On Oct. 11, Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney celebrated Mass at Delbarton School in Morristown. Delbarton School is a Benedictine Catholic college preparatory school educating young men in grades 7–12 in mind, body, and spirit. Led by the monks of St. Mary’s Abbey, Delbarton continues a 1,500-year tradition of Benedictine Catholic liberal arts education that guides students to strive for nothing less than excellence in scholarship, spirituality, character and physical health.
It wasn’t until Tom McKinley of Hawthorne started ministering to the desperately poor a world away in the Philippines that he heard in their cries a possible call to the priesthood by God. “Poverty in Cebu City is extreme like we don’t see here in the United States. It’s destitution — kids in rags, street urchins, and people living in shacks,” said McKinley, 45, a native of St. Anthony Parish in Hawthorne. In the Philippines, he ran a Rotary Club, which fed the poor and arranged for them to receive dental work. He returned to his family in Hawthorne in 2019. “Serving the poor was rewarding. I started thinking, ‘How can I do more of this — put my Christian principles into action?’ That led me to consider the priesthood,” he said.
Throughout the Diocese of Paterson, the faithful give humbly of themselves day after day and year after year. Selfless acts of service that often go unseen unite faith communities in love and charity. On Sunday, nearly 150 Catholic faithful were honored for such service at the annual Vivere Christus Ceremony at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Paterson.
This past Tuesday, Oct. 11, was the feast of St. Pope John XXIII. I sent an email to all our priests on Tuesday and, for some reason, wished them a Happy Feast of St. Clare, whose Feast Day is Aug. 11. I realized I had made a mistake at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, just a little too late to correct my error in the email that was scheduled to be sent at 8 a.m. Yet, realizing my mistake led me to spend a little more time thinking about “Good Pope John” and appreciating that his Feast Day, now as St. Pope John XXIII, is on Oct. 11 because that was the date of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.
“Togetherness is the heart of African culture,” Maryknoll Father Joseph Healey, an African missionary for the past 54 years, told 1st–8th-graders during a visit to Divine Mercy Academy (DMA) here on Oct. 6. To illustrate his point, Father Healey, who teaches at the Catholic university in Nairobi, Kenya, asked five students to get up and form a line. He identified the student in front and the one in back. Then, Father Healey asked them to face each other and hold hands in a circle — a part of his talk about his missionary work in eastern Africa.
As chairman of the Pro-Life Ministry at St. Cecilia Parish here for 13 years, the late Thomas A. Haltigan worked tirelessly to help promote the protection of the lives of the unborn. A resident of White Meadow Lake in Rockaway, Haltigan helped organize many pro-life fundraisers for the group, now known as the Rockaway Denville Catholic Respect Life Ministry.
On Oct. 8, The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Morristown held the 7th annual Knights of Columbus Mass and Dinner of Appreciation honoring local healthcare workers for their valiant efforts during the pandemic. Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney was the main celebrant at the Mass and was joined by Msgr. John E. Hart, the pastor of the parish.
Teens participated in an Antioch Retreat at St. Luke’s Roman Catholic Church in Washington Township Sept. 30. The youth ministries of Saint Luke’s and St. Lawrence the Martyr parishes in Chester co-hosted the event. Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney celebrated an opening Mass with the leadership team.
In July, after a two-year pandemic hiatus, 24 teens and adult volunteers departed from St. Vincent de Paul Parish for a one-week service project in Appalachia. Their destination: Terra Alta, West Virginia. Their mission: to serve those in need. Over the next week, this intrepid group replaced and repaired roofs, rebuilt stairs, power-washed and painted houses, built a portico, and brought joy to the families they assisted.
During a Mass at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta last week, Father Walter E. Jenkins, C.S.C, EdD, was officially installed as president of the Catholic Academy of Sussex County by Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney. Father Jenkins publicly made a profession of faith and oath of fidelity, professing his belief in Catholic teachings and to fully cooperate with Bishop Sweeney.
Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney led a Rosary Rally for Our Nation on Sunday, Oct. 9, starting at 3 p.m. at the Evangelization Center at St. Paul Inside the Walls in Madison. The event was Sponsored by the N.J. Area Order of Malta and was was part of a national and international event to pray for peace for our country and the world.
On Oct. 6, the Rosary Altar Society of Our Lady of Good Counsel in the Pompton Plains section of Pequannock Township held a candlelight rosary procession led by Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney. The mission of the Rosary Altar Society is to honor and promote devotion to the Blessed Mother through the recitation of the rosary and works of charity to help the faithful grow in their love of the Lord and the Blessed Mother.
Since its inception in 1954, Straight & Narrow (S&N), the substance-abuse treatment program of diocesan Catholic Charities, has helped save — and rebuild and strengthen — the lives of well over 60,000 people addicted to drugs or alcohol — and their families. With its main headquarters in downtown Paterson, S&N is the largest and oldest rehabilitation facility of its kind in New Jersey, helping people addicted or living with HIV/AIDS.
This time of year, people in various places may notice something odd. A procession of animals, everything from dogs and cats to hamsters and even horses, is led to churches for a special ceremony called the Blessing of Pets. This custom is conducted in remembrance of Saint Francis of Assisi’s love for all creatures. Francis, whose feast day is October 4, loved the larks flying about his hilltop town. He and his early brothers, staying in a small hovel, allowed themselves to be displaced by a donkey. Francis wrote a Canticle of the Creatures, an ode to God’s living things. “All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures.”
At the recent Convocation for the priests of our diocese, I shared with our priests my belief that amongst many “pastoral priorities,” as disciples, as the Church, it must be a priority to witness and work to promote the dignity and value of every human life, from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. In speaking with our priests, I shared some personal experiences and the ways in which the “Pro-Life Movement” has had an impact on my own life and vocation.
Filipino Catholics of the Diocese gathered with pride, joy, and gratitude to celebrate two martyrs of their homeland — St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod — during a Mass on Oct. 1 in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Paterson. Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney was the main celebrant of the Mass, which was concelebrated by Filipino clergy and guest priests.
At the seventh annual Red Mass on Oct. 2, Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney presented the diocesan Advocati Christi Award to Richard J. Williams, Jr., a civil trial attorney, for his dedication to his Catholic faith, his family, and the legal profession. The Mass took place at 11 a.m. at the Evangelization Center of St. Paul Inside the Walls in Madison.
Chris Brancato, development director of Catholic Charities, has been with the non-profit for almost 20 years in various roles, and he speaks with great joy regarding this year’s Caritas Gala 2022. “Other organizations like ours have been gathering again, and it’s time to gather people together again and celebrate our work and highlight our ministry,” Brancato said. The Caritas Gala 2022 will be held on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. at The Meadow Wood Manor on Route 10 in Randolph.