During the weekend of Sept. 10, parishes across the Diocese will participate in the annual National Collection for the Catholic University of America, which serves the Church by engaging its almost 7,000 students in discovering knowledge and truth through excellence in teaching and research.
As the only institution of higher education founded by the U.S. bishops and chartered by the Vatican, Catholic University is the national university of the Catholic Church, charged with educating the future leaders of the Church, the nation and the world.
Contributions to the collection benefit clergy, religious and lay undergraduate and graduate students seeking a Catholic education at the institution, and support scholarships for students in the Diocese of Trenton and other dioceses.
In 2016 parishioners of the Diocese of Trenton donated $127,800 to the annual CUA collection, making it possible for more than 6,000 students from dioceses around the country – including those from the Diocese of Trenton – to obtain an education rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition.
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., is the beneficiary of a CUA education, earning a licentiate in 1987 and a doctor of canon law degree in 1990. He then went on to serve as CUA’s 14th president for 12 years from 1998 until 2010 when he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of the Trenton Diocese by Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop O’Connell established a scholarship in 2010 that is a reflection of his episcopal motto - Ministrare non ministrari - meaning "to serve and not to be served," from the Gospel of St. Mark. The Most Reverend David M. O'Connell Service Scholarship is a four year, full-tuition award given to an incoming freshman from the Diocese of Trenton who has a demonstrated record of service, and has made a commitment to service while at CUA and beyond.
In response to the annual Black and Indian Mission Collection held the first Sunday of Lent, which this year was March 5, the faithful in parishes across the Diocese donated $113,660.36 to help communities build the Church and preach the Gospel among African-American, Native-American and Alaska-Native peoples.
In a letter to Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., Father Maurice Henry Sands, executive director of the Black and Indian Mission Office, thanked the Diocese’s faithful for their generosity, saying, “This collection so clearly authenticates Pope Francis’ call to us as pastor to work as a family to help all of our brothers and sisters and to share the love, faith and hope of Jesus Christ.”
Funds raised by the National Collection go toward providing grants to dioceses across the country to operate schools and parishes and undertake missionary outreach and evangelization programs. Among the priorities of the Black and Indian Mission Office are enlivening parish life and catechesis, helping educators reach children, encouraging vocations and empowering evangelizers.