Holy Week, the days which recount Our Lord's Passion, Death and glorious Resurrection, were prayerfully commemorated with Masses, prayer services and special gatherings. Following is a slideshow capturing some of the celebrations taking place in parishes around the Diocese of Trenton. More ... Tuesday, April 25, 2017
As the interior of St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, became illuminated with the light from the Paschal Candle, one of the youngest members of the parish pointed in awe as the light traveled through the Diocese’s Mother Church during the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday Night, April 15.
One by one they came, silhouetted against a dark blue sky as the faithful processed up wooden walkways and spilled out onto the beach below to celebrate the Resurrection of their Lord.
As the sky began to lighten to hues of soft blues and pinks, the early morning light revealed more than 1,500 faithful gathered for St. Francis of Assisi Parish’s annual Easter sunrise Mass on the beach April 16 in Beach Haven.
Father James Scullion, pastor of the Long Beach Island parish, likened the faithful to the first arrivals at Jesus’ tomb.
On Holy Saturday morning, many church sanctuaries around the Diocese were bedecked with colorful baskets filled with Easter food. Parishioners brought the baskets to be blessed by a parish priest or deacon. More ... Saturday, April 15, 2017
Each Good Friday for the past 17 years, the typically bustling streets of inner-city Trenton’s South Ward section and some of its residential side roads, become, at least for a couple of hours in the morning, quiet, holy places of prayer. More ... Saturday, April 15, 2017
It was a Good Friday that captured every aspect of reverence and sorrow called for on such a day, in St. John the Baptist Parish, Allentown where Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., joined Father Brian Woodrow, pastor, to commemorate the Passion of Our Lord.
VATICAN CITY -- Jesus came to the world not just to teach, but to radically change human hearts that have hardened from sin, the preacher of the papal household said during a service commemorating Christ's death on the cross. More ... Friday, April 14, 2017
Thousands of years may separate Delia Yates from the Last Supper, but she couldn’t help but feel connected to Christ’s disciples as she had her feet washed April 13 during Holy Thursday Mass. More ... Friday, April 14, 2017
For parishioners of St. Justin the Martyr Parish, Toms River, Holy Thursday was tinged with excitement as they anticipated having Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., visit their parish to celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper.More ... Friday, April 14, 2017
Tenebrae, the ancient Holy Week service that adorns the narrative of Jesus’ Passion with sacred music and soaring chants, drew more than 300 faithful from around the Trenton Diocese to Spring Lake’s St. Catharine Church on the Wednesday of Holy Week.
Tenebrae, which means darkness or shadows, is traditionally held in the evenings of Holy Week, particularly during the Triduum. It is meant to inspire and awaken a sense of awe and wonder at the great mysteries contained in Holy Week and Easter liturgies, according to the Diocesan Office of Worship which sponsored the event. More ... Thursday, April 13, 2017
Patrick Sullivan may have been portraying Jesus in his parish’s “Living Last Supper” presentation for six years, but it’s a memory from his first time playing the Son of God that stands above the rest.
“An 8-year-old boy came up to me, and he tugged on my alb and said, ‘Jesus, can I have your autograph?’” Sullivan of Nativity Parish, Fair Haven, said as he prepared to go on stage the evening of April 11. “I didn’t know what to say."
Following is the homily given by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., during the Chrism Mass he celebrated April 10 in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold:
As Christians, we are all people of the Word: the Word of God; the Word Made Flesh in our Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God, the Word Made Flesh brings us together and addresses us – Bishop, priests – diocesan and members of religious orders – deacons, consecrated religious women, lay faithful of the Diocese of Trenton – at this Chrism Mass in our Co-Cathedral.
Words are not simply utterances that we speak and hear. Words are not simply phrases that we remember and repeat. Words are not simply thoughts, reflections of the mind and heart that find their way to our lips and ears. No. Words are expressions of intentions carrying with them meaning and purpose. And so it is with the Word of God, the Word made Flesh. This ‘Word’ reveals and conveys God’s intentions for our lives.
As Bishop of this local Church and Successor to the Apostles, as your Bishop, let me remind you of the Word of God that, as priests united with me, we have read and preached as God’s intention; that as the community of faith entrusted to priests united with me, we have heard as God’s intention:
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., ushered in Holy Week by comparing Palm Sunday to the door of a house, “a first glimpse – a first impression of what’s inside.”
“Sometimes the first impression is not the one that lasts,” he said during his homily April 9 in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, West Trenton. “Today is Palm Sunday. It is, liturgically speaking, the front door to Holy Week. And as we enter into any house by the door, so Jesus enters the house of Holy Week through the door that is Jerusalem, through the door that is Palm Sunday.”
It often takes a moment or two for things to sink in. When we find ourselves in situations we did not expect, our minds rarely grasp what has happened right away.
That first Easter Sunday morning at the tomb was just such an occasion. All four Gospel accounts describe the women coming to the tomb but finding it empty. They arrived to mourn and to anoint Jesus’ body, but it was not there. We can be sure a thousand thoughts raced through their confused and frightened minds in an instant as they peered into the burial space to see the funeral cloths lying there but no body. “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we do not know where they put him (John 20: 2).”
For many, the season of Lent is a journey to be taken one step at a time. For those in St. James Parish, Red Bank, it’s a six-week spiritual trek that’s being built brick by brick. More ... Thursday, April 6, 2017
Complete with ancient rites and sacred symbolism, Holy Week is when all of God’s people are invited to go on a spiritual pilgrimage and share in the story that commemorates the profound mysteries of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s a story that’s most appreciated when experienced in its entirety. More ... Thursday, April 6, 2017