The Pentecost Project is back! Once again, every Saturday during Lent and Easter, the doors of the Frank Rodimer Center of our Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Paterson will be wide open to welcome everyone who has registered to be part of this formative experience. Considering its great success last year, the committee in charge is excited to provide — once again — a space where the faithful can gather throughout the course of 11 weeks to be intellectually stimulated and spiritually enriched and to share their experiences of faith with each other. The talks will start promptly at 10 a.m. and will last 45 minutes, allowing for 15 minutes of questions and answers at the end of every talk.
I recalled writing a column last year encouraging readers to consider attending daily Mass, and I thought that I had written it in anticipation of the Season of Lent. I was a little surprised when I looked back in my files and realized that I had used the same title that was in my mind when I thought about writing a column in anticipation of Lent in this year of 2023. I thought about choosing a different title but then decided that some things are “worth repeating,” which led to my adding: (Part 2). You might also call this “Same title, different column.”
Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney helped celebrate a Mass for the Feast of St. John Bosco on Jan. 31 at Don Bosco Preparatory High School in Ramsey with the Salesian and school community. An Italian priest, St. John (also known as “Don”), founded the Salesian Society, which consisted of priests and brothers. With the help of Sister Maria Domenca Mazzarello, he founded a society for women, the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, known as the Salesian Sisters, dedicated to the care and education of poor girls.
Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney visited Holy Spirit Church and School on Feb. 3, where he celebrated Mass for Catholic Schools Week on the Feast of St. Blaise. He thanked the pastor, Father Stephen Prisk, and the school’s principal, Sister Marie Antonelli, and the entire parish and school community for their hospitality. The bishop also expressed congratulations to the eighth-grade class of 2023 and blessed and presented their graduation rings.
As part of its Welcome Home to Healing initiative, parishes in the Diocese of Paterson will, for the 15th year, have their church doors open and penance service available on Monday evenings, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., from Feb. 27, 2023, until March 27, 2023. A website dedicated to the initiative, which includes an informative video, may be found at www.welcomehometohealing.org.
Sometimes, even though a man and a woman enter a marriage with the best of intentions and great hopefulness for the future, it may end badly. Thankfully, the Roman Catholic Church has a process to determine if a marriage that ended badly may be declared invalid. And, if the marriage that ended badly is declared invalid, both the husband and wife can enter into another marriage with a person more suitable to be his/her partner for life.
Ongoing Formation is one of the priorities of the Catechetical Office of the Diocese of Paterson, equipping our catechists with all the tools they need to bring people to have a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. In collaborative work, we try to seek solutions to the real challenges of the day and the needs facing catechists in their ministry.
Dr. Tobi Ippolito was already an active member at Holy Family Parish in Florham Park when his pastor asked him if he would consider becoming a deacon. For Ippolito, a weekly communicant and lector at the parish, that question from Father Thomas Rekiel lingered with him. With his wife, Anne, he discerned the call to greater service to the Church in the permanent diaconate in the diocese and eventually said “yes.” On Feb. 2, Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney formally accepted Ippolito and seven other men of various backgrounds into the formation program of the diocesan permanent diaconate. It happened at a Mass in Holy Family Church. If they complete the program, they will be ordained in 2026.
Leaders of African-American churches in Paterson and Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney spoke with one clear voice of hope at a Black History Month ecumenical prayer service on Feb. 5. Together, they celebrated their shared Christian faith and renewed their commitment to fight for racial justice.
I could have begun this column with a shorter quote or even a citation, “Jn. 1: 35–43,” and encouraged readers to look up the passage. I chose to print the full text because I would like to ask two things from each reader. First, please find some time to bring this passage to prayer, reflecting on how you have experienced the “call” of Jesus in your own life and praying for those whom Jesus is calling, particularly to serve the Church as priests or in consecrated life. Second, can you prayerfully consider how you might serve in the role of Andrew for someone you know, perhaps even someone in your family? Could an invitation from you help someone to draw closer to Jesus and to “hear” his call, as Andrew’s bringing his brother to Jesus helped Peter to hear and respond to the Lord’s call?
The community of St. Brendan and St. George Parish in Clifton on Jan. 22 welcomed Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney who presided over the 1:30 p.m. Mass for the Dominican celebration of Fiesta de Nuestra Señora de la Altagracia. She is considered the protective mother of the Dominican people.
The community of Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) School in Wayne on Jan. 29 welcomed Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney, who celebrated Mass to kick off Catholic Schools Week (CSW) in the diocese. Concelebrating the Mass with the bishop was Father Mateusz Jasniewicz, pastor.
Bishop Kevin J. Sweeney visited St. Cecilia Parish in Rockaway on Jan. 22 to serve as the main celebrant of a Mass with the faith community’s Vietnamese Catholics to commemorate the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. The celebration began with a procession, followed by the liturgy.
Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) Parish in Pompton Plains offers a very inviting community atmosphere for high school students courtesy of LOOP. The LOOP ministry program meets on a monthly, designated Sunday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. for two hours of faith building games, prayer, and snacks, and, most importantly for the attendees, fellowship with their peers.
Salesian Sister Theresa Lee knows something about stepping out of her comfort zone — with the grace of God. Seven years ago, the usually reserved sister took on a prominent new role: as vocations director of the Eastern Province of her religious community, the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, in North Haledon. She stepped up to become a public face of her order, traveling up to 20 events a month — with support from God and her fellow sisters.
On the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 21 and 22, I had the great privilege of celebrating four Masses. Three of those Masses (on Saturday evening at St. Stephen’s Church, in Paterson, on Sunday Morning at our Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and mid-day at St. Brendan’s Church in Clifton) were special celebrations for the Feast of Our Lady of Altagracia (Highest Grace), the patroness of the Dominican Republic, whose Feast Day is celebrated on Jan. 21.
In 1975, Pope Saint Paul VI, in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelization in the Modern World, wrote, “Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” What is most needed in Catholic Schools today? Credible witnesses — teachers across all disciplines whose hearts have been captured by Christ and zealously accompany students in the pursuit of truth.
One of the greatest gifts my mom and dad ever gave to me was the gift of a Roman Catholic education. My formal education began at St. Patrick School, Smithtown, N.Y. The school was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood, N.Y. They were excellent educators and certainly left an impression on my young mind. Sister Patricia Ann Kenny was my first-grade teacher who taught us to love Jesus and His Blessed Mother. On the lighter side, she also taught us all about leprechauns! Her love of all things Irish left an impression on this Italian American!
There are six buildings that comprise the property of St. James of the Marches Church in Totowa, N.J. During the three and half years I have been privileged to be the pastor. On many weekend afternoons, I have walked alone through one of the said six buildings. Each time I have experienced some or all of the following thoughts and emotions as I strode through one revered building in particular.