Father Alindogan prays over an Elect in the parish's RCIA process during the celebration of the Third Scrutiny.
Father Alindogan prays over an Elect in the parish's RCIA process during the celebration of the Third Scrutiny.
“And Jesus wept.”

While this Scripture verse in St. John’s Gospel (11:35) is one of the shortest in the Bible, it is also one that Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M., finds to be "profoundly moving."

"We don't usually imagine Jesus, the Son of God and Savior of the world, weeping," Bishop O'Connell said to the congregation in St. Veronica Church, Howell, where he celebrated the Vigil Mass for the Fifth Sunday of Lent, March 25.

PHOTO GALLERY: Bishop visits Howell parish

"In fact, I don't think there is another mention of Jesus' weeping anywhere in the New Testament. The Scriptures present Jesus at different times as tired, moved with pity, troubled, even angry, but weeping, no," the Bishop said.

Referring to the day's Gospel, the Raising of Lazarus, Bishop O’Connell said the short passage caught his attention because “it gives great insight into the humanity of Jesus, so much like us that he could be overcome with emotion, moved to tears, and it gives great insight into the divinity of Jesus, God made man, who could lift up, consecrate, sanctify human tears and make them part of the life of God.”

“Last Sunday, the story of the man born blind, highlighted the themes of light as it threads through John’s Gospel, leading to Jesus’ proclamation ‘I am the Light of the World,’” Bishop O’Connell said. “Today, John’s theme is life, leading to Jesus; ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’”

For Bishop O’Connell, celebrating Mass in St. Veronica Church was part of his planned visits to parishes during the Sundays of Lent. To date he’s visited Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, on the First Sunday of Lent; St. Alphonsus Parish, Hopewell, on the Second Sunday of Lent; St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, and St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan, on the Third Sunday of Lent, and Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Moorestown, on the Fourth Sunday of Lent.

The Mass in St. Veronica Church included the celebration of the Third Scrutiny by Father Peter Alindogan, pastor. The Scrutinies are three special rites for the parish’s Elect who seek entrance into the Church through the parish’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process. This year, Dennis Hom, Steven Paskowitz, Danielle Vona, Kayliana Retzlaff and Jayden Sanchez will receive the Sacraments during the Easter Vigil on April 8.

Reflecting on the Mass, Father Alindogan acknowledged, “it meant a lot to the St. Veronica community to have Bishop O’Connell visit during Lent, especially after the two-year pandemic experience.

“I felt that the parishioners were reinvigorated by his presence and shared with me how they are privileged during this sacred time to experience his kindness, humor, gentleness and generosity,” Father Alindogan said, noting that parishioners appreciated the Bishop greeting them as they exited the church, “waving at times, smiling and extending his show of fatherly care."

“Though it was a rainy afternoon, the spirit and atmosphere was … moving and ever reflective of Jesus in the tears that were shed by our Lord,” said Father Alindogan.