Joining Catholic churches in the Archdioceses of Boston, New York and Philadelphia along with the Diocese of Brooklyn and numerous dioceses throughout the country, many parishes in the Diocese of Trenton rang their church bells at noon Dec. 30 to honor the almost 339,000 people who have died from the coronavirus since the pandemic began last March. In New Jersey, 18,777 COVID deaths have been reported.
Apart from their regularly appointed times, church bells are rung to mark significant milestones or occasions.
“It is my hope that, as the year 2020 comes to an end,” observed Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., “the tolling of bells in churches throughout the Diocese will invite us to pray for our beloved dead while calling us to compassionate solidarity with Catholics throughout the nation. May the coming year quickly see the end of this pandemic.”
Jan. 1 marks the 52nd observance of the World Day of Peace. Pope Francis marked the occasion with a special message. In it he points to the mandate of Christians to offer peace to all, especially those who struggle through adversity:
“Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history.”
Click here for the full message.
This Jan. 1, the Church celebrates The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God as part of the Christmas season. When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, she was greeted as the “Mother of the Lord (Luke 1: 43),” a recognition both of her unique place in God’s holy plan and her faith in accepting his will.
Bishop O’Connell shares a reflection and a prayer for The Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, that can be found here.
On Jan. 3, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Epiphany. In the earliest centuries of the Church, the “Christmas feasts” occurring after Christmas Day were all celebrated on January 6. By the fourth century, some dioceses began to celebrate the feast of Christmas and the feast of the Epiphany separately, on Dec. 25 and Jan. 6 respectively, creating the “twelve days of Christmas” as the Christmas Season.
Bishop O’Connell shares a reflection and a prayer for The Solemnity of the Epiphany, that can be found here.
Chancery operations will be closed Dec. 31 and Friday Jan. 1 for the New Year holiday and will resume operations on Monday, Jan. 4.