Michael Wojcik 2017-09-13 11:00:26
PEQUANNOCK Bishop Serratelli delighted in leading the momentous milestone of the 80th anniversary of the Paterson Diocese — established on Dec. 9, 1937 by Pope Pius XI — during a dinner celebration at the newly-opened Legacy Castle here Sept. 8. In his remarks, the Bishop reminded the audience of clergy, religious and laity from around the Diocese and beyond about the ultimate reason for the local Church’s celebration: because “Jesus came to free us from sin and to transform our lives through God’s grace.” More than 1,300 people attended the dinner, which featured an invocation by Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, and a presentation, “80 Years of the Greatest Diocese in New Jersey,” by Msgr. Raymond Kupke, diocesan archivist and pastor of St. Anthony Parish, Hawthorne. With great wit, wisdom and grace, Bishop Serratelli — installed at the seventh bishop of Paterson in 2004 — spoke about “Who We Are as Church” and concluded the event with closing remarks. With pride, Bishop Serratelli has called Paterson “the greatest diocese in New Jersey” at various diocesan events over the years. “Today, we celebrate the freedom we enjoy [in the U.S.] to be the Church we are, evangelizing and welcoming all in the embrace of God’s love. For 80 years the faithful of the diocese have been exemplary in using their gifts for others, especially the poor and needy among us,” Bishop Serratelli, who that night also commemorated the 17th anniversary of his ordination as an auxiliary bishop of the Newark Archdiocese said in 2000. “Today, I thank God and all of you of the Paterson Diocese.” Among those attending the dinner — the first event held at the Legacy Castle — was Bishop Emeritus Rodimer, the sixth bishop of the Diocese, along with numerous faithful from the many agencies, parishes and schools throughout the Diocese. Throughout the evening, dinner guests enjoyed speaking with Cardinal Tobin, Bishop Serratelli and Bishop Rodimer and taking “selfie” photos with them. During his talk, Bishop Serratelli reflected the spiritual life of the Diocese through images of the Body of Christ. First, and most importantly, Catholics encounter the Body of Christ in the Eucharist — the Body, Blood and Divinity of Jesus — that forms us as Church. Also, the Church forms the Body of Christ with each person taking on a different role in reaching out with Jesus’ love to others, especially to the poor. As its bridegroom, Christ is wedded to and loves the Church, said the Bishop, who also thanked Cardinal Tobin and Bishop Emeritus Rodimer for their faithful service and attendance. Bishop Serratelli told the faithful of the Diocese that they can find their true “destiny” in their parishes. There, they can receive the Eucharist daily; the sick can be lifted up in the Anointing of the Sick; Baptism and Penance can extinguish sin; the young can be strengthened in Confirmation, and couples can be brought together in God’s love through matrimony, he said. Together, the clergy, religious, spouses, parents and other faithful in a parish “give examples of authentic sacrifice that makes us holy in God’s eyes,” Bishop Serratelli said. The dinner began with a welcome by Msgr. James Mahoney, diocesan vicar general and moderator of the Curia and pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, Chatham Township, who organized the event. Then, the Honor Guard from Knights of Columbus Council 6354 of Our Lady of the Valley and Holy Cross parishes in Wayne presented the flag, followed by Sister of Christian Charity Joan Daniel Healy, diocesan chancellor and delegate for religious, leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. During his invocation before the meal, Cardinal Tobin thanked Bishop Serratelli for inviting him to the event, congratulated the Diocese and thanked God “for his faithfulness in you and his work over eight decades.” “Lord, we are thankful for all who have gone before and we pray that you give us generous hearts like theirs, so that your mission [in Paterson] continues,” said Cardinal Tobin, who acknowledged that Morris, Passaic and Sussex counties were part of the Newark Archdiocese, before Pope Pius XI broke them off to form the Paterson Diocese. “We thank your for being part of us,” he said. Providing music for the celebration dinner were Members of the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, conducted by John Luckenbill. Father Alphonse Stephenson, its founder and also a diocesan priest, suggested playing mostly Big Band tunes from the 1930s, because they originated from the early period of the Diocese’s history, Msgr. Mahoney said. After the meal, Msgr. Kupke spoke about the history of the Diocese. He called Pope Pius XI an “activist pope,” involved in missionary activities, who established three new archdioceses and five new dioceses in the U.S., including Paterson, in an eightmonth period at the end of his papacy. The speaker said that Paterson has been blessed with seven “gifted and far-sighted” bishops, such as its first, Bishop Thomas McLaughlin, who “organized the diocese, inspired and galvanized a not-so-enthusiastic presbyterate and began founding a series of ‘apostolic parishes,’ beginning with St. Peter the Apostle in Parsippany, just four weeks after his installation.” Msgr. Kupke spoke about each Paterson prelate, including Bishop Rodimer, “our longest-serving and only native-son bishop,” who “continually worked to expand and strengthen the life of the parishes, to deepen liturgical life, both in the parishes and also in the Diocese as a whole, and to enhance the training and participation of the laity in the local Church.” The speaker noted that, in 13 years, Bishop Serratelli “has renewed the diocesan presbyterate, restored our diocesan cathedral and renewed its role in the life of the Diocese and established an innovative and unique evangelization center at St. Paul Inside the Walls in Madison — a model being studied and imitated in many dioceses around the world.” Msgr. Kupke also spoke about several of the visionaries, who helped blaze the path for the establishment of the Paterson Diocese. Among them was Bishop John Carroll, who wrote about his visit to Ringwood in 1785 and the Catholic “congregations” in the area. In 1818, Henrietta Blanchet sent her carriage monthly to the Elizabeth docks to bring a priest from New York to her hometown of Madison to celebrate Mass. In 1865, Father William “Dean” McNulty wanted to build a new church for Paterson — which later became the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist — on the corner of Main and Grand Streets, because he felt that it belonged in the center of the city, “not on some side street.” In 1867, Sister Anne Cecilia and the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth responded to Dean McNulty’s call to open St. Joseph Hospital in Paterson, Msgr. Kupke said. The Diocese’s 80th anniversary celebrations will continue on Saturday, Dec. 9, when Bishop Serratelli will serve as main celebrant and homilist of a Mass at 9:30 a. m. at the Cathedral of St. John on the actual day of the 80th anniversary of the Diocese’s founding in 1937. Afterward, a Communion breakfast will be held at the Brownstone, where Msgr. Kupke, again will speak about the Diocese’s history. In his talk, Msgr. Kupke summed up the Diocese’s history by noting that, over the decades, countless men and women have “worked to ground the Catholic faith in every corner of our three counties.” “They all believed that the vision of a local Church, a diocese, was taking shape in their own lives and efforts…We continue to add the faith and efforts of our own lives to theirs, because we know in faith that the vision will not disappoint,” Msgr. Kupke told dinner guests. “How could any people so richly, so intimately and so continually blessed by Almighty God, ever describe themselves as anything but the greatest Diocese in the State of New Jersey.” GRAND ENTRANCE Top: Guests for the 80th anniversary dinner welcome (from left) Msgr. James Mahoney, diocesan vicar general and moderator of the Curia; Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese; and Bishop Serratelli, as they visit the three ballrooms at the Legacy Castle used for the gala. Above: Father Daniel Kelly, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, Wayne, and Msgr. Raymond Kupke, diocesan archivist and pastor of St. Anthony Parish, Hawthorne, who spoke that night about the Diocese’s history, walk into the dinner with Knights of Columbus from Wayne to their right. Right: Bishop Serratelli speaks with members of the Religious Teachers Filippini. Below: John Luckenbill conducts Members of the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, which played mostly Big Band tunes. ONE NATION, UNDER GOD’ Left: Standing at attention is the Honor Guard from Knights of Columbus Council 6354 of Our Lady of the Valley and Holy Cross parishes in Wayne who later presented the flag at the start of the dinner program for the Pledge of Allegiance, which was led by Sister of Christian Charity Joan Daniel Healy, diocesan chancellor and delegate for religious. Above: Enthusiastic dinner guests clap as Cardinal Tobin and Bishop Serratelli walk into their ballroom. THREE PRELATES Clockwise from top left: At the 80th anniversary dinner, (from left) Bishop Serratelli, Bishop Emeritus Rodimer and Cardinal Joseph Tobin, archbishop of the Newark Archdiocese, pose for a photo. Guests enjoy dinner and conversation in one of the ballrooms in the Legacy Castle. Bishop Serratelli delivers his talk on “Who We Are as Church.” Msgr. James Mahoney, diocesan vicar general and moderator of the Curia and pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, Chatham Township, who organized the event, welcomes guests. Msgr. Mahoney introduces Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who gave the invocation. An ice sculpture to commemorate the Diocese’s 80th anniversary is displayed at the dinner.
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