Bishop O’Connell encourages prayer, financial support for tornado victims, survivors
On Dec. 14, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., conveyed an appeal from leaders in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as relief work begins in Kentucky and other states that suffered an incalculable toll from the recent outbreak of tornadoes. The Bishop shared, “Catholics are encouraged to donate to recovery efforts and financial help for tornado victims by supporting the work of Catholic Charities USA via the website: www.catholiccharities.us
In a message posted Dec. 11, Bishop O’Connell called upon the faithful of the Diocese of Trenton to join in prayer for all those impacted by the devastating tornadoes that were reported in nearly a dozen Midwestern and Southern states. He stated: “We pray for the souls of those who have died; for the comfort of their grieving loved ones; for the healing of the injured, and for the strength and perseverance of all those who lost their homes and livelihoods.”
The Bishop’s message concluded, “May all those traumatized by this vast devastation find hope in God’s abiding love and be assured that they will not be forgotten.”
POPE’S MESSAGE TO GRANDFATHERS AND GRANDMOTHERS
The following is a condensed version of the Pope’s message. The full text can be found at https://www.thehookoffaith.com/single-post/i-am-with-you-always-message-from-pope-francis-for-world-day-for-grand-parents-and-the-elderly.
Dear Grandfathers and Grandmothers, Dear Elderly Friends, “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20): this is the promise the Lord made to his disciples before he ascended into heaven. They are the words that he repeats to you today, dear grandfathers and grandmothers, dear elderly friends. “I am with you always” are also the words that I, as Bishop of Rome and an elderly person like yourselves, would like to address to you on this first World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly. The whole Church is close to you – to us – and cares about you, loves you and does not want to leave you alone! I am well aware that this Message comes to you at a difficult time: the pandemic swept down on us like an unexpected and furious storm; it has been a time of trial for everyone, but especially for us elderly persons.
Tradition has it that Saint Joachim, the grandfather of Jesus, felt estranged from those around him because he had no children; his life, like that of his wife Anne, was considered useless. So the Lord sent an angel to console him. While he mused sadly outside the city gates, a messenger from the Lord appeared to him and said, “Joachim, Joachim! The Lord has heard your insistent prayer”.
Even at the darkest moments, as in these months of pandemic, the Lord continues to send angels to console our loneliness and to remind us: “I am with you always”. He says this to you, and he says it to me. That is the meaning of this Day, which I wanted to celebrate for the first time in this particular year, as a long period of isolation ends and social life slowly resumes. May every grandfather, every grandmother, every older person, especially those among us who are most alone, receive the visit of an angel! At times those angels will have the face of our grandchildren, at others, the face of family members, lifelong friends or those we have come to know during these trying times, when we have learned how important hugs and visits are for each of us.
At this crucial moment in history, you have a renewed vocation. You may wonder: How this can be possible? My energy is running out and I don’t think I can do much. How can I begin to act differently when habit is so much a part of my life? How can I devote myself to those who are poor when I am already so concerned about my family? How can I broaden my vision when I can’t even leave the residence where I live? Isn’t my solitude already a sufficiently heavy burden? How many of you are asking just that question: isn’t my solitude already a sufficiently heavy burden? Jesus himself heard a similar question from Nicodemus, who asked, “How can a man be born when he is old?” (Jn 3:4). It can happen, the Lord replies, if we open our hearts to the working of the Holy Spirit, who blows where he wills. The Holy Spirit whose freedom is such that goes wherever, and does whatever, he wills.
In concluding this Message to you, I would also like to mention the example of Blessed (and soon Saint) Charles de Foucauld. He lived as a hermit in Algeria and there testified to “his desire to feel himself a brother to all” (Fratelli Tutti, 287). The story of his life shows how it is possible, even in the solitude of one’ s own desert, to intercede for the poor of the whole world and to become, in truth, a universal brother or sister. I ask the Lord that, also through his example, all of us may open our hearts in sensitivity to the sufferings of the poor and intercede for their needs. May each of us learn to repeat to all, and especially to the young, the words of consolation we have heard spoken to us today: “I am with you always”! Keep moving forward! May the Lord grant you his blessing.
BISHOP O’CONNELL ASKS ALL PARISHIONERS TO PRAY THE ROSARY DURING THIS DIFFICULT TIME
Bishop of Trenton
BISHOP O’CONNELL ASKS ALL PARISHIONERS IN THE DIOCESE FOR HELP WITH CATHOLIC SCHOOL ADVOCACY
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., shared the following message May 14 to all members of the diocesan community: Today, the Bishops of NJ and I learned that the House Democrats released The Heroes Act, H.R. 6800, the fourth phase of economic stimulus relief or CARES 4.
H.R.6800 includes several provisions that would protect, and even expand, funding for programs that Congress established in the last CARES Act, such as an extension of unemployment benefits until January 31, 2021, expansion of the SBA payroll protection program loans to include all nonprofits regardless of size, and increased funding for the Supplemental Nutrition assistance program. However, unlike the previous CARES Act, H.R.6800 WOULD PROHIBIT NONPUBLIC SCHOOLS INCLUDING OUR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON FROM ACCESSING ANY PORTION OF THE PROPOSED $200 BILLION INCLUDED IN THE LEGISLATION FOR EDUCATION.
Our Catholic schools struggle to stay open as it is, and the pandemic will impact them negatively as our neighboring dioceses in New Jersey have revealed. Please visit njcatholic.org/faith-in-action or click here to contact our New Jersey Senators and Congressmen using the message template there. We need to work quickly to ask their support. Thank you and God bless you in these stressful days.
Respectfully yours in the Lord, Bishop O’Connell
VISIT THE DIOCESE OF TRENTON WEBSITE
Follow this link to see what’s new in our diocese – http://www.dioceseoftrenton.org
UPDATE FROM CATHOLIC CHARITIES
Catholic Charities is fully operational at a heightened state of precaution, accommodating social distancing. To access our services or learn how the changes affect our clients via the internet type Https://www.catholiccharitiestrenton.org/catholic-charities-coronovirus-pandemic/ or call our Help Line 1-800-360-7711
New Jersey Independent Victims Compensation Program
The Diocese of Trenton – along with the other Roman Catholic dioceses in New Jersey – has established an Independent Victim Compensation Program (IVCP) to compensate those who, as minors, were sexually abused by a priest or deacon of the Diocese. The IVCP is now open to claims.
The IVCP is independently administered by experienced victim compensation experts Kenneth R. Feinberg and Camille S. Biros. Mr. Feinberg was the plan administrator for the Federal 9/11 victim compensation program, as well as the Boston Marathon bombing compensation program.
The IVCP will handle the submission, evaluation and resolution of individual claims, and will operate independently of the Diocese or any Church-affiliated institution. The administrators of the IVCP will have complete autonomy to determine the eligibility of a claim with the guidelines of the established Protocol. The amount of compensation for those who make a claim will be determined by the IVCP administrators. All victims – no matter when the abuse occurred – are eligible to participate, and all matters will be handled confidentially.
Victims of clergy sexual abuse of a minor can begin the process of utilizing the program by going to www.njdiocesesivcp.com and reviewing the Protocol for submitting a claim.
Anyone who was sexually victimized as a minor by a priest or deacon of the Diocese is strongly encouraged to participate in the IVCP. The Diocese also asks that anyone who knows of someone who was abused to pass along this information to the victim so that he or she is aware of the IVCP.
Diocese of Trenton
THE UPPER ROOM
The Upper Room, Neptune, sponsored by the Diocese of Trenton, offers many programs. For info, go to
www.facebook.com/upperroomspiritualcenter. Then click on the Like button.
DVD of Bishop’s O’Connell’s Episcopal ordination
A professionally produced DVD of Bishop O’Connell’s Episcopal ordination, complete with both English and Spanish language commentary, is now available to purchase. The cost is $14.99. Call the “Monitor” office at the Diocese of Trenton, 609-406-7400 or go to the website www.trentonmonitor.com