From Staff Reports
A Mass to officially mark the elevation of St. Robert Bellarmine Church to the status of Co-Cathedral will be celebrated Feb. 19 at 11:30 a.m. Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will be the principal celebrant of the Mass and will be joined by Msgr. Sam Sirianni, St. Robert pastor, and invited priests and bishops.
The faithful in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties will be invited to witness this milestone in the Diocese’s history via live stream that will run on TrentonMonitor.com and DioceseofTrenton.org.
Related Story: St. Robert Bellarmine Parish welcomes news of becoming Co-Cathedral
Bishop O’Connell announced that St. Robert Bellarmine Church was to be elevated to the status of Co-Cathedral in a letter that was read to parishioners at all Christmas Masses, Dec. 24-25, 2016. The announcement had come after the Holy See had approved Bishop O’Connell’s request to elevate the parish in recognition of the role it had played in the life and activities of the Diocese of Trenton, including its centralized location as well as the parish’s hospitality, accessibility and ministry. In all, it took about a year before the Bishop’s request was approved.
As a Co-Cathedral, St. Robert Bellarmine Church will host certain diocesan events each year in addition to those that will be celebrated in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, which remains the Mother Church of the Diocese.
In preparation for the Feb. 19 Mass, some refurbishments are being made in St. Robert Bellarmine Church, which include the placement of a “cathedra,” or seat for the Bishop in the sanctuary. That seat will be reserved only for the Bishop in liturgical celebrations.
“Being a Co-Cathedral reminds us our ministry is to the diocesan family,” Msgr. Sam Sirianni, pastor of St. Robert Bellarmine, said when he first learned that his parish church had been named a Co-Cathedral. “The faithful of the parish take seriously the ministry of hospitality to their brothers and sisters from around the Diocese and our mission to receive all who come together in Christ’s name.”
In addition to the livestream, the Mass and elevation will be covered via live tweets to the Diocese’s social media sites, and comprehensive reporting in the The Monitor’s Feb. 26 print edition, and on TrentonMonitor.com.
St. Robert Bellarmine Church is located at 61 Georgia Road, Freehold.