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home : features : advent & christmas December 11, 2018

An Advent message from Bishop O'Connell: The 'both/and' nature of our spiritual preparation
This Monitor archive photo was taken by freelance photographer Jeff Bruno in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Seaside Heights, which is now part of St. Junipero Parish, Seaside Park.
This Monitor archive photo was taken by freelance photographer Jeff Bruno in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Seaside Heights, which is now part of St. Junipero Parish, Seaside Park.
I confess, I’m guilty.  Once Thanksgiving is over my thoughts turn to Christmas.  I put up my tree and decorate the house for that “most wonderful time of the year.” I pull out my Christmas CDs and watch all those great Christmas specials and movies on TV.  All these preparations – admittedly secular – put me in a happy frame of mind and give me a good feeling to welcome my favorite holiday.  I don’t want to miss a minute! 

At the same time, I don’t lose sight of the real “reason for the season,” the birth of the Savior, God the Father’s gift of his Son Jesus to the world.  The four weeks of Advent that precede Christmas Eve and Day keep me focused liturgically, in prayer and worship, on the ancient anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. 

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Festival, parish choirs to present Dec. 14 Christmas concert
The works of Camille Saint Saens and Benjamin Britten will be highlighted in the Dec. 14 Christmas concert to be presented by the music ministry of St. Anthony of Padua, Red Bank. More ...
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Advent traditions bring peace to a busy holiday season
Advent, the four-week period preceding Christmas, is a time to slow down as we wait in hopeful expectation for Christ’s coming. It’s a time to take stock of what’s important in our lives, casting away extra commitments and wasted energy we’ve added throughout the year.

Here are a few traditions that an individual or family can practice to slow down and draw closer to Christ during Advent.

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Thursday, November 29, 2018
Simbang Gabi a Filipino tradition with strong roots
The way Father Mark Nillo sees it, there are two reasons why Simbang Gabi continues to be a beloved Filipino tradition: it brings people together to pray, exchange stories and enjoy various seasonal Filipino delicacies, and it can raise awareness to Catholic devotions unique and deeply rooted in the culture of certain ethnic groups. More ...
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Christmas Carol Festivals spread joy, unify
Once again, parishes throughout the Diocese of Trenton are prepared for their Christmas Carol Festivals – an annual tradition that brings generations together for a Christ-centered season. More ...
Thursday, November 29, 2018
Parishes prepare for Advent season
As part of their celebration of the holy season of Advent and preparation for the Birth of Christ, the following parishes have announced events for the Advent season. More ...
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Young people play big roles as Epiphany's gifts celebrated in Trenton, Marlton

Honoring the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child, young people took center stage during parish observances of the Feast of the Epiphany Jan. 7.

“We are very blessed here,” Deacon Luis Ramos said as children prepared to receive gifts from three young parishioners dressed as the Magi after Mass in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. “People are very good to our parishioners.”

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Middletown youth introduce 'Scrooge' to the Baby Jesus in Christmas play

After watching, “A Christmas Carol” with her family, 15-year-old Angela Gibilisco, wanted to take the story and give it a religious twist.

“It was during the scenes with the Ghost of Christmas Past that I first imagined an angel appearing to a man similar to Scrooge," said Gibilisco, member of the youth ministry in St. Catherine Laboure Parish, Middletown.


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Tuesday, January 9, 2018
Bishop O'Connell celebrates Feast of the Epiphany with hundreds of Manalapan's faithful

In the back of St. Thomas More Church, behind hundreds of faithful, Diana Saverino sat transfixed in the glow of the Feast of the Epiphany.

Calling it a Mass to cherish, the parishioner of 25 years was moved by the Manalapan church that was illuminated by thousands of lights and bathed in soaring music and the reverence of the homily, given by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018
Bishop joins in ageless Filipino tradition of Simbang Gabi
For more than two decades, the enduring Filipino Advent tradition of Simbang Gabi – a nine-day novena of spiritual preparation for the birth of Christ – has unfolded seamlessly in coordinated diocesan-wide observances. More ...
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Day of spiritual enrichment for priests, Bishop
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and some 120 priests gathered Dec. 14 in St. Joseph Parish, Millstone, for an Advent spirituality day and Christmas luncheon. The gathering featured a keynote address by Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Glenn Sodano, who led a presentation on “Spirituality Authority.” More ...
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Faithful around the Diocese commemorate Birth of our Lord
Whether it was by answering the call of church bells on a cold Christmas Eve night or rising early to joyfully sing “O Come, All Ye Faithful” Christmas morning, faithful from throughout the Diocese commemorated the Birth of Our Lord Dec. 24-25 in a myriad of ways. Along with coming together in prayer and worship with their brothers and sisters in their parish communities, some also chose to spend their Christmas by bringing comfort, joy and friendship to others through works of service. At the heart of each celebration, the message resounded on giving glory to the newborn King. More ...
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Diocese of Trenton churches decorated for Christmas featured in photos
From life-sized Nativity scenes to poinsettias, trees and candles, beautiful symbols of faith and decorations greeted those who worshipped in parishes around the Diocese of Trenton this Advent and Christmas season.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017
Pope proclaims hope, pleads for migrants during Christmas Eve Mass
VATICAN CITY – Christmas calls believers to see God's presence where he is often perceived as absent, especially in the "unwelcomed visitor, often unrecognizable, who walks through our cities and our neighborhoods, who travels on our buses and knocks on our doors," Pope Francis said Dec. 24 as he celebrated Christmas Mass. More ...
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Bishop O'Connell's Christmas homily 2017
Every year, the entire world pauses on December 25 to remember the birth of a Child – not just any child but the Christ Child, the Chosen One of God, the Messiah who had been prophesied and foretold from the beginning of human history. More ...
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Poll shows most Americans want to hear 'Merry Christmas' at holidays
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A majority of Americans, 59 percent, say they prefer the greeting "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Holidays" during this season, according to a new Knights of Columbus-Marist poll. More ...
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Study: Number of Americans who view Christmas as religious keeps eroding
WASHINGTON –The percentage of Americans who see Christmas as a religious holiday continues to slide across nearly all demographic lines. More ...
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Bereavement ministry, remembering loved ones key to coping with grief during holidays

Grief at the loss of a loved one can be a constantly evolving process.

Just ask Bob Rizzo of Mother of Mercy Parish, Asbury Park, who has been missing his wife, Theresa, for five years. While life certainly goes on for the 85-year-old, he said he still cries for the “lady who lit up his life” since 1952.

Memories of their family Christmas celebrations are especially apt to flood back at this time of year, said Rizzo, who after his wife’s death, devoted much of his time to a bereavement ministry in his parish. 

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Thursday, December 14, 2017
A Message from Bishop O'Connell: Celebration of Christmas is not just for children

Every once in a while, at parties or dinners before Christmas, I’ve asked adults about their holiday plans only to hear some lament, “Oh, Christmas is for children.” I must confess that such a comment saddens me a bit. 

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Thursday, December 14, 2017

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