in most of our  relationships. I don’t know programs. Even though we if that’s evolving, but that’s  are in the middle of a panmy heart and what I really demic, we switched from desire to see present.  

in-person programs to on—Megan Vantslot line programs. And that has Q: What does intentiongiven people the option and al discipleship mean? the opportunity to enroll for the ďŹ rst time Vantslot: I think sometimes Catholics in Bible studies and faith-formation pro- have this idea that we can oat through grams. We’re seeing an increase in the our faith. It’s not just this feel-good livnumber of people we’re serving. The ing of the faith, it’s an intentional way Choices Matter pro-life conference we do that we follow in the footsteps of Christ. every year, last year had about 250 people In my mind, it’s like intentionally saying attend at Rutgers University. This year, yes, like Our Lady saying yes to give of we had hundreds more at the livestreamed herself and live her relationship with the conference. Father. Caballero: With the emphasis we are Q: How do you see your roles doing in the diocese with the consecration evolving? to Jesus through Our Lady, we are being Caballero: I think something that I intentional about promoting the consecraenvision for both ofďŹ ces is where people tion as a way of life to follow the example can ďŹ nd resources, where people can ďŹ nd of Mary, her holiness. Mary is the best support, where we can partner with lay example of Christianity and discipleship. leaders of the parishes to support them Vantslot: That’s the way of the dison evangelization efforts. Something we ciple, to say ‘yes’ to the Lord. will do in the next year or two is focus on developing people by giving them tools to Q: Was there one person, thing or

Q: What would you consider to be your biggest challenge in your new roles?

Allan Caballero

event that led to your career calling in the Church?

Caballero: There was a retreat for youth when I was 16. I was not Catholic. My dad was agnostic; I was not raised in the faith. A good friend had died in an accident. Because of all that, I became aware of spirituality. Someone invited me to a Catholic youth retreat. That’s where I had my conversion getting involved in the Catholic Church in Ecuador. When I moved here, I connected with my parish and did volunteer work. Vantslot: I always wish I had that one moment where people share their testimonies and stories, but I think, for me, it was a series of moments. It started in my family, being raised in the faith, and then it went a lot deeper as I was in the youth group at Immaculate Conception. In college, I developed a more missionary heart, which ultimately led me to give up a prospective job in marketing to become a FOCUS missionary, which led me to apply for a position in the diocese.

Q: Did either of you consider a vocation as a priest or religious?

Caballero: I did. I discerned. I went to Colombia for three months to be a fulltime missionary and serve our church. After the discernment, praying the rosary every day, going to daily Mass and daily adoration, God spoke to me and called me to the sacrament of marriage. Actually, after that discernment process, I came to the U.S. and met my wife at a Catholic retreat Vantslot: I was discerning religious life pretty seriously for about a year. I went on a come-and-see visit with the Sisters of Life. If things had gone as I expected on that extended visit, I’d probably be a sister now. But it was there that I realized this deeper desire for marriage, for having a family, so I actually left early, when I recognized my call to marriage, but I’m still on that journey.

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020

Q. Both of you have diocesanwide responsibilities, which means serving 90 parishes in four counties. How do you compartmentalize that and break it down to cover the territory?

goal working with youth ministers and young adults: to have the spirit of discipleship, because that’s what Jesus did. That’s how he modeled his ministry.

OUR DIOCESE

By Anthony Salamone Correspondent

17

New diocesan directors discuss ministries, spirituality, experiences


18 OUR DIOCESE DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Parishioners flock to reliquary of sainted ‘companion on journey’ marelli, which takes care of all the popes, to get the dimensions of his cassock, socks, shoes and zucchetto,” KENDALL PARK — St. Augustine of he said. “They also sent the gold Canterbury Church has added a beautiful chain he is wearing, and a replica of new addition to its Chapel of the Saints the papal cross and ring.” The reliquary altar is inscribed — a reliquary containing an amazingly with the words “Sanctvs Ioannes Pavlifelike replica of St. John Paul II. Father Robert G. Lynam, pastor, lvs PP.II” (St. John Paul II) and the St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish, saint’s papal coat of arms. Filling the detailed the origins of the months- sanctuary of the church’s “Chapel of long project that began this summer. the Saints,” it is nestled between two Viewing a YouTube video of a Mass stained glass windows, one depicting in honor of Pope John Paul II in the Mary’s visitation by the angel GaShrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, briel, the other of Jesus praying in the Mexico, he was moved by the proces- Garden of Gethsemane. “About three o’clock in the afsion of cardinals and bishops honoring ternoon these days,” the late pontiff. Father Lynam said, “It was magnifiThe reliquary, a glass- “the sun shines cent,” he said with a smile, recalling the topped enclosure rest- through the window, the red [window of grand procession of clergy into the ing upon a faux-marble the] agony in the garand illuminates shrine. “When he altar, was installed in den, the [papal] ring. It is was beatified, all the time for the Oct. 22 so beautiful.” bishops who attended congregareceived a first-class feast day of the late tion The has flocked to relic. The postulator the reliquary, he [Cardinal Stanislaw pope. The customnoted, praying in the Dziwisz, Archbishop made, life-size figure small chapel after of Krakow, Poland] came to us [May 17, of St. John Paul II is daily Mass and stopping into the church 2014] and presented to the parish the first- painstakingly realistic throughout the day. gasp class relic: a piece of and includes human when“Some they see it and cloth dipped into [the pope’s] blood.” hair. The body, vested some break down in tears,” he said. Inspired by the in white, is in deep “At first, some were reliquary he saw in the Mexican proces- repose, its eyes closed nervous it was so realistic. People are sion, Father Lynam and hands folded overwhelmed. In contacted artist America we really Andrew Csatari for on its chest. don’t have relics like his assistance. Csathis, but in Italy, tari had completed many murals within St. Augustine of there are many.” The reliquary joins other rememCanterbury, as well as portraits of the diocese’s bishops for the Pastoral Cen- brances of the late pope displayed at ter. Father Lynam approved the artist’s St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, including pictures, signed papal design and work was begun. The ambitious project was fully blessings and St. John Paul II’s zucfunded by parishioners, Father Lynam chetto. Father Lynam’s spiritual connoted, and plaques inscribed with donor nection with the pope is strong; over names are mounted on the sanctuary the course of his pontificate, he had walls. “The parish paid no money for attended five Masses in the private it,” its pastor hastened to add. “People papal chapel, and later was present came forward [to help]. They needed to for the pontiff’s funeral, beatification and canonization Masses. see this.” In August 2015, Father Lynam The reliquary, a glass-topped enclosure resting upon a faux-marble was appointed a canon of the Church altar, was installed in time for the Oct. for his dedication and honor to the 22 feast day of the late pope. The cus- life of St. John Paul II, and assigned tom-made, life-size figure of St. John to the Basilica of St. Florian in KraPaul II is painstakingly realistic and in- kow, Poland; “I was installed on Nov. cludes human hair. The body, vested in 4, John Paul II’s feast day, and St. white, is in deep repose, its eyes closed Florian was [the pope’s] second parish as a young priest,” he said. and hands folded on its chest. Father Lynam concluded, “Saints To ensure the papal vestments were accurate, Father Lynam called are our companions on the journey. the tailor shop in Rome that had out- Their lives speak to us. John Paul is my companion on the journey… I am fitted the late pope. “I contacted a store called Gam- on fire with John Paul II.” By Christina Leslie Correspondent

Above, Father Robert G. Lynam, pastor, St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish, assisted by Deacon Denis F. Mayer, blesses the reliquary holding a statue of St. John Paul II in the Chapel of Saints (right) at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church Oct. 22, the saint's feast day. The reliquary joins other remembrances of the late pope displayed at St. Augustine of Canterbury Church, including pictures, signed papal blessings and St. John Paul II’s zucchetto. — Father Robert G. Lynam and Christina Leslie photos

To ensure the papal vestments were accurate, Father Lynam called the tailor shop in Rome that had outfitted the late pope. The shop also sent the gold chain he is wearing and a replica of the papal cross and ring. St. John Paul II died April 2, 2005. He was beatified May 1, 2011, and canonized April 27, 2014. The reliquary was fully funded by members of St. Augustine of Canterbury Parish.


19 OUR DIOCESE

The Faithful of the Diocese of Metuchen are invited to visit the Church of Saint Augustine of Canterbury Kendall Park to pray before the

Reliquary of Saint John Paul II blessed on October 22, 2020 the Feast of Saint John Paul II by the

Reverend Canon Robert G. Lynam, KCHS Canon of Saint Florian Basilica, Krakow, Poland

In his hands the First Class Relic of his hair presented to the parish by Msgr. Slawomir Oder, Postulator of the Cause for his Canonization given to the Bishops attending his BeatiďŹ cation On the wall beneath the CruciďŹ x First Class Relic of his blood presented to the parish by His Eminence Stanislaus Cardinal Dziwsz during his pastoral visit to the parish following the Canonization Pictured above are Rev. Canon Robert G. Lynam, and artists Andrzej and Bozena Praszczyk

45 Henderson Road, Kendall Park THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020


OUR DIOCESE

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Answers can be found on page 31

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ACROSS 1 Biblical measure for oil 3 The Duke, a convert to Catholicism 6 Gregorian music 9 First Catholic United States Chief Justice 12 A queen from this country came to hear Solomon speak 14 ___ rosa (secret appointment) 18 ___ of Songs 19 Fear of the Lord 21 False prophets come in this kind of clothing 22 Pope St. Pius X’s surname 24 Angel’s hat? 25 “___ have mercy” 29 Letters some people sport on jewelry 32 “___ homo” 33 Lucifer 37 In Exodus, Aaron was anointed to be this 38 “…___ take away the sins of the world.” 39 Catholic horror actor Lugosi 40 “Altared” words 42 Philosopher, converted from agnosticism 45 “___ you destroyed our death…” 48 Commandment word 49 Pope (II) who called for the Crusades 50 The feast of St. Joseph the Worker is on the first of this month DOWN 1 He traveled with Abraham 2 The flood is found here (abbr.) 3 The first Jewish followers of Christ were called this (with “The”) 4 “…be ___ and your no…” (Jas 5:12)

5 Noted garden dweller 6 US school of higher learning founded by bishops (abbr.) 7 Jesus entered Jerusalem on this type of animal 8 OT historical book 10 Diocese of Honolulu greeting 11 Number of Beatitudes 13 Head of a diocese 15 The ___ Room, where the disciples experienced the Holy Spirit 16 ___ Minister 17 Paradise Lost? 20 Diocese, in an Eastern rite 22 In Matthew, Jesus said birds of the air don’t do this 23 Order founded by Mary MacKillop (abbr.) 26 The feast of the Guardian Angels is the second of this month (abbr.) 27 Daniel leonine destiny? 28 “___ at the right hand of the Father” 30 ___ Youth Day 31 God, in Paris 34 Monastic Press? 35 Catholic comedian married to Burns 36 Start of the Lord’s Prayer 40 Catholic letters 41 Latin for “to pray” 42 “How Great Thou ___” 43 Catholic comedian Costello 44 Beginning of 5D 45 Tribe of Israel 46 “___ the vine…” (Jn 15:5) 47 Catholic Fawkes of the Gunpowder Plot


OUR DIOCESE

VATICAN CITY (CNA) — Pope Fran(The beatification Mass swas celcis approved a miracle attributed to ebrated Oct. 31 in Hartford, Conn.) the intercession of Father Michael J. Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson McGivney Wednesday, paving the way said: “Father McGivney has inspired for the beatification of the founder of generations of Catholic men to roll the Knights of Columbus. up their sleeves and put During a May 26 their faith into action. He meeting with [Cardinal] “Father McGivney was decades ahead of his Angelo Becciu, [the foralso remains an time in giving the laity mer] prefect of the Conan important role within important role gregation for the Causes the Church. of Saints, the pope autho“Today, his spirit model for parish rized the congregation to continues to shape the issue a decree recogniz- priests around the extraordinary charitable ing the miracle. of Knights as they world and left us work Father McGivney continue to serve those founded the Knights a transformative on the margins of society of Columbus in 1882. as he served widows and Today, it is the world’s legacy of effective orphans in the 1880s. largest Catholic frater“Father McGivney cooperation nal service organization, also remains an imporbetween the laity tant role model for parish with nearly two million members in more than a priests around the world and clergy.” dozen countries. and left us a transformaBorn in Waterbury, — Supreme Knight Carl tive legacy of effective Conn., in 1852, Father cooperation between the A. Anderson McGivney played a critilaity and clergy.” Father McGivney’s cal role in the growth of the Church in the United States in the sainthood cause officially opened in latter part of the 19th century. After 1997 in the Archdiocese of Hartford. his ordination in Baltimore in 1877, he In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI declared served a largely Irish-American and the American-born priest a Venerable immigrant community in New Haven. Servant of God in recognition of his Amid an anti-Catholic climate, life of heroic virtue. he established the Knights to provide In 2000, an investigation into spiritual aid to Catholic men and fi- a miracle attributed to McGivney’s nancial help for families that had lost intercession was completed. But in their breadwinner. 2011, the Vatican ruled that the event A press release from the Knights was not miraculous in nature. of Columbus May 27 said the miracle In 2012, another possible miracle recognized by Pope Francis involved was reported and placed under invesan unborn child in the United States tigation. who was healed in utero of a lifeFollowing his beatification, Mcthreatening condition in 2015 after his Givney’s cause will require one more family prayed to McGivney. authenticated miracle before he can be

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Beatification Mass for founder of Knights of Columbus celebrated

A portrait of Father Michael J. McGivney, by Antonella Cappuccio, courtesy of the Knights of Columbus. Father McGivney established the Knights in 1882 to provide spiritual aid to Catholic men and financial help for families that had lost their breadwinner. considered for canonization. He would not be the first member of the Knights of Columbus to be canonized. A group of six Mexican members of the organization were martyred dur-

ing the Cristero War of 1926-29 and its aftermath: St. Luis Batis, St. Rodrigo Aguilar, St. Miguel de la Mora, St. Pedro de Jesús Maldonado, St. José María Robles, and St. Mateo Correa.

Our Lady of Tenderness 95 West Main St., Suite 5-106 Chester, NJ 07930 www.ourladyoftenderness.com

Your prayer requests are welcomed and encouraged. They shall be placed before the Blessed Sacrament and lifted daily in prayer. The ministry of this Hermitage is God’s gift, a life of prayer, freely given to our diocese for you. Please accept this free gift. It is a privilege to be united with you in prayer. Be still and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10

Prayer Request: _________________________________________

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020


22 OUR DIOCESE DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Academy holds diaper drive to assist needy families in New Brunswick WATCHUNG — During October, members of the World Language Honor Societies at Mount Saint Mary Academy collected diapers and wipes for Catholic Charities Family Services in New Brunswick, where families with many small children are unemployed. The students, led by Teresa Sengel, World Languages Department Chairperson, set a goal of collecting sets by early November. Gently used children’s books were also requested so that they could be distributed to the older siblings of the families served by the agency. “This is the first time Our Honor Societies have hosted a diaper drive. Diapers are very expensive necessity that may be out of reach for many who are struggling during the pandemic,” said Sengel. “It is delightful to watch our girls energize to organize this project and to produce a wonderful video telling the community about the program. We hope to sponsor more in the spring.” Sengel noted that she had received wonderful feedback from a representa-

tive at Catholic Charities: “Please tell the students we appreciate their help and that they are making a real difference in the lives of many children and families. Thank you again for all of the generosity and hard work! The families will be very grateful.” Roselyn Ortiz, a senior from Martinsville, said: “Mount Saint Mary Academy, with a curriculum based on the Sisters of Mercy’s Mercy Core Values, teaches us to be selfless and to think of others during hard times. Diapers and other baby needs can be expensive and hard to find, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why I think it is important to organize drives like this — to help families that may be struggling the most.” Olivia Quiroga, a senior from Berkeley Heights, added, “It is amazing to see the Mount community come together for our Diaper Drive. We are very near our goal in aiding as many families possible, especially during the pandemic. I am so proud to see us all come together to help those in need.”

Martha Byrne of Westfield and Roselyn Ortiz of Martinsville, seniors at Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung, are pictured with the donations for the World Languages Honor Societies Diaper Drive. The donations were brought to Catholic Charities Nov. 13. — Teresa Sengel photo

Preparing for Future Students at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Edison, are shown participating in a variety of classroom activities Dec. 4. From above left, Principals of Engineering students, taught by Dan Mulvihill, digitize their sketches along with a classmate on remote instruction; Forensic Science students, also taught by Mulvihill, analyze various hair samples under microscopes; and freshmen Computer Applications teacher John Roche speaks to a student as she and her classmates learn the ins and outs of the Google Apps Suite as part of the school’s One-to-One Chromebook Program. — Michael Kowalczyk photos


OUR DIOCESE Leslie (Les) D. Hirsch, FACHE, president and chief operating officer, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System; Linda Carroll, MSN, RN, RN-BC, vice president of Patient Care Services/Chief Nursing Officer at Saint Peter’s University Hospital; and Lisa Drumbore, vice president of Marketing and Communications/Chief Patient Experience Officer, were among leadership staff celebrating after receiving the news of Saint Peter’s’ sixth Magnet designation for excellence in nursing care. — Michael Castronova photo

The hospital offers a midwifery service and the brand-new state-ofthe-art Mary V. O’Shea Birth Center. Saint Peter’s is a sponsor of residency

programs in obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and internal medicine, and is a major clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences.

Special Delivery Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen’s Program of Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) Teams delivered holiday meals to their clients in New Brunswick, Perth Amboy and East Brunswick in time for Thanksgiving. Catholic Charities’ staff members Rose Bohar, team leader, and Elizabeth Paz, PACT secretary, prepare meals for delivery to East Brunswick PACT consumers in accordance with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. The Catholic Charities’ PACT program is guided by the principal that individuals with mental illness, even those with the most impaired functioning, can live in normal settings in the community if adequate supports and services are provided. — photo courtesy of Catholic Charities

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020

NEW BRUNSWICK — Saint Pe- and Empirical Quality Results. These ter’s University Hospital has been principles go beyond structure with a redesignated as a Magnet hospital by dedicated commitment to impacting the American Nurses Credentialing results. Center of the American Nurses As“Compassionate care complesociation for 2020-2024, making the mented by the highest skill level is diocese-sponsored facility one of only what truly sets us apart from other five hospitals worldwide to receive hospitals,â€? said Linda Carroll, MSN, this designation for six consecutive RN-BC, vice president of Patient Care terms. Magnet recognition is the high- Services and chief nursing officer at est honor for nursing Saint Peter’s Univer sity Hospital. “While service excellence that any hospital can COVID-19 crisis  the receive. put us all to the test, Saint Peter’s was I’m proud to say that  the 10th hospital in the our nursing team has nation to first receive    always been comMagnet designation in prised of outstand    1998. This recent desing individuals that  deliver extraordinary ignation was awarded after a three-day virbased on an    care tual survey completed interdisciplinary apin mid-September.    proach to quality and The Magnet Recpatient safety. Our  philosophy of care is ognition ProgramÂŽ designates organi  based on the five Cs of nursing – calling, zations worldwide    caring, culture, comwhere nursing leadand collaboers successfully align  mitment ration, and each of their nursing strategic goals to improve the  these is reflected in the level of care proorganization’s patient  outcomes. Magnet vided at Saint Peter’s status is awarded to each day.â€? hospitals that deliver an extraordinary The designation of Magnet is level of patient care, meet high levels based on an extensive review and of nursing excellence, establish an evaluation process that looks at nursenvironment that encourages the pur- ing services throughout the organizasuit of professional development and tion. The evaluation typically involves an emphasis on teamwork. To nurses, a three-day on-site review process, but Magnet Recognition means educa- because of the COVID-19 crisis the tion and development through every evaluations were conducted remotely career stage, which leads to greater this year. autonomy at the bedside. To patients, Hospitals must be reevaluated it means the very best care, delivered every four years to maintain their by nurses who are supported to be the Magnet designation. Independent very best that they can be. research has shown that Magnet hos“The nurses at Saint Peter’s are pitals consistently provide the highest among the best in the nation. To be quality patient care and outperform recognized with this prestigious honor their peers in recruiting and retainthat only five hospitals worldwide can ing quality nurses, which, in turn, has claim is truly an honor for our nurses been directly connected to attracting and our nursing leadership,â€? said Les- high-quality physicians. lie (Les) D. Hirsch, FACHE, president Saint Peter’s University Hospital, and chief executive officer of Saint Pe- a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare ter’s Healthcare System. “Our redesig- System, is a 478-bed acute-care teachnation confirms the clinical excellence ing hospital. that is integral to patient care at Saint Saint Peter’s is a state-designated Peter’s. It is especially meaningful in children’s hospital and a regional perithese challenging times. The Magnet natal center, and is a regional specialsurvey appraisers noted several key ist in diabetes, gastroenterology, head areas where the value of our nursing and neck surgery, oncology, orthopeteamwork was exemplary.â€? dics, and women’s services. Magnet-recognized organizaThe Children’s Hospital at Saint tions are expected to uphold five key Peter’s University Hospital provides principles that support global issues families with access to a full range of in nursing and healthcare. These in- pediatric specialties, including a naclude: Transformational Leadership, tionally recognized Level III Neonatal Structural Empowerment, Exemplary Intensive Care Unit, pediatric surgery Professional Practice, New Knowl- and orthopedic surgery featuring inedge, Innovation and Improvements novative anterior scoliosis correction.

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Diocesan-sponsored hospital once again recognized for nursing care


DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

OUR FAITH

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'Catholic' Bible / General absolution Pope Francis

AUDIENCE

November 11, 2020 Jesus gave us the example of continual prayer, practiced with perseverance. First of all, prayer must be tenacious: like the character in the parable who, having to welcome a guest who arrived unexpectedly in the middle of the night, goes to knock on the door of a friend and asks him for some bread. The friend responds, “No!”, because he is already in bed — but he insists and insists until he forces his friend to get up and give him some bread (cf. Lk 11:5-8). A tenacious request. But God is more patient than we are, and those who knock with faith and perseverance on the door of his heart will not be disappointed. God always responds. Always. The second parable is that of the widow who goes to the judge so that he may help her obtain justice. This judge is corrupt; he is a man without scruples, but in the end, exasperated by the insistence of the widow, he decides to please her (cf. Lk 18:1-8)... This parable makes us understand that faith is not a momentary leap, but a courageous disposition to call on God, even to “argue” with him, without resigning oneself to evil and injustice. The third parable presents a pharisee and a publican who go to the Temple to pray. The first turns to God boasting of his merits; the other feels unworthy even to enter the sanctuary. God however does not listen to the prayer of the first, that is, of the proud ones, while he does grant the prayer of the humble (cf. Lk 18:9-14). The teaching of the Gospel is clear: we need to pray always, even when everything seems in vain, when God appears to be deaf and mute and it seems we are wasting time. Even if heaven is overshadowed, the Christian does not stop praying. A Christian’s prayer keeps stride with his or her faith. And many days of our life, faith seems to be an illusion, a barren struggle. There are moments of darkness in our life, and in those moments, faith seems to be an illusion. But the practice of prayer means accepting this struggle too.

Prayer in Time of Loneliness Heavenly Father, there are days when I feel that You have forgotten About me. When I need You most, it seems I cannot reach You. Yet I do believe You Are present during times of loneliness, and when my heart feels empty. Teach me to Find You even in my darkest hours. Amen.

I was raised Catholic and love my religion. But my brother has become a Pentecostal. He says that the King James Bible was published before the Catholic one and that Catholics added other books to the Bible afterward. Can you tell me when the Catholic version and the King James

Q

Question Corner By Father Kenneth Doyle were published? (Richmond, Ind.) The King James version of the Bible was published by the Church of England in the year 1611. The Catholic canon of the Sacred Scriptures (i.e., the books that the Church believes to have been divinely inspired) had been established long before that — in fact, by Church synods and councils in the late fourth and early fifth centuries. The Scriptures to which your brother is referring — called the “deuterocanonical” books — consist of seven books of the Old Testament: Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch. In general, Protestants do not consider them as divinely inspired, but Catholics have done so for more than 1,500 years. Protestant reformers of the 1500s, including Martin Luther, rejected

A

As I respond to this question, received in mid-October of 2020, most parishes I know of have already resumed — although on a more limited basis — a regular schedule of weekend Masses, together with opportunities for parishioners to receive the sacrament of penance. At the height of the pandemic in March 2020, the Vatican did announce that, in places particularly hard hit by the coronavirus, conditions might exist to grant general absolution to the faithful without their personally confessing their sins first, in cases of grave necessity. Determination of what constitutes this grave necessity would be the responsibility of the diocesan bishop. The

justifying situations envisioned by the Vatican were, though, limited — the example offered was at the entrance to hospital wards where faithful in danger of death were confined. The Vatican department making that announcement — the Apostolic Penitentiary, which deals with matter of conscience — also noted that where the faithful find themselves in “the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution,” they can make an act of contrition directly to God in prayer. If they are sincere and promise to go to sacramental confession as soon as possible, the penitentiary noted, they can “obtain the forgiveness of sins, even mortal sins.” In publicizing that March announcement by the Vatican, the website of the Cincinnati archdiocese was fairly typical. It noted that its priests were authorized to confer general absolution only in the following circumstance: “A hospital ward in which there is danger of death and individual confessions are deemed impossible and the penitents are instructed that they are to confess their sins individually when they next have the opportunity.” Individual confession is the ordinary way of celebrating the sacrament of penance, and the Church has always valued the personal contact between the priest and the penitent. Questions may be sent to Father Kenneth Doyle at askfatherdoyle@ gmail.com and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, NY

gratitude for something that many of us have lost during these turbulent times — peace. I never realized how much I needed it, until it overwhelmed me. Though I realized it would just be for a brief time during my day, I felt like God had answered my prayers by leading me to this place where I could, “gaze at the beauty of earth’s greenings,” and think, as St. Hildegard of Bingen encouraged, “What delight God gives to humankind with all these things.” I recalled a favorite poem, “The Peace of Wild Things,” by American novelist, poet, farmer, environmental activist Wendall Berry: “When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things … I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” How perfect that, in this moment of time, burdened by the heaviness of the past months, I would be reminded of God’s gift of peace, experienced simply be letting God’s creation fill

my heart and mind. How perfect, I thought, that the infant Jesus, the Prince of Peace, through whom all things were made, should be born in a stable, with earth under foot, sheltered by stones and comforted by the sounds and presence of the animals that surely rested nearby. When St. Francis of Assisi sought to renew wonder and joy in the birth of Christ, he created the Christmas Creche, which consisted of a manger full of hay, an ox and a donkey. There were no statues, only people who acted out the parts, becoming one with the Christmas story. The altar upon which Mass was celebrated that night was simply a large stone, and there was indescribable joy at this humble, simple scene. This child, Jesus, wrapped in love, is the gift of peace, the gift of hope which lives in all that God created and through which God is revealed to us. As Pope Francis reminds us, “God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.” And, I might add, share it.

these books as belonging to the official Scriptures — in part, perhaps, because certain portions contradict elements of Protestant doctrine (as in the case of 2 Maccabees 12, which supports praying for the deceased who are in purgatory).

Q

With the COVID-19 restrictions, why doesn’t the bishop of our diocese offer general absolution for all those unable to come to church? Our church building is so small that only about 25 to 50 parishioners can fit in for Mass — and then, only with a reservation. Many are reluctant to come during the pandemic, and the elderly and the sick in particular are anxious to receive the sacrament of reconciliation. (Northampton, Pa.)

A

Newborn savior is gift of peace, hope In a rare outing to investigate a park near my home, I discovered a perfect place to walk — a narrow path through a grove of oak, maple and pine trees, providing me with an exceptional choice of painted leaves and pine cones for my holiday decorations.

Running close by is a small creek, though not quite so lively as it once was, flanked by an old stone wall and rolling grass fields. A train rumbling by behind me does not diminish the joy I feel in being in this place. It is perfect for me because it is a path less taken. My need to be alone has grown dramatically over the years, and I welcome that chance to walk apart from too many others and rest on a bench with only the occasional squirrel as a visitor. When I first found this quiet haven and sat across from an old oak, admiring its beautifully gnarled trunk, my deep breaths of relief soon became tears of


“The Virgin Mary, at the message of an angel, received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and [thus] gave Life to the world . . .” (Lumen Gentium, 53). These words of the Second Vatican Council serve as an apt summary of this Sunday’s Gospel reading, St. Luke’s account of the Annunciation. On this final Sunday of our Advent journey, the Church places before us the last of our great Advent figures, the Virgin Mary herself. In doing so, the Church presents the example of the most perfect of believers and disciples in order to influence our own lifestyle as we prepare to welcome the Messiah more deeply during our upcoming Christmas celebrations, at the end of time, and indeed, each and every day of our lives.

SCRIPTURE STUDY By Msgr. John N. Fell This apparently straightforward scene tells us a great deal about both Jesus and the Blessed Mother. First, we learn that the child’s name will be Jesus which means “God Saves”; in the culture of Jesus’ day, which so stressed the importance of names and naming, “God Saves” would truly summarize the child’s entire life. Every moment of Jesus’ life was a manifestation of God actively saving his people. Next, we learn that this Jesus’ dignity will be great, for he will be the Son of the Most High and inherit the throne of his ancestor David. This information clearly considers Jesus in light of the promise that God had made to King David, that “when the time comes for you to rest with your ancestors, I will raise up an heir to you . . . I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me . . . Your house and your kingdom shall endure forever before me; your throne shall stand firm forever” (2 Sm 7:1216). This Sunday’s Gospel places Jesus in line as this favored Son who shall occupy the royal throne of God’s people forever. This reading also emphasizes the importance of the Blessed Mother in the history of salvation. First of all, Mary’s virginity further places Jesus in the line of Old Testament prophecy; “the Lord

WEEK IN SCRIPTURE

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20 - WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 6

Sm 7:1-5,8b-12, 14a, 16 / Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29 / Rom 16:25-27 / Lk 1:26-38 Sg 2:8-14 or Zep 3:14-18a / Ps 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21 / Lk 1:39-45 Sm 1:24-28 / 1 Sm 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd / Lk 1:46-56 Mal 3:1-4, 23-24 / Ps 25:4-5ab, 8-9, 10 and 14 / Lk 1:57-66 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16 / Ps 89:2-3, 4-5, 27 and 29 / Lk 1:67-79 Vigil: Is 62:1-5 / Ps 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29 / Acts 13:16-17, 22-25 / Mt 1:1-25 or 1:18-25 Night: Is 9:1-6 / Ps 96:1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13 / Ti 2:11-14 / Lk 2:1-14 Dawn: Is 62:11-12 / Ps 97:1, 6, 11-12 / Ti 3:4-7 / Lk 2:15-20 Day: Is 52:7-10 / Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6 / Heb 1:1-6 / Jn 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14 Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59 / Ps 31:3cd-4, 6 and 8ab, 16bc and 17 / Mt 10:17-22 Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 / Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5 / Col 3:12-21 or 3:12-17 / Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22, 39-40 or, in Year B, Gn 15:1-6; 21:1-3 / Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9 / Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19 / Lk 2:22-40 or 2:22, 39-40 1 Jn 1:5-2:2 / Ps 124:2-3, 4-5, 7b-8 / Mt 2:13-18 1 Jn 2:3-11 / Ps 96:1-2a, 2b-3, 5b-6 / Lk 2:22-35 1 Jn 2:12-17 / Ps 96:7-8a, 8b-9, 10 / Lk 2:36-40 1 Jn 2:18-21 / Ps 96:1-2, 11-12, 13 / Jn 1:1-8 Nm 6:22-27 / Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8 / Gal 4:4-7 / Lk 2:16-21 1 Jn 2:22-28 / Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4 / Jn 1:19-28 Is 60:1-6 / Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13 / Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6 / Mt 2:1-12 1 Jn 3:22-4:6 / Ps 2:7bc-8, 10-12a / Mt 4:12-17, 23-25 1 Jn 4:7-10 / Ps 72:1-2, 3-4, 7-8 / Mk 6:34-44 1 Jn 4:11-18 / Ps 72:1-2, 10, 12-13 / Mk 6:45-52

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THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020

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Holy Family

himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be first century with child, and bear a son . . . ” (Is 7:14). Mary’s December 29 Crosiers virginity also serves to emphasize the dramatic newness of Jesus’ conception. Just as God had diThe Holy Family consists of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and this rectly intervened in the creation of the First Adam, feast honors their life together, beginning in Bethlehem and then so now He was directly involved in the incarnation moving to Nazareth, Egypt and back to Nazareth. The church of the Second Adam. The same Spirit that hovered has chosen to commemorate their family life as a model for all over the waters in the newness of Genesis 1:2 has Christian families. The feast recognizes the humility of Jesus, once again hovered over the earth bringing new life Mary’s virtue and Joseph’s steadfastness, along with the obedience within the virgin’s womb. of all three to God’s plan for them in salvation history. Traditionally We further learn that Jesus’ incarnation was the celebrated in January, the feast has been celebrated since the result of the power of the Most High overshadowing Second Vatican Council on the first Sunday after Christmas. If Mary, and that this divine favor was due to the fact there is no Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day, it is that she was God’s “highly favored daughter” (Lk celebrated Dec. 30. 1:28). Both important details serve to underline the fact that this entire scene was completely God’s iniSaints tiative. Mary’s selection and the decision to send the Redeemer were totally God’s free choice, caused by © 2013 Catholic News Service his overwhelming love for his people. Finally, the name Mary means “Excellence” in Hebrew, and this name certainly characterizes her faith-filled response to the Divine Initiative. When   Mary replied to the angel, “I am the maidservant of   the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say,” the stage was set for the eternal, irreversible union of God  with his people. Despite some initial fear at the an gel’s startling arrival and some worry about how she  was to bear a child since Joseph had not yet taken  her to his home, Mary, God’s true servant, became the model for all believers in her trustful willingness  to place her whole life at God’s disposal.  As we move into these last days of Advent, this Gospel serves as an important summary of this  entire season. As we consider Mary in this reading,  we are presented with the model and possibilities    of discipleship. In Jesus, we begin to understand    the grandeur of the One who awaits us if we live    out such a commitment. The Annunciation turns    our minds and hearts to the Virgin and her Child, a fitting preparation for welcoming Jesus further    into our lives during our Christmas celebrations and    always.    Msgr. Fell is a Scripture scholar and direc   tor of the diocesan Office for Priest Personnel and  Seminarians

OUR FAITH

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Mary: model for all believers


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Connections Program offers roleabuse models for youth State honors opioid, substance initiative Children extend care to military veteran in

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Diocese of ensure outcomes meaningful to the delivery of evidence-based practices. Correspondent Metuchen (CCDOM), was recently people we serve and their families,” Evidence-based practices have (908) 754-3663 , ext. "0" WhenbyCatholic Charities’ Child Care become a cornerstone in recognized the New Jersey Departsaid Julio Coto, acting ex“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who Tues., Wed. & Thurs.: 10 am – 3pm ment Site Supervisor Jenelle Clauson read of Human Services and Valerie ecutive director, CCDOM. Catholic Charities providing mental health finds one finds a treasure.” (Sir 6:14) Friday: 10 am – 2 pm care, helping to prevent L. Mielke, assistant commissioner, At the completion of a The Facebook post about a 104-year-old Connections Program at Catholic Saturday: 9:30 am – 12 noon provided 40,000 Division of Mental Health and Addicthe project, the majority the recurrence of substance Charities, Diocesespecial of Metuchen, Marine’s pleawhich foris Valentine’s Services. Closed Sunday, Monday & Holidays tion supported by the Bishop's Annual Appeal, of the clinical staff were hours of counsel- use, and promoting suswishes, she honored gathered her colleagues tained recovery. CCDOM for menits certified as proficient in takes this verse was to heart by connecting Rt. 22 & Terrill Road, Watchung, NJ 07069 work in the New Jersey EvidenceMotivational Interviewing Catholic Charities at Hatchery Hill Elementary School, ing and served tors with youth who can use a friend. What Based Practice Initiative Opioid and and Cognitive Behavioral provided 40,000 hours participants have found is and that what starts out Hackettstown, organized a project more than 56,000 of counseling and served other Substance Use aDisorders, as a way to give youth helping hand,speoften Therapy — the number for in thecompleting children in initiative the by Catholic Charicifically creates friendships that arethe treasured the one successful approach people in need more than 56,000 people in need last year in the dionecessary to implement and sustain in treating substance use ties’ after school child care program to youths, the mentors and their families alike. last year in the the evidence-based practices of Modisorders. cese. Since 1994,tothethe Connections respond oldestProgram living Marine’s tivational Interviewing and Cognitive Substance use and For more information has paired adult volunteers with youth in diocese request. Behavioral about Catholic Charities Middlesex Therapy. County from ages 5 to 17. It misuse impacts individuMaj. Bill White, amany World War IIand communiSpanning nine in duraals, families programs and services, started from pairing 14months matches to as visit www.ccdom.org. tion, the initiative involved intensive ties, and opioid use continas 65 mentors paired youth each year. recipient, veteran and with Purple Heart training, coaching and administrative ues to be a pervasive problem in New Those wishing to support the Youth in thehis program are more likely to shared wish during an interview with 2400 B Cooper Street support. that improved develop “We positiveknow behaviors and continue Jersey. This Evidence-Based Practice work of Catholic Charities can make KTXL-TV in needed Sacramento, clinical staffwhich skillschanges are pracInitiative and was designed to initiate or a donation online at www.ccdom.org/ schooling, their in lives. The Calif., Piscataway, NJ 08854 ticing therapeutic that will enhance clinical staff skills and agency donate. friendship betweenapproaches the youth and theHe menthe request went viral. told the telewww.ourladyoftenderness.com torsvision tends to hosts form quickly, that but oneover oftime hisanfavorite hobeven deeper bond is established and they bies is scrapbooking, often become a second family to thewhich child. has helped According to the program’s website, him to keep track of his extensive life. Your prayer requests are welcomed and criteria to get a mentor are: experiencing Now he wanted to add some Valentine Catholic Charities, Diocese of encouraged. They shall be placed before the signifi cant and/or terminal medical difficulMetuchen staff member cards to ahis collection of mementos. Jeanette Cullen, a member of St. Bartholomew Parish,(CCDOM) East Brunswick, has served for which positive adult relationship Diana Mandel shows off oneDiocese of the of Blessed Sacrament and lifted daily in prayer. ties supervisor of the Connections Program at Catholic Charities, from outside of the word family would helpful; Once got beout aboutas White’s 80 reusable masks recently with donatMetuchen, since 2000. The 26-year-old program pairs adult volunteers youth finding themselves seriouschildren situational/ from Benerequest, staffin and ed to the Ozanam Family Shelter, in Middlesex County from ages 5 to 18. The ministry of this Hermitage is God’s gift, loss crisis (i.e., but not limited to divorce or Edison, by community — Joanne member Kleinle photo dict isA. Cucinella School, a parent dying/just deceased)Elementary and a helpChildren in the Catholic Charities' Linda Fisher. With theafter help ofschool fam- child c a life of prayer, freely given to our diocese fulLong adult relationship Valley,is needed. and Willow Grove Elily and friends, Fisher raised $400 Hatchery Hill Elementary School, Hackettstown, basketball or share a meal. advice or support. The program also hosts send t Kathy McCrystal said she startedwith as for you. Please accept this free gift. It is a ementary School joined Hatchery to buy the masks that can be used McCrystal spends about four hours quarterly mentor nights. a mentor when her twin boys were teenMajor Bill White, a World War II support veteran and Purple Heart by adults, teens and children HillSheand together sent a weeklarge with the boys depending on what Jeanette Cullen, a member of St.at— Bar-photo co privilege to be united with you in prayer. agers. was paired with athey boy close in three the Ozanam Family Shelter. The activities they plan. She looks forward to tholomew Parish, East Brunswick, where ageenvelopes to her sons because she thought menfull of hand-made Valentine Shelter provides her time with them and loves watching Ozanam she servesFamily as an extraordinary minister of toring would be awishes wayto to engage cards and honorherWhite and to shelter for 16 single and Be still and know that I am God. - Psalm 46:10 own boys. She gotgreat them grow and mature into teenagers. They holy Communion and inwomen its Society of St. much more than she 26 families. Services include temchild care for support to Maj. White and we are all rebring love and joy to the retired Marine. often talk to her about their Vincent de Paul chapter, has been superviexpected. The boy became porary and emergency lodging, Prayer Request: and sheofgives sor of theitConnections Program since 2000. distric school minded howthem important is to provide close to her family, “We arewhole so thrilled about the cases, response issues “In many meals, physical andit mental health whatever guidance she can. She sees the impact has not only on the participating in traditions Somerset and recognition to those who have served _______________________________ we received from the we school counseling, Mentors must un- assessments, the youth, but oncrisis the mentors and families. put district,” the like her in-laws annual New assistance with housing, employFor more our country.” saidEveChild Care Service Area Director dergo rigorous screening “The program is not meant to replace the Year’s party, decorating _________________________ ment educational back interview Last and background parents,and but children's to give support,” sheCharities’ said. “In child year, Catholic Charities, DiotheKrista ChristmasGlynn. tree and go“The childhood staff and children placement, case management checks before they receive many cases, we put the childhood back in ingwere on an annual Easter egg in the child’s cese of Metuchen and provided affordable referrals. living inccdom.org/chil the so excited to send their lovelifeand training and continue to the child’s life byWhile offering the fun activities hunt. She even took him on shelter, program residents work by offering the receive training after they and support that his or her family cannot college tours with her own with case managers to improve beging serving. give them.” sons. They grew so close fun activities and their earning capacity and obtain THE The program sponsors Cullen treasures witnessing the lifethat when he aged out of permanent housing. CCDOM is changing impact that the mentors have on the program, she agreed to support that their monthly group activities — supported by the Bishop's Annual usually in person, but they the youth. She said one child, whose parents mentor his younger brothers Appeal. families cannot have been held virtually be- were day laborers, came into the program and they now participate in —photo courtesy of Catholic Charities, cause of the coronavirus — wanting to be a dayDiocese laborer.ofAfter spending McCrystal family traditions give them.” Metuchen for mentors and the youth. time with his mentor, he realized other posjust like their brother did. —Jeanette Cullen Through these trainings and sibilities that were open to him. He started Most of the activities activities, McCrystal has to plan to go to college and become a busithat she does with the boys also formed close friendships with other nessman and travel. He also changed his are simple. Because of the recent lockdown mentors. diet to more healthy choices. related to the coronavirus, she takes them for Case managers are in touch with menFor information about becoming a a walk or buys them ice cream. They also share her love of biking and hiking. Some- tors two to five times each month and are mentor, contact Jeanette Cullen at jcullen@ times they want to visit at her house and play available day or night by phone if they need ccdom.org or (732) 738-1323.

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Journey of Faith By Father John Gerard Hillier When thinking about “the Church,” how often do we consider the fact that Jesus had us in mind some 2,000 years ago when, at Caesarea Philippi, he told Saint Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church…And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 16:18-19)? Do we appreciate that Jesus was actually thinking about us when he stood, in his glorified risen body, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and drew from that same man, Saint Peter, the three-fold repeated profession of love: “Lord, you know that I love you” (Jn 21:15-17)? He then gave Peter supreme authority over his Church (Jn 21:15-17). Christ had us in mind at that moment when his Church began. This fact should keep us from looking upon the Church as an outmoded, medieval institution. Rather, as the Catechism states, “the Church, the ‘pillar and bulwark of the truth,’ has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth” (ccc 2032). In fact, for 2,000 years, under the protection and vigilance of numerous pastors, “the ‘deposit’ of Christian moral teaching has been handed on, a deposit composed of a characteristic body of rules, commandments, and virtues proceeding from faith in Christ and animated by charity” (ccc 2033). The next paragraph, partially taken from the Second Vatican Council, states that the pope and the bishops are “teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the

people entrusted to them, the faith to whatsoever to confer priestly ordinabe believed and put into practice” (ccc tion on women.” 2034). The pope and the bishops, are to The supreme degree of participa“teach the faithful the truth to believe, tion in the authority of Christ is ensured the charity to practice, [and] the beati- by the charism of infallibility. This tude to hope for” (ccc 2034). infallibility extends as far as does the “Infallibility” is also mentioned deposit of divine Revelation; it also exhere and is described as a “charism” tends to all aspects of faith and morals, given by Christ to the whole Church, without which the saving truths of the whereby the pope, as “head of the col- faith cannot be preserved, explained, lege of bishops,” enjoys or observed. “The law papal infallibility (ccc Quoting from the of God entrusted to the 2035). This charism is Church is taught to the Second Vatican “the supreme degree faithful as the way of life of participation in the truth. The faithful Council’s Nov. 18, and authority of Christ” therefore have the right (ccc 2034). It includes 1965 “Decree on the to be instructed in the Extraordinary Magistedivine saving precepts Apostolate of the that purify judgment rium statements, which would be ex cathedra Laity,” the Catechism and, with grace, heal (statements made from wounded human reason” the chair of St. Peter). states: “The witness (ccc 2037). This solemn declaration of a Christian life and On the topic of of papal infallibility did conscience, an informed not occur until the First good works done in conscience is always reVatican Council on July quired so that “personal 18, 1870. The only ex- a supernatural spirit conscience and reason ample of an ex cathedra have great power to [is not] set in opposidecree (an Extraordition to the moral law or nary Magisterium state- draw people to the the Magisterium of the ment) following this (ccc 2039). faith and to God” Church” 1870 declaration was The next topic in on Nov. 1, 1950, when this section covers the Pope Pius XII defined five “precepts of the the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Church,” which are considered laws Mary into heaven as an article of faith binding on the faithful. These Catholic that all Catholics must believe. Prior to precepts flow out of the Ten Commandthis, the only infallible (Extraordinary ments and lead us to the CommandMagisterium statement) of a pope was ments. The shorter list in the Catechism that of the Immaculate Conception of includes: Mary by Pope Pius IX in his Dec. 8, 1. “You shall attend Mass on 1854 apostolic constitution, “Ineffabi- Sundays and holy days of obligation” lis Deus (For God).” There are also Or- (ccc 2042). dinary Magisterium statements, which 2. “You shall confess your sins at the Pope teaches on matters of faith least once a year" (ccc 2042). and morals. An example of this would 3. “You shall humbly receive be then-Pope, now St. John Paul II’s 1995 Encyclical “The Gospel of Life,” in which he declares that abortion is evil. Another example is St. John Paul’s 1994 Apostolic Letter, which states: “The Church has no authority

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your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season” (ccc 2042). 4. “You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church” (ccc 2043). 5. “You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church” (ccc 2043). The final few paragraphs speak about “the fidelity of the baptized… [as] a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church’s mission in the world” (ccc 2044). Quoting from the Second Vatican Council's Nov. 18, 1965 “Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity,” the Catechism states: “The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw people to the faith and to God” (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 6 § 2). As such, the Catechism continues, “the Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until ‘we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God…’” (ccc 2045). Therefore, “by living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God” (ccc 2046), which is liturgically celebrated as “a kingdom of justice, love, and peace” (Preface of Christ the King). Christ’s proclamation of God’s Kingdom never ceases. He offers his love to us through his Mystical Body, the Church where we are strengthened (by God’s Word, by the sacraments and through the intercession of Mary and the saints) to help extend that Kingdom as well. Father Hillier is director, diocesan Office of the Pontifical Missions, the Office for Persons with Disabilities, and Censor Luborum

FAITH ALIVE

Article 145 - Catechism of the Catholic Church Series Paragraphs 2030-2046

27

Christ had us in mind the moment his Church began


28 OUR DIOCESE

Torch Bearers On Nov. 30, Juan Hernandez Jr., center, dressed as St. Juan Diego, poses with his parents, Iraldi Ramirez and Juan Hernandez, at St. Agnes Church, Stockton, which is a mission church of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Lambertville. St. Agnes, where a Mass is celebrated in Spanish on Sundays, is a stop for the Carrera Antorcha Guadalupana on the 3,000-mile relay race of the torch and images of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego. In the second photo, Rodrigo Ramirez and Isabel Ortiz grandparents of Juan Jr., pose with the torch. The faithful prayed the rosary and sang throughout the day and evening. The tradition is an effort to create unity and friendship between Mexican and American communities. A Mass in Mexico City’s Basilica de Guadalupe kicked off the relay, which was scheduled to end in New York City Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On Dec. 1, torch bearers for the next community to receive the procession arrived at St. Agnes for a prayer service, Scripture reading and song to bless their journey.

DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

— photos courtesy of St. John the Evangelist Parish, Lambertville


— CNS photo

Read more about it: Luke 2

Q&A 1. What man recognized Jesus as the Messiah? 2. What woman was always worshipping in the Temple? TRIVIA: What were Joseph and Mary required to sacrifice at the Temple? (Hint: Luke 2:24) PUZZLE: Using the hints provided, fill in the blanks in the sentences about temples. 1. Do you not know that you are the temple of ______, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16) 2. Then he measured the wall of the Temple, six ______ wide. (Ezekiel 41:5) 3. But the Lord is in his holy temple; ______ before him, all the earth! (Habakkuk 2:20) 4. Destroy this temple and in ______ days I will raise it up. (John 2:19) Answers: Trivia: A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Puzzle: : 1. God; 2. cubits; 3. silence; 4. three

Joseph and Mary had traveled to Bethlehem, the city of Joseph’s ancestors, to be counted in a census. Mary was pregnant, and while she and Joseph were in the city, she had her baby. When the baby was born, the angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds who were watching their flocks during the night. The angel told them a savior had been born in Bethlehem. “And this will be a sign for you: You will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger,” the angel said. The shepherds went to Bethlehem. After they had found Joseph, Mary and the baby, they told everyone what the angel had said. When the baby was eight days old, he was given the name Jesus. When Jesus was about one month old, his parents took him to Jerusalem to be presented at the Temple. At that time, a man named Simeon lived in Jerusalem. Simeon was righteous and devout, and the Holy Spirit was with him. The Holy Spirit had revealed to him

that he would not die until he saw the Messiah whom God had promised his people. The Holy Spirit led Simeon to the Temple on the day Joseph, Mary and Jesus were there. The Holy Spirit allowed Simeon to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Simeon walked up to Mary and Joseph. He took Jesus into his arms and blessed God. “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the gentiles, and glory for your people Israel,” he said. Joseph and Mary looked at each other. They were surprised by what they had heard. Just then, the prophetess Anna, who worshipped in the Temple all the time, came over to see the infant. She thanked God and told everyone in Jerusalem who was waiting for the Messiah all about the baby Jesus. Afterward, Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned to their home in Nazareth. As Jesus grew and became strong, he was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was upon him.

OUR DIOCESE

By Jennifer Ficcaglia Catholic News Service

29

Kids Corner: Simeon realizes that Jesus is the Messiah

THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020


30 OUR DIOCESE

Spreading the Light

DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

Far left, Rachel Scott poses with one of the 270 Christmas trees that she and other members or groups sponsored at St. Matthias Parish, Somerset. Parishioners decorated the trees with lights and placed them on poles Nov. 29. Many are dedicated in memory of a loved one, others express gratitude or offer Christmas greetings. After Mass at St. Matthias Church Dec. 5, the trees and the Nativity were blessed by Father Abraham Orapankal, (left) pastor, and Msgr. Joseph M. Curry, parochial vicar who organized the tree initiative. The trees are scheduled to be lit every night from 5 p.m. to midnight through Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. The public is welcome to visit and walk around the trees. All are asked to wear a face mask, practice social distancing, and follow all — Marlo Williamson photos safety protocols.


RCIA Workshop, “Purification and Enlightenment during the Pandemic” virtual workshop, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information or to register contact: sharlow@diometuchen.org

1/19

Virtual Workshop “Mystagogy During The Pandemic” - 7:00 - 8:30 pm - if interested contact ssharlow@diometuchen.org for registration information/

1/21-29 9 Days for Life - Visit www.9daysforlife.com to sign up for daily prayers sent by email or text message. 1/22

Annual Diocesan Respect Life Mass & Pro-Vita Awards at 5 pm at St. Francis Cathedral, Metuchen.

Choices Matter – All Presentations of the diocese’s Choices Matter Virtual Conference Series are available for viewing by visiting: https://www.diometuchen.org/choicesmatter. Presentations delivered at the diocese’s Choices Matter Conference included: Integrity, God’s Plan for sexuality, defending life in the black community, and fighting the legalization of assisted suicide. Each session will challenge you to reflect on why, in each of these areas, our choices matter if we want to build a culture of life and love. DIOCESAN PROGRAMS WEEKLY PODCAST – Am I Not Here? Produced by the staff of the Office of Communications, “Am I Not Here?” – a weekly podcast – highlights the good news within our local Church and those working to minister to the people of the Diocese of Metuchen. New episodes are released each Monday and once aired they are archived. To listen to any episode, or to learn more, please click the links on the diocesan Facebook page or lighting hearts on fire website LECTIO DIVINA, Mondays at 11 a.m. join faithful from around the diocese in a prayerful, virtual gathering of Lectio Divina, a method for praying with the Scriptures. As one reads and invites the Word to become a transforming lens that brings the events of daily living into focus, one can come to live more deeply and find the presence of God more readily in the events of each day. Start your week with prayer, community, and hope. To get the most out of these sessions, please remember to have your bible readily available. For the Zoom meeting information, please email: ssharlow@diometuchen.org LOVE and RESPONSIBILITY FOR COUPLES, Dec. 21, Jan. 4, Jan. 18, 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. Participants are asked to purchase Dr Edward Sri’s, “Men. Women and the Mystery of Love.” For more information and to join, contact, Cristina D’Averso-Collins at cdaverso@diometuchen.org.

BLUE ROSARY GUILD The Office of Family Life is pleased to announce the creation of the Blue Rosary Guild. The purpose of the Guild is for community members of all ages to make pocket Rosaries for law enforcement officers, providing them with support and spiritual strength and promoting devotion to the Rosary among all the faithful. All materials and instructions will be provided and a Zoom virtual tutorial will also be scheduled. Anyone interested should contact Cristina D’Averso-Collins, Director of the Office of Family Life at cdaverso@diometuchen.org.

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SHIFTS AVAILABLE - 7-3:30, 3-11:30, 11-7 Several Sources Shelters, a non-profit non-sectarian shelter for pregnant women is seeking kind, compassionate individuals, willing to serve God through those we help. Drivers License required Reply to : Susan Harper - Lloyd, Email: susanharperlloyd@aol.com Or call: 201-819-4699 (M-F 9-5)

“Come, Follow me.”

(Mark 10:21)

Is 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

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THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT DECEMBER 17, 2020

TALK WITH TONY – On Dec. 22 at 12:50 p.m., join Tony Varas, director of the Office of Worship for a 40 minute live online conversation. Liturgical topics will be chosen based upon requests from participants. Grab lunch and join in the discussion! There is no charge - but to foster a good discussion the number of participants will be limited. To register in advance contact tvaras@diometuchen.org

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OUR DIOCESE

JANUARY 12/25 Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi Christmas Concert. Because of pandemic restrictions, this year the Cathedral Christmas Concert will be available virtually throughout the season beginning on Christmas day. It will feature the handbell choir, trumpet, horn, and cello, as well as several vocal soloists. To view the concert, visit www.diometuchen.org or www.stfranciscathedral. org. The concert will also be made available on the Diocese of Metuchen’s social media pages: @diocesemetuchen and on the St. Francis Cathedral Concerts Facebook page.

L O G O E T A N E L I S O N G H H S A R T S O W W J D O I P R I E L U I D O R H S H A L

31

DIOCESAN EVENTS

Crossword Puzzle Answers:


32 OUR DIOCESE

“And the Word became Flesh and dwelt among us…”

The current pandemic situation has certainly altered our lives, but it has not crushed our spirit or keep kept us from practicing our Catholic faith! It has greatly challenged all of us and presented us with a unique time in our lives to go deeper into our own spiritual journey to realize how even now God is calling us to recognize Him in our midst. Even through this difficult time, our faith in the Lord gives us the confidence that He is guiding us and that we are called to learn to trust Him more and more. Our recent renewal of our consecration to Jesus through Our Lady of Guadalupe reminded us of our Lady’s desire to intimately guide us, too. Of course, our need for the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament has hopefully become more apparent to us during these long and isolated months. We know that social restrictions have altered the way we meet with each other. I know that many families for holidays and special occasions use Zoom meetings to help satisfy the need to be with each other as we still have a need to “experience” our loved ones’ presence. This need is all the more true in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Yes, virtual Mass provides comfort and an opportunity to choose to offer ourselves to God, but just like our virtual family meetings, they are certainly not the same. We hunger for personal presence. The Lord understands our needs better than we do, and this is why He left His very presence to the Church. He knew our deepest need to be personally, united with Him. The joy of Christ’s birth feeds our hunger for the Eucharist. His coming brings light, healing and hope to all who are looking for answers and refuge amidst the difficult times we are all living in. May the birth of Jesus Christ always inspire your personal prayer and reflection and renew your commitment to love and share the Gospel message with others. May the miracle of Christmas always remind us that our Savior was born into this world to save us from spiritual darkness. May Christ’s birth light the fire of His love so that it shines brightly within all of us; you have certainly been an inspiration to me during these challenging times. My prayers are with you and your family this Christmas. I ask you to please remember me in your prayers as well.

DECEMBER 17, 2020 THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

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

Profile for The Catholic Spirit

December 2020  

December 2020