Bishop confirms three Notre Dame High school students during school Mass

April 5, 2023 at 7:54 p.m.
Bishop confirms three Notre Dame High school students during school Mass
Bishop confirms three Notre Dame High school students during school Mass

By Mary Stadnyk | Associate Editor

When Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrated Mass in Notre Dame High School on the Wednesday of Holy Week, a milestone was reached in the faith lives of three Notre Dame students.

Photo Gallery: Bishop confirms three Notre Dame High School students

The Lawrenceville school community joyfully and prayerfully looked on as freshmen Isabel Urban and Merritt Long, along with sophomore Gannon Hermann, were confirmed by the Bishop during the April 5 Mass, completing their Sacraments of Initiation. The three had already been baptized and received First Holy Communion.

“I invite you to pray for these three young members of our community that the Holy Spirit might enter their minds and hearts, bringing his seven Gifts – Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord – and leading them forward with his power and grace to lead full Catholic Christian lives,” Bishop O’Connell said in his homily. “As Holy Week changed the history of the world forever, let’s pray that the holy Sacrament of Confirmation will change them and draw them closer to God through the Holy Spirit who will come to dwell in them.”

Joanna Barlow, principal, said that each year on the Wednesday of Holy Week, the school holds a Mass before departing for Easter break. For the past several years, the Mass has included students receiving Sacraments, something she believes are occasions that reflect the school’s strong Catholic identity. The students were prepared for their Confirmation by Father Jason Parzynski, school chaplain, and Janine Corgan, the school’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults coordinator.

“This will be a day they will always remember,” Barlow said.
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In his homily, the Bishop shared that the Wednesday of Holy Week is the final full day of Lent and is traditionally referred to as “Spy Wednesday,” when the apostle Judas arranged his betrayal of the Lord Jesus with the chief priests.

“We don’t ‘celebrate’ Judas’ betrayal today, we simply ‘remember’ it as a turning point in the Holy Week story,” the Bishop said, noting that the betrayal led to Jesus’ tortuous death.

“Yet, the Lord Jesus did not give up. He continued through the rest of Holy Week to fulfill his divine destiny as he moved closer to his Crucifixion and death – for all of us!” the Bishop said. “Holy Week is a very important time for all of us who are followers of the Lord Jesus,” and time should be spent “thinking about the Lord Jesus’ great sacrifice and triumph over sin and evil.”

The newly confirmed students agreed that their Catholic schooling was influential in their wanting to explore the Catholic faith on a deeper level.

“I wanted to take this next step in the Catholic faith and get closer to God,” said Long, noting that his faith formation had been nurtured when he was a student in Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart and continues now at Notre Dame. He is also a member of Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton.

Hermann, a member of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, also credits Notre Dame strongly for influencing his decision to be confirmed, especially since he had previously attended a public school.

Hermann shared that he chose Leo as his Confirmation name because he wants to model “St. Leo the Great, who represented having great confidence and strength.”


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When Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., celebrated Mass in Notre Dame High School on the Wednesday of Holy Week, a milestone was reached in the faith lives of three Notre Dame students.

Photo Gallery: Bishop confirms three Notre Dame High School students

The Lawrenceville school community joyfully and prayerfully looked on as freshmen Isabel Urban and Merritt Long, along with sophomore Gannon Hermann, were confirmed by the Bishop during the April 5 Mass, completing their Sacraments of Initiation. The three had already been baptized and received First Holy Communion.

“I invite you to pray for these three young members of our community that the Holy Spirit might enter their minds and hearts, bringing his seven Gifts – Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord – and leading them forward with his power and grace to lead full Catholic Christian lives,” Bishop O’Connell said in his homily. “As Holy Week changed the history of the world forever, let’s pray that the holy Sacrament of Confirmation will change them and draw them closer to God through the Holy Spirit who will come to dwell in them.”

Joanna Barlow, principal, said that each year on the Wednesday of Holy Week, the school holds a Mass before departing for Easter break. For the past several years, the Mass has included students receiving Sacraments, something she believes are occasions that reflect the school’s strong Catholic identity. The students were prepared for their Confirmation by Father Jason Parzynski, school chaplain, and Janine Corgan, the school’s Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults coordinator.

“This will be a day they will always remember,” Barlow said.
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In his homily, the Bishop shared that the Wednesday of Holy Week is the final full day of Lent and is traditionally referred to as “Spy Wednesday,” when the apostle Judas arranged his betrayal of the Lord Jesus with the chief priests.

“We don’t ‘celebrate’ Judas’ betrayal today, we simply ‘remember’ it as a turning point in the Holy Week story,” the Bishop said, noting that the betrayal led to Jesus’ tortuous death.

“Yet, the Lord Jesus did not give up. He continued through the rest of Holy Week to fulfill his divine destiny as he moved closer to his Crucifixion and death – for all of us!” the Bishop said. “Holy Week is a very important time for all of us who are followers of the Lord Jesus,” and time should be spent “thinking about the Lord Jesus’ great sacrifice and triumph over sin and evil.”

The newly confirmed students agreed that their Catholic schooling was influential in their wanting to explore the Catholic faith on a deeper level.

“I wanted to take this next step in the Catholic faith and get closer to God,” said Long, noting that his faith formation had been nurtured when he was a student in Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart and continues now at Notre Dame. He is also a member of Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton.

Hermann, a member of St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square, also credits Notre Dame strongly for influencing his decision to be confirmed, especially since he had previously attended a public school.

Hermann shared that he chose Leo as his Confirmation name because he wants to model “St. Leo the Great, who represented having great confidence and strength.”

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