Bishop to bless anniversary couples • Support of special collections lauded • Catholic social service grants available

Bishop to bless anniversary couples • Support of special collections lauded • Catholic social service grants available

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., will once again celebrate Masses with married couples marking special wedding anniversaries – one year, 25, 50 or more years of marriage in 2021.

After plans were drastically changed last year because of the global pandemic, an invitation has been extended for couples who marked milestone years of wedded bliss in 2020 to attend this year’s Masses as well.

There will be two Anniversary Blessing Masses. Couples from Burlington and Mercer County parishes will be recognized during the Oct. 3 Mass in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, while couples from Monmouth and Ocean County parishes will be recognized during the Oct. 10 Mass in St. Robert Bellarmine Co-Cathedral, Freehold. Both Masses begin at 3 p.m. and will include a blessing from the Bishop and an opportunity for the couples to reaffirm their marriage vows.

As a precautionary measure, Hensler noted that the number of people allowed in either Cathedral or the Co-Cathedral will be limited. For the Oct. 3 Mass, the goal is to allow each anniversary couple to invite two family members. For the Oct. 10 Mass, the number of people permitted in the Co-Cathedral will be kept to the anniversary couples along with diocesan, parish and volunteer staff members and clergy.

Both Masses will be livestreamed on and other diocesan social media platforms. Parish halls for both events will be open with hospitality and livestreaming for family members who serve as drivers or helpers for their anniversary couple.

For more information about the Bishop’s Anniversary Blessing, contact Hensler at 609-403-7156 or

Catholic Relief Services expressed gratitude to the Diocese for its generous support of the 2021 Rice Bowl Program in a Sept. 7 letter to Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

“Thank you and the people of the Diocese of Trenton for your recent generous donation of $10,526.31,” wrote Sean L. Callahan, CRS president and CEO. “I am humbled by your generosity and inspired by your compassion. Your kindness is the very embodiment of Jesus’ teachings to care for our most needy brothers and sisters and is recognized by the Lord.”

The CRS Rice Bowl program, run annually during the season of Lent since 1975, benefits those in need both abroad and domestically. While 75 percent of the Rice Bowl collection supports CRS’s relief around the world in more than 100 different countries per year, 25 percent of funds stay in each U.S. diocese, aiding hunger and poverty alleviation efforts.

For more information on CRS Rice Bowl and the impact of donations, visit

Bishop O’Connell, clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Trenton were recognized for their support of the 2021 Black and Indian Mission Collection held the weekend of Feb. 20-21.

In a letter dated Aug. 6, 2021, to Bishop O’Connell, Father Maurice Henry Sands, executive director of the national Black and Indian Mission Office, thanked the Diocese for its generous contribution of
$61, 297.31 that will be used to help communities build the Church and preach the Gospel among African-American, Native-American and Alaska-Native peoples.

The Black and Indian Missions Collection, established as the first National Collection at the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore in 1844 has proven itself to be a successful vehicle for the sharing of the resources of the Church’s members to provide for the needs of the members of the African-American, Native-American and Native Alaskan communities.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development — Diocese of Trenton is currently accepting grant applications from Catholic agencies and parish social service outreach programs located in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Grants are usually awarded in the amounts ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, and priority will be given to new initiatives that enhance or provide a foundation of self-sufficiency for those persons served by the program.  The organizations applying for the grant should have a mission that focuses on social services with an emphasis on basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter and employment.

Interested organizations or parishes must submit the completed application with all requested information by Oct. 4.  Applications received after the due date or completed incorrectly will not be considered. Grants will be reviewed and awarded by Brenda L. Rascher, diocesan executive director for Catholic Social Services and acting diocesan director for CCHD-DOT, along with a grant review committee. Grant recipients must be willing to publicize how the grant was used and grant monies must be used within a year of reception.

The 2021 CCHD awardees will be announced in early November, funded by the 2020 collection.

For more information and to access the grant application form, visit:

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