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The Beacon June 8, 2017 : Page 1

SUSSEX PASSAIC THE AWARD-WINNING NEWSPAPER OF THE R.C. DIOCESE OF PATERSON, N.J. 2 BISHOP ANNOUNCES NEW CLERGY ASSIGNMENTS, RETIREMENTS MORRIS JUNE 8, 2017 12 CORPUS CHRISTI FOOD DRIVE TO BE HELD DIOCESAN-WIDE JUNE 17-18 Bishop Serratelli leads annual celebration with 130 First Communicants from around the Diocese By MICHAEL WOJCIK NEWS EDITOR E UCHARISTIC C ATECHESIS 3 NUN, ROCKAWAY NATIVE, TO THROW OUT FIRST PITCH AT YANKEE GAME 7 4 10-11 12 13-16 DO NOT DELAY  TIME SENSITIVE NEWS Youth Viewpoint What To Do Classifieds PARSIPPANY Bishop Serratelli re -minded a selection of First Com-municants from around the diocese that Jesus gives us the gift of him-self, each time we receive him in Holy Eucharist, during his annual “Celebration for First Communicants and Eucharistic Catechesis” held June 4 at St. Peter the Apostle Church here. The catechesis took place on Pentecost Sunday. The 130 participating First Com-municants, mostly second-graders, represented parishes from around the diocese. They came to the cel-ebration with their families, filling St. Peter’s to standing room only. Bishop Serratelli presented a cat-echetical lesson and then invited some of the children to ask him questions about faith. The cele-bration included a “The procession with the Bishop … First Communicants told us that and honored Jesus Jesus is with Ador ation and here with Ben e diction of the us [in the Bles sed Sac rament. Eucharist] “I would like to and that the say a word of wel-Eucharist is come to the First Jesus him-Communicants and self. The their families this Bishop real-afternoon. This is ly inspired the day [Pentecost] me.” that the Holy Spirit — Marta Anikiej came down on the Apostles, gathered with Mary in the upper room. It is known as the birthday of the Church. We come to-gether in praise and thanksgiving in a special way with our young people, who are at the beginning of their life of faith. They just recently received FIRST COMMUNION ON 8 A QUESTION FOR THE BISHOP A First Communicant asks Bishop Serratelli a question during the Diocese’s annual Eucharistic Catechesis with the Bishop on Pentecost Sunday, June 4 in St. Peter the Apostle Church in Parsippany. In addition to being able to ask the Bishop questions about faith, the 130 participating First Communicants, representing parishes from around the diocese, heard a catechetical lesson from the Bishop and took part in a Eucharistic Procession with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction. The Bishop also presented each of the children with a gift. BEACON PHOTO | JOE GIGLI G OD I S H IS C O -P ILOT By MICHAEL WOJCIK NEWS EDITOR Swarstwood pastor gives thanks for ‘miracle’ of surviving auto accident crushed my head. The flying glass could have cut me badly. I’m so grate-ful to God for the miracle of saving my life for whatever reason he has in mind,” Father Nwosu said. On May 23, the priest posted a reflection on Facebook, giving God thanks for the ninth anniversary of his ordina-tion to the priesthood that day and for his surviving the single-vehicle crash more than two weeks before. “I definitely appreciate life more. Even today, I still thank God for each day,” the priest said. A quick review of some of the religious articles found at the scene of the accident could have giving onlookers some clue as to why Father Nwosu walked away relatively un-hurt. Along with God acting as his co-pilot, the priest had some faithful GOD IS MY CO-PILOT ON 6 SWARTSWOOD The trouble started when — almost out of the blue — a large rock appeared on the shoulder of a quiet stretch of Route 619 in rural Swartswood. Father Abuchi Nwosu, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) Parish here, jerked the steer-ing wheel of his 2005 Nissan Murano to one side to avoid the rock. But the results on the late afternoon of May 10 were devastating: the priest’s SUV pitched to one side and rolled over — and then again — before coming to rest — upside down — on the blacktop. In the aftermath, pieces of wreck-age from the vehicle — completely totaled — littered the road. The overturned SUV had sustained considerable dam-age: a smashed-in windshield and drivers-side win-dow, crumpled roof and hood and crushed interior. Yet with God as his co-pilot — and FATHER ABUCHI help from a passer-NWOSU by, Father Nwosu, the only occupant of the vehicle, slid out the drivers-side of the SUV, shocked and thankful to the Almighty to have narrowly escaped serious injury or death. Miraculously, the Nigerian-born priest’s only injury was a bloody mouth occurring when his face hit the steering-wheel airbag that was deployed. “I can’t believe that I survived. The ceiling of the SUV could have

Eucharistic Cateche

Michael Wojcik

Bishop Serratelli leads annual celebration with 130 First Communicants from around the Diocese

PARSIPPANY Bishop Serratelli reminded a selection of First Communicants from around the diocese that Jesus gives us the gift of himself, each time we receive him in Holy Eucharist, during his annual “Celebration for First Communicants and Eucharistic Catechesis” held June 4 at St. Peter the Apostle Church here. The catechesis took place on Pentecost Sunday.

The 130 participating First Communicants, mostly second-graders, represented parishes from around the diocese. They came to the celebration with their families, filling St. Peter’s to standing room only. Bishop Serratelli presented a catechetical lesson and then invited some of the children to ask him questions about faith. The celebration included a procession with the First Communicants and honored Jesus with Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

“I would like to say a word of welcome to the First Communicants and their families this afternoon. This is the day [Pentecost] that the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles, gathered with Mary in the upper room. It is known as the birthday of the Church. We come together in praise and thanksgiving in a special way with our young people, who are at the beginning of their life of faith. They just recently received Jesus in the great gift of the Eucharist,” Bishop Serratelli told the First Communicants, whose parishes selected them to participate in the annual celebration, which was sponsored by the diocesan Office of Catechesis. “We come to celebrate with them as a Diocese for the gift of faith given to them, the gift of faith given to their families and gift of faith given to each of us.”

For the catechesis, Bishop Serratelli walked to the center aisle of St. Peter’s, so he could speak more personally with the First Communicants. He told them, “When we truly love somebody, we give them a gift to show them how much we love him or her. The greatest gift that we can give anybody is the gift of ourselves.”

“That’s exactly what the Eucharist is. When you receive Holy Communion, it’s Jesus who is coming to you as the Father’s gift of love. It is Jesus, who loves you so much that he suffered and died for your sins. The Eucharist is Jesus, who stays with you and dwells inside you to make you holy,” the Bishop said to the First Communicants, dressed immaculately in blue, gray or white suits and white Communion dresses.

During his teaching, Bishop Serratelli also related the story of St. Dominic Savio, one of the youngest canonized saints of the Catholic Church. On the day of his First Communion, he did something unusual — he took a piece of paper and wrote down a number of promises he made to God the day he first received Jesus, the bishop said.

“Dominic’s promises were that Jesus and Mary will always be my best friends; I will go to church every Sunday and the Holy Days; I will never commit a sin; and I will go to Confession and Holy Communion as often as I can,” said Bishop Serratelli, who then asked the First Communicants to write down on a piece of paper one or two promises that they want to make to Jesus. The Bishop also asked the children several questions to test their knowledge of the faith and the Eucharist, such as “Is Holy Communion just bread?” They correctly answered, “No.”

“When they bring the bread and wine up to the priest during Mass, it’s just bread and wine, right? No. During Mass, the priest does what Jesus did at the Last Supper. He says the same words over the bread that Jesus said on the night before he died: ‘This is my Body.’ What happens? Is it bread anymore? No — it’s the Body of Christ,” said Bishop Serratelli, who noted that the priest also consecrates the wine as the Blood of Christ. “Is there a change on the outside? No. But we know it [the change into the Body and Blood of Christ], because Jesus said it. Every time you come to Communion, you are meeting Jesus himself. You are receiving all that he is: his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity,” the Bishop said.

Then, Bishop Serratelli invited some of the First Communicants to ask him any question related to faith. Among the several questions, Nicholas Stevens of St. Jude Parish, Budd Lake, asked the Bishop, “Who made God in heaven?” Impressed with the depth of the question, the Bishop remarked to the adults, “We have a theologian here,” prompting laughter from the congregation.

“Life has to have a source that’s uncreated. God always was. That’s what makes him God: he has no beginning or end. Nobody created God. He is the Creator. He is the one, who made all things. He existed before time. He is the one to whom we will go and be happy with forever,” he said.

Emily Iadarola of Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish, Lake Hopatcong, asked Bishop Serratelli, “Why do you wear such fancy clothes?” — a question that elicited chuckles from the congregation. He said that the bishops wear specific clothing — handed down by tradition — to distinguish themselves from priests. In a moment of self-deprecation, the Bishop noted that bishops wear hats “to cover their bald spots” — another comment that was met with laughter.

After the questions, Bishop Serratelli presided over Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, which included a Eucharistic procession with the First Communicants. At the end of the celebration, he gave each First Communicant a gift. Then, the children and their families were invited to a light reception in St. Peter’s Hall. “I feel very happy. The Bishop was very funny. He told us that Jesus is a gift to us [in the Eucharist],” Maya Anikiej, a First Communicant from St. Therese Parish, Succasunna, said at the reception.

Then, Maya’s mother, Marta, called Bishop Serratelli’s catechesis “beautiful” and the Eucharistic procession “amazing.” “The Bishop was open and friendly. He told us that Jesus is here with us [in the Eucharist] and that the Eucharist is Jesus himself. The Bishop really inspired me,” Marta Anikiej said.

INQUISITIVE MINDS Clockwise from top left: A First Communicant asks Bishop Serratelli a question about faith. The Bishop distributes gifts to the participating children. Young people smile as they listen to Bishop Serratelli’s catechetical lesson. First Communicants raise their hands to ask the Bishop a question about faith. A young boy kneels during Eucharistic adoration.

EUCHARISTIC PROCESSION Clockwise from above: Bishop Serratelli carries the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance while seminarians hold the canopy over him for the Eucharistic Procession with First Communicants. Young boys fold their hands in prayer as they participate in the procession. The Bishop delivers a catechetical lesson to the First Communicants during the service. Young girls in their Communion dresses fold their hands in prayer as they process through the aisles.

Read the full article at http://www.livedigitaleditions.com/article/Eucharistic+Cateche/2807276/415191/article.html.

God Is His Co-Pilot

Michael Wojcik

Swarstwood pastor gives thanks for ‘miracle’ of surviving auto accident

SWARTSWOOD The trouble started when — almost out of the blue — a large rock appeared on the shoulder of a quiet stretch of Route 619 in rural Swartswood. Father Abuchi Nwosu, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (OLMC) Parish here, jerked the steering wheel of his 2005 Nissan Murano to one side to avoid the rock. But the results on the late afternoon of May 10 were devastating: the priest’s SUV pitched to one side and rolled over — and then again — before coming to rest — upside down — on the blacktop.

In the aftermath, pieces of wreckage from the vehicle — completely totaled — littered the road. The overturned SUV had sustained considerable damage: a smashed-in windshield and drivers-side window, crumpled roof and hood and crushed interior. Yet with God as his co-pilot — and help from a passerby, Father Nwosu, the only occupant of the vehicle, slid out the drivers-side of the SUV, shocked and thankful to the Almighty to have narrowly escaped serious injury or death. Miraculously, the Nigerian-born priest’s only injury was a bloody mouth occurring when his face hit the steering-wheel airbag that was deployed.

“I can’t believe that I survived. The ceiling of the SUV could have crushed my head. The flying glass could have cut me badly. I’m so grateful to God for the miracle of saving my life for whatever reason he has in mind,” Father Nwosu said. On May 23, the priest posted a reflection on Facebook, giving God thanks for the ninth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood that day and for his surviving the single-vehicle crash more than two weeks before. “I definitely appreciate life more. Even today, I still thank God for each day,” the priest said.

A quick review of some of the religious articles found at the scene of the accident could have giving onlookers some clue as to why Father Nwosu walked away relatively unhurt. Along with God acting as his co-pilot, the priest had some faithful navigators. A crucifix that was hanging from the rear-view mirror cracked in half. A prayer card with the Blessed Mother’s portrait fell out of the driver-side door and onto the pavement. A Divine Mercy prayer card fell off the dashboard. But most importantly, the pyx, a special container for Holy Communion, which sat on the front passenger seat, got knocked around but remained unopened and unharmed, he said.

“That afternoon, I felt under many protections, especially that of the Blessed Sacrament. The Body of Christ was with me,” said Father Nwosu, who was returning to OLMC after an emergency visit to Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, Fredon.

Also what saved the quiet, affable Father Nwosu were the air bags that deployed and his seat belt, which prevented his head from being slammed against the ceiling of the SUV, while suspended upside down. He also thanks God that at the time of the accident no other cars were traveling on that stretch of Route 619, which is located about 12 minutes from OLMC’s rectory.

Shortly after the crash, Father Nwosu forced his head out of the opening of the shattered drivers-side window. He used his hands to flag down a motorist in a passing car, who got out and helped to pull him from the wreckage. The priest took a quick moment to reflect on his “unbelievable” survival. Then, another motorist pulled over and called for the assistance of police, who closed a lane of Route 619 to investigate the accident. Father Nwosu said that he did not need medical attention at the scene but went for a precautionary check-up the next day.

Later that day, Dan Salvatore, one of OLMC’s staff, gave the priest a ride back to the Western Sussex County parish, where he immediately visited the church’s chapel and “prayed, thanking God for saving my life.” Then, he rested a while before celebrating 7 p.m. Mass. On the next day, the priest told parishioners about the accident at Mass, urging them to “appreciate every day.”

On May 24, Father Nwosu posted a short reflection about the ninth anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in 2008 and his gratitude about surviving the crash. Accompanying the post were three photos: one of Bishop Serratelli ordaining him in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Paterson and two graphic images of his overturned SUV.

“Today nine years ago, I was ordained priest. However challenging or not the priesthood is, I’m thankful to God for calling me to the order of the priesthood in order to minister to his people. I’m thankful for my family and many people God has placed for a positive influence in my life,” Father Nwosu wrote in the Facebook post. “Most of all, I’m thankful for God’s gracious gift of life, and for sparing my life that day, two weeks ago, from a car accident, so that I can live to testify to you his kindness and miracle,” wrote the priest who arrived in the Diocese from his native Nigeria in 2004 to study for the priesthood.

Father Nwosu told The Beacon that, at first, he hesitated talking about the accident or posting about the crash on Facebook, but then thought, “We Catholics believe that if God does something in our lives, we should tell people about it.” The priest said that none of his other posts ever received as many responses — about 230 in all. Among those most thankful well-wishers was his sister, Amaka Stacey Nwosu, who lives in Nigeria.

“Happy anniversary and happy survival, my dear brother. Thank God for sparing your life. Let the celebration continue. God is great,” she posted to Father Nwosu on Facebook.

ACCIDENT SCENE The flipped-over 2005 Nissan Murano that Father Abuchi Nwosu, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Swartswood was driving May 10 is shown after coming to rest on its roof along Route 619 in Sussex County. Miraculously, Father Nwosu only suffered a bloody mouth from being hit in the face by the steering wheel airbag when it deployed. He was able to crawl out of the opening of the shattered driver’s side window and used his hands to flag down a passing motorist who helped to pull him from the wreckage.

Read the full article at http://www.livedigitaleditions.com/article/God+Is+His+Co-Pilot/2807282/415191/article.html.

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