" We need God to heal our land. There’s such confusion and bitterness in our culture now. " ~ Father Jeff Kegley
In conjunction with the anniversary of 9/11 and the spiritual needs of the faithful during the pandemic, St. Mary Parish, Middletown, will host a three-day, in-car revival Sept. 11-13 in its parking lot at 19 Cherry Tree Farm Road.

“9/11 is practically a holy day around here, since so many families from here lost someone,” said Father Jeff Kegley, parish pastor, noting that around 40 people from the community died in the attacks.

Themed “God, Country, Family,” the revival will begin the first night with Mass celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. Each night will include talks, prayer and faith testimonials, with Eucharistic Adoration on Sept. 12-13. Participants will be able to listen to the program in their cars via FM radio or loudspeakers set up throughout the church parking lot. The revival, which will run 6:30-8:30 p.m., is open to everyone.

The Bishop will be the homilist for Mass on Sept. 11. Father Kegley will speak Sept. 12, and Jim Tortorici, theology teacher in Christian Brothers Academy, Lincroft, will speak the last night.

Father Kegley said the idea for the revival came out of the parish’s men’s ministry, and the numerous prayer intentions for the country, Church and families.

“It just dawned on me that at this point, we need to gather everyone in ways that we can to pray together,” he said.

The revival is based on a passage from 2 Chronicles: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14).

“We need to pray, and we need to come to the Lord,” Father Kegley said. “We need God to heal our land. There’s such confusion and bitterness in our culture now, and anger at politicians … Families are suffering from anxiety and fear, loss of jobs. We have to trust the Lord and be people of hope.

“I think the revival is going to be really blessed,” he said. “Obviously the wisdom of man is failing. We need the wisdom of God right now to navigate this pandemic … come and experience an encounter with the Lord.”