Crucifixes blessed by Bishop gifted to eighth grade grads

June 22, 2023 at 4:05 p.m.
Crucifixes blessed by Bishop gifted to eighth grade grads
Crucifixes blessed by Bishop gifted to eighth grade grads

By EmmaLee Italia | Contributing Editor

“You are God’s gift and hope and blessing to our world!”

That message from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., was printed on a card that accompanied crucifixes destined for more than 900 eighth grade graduates from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton. The crucifixes were blessed by the Bishop May 4 in the Diocesan Chancery, Lawrenceville, and school representatives came to pick them up May 17.

“The suggestion came from one of the principals,” said Daniel O’Connell, associate director for curriculum and instruction for the Diocese. Seven years ago, then-director of development Steve Nicholl “asked school principals for their input as to how the development department could assist in keeping a connection open between elementary schools and their graduates.”

Most schools, he said, present the crucifixes during their Baccalaureate Masses. The crucifix gifts are funded by the Catholic Schools Have It All Program.

“Hopefully, the students will display the crosses in their bedrooms,” he continued. “Like any remembrance, it is our hope that when students look at the crosses, they will remember that their Bishop cares for them. In addition, we hope that the students will remember their years at their grade schools and the strong connections that they have to those grade schools.

“We are grateful to be able to give our graduates a concrete reminder of Jesus’ great love for them,” said Sister of St. Joseph Patricia Pycik, principal of St. Joan of Arc School, Marlton. “As graduates, and now alumni, we are hopeful that with this blessed crucifix they will know that Jesus is always with them.”

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Caroline Fitzgerald, principal of St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft, said that eighth graders would receive their crucifixes following their diplomas during commencement by St. Leo Parish pastor, Father John Folchetti.

“I feel this tradition is a wonderful example of continuing their faith as they move forward in their academic journeys,” Fitzgerald said. “It supports the foundation of their time here at St. Leo the Great School.”

Her hope, she continued, “is that all students are reminded that God is always with them and to turn to him for guidance and comfort. Additionally, it should remind them to be thankful for all that he provides them.”


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“You are God’s gift and hope and blessing to our world!”

That message from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., was printed on a card that accompanied crucifixes destined for more than 900 eighth grade graduates from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton. The crucifixes were blessed by the Bishop May 4 in the Diocesan Chancery, Lawrenceville, and school representatives came to pick them up May 17.

“The suggestion came from one of the principals,” said Daniel O’Connell, associate director for curriculum and instruction for the Diocese. Seven years ago, then-director of development Steve Nicholl “asked school principals for their input as to how the development department could assist in keeping a connection open between elementary schools and their graduates.”

Most schools, he said, present the crucifixes during their Baccalaureate Masses. The crucifix gifts are funded by the Catholic Schools Have It All Program.

“Hopefully, the students will display the crosses in their bedrooms,” he continued. “Like any remembrance, it is our hope that when students look at the crosses, they will remember that their Bishop cares for them. In addition, we hope that the students will remember their years at their grade schools and the strong connections that they have to those grade schools.

“We are grateful to be able to give our graduates a concrete reminder of Jesus’ great love for them,” said Sister of St. Joseph Patricia Pycik, principal of St. Joan of Arc School, Marlton. “As graduates, and now alumni, we are hopeful that with this blessed crucifix they will know that Jesus is always with them.”

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Caroline Fitzgerald, principal of St. Leo the Great School, Lincroft, said that eighth graders would receive their crucifixes following their diplomas during commencement by St. Leo Parish pastor, Father John Folchetti.

“I feel this tradition is a wonderful example of continuing their faith as they move forward in their academic journeys,” Fitzgerald said. “It supports the foundation of their time here at St. Leo the Great School.”

Her hope, she continued, “is that all students are reminded that God is always with them and to turn to him for guidance and comfort. Additionally, it should remind them to be thankful for all that he provides them.”

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