Homelessness is a big area of concern in Ocean County, seen above, and the parishes of Cohort 16 have a long history of trying to help. Together, they have formed a Face of Homelessness Cohort subcommittee, aimed at education and volunteerism. “These are victims of the economy, victims of Superstorm Sandy, victims of drug abuse,” says John Romando, of St. Mary of the Lake Parish, Lakewood. Through bulletin news articles, “we educate not just on homelessness, but volunteer opportunities in Cohort parishes. We have been getting a lot of intra-parish participation, which is great.” Craig Pittelli photo
“I’m a firm believer that together, we are much stronger,” Msgr. Michael J. Walsh says when speaking of the three linked parishes he shepherds that comprise the Catholic Community of Hopewell Valley.
That sentiment may apply to his Cohort, Cohort 8, established in the diocesan Faith in Our Future initiative, but it’s also a familiar theme expressed by those across the Diocese who are dedicated to strengthening the Church of Trenton.
Pelting rain and unseasonably chilly temperatures Sept. 9 failed to dampen the spirits of hundreds of Catholic faithful in the greater Long Branch area who gathered to celebrate the union of St. Jerome Parish, West Long Branch, and Deal’s St. Mary Parish which merged into the new Our Lady of Hope Parish on July 1. More ... Sunday, September 9, 2018
In the weeks since Blessed Sacrament-Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd and Sacred Heart Parishes, both in Trenton, were merged, Father Dennis Apoldite, pastor, and the parishioners have been striving to establish roots as members of the newly created Sacred Heart Parish.
With a salute to the past and abundant hope for the future, Keyport’s Catholics opened the door to a new chapter in the life of their community July 1 under the patronage of Our Lady of Fatima. More ... Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Kristyn and Dylan Wagner have an eye on the future.
Not only are they expecting their first child, a boy, in October, the two grew up in St. Elizabeth Parish, Avon, which as of July 1, merged with Ascension, Bradley Beach, to form the new parish of St. Teresa of Calcutta.
As 14 parishes across the Diocese are poised for July 1 – when they will become seven new merged communities – a sense of hope is almost palpable.
So, it is no surprise that many of those involved in these mergers speak often of the word “hope.”
“The new name for our merged parish is Our Lady of Hope. The name is very apropos,” said Father Peter James Alindogan, pastor of the merging parishes of St. Jerome, West Long Branch, and St. Mary, Deal. “We have hopes that everything will work out smoothly blending two parishes with two personalities and both with rich histories.”
When Deacon Walter Karpecik realized that St. Katharine Drexel Parish, Burlington, would observe the 10th anniversary of its establishment this year, he thought something should be done to commemorate the milestone.
Jennifer Mauro, managing editor of The Monitor, recently sat down with Terry Ginther, diocesan chancellor and executive director of Pastoral Life and Mission, to speak about the Faith in Our Future process – its successes, challenges, hopes and where it stands today.
On July 1, one of the most diverse parish communities in the City of Trenton – Blessed Sacrament-Our Lady of the Divine Shepherd – will become part of the oldest parish in New Jersey – Sacred Heart Parish – bringing together the legacy built on hundreds of years of treasured faith traditions, rich cultural customs and a deep devotion to Our Lord and his holy Church. More ... Friday, June 29, 2018
About 25 members of the diocesan Faith in Our Future Implementation Commission gathered for a two-day working retreat June 5-6 in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold, during which they reviewed progress being made by parishes and Cohorts since restructuring decisions were announced in January 2017. More ... Wednesday, June 20, 2018
In letters sent to seven pastors April 10, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., announced details related to the new parish entities following July 1 mergers of 14 individual communities. Announced in 2016, the mergers are part of a multi-year implementation process resulting from the pastoral planning initiative Faith in Our Future. More ... Thursday, April 19, 2018
Some 30 representatives from parishes throughout the Diocese gathered Feb. 24 in St. Aloysius Parish, Jackson, for a meeting of Cohort chairmen and women. The gathering, facilitated by Msgr. Leonard F. Troiano, episcopal vicar for planning, and Terry Ginther, executive director for pastoral life and diocesan chancellor, brought the Cohort chairs and project managers together to discuss the implementation phase of Faith in Our Future, the diocesan initiative to address the challenges facing the Church of Trenton. More ... Wednesday, March 7, 2018
The parishes of Cohort 11 co-hosted a ministry fair the weekend of Sept. 9-10 to acquaint all three sets of members to the multiple avenues of service to the Church in Monmouth County. More ... Thursday, October 5, 2017
Hopes were high that 200 to 400 faithful from Keyport’s St. Joseph and Jesus the Lord Parishes would turn out to mark their upcoming merger with a multicultural Mass and potluck picnic Sept. 10. More ... Thursday, September 21, 2017
In an inaugural event for the parishes that comprise Cohort 19, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., and faithful from five Monmouth County shoreline parishes will gather for the celebration of Mass at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 13 at the gazebo at Belmar Beach.
The Mass will bring together the parishes of Cohort 19 – St. Catharine-St. Margaret, Spring Lake; St. Rose, Belmar; St. Mark, Sea Girt; Ascension, Bradley Beach, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Avon. Parishioners and guests from all five parishes, as well as from the community at-large, are invited and encouraged to attend.
From where Father Dennis Apoldite stood on the grounds of the Mercer County CYO Day Camp in Yardville, it wasn’t the sparkling Olympic-sized swimming pool, spacious tree-lined grounds and ample picnic facilities that caught his eye. More ... Saturday, July 15, 2017
On a sunny and seasonably warm July 9 afternoon, members of the now former Divine Mercy Parish, Trenton, gathered on the beautiful grounds of the Mercer County CYO Day Camp in Yardville with their brothers and sisters from Sacred Heart Parish, Trenton, where they prayed, shared camaraderie and prepared to journey together as a new community of faith. More ... Sunday, July 9, 2017
Now that Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., has announced his decisions regarding parish planning and strengthening, the diocesan-led Faith in Our Future process is moving into its next phase – implementation.
Gearing up in much the same way that the initial consultation process unfolded in the fall of 2015, the newest phase will begin with the formation of parish-based implementation teams selected by the pastor. The teams, each consisting of four lay, non-staff parishioners and the pastor, are currently being formed, in preparation for workshops and training sessions that will begin in February and run through May.
As we move into a New Year, the time is right for us to adjust our vision to “new things” for our Diocese. While what “has been” in our past experience is comfortable, we are a living, changing Catholic community, a changing local Church that is, in St. Augustine’s words, a “beauty ever ancient, ever new (Confessions, X).” More ... Friday, January 27, 2017
The Faith in Our Future decisions announced by Bishop O’Connell this week group the parishes of the Diocese of Trenton into 25 Cohorts of collaborative parishes. All of the parishes, even those involved in a linkage or merger at some time during the next three years, will be collaborating with neighboring parishes in ministry.
Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., announced his decisions Jan. 25 in response to recommendations made as part of the Faith in Our Future pastoral planning process. The eight-step initiative, meant to strengthen and enliven the parishes of the Diocese, has been underway for the last 18 months, involving consultation and conversation ...
For many who read this article the beginning may seem strange. Harkening back to my high school years, I remember learning about the ancient Roman god “Janus.” He is usually depicted as standing in the portal of the doorway of life and having two faces. More ... Thursday, January 26, 2017
As parishes met individually and in Cohorts during the evaluation and consultation phases of the Faith in Our Future initiative, a priority that emerged was the need to provide for the growing diversity within the Diocese.
The season of Advent, a time of prayerful reflection and preparation, has provided an ideal setting for the period of consultation that Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., is conducting on the recommendations issued in October by the Diocesan Planning Commission.
The Bishop held a series of meetings throughout early December with different consultative bodies, as well as with priests in each of the counties Dec. 12-16. In each of these meetings, the recommendations, intended to equip parishes to meet their current challenges and those they will face in the coming decade, were reviewed and discussed.
Surrounded by diocesan leaders and planners, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., received the product of more than a year’s worth of intense study and hard work by every parish in the Diocese as he was presented the final recommendations in the Faith in Our Future initiative Nov. 10. More ... Thursday, November 10, 2016
The Diocese’s Faith in Our Future initiative reached a pivotal phase Oct. 18 as members of the Diocesan Planning Commission gathered in Eatontown for a three-day retreat to prepare final recommendations for parish development.
The retreat began in prayer as the 24 members of the Planning Commission came together for Mass with members of the diocesan staff and the Reid Group, the pastoral planning consultants for Faith in Our Future. More ... Thursday, October 20, 2016
Summertime in the parishes of the Diocese of Trenton had a decidedly different look and feel this year.
The typically quieter months of July and August were instead quite busy as parishioners, lay leaders and clergy worked to fully digest and respond to preliminary recommendations that had been made about the future of their faith communities.
When it comes to working together for the future of the Catholic Church within the Diocese, Mary Ann Figura is optimistic.
“All four priests in our Cohort are committed to this process, and when you have this kind of leadership, it really does flow onto the laity working with them. Their support is contagious,” said Figura, co-chair of Cohort 2, which includes St. Charles Borromeo, Cinnaminson, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Maple Shade, Our Lady of Good Counsel, Moorestown, and Sacred Heart, Riverton, parishes.
Faith in Our Future, the pastoral planning process that has been underway across the Diocese of Trenton since Fall 2015, calls for each of the 107 parishes involved to pursue a new course that will lead to stronger faith communities and more effective ministry.
This month, these parishes covering Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, are getting a clearer idea of what that new course might look like following the issuance of preliminary recommendations by the Diocesan Planning Commission. More ... Friday, July 15, 2016
The Diocese of Trenton’s Faith in Our Future initiative entered its next significant phase June 14, as the Diocesan Planning Commission began a three-day retreat and conference in Eatontown to develop recommendations on how best to strengthen parishes.
Made up of 24 persons, the Planning Commission’s work is the third of eight steps in the process that was announced in December by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. Faith in Our Future aims to develop ways for parishes to work better together at a time when the Diocese is experiencing major shifts in such factors as population, cultural makeup and available priests.
Faith in Our Future began to take shape in the parishes early this year with parish self-evaluation measures and consultation conducted by Core Teams.
The month of April was dedicated to the ongoing work of the Cohorts, as they continue to analyze the different realities in place among their parishes and discuss what organizational models might be suggested.
As the schedule for Step 2 requires, the Cohorts will have met a total of six times between March and May and will be ready to submit their suggestions to the Diocesan Planning Commission by the beginning of June.
During this time, Cohort team members are encouraged by Faith in Our Future leaders to keep their parishes apprised of their work via parish bulletin announcements or other means.
Faith in Our Future is about getting parishes to think differently, Msgr. Leonard F. Troiano, episcopal vicar for planning, recently told members of some 20 parish core teams who had gathered to be trained as Cohorts. More ... Friday, April 8, 2016
The Parish Self-Study Phase of the Diocese-wide pastoral planning process, Faith in Our Future, is well underway with parishioners across Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties invited to offer their input about their faith communities.More ... Friday, February 26, 2016
Group by group, question by question, diocesan leaders and representatives of a professional strategic planning group have spent the last two months in a series of meetings about the upcoming diocesan pastoral planning initiative in order to prepare some of the key people who will be involved in the process. More ... Friday, November 6, 2015