For Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., the Sundays in Lent have been spent visiting parish communities and praying with their people.
Bishop reminds faithful: Lent is time to be transfigured, reconciled with God
The Bishop celebrated 4 p.m. Mass on the Second Sunday of Lent in St. Alphonsus Church, Hopewell. In his homily, he reflected on the Transfiguration of Jesus, in which “we see an anticipation of the glory of Jesus’ Resurrection.
PHOTO GALLERY: Bishop's Mass in Immaculate Conception Church, Trenton
PHOTO GALLERY: Bishop's Mass in St. Alphonsus Church, Hopewell
“We hear the story of Jesus’ Transfiguration early in Lent, but we have the benefit of hindsight. In our hearing of it, we anticipate Jesus’ Resurrection even as we prepare in these 40 Days of Lent to remember and relive Jesus’ Passion and Death.
“What do we take home from Mount Tabor today: belief in the Lord Jesus will transfigure us and lead us through suffering to glory,” the Bishop said.
For the First Sunday of Lent, the Bishop celebrated Mass with the community of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton, in Immaculate Conception Church, during which he spoke about the history of creation and Original Sin.
“No one of us is perfect,” Bishop O’Connell said, reminding the congregation that the “opportunity the Lenten season offers to reconcile our imperfections with God.
“No, we are not perfect, far from it,” he said. “And yet, we cannot use temptation and sin and our human imperfection as an excuse for complacency, for not changing our hearts, for not striving to be good and better and become more like the one who has saved us all.”
Among the large number of parishioners in attendance for the Mass was Alexander Iriarte, who expressed his desire to observe a season of Lent as taught by the Church – “with prayer, fasting and almsgiving.”
Luis Ramon, also a parishioner, acknowledged, “After living here for a long time, this year I am trying to change for the better, not only for Lent but for always. If you have faith in God, you can change.”
The Sunday Mass was the second in Our Lady of the Angels for Felipe Gonzalez who hails from Guatemala. He told of growing up in a family devoted to the Catholic Church and how the Lenten season means the preparation for Holy Week and the Resurrection of Christ.
“We know that Holy Week is approaching … so we have to be in prayer and as close to God as possible. The tradition that I inherited from my parents is to observe Lent and Holy Week with fasting and meditation. But you always have to seek salvation, not only during this time of Lent” Gonzalez said.