Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. and Terry Ginther, chancellor and executive director for Pastoral Life and Mission, met for the first time Oct. 21 with the newly appointed co-chairs of the diocesan phase of the XVI Ordinary Synod of Bishops: Mary Liz Ivins, former president and principal of Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, and Patrick Brannigan, deacon in St. James Parish, Pennington, and former executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference.
The meeting was held in the Chancery in Lawrenceville to discuss the development of a strategy for the unfolding of the Synod from 2021-2022 in the parishes and the ministry and operational offices, organizations and ecclesial movements of the Diocese of Trenton.
After thanking the co-chairs for their generous acceptance of his appointment, the Bishop initiated a discussion of the Synod and its objectives. Ivins stressed the importance of how the faithful should be approached. “This can’t be a purely didactive exercise. Nor should it become political or corrective in tone. The Holy Father has asked the Church to hone its listening skills to our sisters and brothers,” she said.
Deacon Brannigan saw the Synod as a “blessing and a great opportunity for Catholics as well as those who have “fallen away” to reflect upon their faith. “It is the work of the Holy Spirit, I am convinced,” he said.
Ginther noted that utilizing structures already in place will be a fruitful springboard for inviting the involvement of the local Church at every level.
As this initial planning meeting ended, Bishop O’Connell expressed “great encouragement” at the potential of the Synod. “I am so pleased with the energy and enthusiasm of our co-chairs. They will lead this process of ‘journeying together’ effectively and well. The Diocese is blessed!”
The Diocese of Trenton’s celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe is back in full force this year, after a more muted celebration last year due to the pandemic, with some significant and exciting changes.
This year’s lighting of the Traveling Torches (Las Antorchas Guadalupanas) will take place Oct. 30 during 5:30 p.m. Mass in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. From there, the torches will journey throughout the Diocese accompanied by Masses, Rosaries and cultural festivities in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In the Mass of Sending (Envío in Spanish), the torches will be lit and the torch captains will be blessed and sent out for the month-long celebration.
All are welcome to take part. Parish and school communities should contact the diocesan Department of Evangelization and Family Life to participate in the journey of the torches throughout November.
The torches will be brought back together Dec. 4 in Lakewood for the diocesan pilgrimage through the streets and closing Guadalupe Mass, hosted by Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish. Check diocesan social media and dioceseoftrenton.org/Guadalupe for more information.