Papal Relic • Father Jacek Labinski, pastor of St. Hedwig Parish, Trenton, was presented with a relic of Blessed John Paul II’s blood by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, in April, 2013. Photo courtesy of Father Jacek Labinski

Papal Relic • Father Jacek Labinski, pastor of St. Hedwig Parish, Trenton, was presented with a relic of Blessed John Paul II’s blood by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, in April, 2013. Photo courtesy of Father Jacek Labinski

The diocesan observance of the canonization of Blessed John XXIII and Blessed John Paul II will be held on Mercy Sunday weekend with Masses celebrated by Bishop David M. O’ Connell, C.M.

St. Robert Bellarmine Parish, Freehold, will host the Mass of Thanksgiving for the Canonization of Blessed John XXIII, April 26 at 4:30 p.m. Multiple choirs, including the parish’s children’s choir, traditional choir and folk group, will lift their voices in song and will be accompanied by brass and timpani.

Monsignor Sam Sirianni expressed his delight at the upcoming liturgy. “On one level, being a child of the council, it’s a great privilege,” the pastor reflected. “The reforms of the council molded and shaped me, and I am very honored to be able to do this. On another level, for the parish, it was founded in light of the principles of the council. I would hope that we continue to allow those principles to be the foundation of all our work in the future.”

The Mass of Thanksgiving for the Canonization of Blessed John Paul II will take place in St. Hedwig Church, Trenton, April 27 at 11 a.m.  The celebration will be conducted in Polish and English; children will appear in ethnic dress, and music will be sung in both Polish and English and include both the Polish and contemporary choirs. Parishioners and guests will also have the opportunity to reverence a papal relic of the blood of Blessed John Paul II.

Father Jacek Labinski, pastor of St. Hedwig Church, said, “I am happy to have this celebration of canonization in our parish for so many Polish people, as well as those who built the church [who were] immigrants in the 1920s. I’m sure they never dreamed there would be a Polish pope, and now a canonization of a Polish pope.”

In both churches, visual images of the popes on banners and photographs will be on display, while special prayers and petitions for the canonization will be read during Mass.

St. Robert Bellarmine Parish is located at 61 Georgia Road, Freehold. St. Hedwig Parish is located at 872 Brunswick Avenue, Trenton.