Parishioner Ignazio Giuffre, center, who donated the statue of St. Mary, Seat of Wisdom, is pictured with, from left, Father Gene Savarimuthu, Father Jeffrey Lee, Bishop O’Connell, and Father Christopher Dayton, who was Bishop’s master of ceremonies.
Parishioner Ignazio Giuffre, center, who donated the statue of St. Mary, Seat of Wisdom, is pictured with, from left, Father Gene Savarimuthu, Father Jeffrey Lee, Bishop O’Connell, and Father Christopher Dayton, who was Bishop’s master of ceremonies.
“God chooses to reveal himself to his people – in his own time,” Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., said during the April 17 Mass he celebrated in St. Mary Church, Colts Neck.

In his homily, Bishop O’Connell reflected on the Gospel account in which Jesus, after his Resurrection, appeared to the apostles in the Upper Room, saying, “Peace be with you.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Bishop celebrates Mass, blesses statue in St. Mary Church, Colts Neck

The apostles, he said, were terrified that the people who had crucified Jesus might now try to kill them. Even though they were hidden in the locked room, “The Lord Jesus Christ appeared in their midst,” Bishop O’Connell said. “The disciples were not expecting Jesus. He died! It was the Risen Lord who sought them out! He came to find them! He was not dead but risen!”

“God seeks us out when we need him most – he finds us when we need him most and gives us his peace! With that in mind, we live our Christian lives, we show our Christian lives, we share our Christian lives as convinced and believing followers of the Risen Lord, living in this challenging world of ours,” he said.

St. Mary Parish is one of many faith communities across the Diocese that the Bishop has visited throughout the year. Along with celebrating the Mass, the Bishop also presided over the blessing of the parish’s new image of St. Mary, Seat of Wisdom.

“Today is a special day for us,” said Father Jeffrey Lee, pastor of St. Mary Parish, noting it was a privilege to have Bishop O’Connell visit.

Father Lee said the life-sized, hand-carved wooden statue of St. Mary, Seat of Wisdom, was donated by parishioner Ignazio Giuffre, who wanted to give a gift to the parish in memory of his beloved Iris, who died in 2019. The statue was commissioned some 18 months ago, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is the work of artists who live and work in northern Italy.

The statue depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is seated on a throne holding the Child Jesus on her lap. The Child holds a blue orb with a gold cross in his left hand, while with his right hand, he is offering a blessing.

Greeting parishioners and guests as they gazed upon the statue that is in the vast narthex of St. Mary Church, Father Lee encouraged them to take notice of the subtle positioning of both the Blessed Mother’s and Jesus’ eyes.

While Mary’s head is slightly lowered and her eyes are looking down on Jesus, Jesus’ head is straight, and his eyes are “looking directly at all of us. He is looking at all who enter St. Mary Church.

“Blessing this sacred art is especially important since the Blessed Virgin Mary is the primary patron of our Diocese of Trenton and of our Colts Neck parish,” Father Lee said, noting that it was important that the statue shows Mary presenting Jesus to those who enter the church building.

“This reminds us that we in turn are called to bring Christ into the world as we depart the church building,” Father Lee said.