A message from Bishop O’Connell on Lent

The season of Lent has arrived, and with it the importance of prayer and penance become a special focus of our attention once again as we “journey to Jerusalem” with our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Our Holy Father Pope Francis, in his “2021 Lenten Message,” asks us to spend these 40 penitential days of Lent “renewing our faith, hope and love.”  Such Lenten renewal invites us to “fasting, prayer and almsgiving,” the traditional Lenten paths to conversion.  I recommend that all Catholics take a few moments to read and reflect upon the Holy Father’s beautiful Lenten Message this year.

As your Shepherd, I humbly offer you some simple thoughts for Lent.

On faith, hope and love.

For the full message click here.

2021 Lenten regulations

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

During the days and weeks of penance that lie ahead — from Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021 until Holy Thursday, April 1, 2021 — the Catholic Church throughout the world commemorates the penitential season of Lent ending with the Sacred Triduum of Holy Week. The model Jesus gave us for “these forty days” was his own experience in the desert and the temptations that followed him there where he encountered Satan face to face.  And yet, Jesus, there in the desert — alone, fasting and in intense prayer — beat back the devil and triumphed over temptation, as strong and as unrelenting as it was throughout those forty days.

We enter the desert of Lent like Jesus, led by the Holy Spirit, to face our devils, our temptations head on.  But we are not alone.  The Lord Jesus Christ is with us.  And so, too, is the Church, the entire community of faith observing Lent.  Here is what the Catholic Church in the United States requires of us as baptized Catholics:

For the regulation put forth by Bishop O’Connell click here.

Stream the Stations with Bishop O’Connell this Lent

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will lead a special, multimedia experience of the Way of the Cross, which will be available for streaming on the Diocese of Trenton’s YouTube channel beginning Friday, Feb. 19.  The presentation will feature the watercolor portrayal of the 14 stations by popular 19th century French painter James Tissot, one of Bishop O’Connell’s favorite artists.  After experiencing a spiritual vision while visiting the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris, Tissot dedicated his artistry to portraying the life of Christ in 350 watercolors based upon the Gospels – 14 of which depict the Stations of the Cross.  The entire collection was purchased by and remains on display with the Brooklyn Museum of Art. 

Bishop O’Connell observed that the Stations’ portrayal has been “selected to help us prayerfully envision the Passion and Death of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Leading prayers first composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori, the Bishop invites the faithful to join him in commemorating the Way of the Cross this Lent.  To stream the Stations, visit youtube.com/trentondiocese.

Ash Wednesday with the Bishop

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will lead a videotaped liturgical service and deliver a homily for Ash Wednesday Feb. 17. The video can be viewed beginning at 6 a.m. on Ash Wednesday at youtube.com/trentondiocese.


Faith always finds a way

That is the takeaway from the latest issue of The Monitor Magazine, which reports on a very busy time in the life of the Church amid COVID concerns and a significant snowstorm.

While events and initiatives like the annual March for Life, Catholic Schools Week and the Diocesan Youth Conference might have looked different this year, they were just as impactful in the people they reached and the witness they offered. We hope you will spend some time with the expanded coverage on these and many more events in your digital edition.

The magazine also helps to prepare the faithful for the arrival of Lent with a message from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., Lenten regulations and a collection of resources, including special recipes, that will help you get off to a great start on Ash Wednesday.

We also call your attention to the launch of several key diocesan initiatives, including the 2021 Annual Catholic Appeal – www.dioceseoftrenton.org/catholicappeal and a new website dedicated to priestly vocations – www.godiscallingyou.org.

Click HERE for more on what’s in the February issue, information on how to subscribe and a link to your sneak peek of The Monitor Magazine.

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