Pope Benedict’s Birthday • The Shepherd’s Voice • COVID-19 Funeral Assistance • Hyde Amendment

Pope Benedict’s Birthday • The Shepherd’s Voice • COVID-19 Funeral Assistance • Hyde Amendment

A reflection from Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., on the occasion of Pope Benedict’s birthday:

Today, Friday April 16, is Pope Benedict XVI’s 94th birthday, making him the oldest Successor to St. Peter in history. Although he resigned the papacy for reasons of physical health in 2013, his contributions to the ongoing development of the Church’s teaching and theology over his long career will endure for years to come.  A brilliant yet gentle, humble, holy man, Pope Benedict XVI has inspired generations of believers to seek to deeply encounter the Lord Jesus in their lives.  Happy Birthday Holy Father and thank you!

“If we look to the saints, this great luminous wake with which God has passed through history, we truly see that here is a force for good that survives through millennia; here is truly light from light (Pope Benedict XVI).”


In case you missed it, the latest installment of The Shepherd’s Voice with Bishop O’Connell is available on our Sound Cloud.

In this episode,  Bishop O’Connell recaps his Holy Week travels around the Diocese of Trenton and about the Easter Season.

He also reminds us of the Precepts of the Church and the importance of the Easter Duty. In addition, Bishop discusses attendance of Mass during the COVID-19 pandemic and encourages the faithful to come back to Mass, unless medical restrictions prevent them from doing so.

Bishop O’Connell concludes the discussion with the meaning of “Mercy” as the Church celebrates Divine Mercy Sunday, and the Year of the Family proclaimed by Pope Francis.

To listen, click here.

The Shepherd’s Voice is produced by Domestic Church Media and aired on NJ Catholic Radio stations.  To learn more, go to https://domesticchurchmedia.org/the-shepherds-voice.


This past week, the State announced that FEMA has established a fund to reimburse financially struggling families with funeral costs for relatives that have passed away due to COVID-19.

Information regarding the fund and eligibility requirements can be found here.

At this time, FEMA is accepting only applications for financial assistance submitted via telephone.

To apply, individuals should call 1-844-684-6333.


For decades, the Hyde Amendment has protected our tax dollars from funding elective abortions. In the most recent COVID relief bill, Hyde Amendment language was not included. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Hyde Amendment language “was needed because this bill includes many general references to health care that, absent the express exclusion of abortion, have consistently been interpreted by federal courts not only to allow, but to compel, the provision of abortion without meaningful limit.”

Concerns are rising that some politicians are considering a move to repeal the Hyde Amendment altogether.

The faithful are urged to sign a petition to protect the Hyde Amendment. Click here for more information.

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