2019 Religious Freedom Week celebrated in the Diocese of Trenton; for a third year, Mission: Jersey will be held on a diocesan level and sponsored by the diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries; Blessed Laura Vicuña is the next and final featured installment in Bishop David M. O’Connell’s #YoungSaints Series.

Religious Freedom Week, Diocesan service opportunity, new installment in Young Saint Series

2019 Religious Freedom Week celebrated in the Diocese of Trenton; for a third year, Mission: Jersey will be held on a diocesan level and sponsored by the diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries; Blessed Laura Vicuña is the next and final featured installment in Bishop David M. O’Connell’s #YoungSaints Series.

The 2019 Religious Freedom Week, celebrated in the Diocese of Trenton and worldwide June 22-29, has embraced the theme “Strength in Hope.”

Designed to recognize the need for awareness and prayer to assure religious freedoms, the week began with the feast day of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, included the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, and ends with the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

During Religious Freedom Week, Catholics are encouraged to pray and act each day for religious freedom. Throughout the nation and the world, Catholics face challenges both in the current political climate and within the Church itself. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has provided educational documents and talking points on the week, seeks to encourage Catholics to persist in that struggle to participate in the advancement of the kingdom of God by finding hope in Jesus Christ.

For more information and daily prayer resources to use during Religious Freedom Week, visit USCCB.org.


For a third year, Mission: Jersey will be held on a diocesan level and sponsored by the diocesan Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. High school students can lend a helping hand this summer with multiple opportunities to put faith into action as the annual service project in either a three-night or five-night event.

The first event will be held July 11-14 at St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square. The second will be held July 28-Aug. 2 in St. Theresa Parish, Little Egg Harbor. Youth who attend will sleep overnight on parish grounds but travel during the days to service locations around the Diocese, as well as have opportunities for prayer, faith-sharing and making new friends in faith.

To register, please visit dioceseoftrenton.org/missionjersey.

To see a recap of Mission: Jersey 2018, click here or click the play button on the video below.


Blessed Laura Vicuña is the next and final featured installment in Bishop David M. O’Connell’s #YoungSaints Series. In his latest essay, Bishop O’Connell focuses on the life and holy witness of the young saint, writing:

Laura’s beautiful simplicity and unrelenting faith became legendary among the Salesian Sisters during her young life and many years after her death.  Inspired by the canonization of 12-year-old Italian St. Maria Goretti on March 5, 1950, the Sisters began gathering information and witness testimony about her to support their efforts to seek her canonization but encountered some resistance in Rome.

Laura was neither a martyr as Goretti nor old enough to amass an abundance of evidence of her “heroic life.”  Determined to pursue their quest, the Sisters’ persistence regarding Laura’s sanctity convinced the Holy See to declare Laura Vicuña “Venerable” in 1986.  As required by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, a healing miracle was attributed to Laura Vicuna’s intercession and Pope St. John Paul II approved and declared her beatified – “Blessed” – on September 3, 1988.  Her feast day is January 22.

To learn more about the life of Blessed Laura Vicuña, click here, or press the play button on the video below.

This latest installment concludes Bishop O’Connell’s Young Saint Series, a special project for the Year of Youth.  In this series, Bishop O’Connell encourages youth to envision sainthood as a goal within reach.

The key, shares the Bishop through the life of these young saints, is how we live as Catholic Christians, keeping Christ at the center of our lives. If you would like to read the entire collection and view videos on many of the saints featured by the Bishop, click here.

Be sure to look for a bonus installment on St. Dominic Savio: Small in stature, with a towering spirit.

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