Bishop O’Connell reflects on Consecrated Life • Diocese mourns death of Dr. Margaret Boland

Bishop O’Connell reflects on Consecrated Life • Diocese mourns death of Dr. Margaret Boland

Consecrated Life: Pray the Lord of the harvest

Bishop David M. O’Connell’s message for the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life

After Christmas this year, I was able to take a few retreat days for some prayer, spiritual reading and reflection.  One of my traditions on retreats is to re-read the Gospels. Each of the four sacred texts has a unique character and tone, some passages complimentary while others seem to relate similar accounts in different ways. I don’t consider myself a “Scripture scholar,” but I have read and studied the Gospels and commentaries about them many, many times throughout my 40 years as a priest. The “story” they tell never gets old for me. In fact, each time I read them, something stands out that I may not have previously paid much attention to or noticed.

This year, I was struck in the four accounts by the “call of the apostles.” While the details differ in each Gospel, the core message is the same: ordinary people going about their business personally encountered the Lord Jesus Christ and responded to his invitation to follow him.

I think of about those different passages and their core message this weekend (Feb. 5-6) as the Church celebrates “World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life,” established by Pope St. John Paul II on Feb. 2, 1997, the Feast of the Presentation.

Quoting St. Teresa’s autobiography, he asked, “’What would the world be if there were no religious’?” (“Message of the Holy Father,” Jan. 6, 1997). Like the apostles, thousands of women and men, “ordinary people going about their business” yet prompted by the Holy Spirit, have responded to the personal “call” of the Lord Jesus Christ to follow him throughout the long history of the Church.  Some of them became great saints whose names are recognized to this very day.  Most of them, however, are known – with the passage of time – only to God.  Still, their holiness, accomplishments and witness to the Lord have been the building blocks of his Church.

Read Bishop’s message in full HERE.

Dr. Margaret F. Boland, lifelong educator and former diocesan leader, dies at age 79

When Dr. Margaret Boland looks back on her career in education, she admits that she has been blessed. “This has been my life. The good Lord has been very good to me. Not everybody gets the opportunity to do what they love to do, want to do and feel called to do. And I have, and that’s a gift,” she said. John Blaine photo

The diocesan community learned the sad news Feb. 1 of the death of Dr. Margaret Frances Boland, retired associate superintendent of Catholic schools who had been working for much of the last year on the faculty of Red Bank Catholic High School. Dr. Boland, who served the Diocese for more than 35 years, died the morning of Feb. 1 at age 79 after a return of cancer.

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., announced the news in a written message sent to the Chancery staff and others. In it, he stated, “It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the death this morning of our dear retired colleague Dr. Margaret Boland.  She was for so many years a great support to Catholic education and the principals and faculty in our Diocese as associate superintendent of Catholic schools.  Her death during Catholic Schools Week is especially poignant.”

In an email exchange with the Bishop a little more than a week ago, Dr. Boland expressed her admiration for the members of the Catholic school community in the Diocese.  She wrote to the Bishop, “Thank you for your very kind words about my service in the Diocese. Working with our schools was always a joy to me. We have many fine principals, fine teachers and fine students.”

Dr. Boland added, “I welcome your prayers. I need them as I begin my spiritual journey home.”

Bishop O’Connell conveyed in his announcement about Dr. Boland’s death, “I ask you to accompany her on that journey with your prayers.  May she rest in peace!

A Mass of Christian Burial is set for Feb. 7 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Luke Church, Toms River, for Dr. Boland. Visitation will be held Feb. 6 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. in Anderson and Campbell Funeral Home, 703 Main Street, Toms River.  A committal service will take place Feb. 7 at noon in St. Joseph Cemetery, Cedar Grove Road, Toms River.

Check back on for more reporting on the lifelong career and service of Dr. Margaret Boland. 

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