On Dec. 23, Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney presided over the final Mass of the diocesan celebration of Simbang Gabi, a Filipino celebration of nine days of novenas and votive Masses in preparation for the birth of Jesus, held that night at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Parsippany.
From a lighted stage in St. Jude the Apostle Church in Hardyston, the Blessed Virgin Mary drops the bombshell revelation for all eternity. Played by Nicole Wasniowska, the Blessed Mother tells her husband, Joseph, startling news: she is pregnant with a baby that isn’t his and is the Son of God.
A Diocesan Memorial Mass in honor of the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney led was held on Jan. 2 in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Paterson. During the Mass, the bishop spoke in English and Spanish about the legacy of Pope Benedict, who died in Rome on Dec. 31, and censed a portrait of him. Concelebrating priests, religious and laity from around the diocese attended the liturgy.
When Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI met a seminarian in Rome, he always remembered his name and what diocese he was studying for. So recalled some priests of the Diocese of Paterson who studied in Rome under the reign of the late pontiff, who died in his residence in Rome on Dec. 31 at 95.
When I heard the news on Saturday morning that Pope Benedict had died, even though we had known his health was failing, it was still a shock, and it was sad to hear this news. After hearing the news, I was in contact with a number of our diocesan leaders to prepare a statement and discuss communication with our priests and parishes to discuss our common response and, especially, the ways in which we would invite the faithful of our diocese to join together in prayer for the deceased Pope Emeritus.