Police work the scene at St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka, April 22 after bomb blasts ripped through churches and luxury hotels the previous day. CNS photo/Athit Perawongmetha, Reuters
VATICAN CITY – On Easter Monday, Pope Francis led thousands of people in St. Peter's Square in praying for the hundreds of people who died or were injured in bomb blasts the previous day in Sri Lanka.
Pope Francis had already condemned the bombings and offered prayers April 21 after celebrating Easter morning Mass.
As thousands of faithful across the Diocese joyfully anticipated the Light of Jesus’ return, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., reminded those gathered in Trenton’s Cathedral of the powerful message in Jesus’ Death and Resurrection for his earliest followers and those today.
“It often takes a moment or two for things to sink in. When we find ourselves in situations we did not expect, our minds rarely grasp what has happened right away,” Bishop O’Connell preached during the Easter Vigil Mass. More ... Sunday, April 21, 2019
ROME – As the machine of warfare continues to churn out more dangerous weaponry, only the power and joy of Christ's resurrection can fill hearts with comfort and peace, Pope Francis said before giving his Easter blessing. More ... Sunday, April 21, 2019
VATICAN CITY – As individuals and as a Church, it can be tempting to dwell on mistakes, failures and sins that block the fullness of life, but Easter is the proclamation that the Lord is victorious and his love will triumph, Pope Francis said.
"Easter is the feast of tombstones taken away, rocks rolled aside," the Pope said in his homily April 20 during the Easter Vigil. More ... Saturday, April 20, 2019
Following the Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion April 19, Maritza Williams said she gained a new perspective on the meaning of the Cross from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.
“I never thought of the Cross in that way,” said Williams, referring to the Bishop’s homily in which he spoke of the cross as being two beams of common simple wood that originally had no other purpose than to be an instrument of execution and death.
“What brings those beams together, what makes the Cross a Crucifix is not the intersection of wood upon wood,” said the Bishop, who presided over the 3 p.m. service in Holy Cross Church, a worship site of Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton.
During the Mass of the Lord’s Supper that he celebrated on Holy Thursday, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., recalled the dramatic events that make this day in this week ‘holy.’”
On Holy Thursday, which commemorates the last meal Jesus shared with his apostles before his Death, Jesus’ institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, Bishop O’Connell told the faithful of St. David the King Church, Princeton Junction, of how there had been “a gathering, a Passover meal and celebration complete with prayers and hymns. There was a sharing of bread and wine, the anticipation of the end of one life and the beginning of a life that would never end.
“My sisters and brothers, this night is holy not because of the things we do but, rather, because of the things he did – the Lord Jesus Christ. It is he who gathers us. It is he who gives us food and drink. It is he who drops to his knees to wash the feet of his disciples,” said Bishop O’Connell. “He, the Lord Jesus Christ, makes this night holy. And what we do, we do in his memory.”
ROME – Jesus' gesture of washing his disciples' feet, an act once reserved to servants and slaves, is one that all Christians, especially bishops, must imitate, Pope Francis told hundreds of inmates and prison employees on Holy Thursday. More ... Friday, April 19, 2019
VATICAN CITY – Just as Jesus always sought to be with the people to serve, teach and heal them, so, too, must priests always be in the midst of God's people, "pouring ourselves out" for them, Pope Francis said. More ... Thursday, April 18, 2019
Daylight was quickly turning to dusk as faithful from around the Diocese entered a dimly lit and reverently quiet St. Catharine Church, Spring Lake, the evening of April 17.
The congregants were gathering on the Wednesday of Holy Week for the celebration of a Tenebrae service where they would be led in a profound meditation experience on the Passion and Death and Resurrection of Jesus. More ... Thursday, April 18, 2019
Angela La Manna was looking to gain a broadened sense of awareness of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice and Resurrection as she participated in a program on the subject ahead of Holy Week and Easter.
“Having Father [Gadenz] come here to explain it in adult terms,” she said, reinforced with depth and clarity the “amazing fact that from the Cross, [Jesus] didn’t condemn anyone but instead offered humanity a blanket forgiveness that extends throughout time.” More ... Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Fran Thompson was exuberant as she described witnessing for the first time the sacred traditions of the annual Chrism Mass.
“It was nothing like what I expected. It was just beautiful. You have to see it to believe it. You have to experience it,” the St. Mary Parish, Barnegat, parishioner said. “I’m bringing my husband next year.”
“But what about Peter?” my son DeForeest asked as we returned from Easter Vigil Mass many years ago.
I’d started telling him about Jesus from the time he began to talk. By the age of three, he was familiar with the Gospel and showed interest in its supporting cast. I sometimes aided his imagination with occasional vocal characterizations for the various apostles, Pharisees, centurions and townsfolk who wander in and out of Scripture.
The sky may have been gray, but spirits were filled with hope as faithful gathered April 14 to witness Palm Sunday Masses throughout the Diocese of Trenton. The reading of the Passion, combined with special liturgical music and prayers, called to mind Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrated Mass in St. Paul Church, Princeton, beginning outside with the blessing of palm fronds.
VATICAN CITY – Acclaimed by the crowds and knowing he was the Messiah they sought, Jesus still chose the path of humility and self-emptying, focused only on doing God's will, Pope Francis said on Palm Sunday. More ... Sunday, April 14, 2019