Background Image

The Beacon The Beacon December 10, 2015 : Page 1

4 RETIREMENT FUND FOR RELIGIOU S C OLLE C TION S ET FOR DE C . 1213 SUSSEX PASSAIC THE A W A RDWINNING NEW S P A PER OF THE R. C . DIO C E S E OF P A TER S ON, N.J. MORRIS DECEMBER 10, 2015 D IOCESAN C HRISTMAS C ONCERT N ATIONAL B IBLE W EEK Parsippany parish holds Bible study for families, has unique display on S t. Paul By CECILE SAN AGUSTIN REPOR TER 12 The Catholic Center for Evangelization at Bayley-Ellard 5 NET C ONG P A RI S H’ S S WE A T S HIRT S TOUT ‘RE AS ON FOR THE S E AS ON’ S P A RT A P AS TOR R A I S E S S PIRIT S , FUND S WITH C HRI S TM AS C D 6-7 12 13-14 16 17-20 11 Y OUTH W HAT T O D O V IEWPOINT O BITUARIES C LASSIFIEDS BEACON PHOTO | JOE GIGLI The Diocesan Choir, the Diocesan Children’s Choir and the Gramercy Brass Quintet perform at the annual Diocesan Christmas Concert Dec. 6 in St. Peter the Apostle Church in Parsippany, under the direction of Preston Dibble, diocesan music director. For story and more photos, see page 10. PARSIPPANY It is considered the best selling book of all time, but for Catholics, the Bible is more than a best seller. So to mark National Bible Week, St. Peter the Apostle Parish here hosted a fami-ly Bible Study and created a unique display room featuring St. Paul and the story of his conver-sion on the road to Damascus. The parish also answered the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ invitation to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and “Lumen Gentium,” the Dogmatic Consti tution of the Church. The week-long event was based on the theme “The Bible: A Book for the Family,” building on this year’s Synod of Bishops on the Family and Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families this past September. Father Yojaneider Gracia Ramirez, parochial vicar, ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE St. Peter’s parishioners created a statue of St. Paul the Apostle as part of a display marking National Bible Week. and Deacon Bob Lang led the events. “National Bible Week proved to be an excellent opportunity for BIBLE WEEK on 15 DO NOT DELAY — TIME SENSITIVE NEWS ‘TLC’ FOR H AITI ’ S P OOR By MICHAEL WOJCIK NE WS EDIT OR Randolph parishioner leads humanitarian mission trips to former ‘Paris of the Antilles’ HIV/AIDS. Gebhardt last traveled to the monastery — which sits on six acres of land in the heart of the city of Cap Haitian — from Nov. 9 to 14. “When I first met Roman, I wondered if there was anybody in there. He can’t move, exists on his back in a crib all day and can’t close his mouth, making it impossible for him to talk and dif-ficult for him to eat,” said Gebhardt, who started traveling to Haiti in 2001. “I soon found that Roman is imprisoned in his body but that he is very happy, lively. He loves to be pushed around in his wheelchair. His smile would light up any room and it is a blessing to know him,” he said. Over the years, Gebhardt has gotten to know the personalities of many of the poor people, who live at Good Shepherd, especially the orphans and handicapped children. The volunteers help the Missionaries of the Poor clothe, feed and bathe the children and tend to their medical needs. Volunteers also hold them, bring them outside to play or — in the case of the severely handicapped, TLC on 8 RANDOLPH Nine-year-old Roman, who lives at the Good Shepherd Monastery in Cap Haitian, Haiti, suffers everyday with the debilitating effects of se-vere cerebral palsy. This merciless disease has mangled the poor or-phan’s limbs, preventing him from walking or sitting and only allow-ing him to lie down — but not without great discomfort. Yet, even from his wheelchair, Roman’s mile-wide smile shines brightly [see photo, page 8] — as it does in the heart of Stephen Gebhardt. That smile of Roman’s first captured the heart of Gebhardt, a parishioner of St. Matthew the Apostle here, several years ago during one of his frequent mis-sion trips to Good Shepherd Monastery. There, he leads a di-verse group of Catholics from the Paterson Diocese and beyond in helping the religious brothers from the Missionaries of the Poor care for some of the poorest of the poor in Haiti, including dis-abled children, orphaned children, the elderly and patients with

National Bible Week

Cecile San Agustin

Parsippany parish holds Bible study for families, has unique display on St. Paul

PARSIPPANY It is considered the best selling book of all time, but for Catholics, the Bible is more than a best seller. So to mark National Bible Week, St. Peter the Apostle Parish here hosted a family Bible Study and created a unique display room featuring St. Paul and the story of his conversion on the road to Damascus. The parish also answered the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ invitation to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and “Lumen Gentium,” the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church.

The week-long event was based on the theme “The Bible: A Book for the Family,” building on this year’s Synod of Bishops on the Family and Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families this past September. Father Yojaneider Gracia Ramirez, parochial vicar, and Deacon Bob Lang led the events.

“National Bible Week proved to be an excellent opportunity for both Bible beginners and parishioners who participate regularly in parish Bible Study Programs conducted by Father Yojaneider and Deacon Bob all during the year,” said Msgr. Herbert Tillyer, pastor. “Parishioners said they experienced the Bible in a very engaging and spiritual light through our National Bible week programs.”

During the celebration, 20 members who regularly attend Bible study at St. Peter’s visited 10 parish families. Msgr. Tillyer said, “These 100 families opened their homes for friends and neighbors to join them in praying and sharing their love for the Holy Bible under Father Yojaneider’s direction.”

Deacon Lang also offered two evening Bible Week presentations for all interested parishioners to learn more about the Bible and incorporating it into their everyday lives.

To highlight the event, the parish created a display, which presented a museumstyle atmosphere at St. Peter’s as it retold the story of St. Paul the road to Damascus in which he experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus. The “museum” featured the artistic talents of Spanish-speaking parishioners at St. Peter’s, who created drawings and statue of St. Paul. The display featured seven stations, which were about St. Paul, his conversion story, a video about the saint, his scrolls and letters, seven words with the basic message of St. Paul and a world map with where St. Paul traveled as a missionary after turning his life over to Jesus Christ.

Father Ramirez said, “We used this theme because the events that happened on the road to Damascus relate not only to the apostle Paul, whose dramatic conversion occurred there, but they also provide a clear picture of the conversion of all people. While some have an extraordinarily dramatic conversion known as a Damascus Road experience, the conversion of all believers follows a similar pattern of Paul’s experience on the road to Damascus.”

In addition to parishioners at St. Peter’s, the parish also welcomed students from All Saints Academy, which serves all three Parsippany parishes, and children of St. Peter’s religious education program as well as people from nearby St. Ann’s and St. Christopher’s in Parsippany. The parish also sold inexpensive copies of the Bible, which many people took the opportunity to purchase to have in their homes.

“Each visitor was able to take a scroll with verses from the letters by St. Paul home with them to continue learning about the Bible,” said Father Ramirez.

Because of the positive response, the parish hopes to continue this tradition next year for National Bible Week.

Msgr. Tillyer said, “We offer special thanks to Father Yojaneider and Deacon Bob for planning several National Bible Week experiences for everyone.”

Read the full article at http://www.livedigitaleditions.com/article/National+Bible+Week/2343841/284202/article.html.

‘TLC’ For Haiti ’ Spoor

Michael Wojcik

Randolph parishioner leads humanitarian mission trips to former ‘Paris of the Antilles’

RANDOLPH Nine-year-old Roman, who lives at the Good Shepherd Monastery in Cap Haitian, Haiti, suffers everyday with the debilitating effects of severe cerebral palsy. This merciless disease has mangled the poor orphan’s limbs, preventing him from walking or sitting and only allowing him to lie down — but not without great discomfort. Yet, even from his wheelchair, Roman’s mile-wide smile shines brightly [see photo, page 8] — as it does in the heart of Stephen Gebhardt.

That smile of Roman’s first captured the heart of Gebhardt, a parishioner of St. Matthew the Apostle here, several years ago during one of his frequent mission trips to Good Shepherd Monastery. There, he leads a diverse group of Catholics from the Paterson Diocese and beyond in helping the religious brothers from the Missionaries of the Poor care for some of the poorest of the poor in Haiti, including disabled children, orphaned children, the elderly and patients with HIV/AIDS. Gebhardt last traveled to the monastery — which sits on six acres of land in the heart of the city of Cap Haitian — from Nov. 9 to 14.

“When I first met Roman, I wondered if there was anybody in there. He can’t move, exists on his back in a crib all day and can’t close his mouth, making it impossible for him to talk and difficult for him to eat,” said Gebhardt, who started traveling to Haiti in 2001.

“I soon found that Roman is imprisoned in his body but that he is very happy, lively. He loves to be pushed around in his wheelchair. His smile would light up any room and it is a blessing to know him,” he said.

Over the years, Gebhardt has gotten to know the personalities of many of the poor people, who live at Good Shepherd, especially the orphans and handicapped children. The volunteers help the Missionaries of the Poor clothe, feed and bathe the children and tend to their medical needs. Volunteers also hold them, bring them outside to play or — in the case of the severely handicapped, such as Roman — wheel them out onto the porch of the residence to watch the other children play. The group of up to 10 people on average arrives with a mission: to give these people their full attention, which they so desperately crave.

These emotional mission trips — up to three per year — have gone a long way to connecting group members to the poor of Haiti. Catholics from certain Morris County parishes might feel especially close, because they help coordinate or participate in large-scale drives to collect food, clothing and household goods for these impoverished Haitians. Since 2003, Gebhardt has conducted these drives, which fill shipping containers from around the U.S. — including two from New Jersey — that he sends to the island nation.

One of the first-timers on the trip was Linda Macios, a parishioner of Assumption in Morristown.

“The mission trip has given me the faces of some of the people who receive what we donate,” said Macios, Assumption’s coordinator of religious education, who has helped coordinate drives for food and new and gently used shoes — 4,500 pairs the last time — while the parish’s Young Professionals ministry oversaw a bake sale that generated money for the orphans. “We were here [at Good Shepherd] to love up the people, be present to them and see the face of Christ in them. The brothers do a marvelous job tending to the people’s needs. Those people they serve are happy with what little they have,” she said.

The latest group of missioners hailed from St. Matthew’s; Assumption; and St. Vincent Martyr Parish, Madison, as well as from St. James Parish in the Metuchen Diocese and Our Lady Queen of the Martyrs in Centerport, L.I. Another enthusiastic missioner was Joseph Duffy, president of diocesan Catholic Charities and executive director of Straight & Narrow, a substance abuse treatment program in Paterson. He first visited Cap Haitian — about 70 miles north of Port Au Prince, Haiti’s capital — 14 years ago with another mission group.

“I was impressed with the improved roads on this recent trip to Haiti, but there has been no improvement in the state of poverty there,” said Duffy, who sang Irish songs to orphans. “We were there to give them TLC. It was great to see their smiles. The quality time that we spent with the children meant the world to them,” he said.

Walled off from bustling Cap Haitian, the Good Shepherd compound houses facilities for the elderly, orphans, handicapped children and HIV/AIDS patients and provides an oasis for them with its lush plant life. Years ago, the brothers received the property from the government, specifically, so they could care of the poor.

“I was afraid [of witnessing disability, disease and poverty at Good Shepherd], because of my weak stomach,” said Agnes Amundsen from Long Island, who went on her first mission trip with her daughter, Angela, in 2009 and now goes to Haiti several times a year. “An 18-month old boy fell asleep in my arms. I said, ‘Wow — I will be his mother while I am here!’ Now, these kids call me, ‘mom.’ We are not building anything [like a school or clinic], but we accomplish great things, when we love them,” she said.

In 2001, Gebhardt started doing great things with love in Haiti during his first trip with a contingent of parishioners from St. Matthew’s. An appearance on EWTN by Father Richard Ho Lung, a priest there, inspired him to make his inaugural trip and, later, initiate the goods drive with the following parishes: St Matthew’s; Assumption; St. Virgil, Morris Plains; Notre Dame of Mount Carmel, Cedar Knolls; St. Therese, Succasunna; and St. Vincent’s in Madison.

The connection of Gebhardt — who received the Caritas Award for his charitable efforts from diocesan Catholic Charities five years ago — with the Missionaries of the Poor and the orphaned children he visits was solidified during a trip in 2009 during an outbreak of cholera. He has led a total of 84 people on mission trips to Haiti over the years — and many them have made return trips.

An emotional Macios continues to mull over that decision. “I’ve been on several mission trips, but this one took an emotional toll because of severe poverty. It was more apparent to me how great needs are,” Macios said. “But the poor people of Cap Haitian have so much hope, despite their desperate situations.”

Anyone interested in joining Steve Gebhardt’s missions to Haiti can call him at (973) 214-7031.

Read the full article at http://www.livedigitaleditions.com/article/%E2%80%98TLC%E2%80%99+For+Haiti+%E2%80%99+Spoor/2343844/284202/article.html.

Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here