Representatives of religious orders of men and women serving in New Jersey are pictured during a special statewide meeting with New Jersey’s Catholic bishops May 22 in San Alfonso Retreat House, West End. In each of the five (arch)dioceses of New Jersey, religious orders have long and generously served the Church in ministries of education, heath care, spiritual support, parish and social work. They share their distinctive charisms, influenced and inspired by their founders, with local clergy and lay faithful in service to God and the communities of faith throughout the Garden State. Some 60 leaders and representative members of these orders came to engage in discussions with the state’s bishops, including Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. The gathering presented an opportunity for those who serve the Catholic Church in New Jersey through consecrated life to speak to one another and to the bishops about their mission and experiences here. Participants expressed gratitude for the gathering initiated by the bishops and hoped that such encounters could happen more frequently. Later in the day, the bishops met with representatives of the New Jersey Catholic Conference to discuss legislative issues and other statewide concerns.  Staff photo