This Sunday, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, the final Sunday of our liturgical year. Pope Pius XI presciently instituted the feast of Christ the King in 1925 to combat the progressive secularization of Western civilization. The Holy Father was dismayed by the increasing influence of anti-Christian values in the mainstream of society, culture, and government; his point was that despite attempts to find fulfillment in all the wrong places, only when all people “realize that Christ is King, will society at last receive the blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace, and harmony.”
Many of you may recall, as I do, the catechetical lessons of childhood. When my mom taught me the Ten Commandments, her explanation was simple: “These are God’s laws,” she explained. “By following them, we are preparing ourselves to be with God forever in Heaven.” I would ask her: “What do we do in Heaven?” My mom would explain: “Oh it is beautiful…We kneel before God and worship Him for all eternity.” My response: “Forever? That sounds boring.” My mom would try to explain that God would make sure it would not be boring for us. I would mostly leave her lap unconvinced about “how” God would make it less boring, but quite convinced that following God’s Commandments would enable us to gain Heaven.
Margaret Josephine Dodd Hillier, 98, of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, passed away peacefully Oct. 30 in St. Patrick’s Mercy Home in St. John’s surrounded by her loving family. She is the mother of Father John G. Hiller, Director of the Office of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Diocese of Metuchen and the Office for Persons with Disabilities.
Religious Teachers Filippini Sister Anne Marie Pace, 98, who taught at St. Ann School, Raritan Borough, and Perth Amboy Catholic School, died Oct. 14 at St. Joseph Hall Infirmary, Villa Walsh, Morristown.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, With a grateful heart, I am able to share with you today that we exceeded the 2022 Bishop’s Annual Appeal goal by over one million dollars! We raised almost 8.4 million dollars this year. This is a great tribute to you and act of thanksgiving as we celebrated our 40th anniversary as a diocese. As you know, the needs have become greater given the pandemic and the recent inflation issues we are suffering from. I am told that many more elderly brothers and sisters are coming for assistance these days and the number of people coming has tripled since the beginning of the pandemic. The extra funding available to respond to all these many needs is a great relief. Yes, we are able to respond to so many of these needs in the name of Christ, thanks to your overwhelming generosity. This is a blessing and something we cannot do alone or as an individual parish, so you came together to respond as a diocesan community in a beautiful way. Thank you!
METUCHEN — “We gather together dedicated to the mission of teaching,” said Father Timothy A. Christy to the scores of both new and seasoned Catholic school teachers, staff and administrators filling the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi Aug. 30 for the Mass for the Opening of Schools. “The mission of Catholic education is to form students intellectually, spiritually, socially and mentally, the whole child in the context of our faith.”
SOMERVILLE — When Pope Francis released his second encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home,” in 2015, he set into motion a conceptual blueprint as to how all of humanity might come together to respond to the global climate crisis, urgently issuing an appeal to begin a new dialogue about shaping the future of the planet.
September 11 is an emotional day for us all, as it always reminds us of the horrific terroristic attacks in our country that changed and took the lives of too many innocent people. We continue to pray for the victims and their families and all of us affected by that day’s tragic events. Gratefully, this year, we had a celebration that gives us a reason to offer thanks as our diocesan community gathered with Bishop Emeritus Paul G. Bootkoski at our beautiful Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi for a Mass of thanksgiving for his special milestone of 25 years of episcopal service. Indeed, we have much to be grateful for as 20 of those 25 years have been spent serving the faithful of this wonderful Church of Metuchen.
NORTH BRUNSWICK — On July 16, two years after 20-year-old Daniel Anderl died protecting his mother and father from a gunman, 1,100 runners gathered at the North Brunswick Community Park to celebrate his life and create a legacy in his name at the second and final Daniel Anderl “Love is Light” 5K run.
GLEN GARDNER — After a hiatus of two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Four Day Walking Pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, Pa., returned. The pilgrims’ journey began Aug. 4, at Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Great Meadows, and ended at the shrine on Aug. 7. The shrine contains a reproduction of the Black Madonna of Jasna Góra, who has a special place in the lives of Catholics of Polish descent and is Poland’s most revered icon.
NEW BRUNSWICK — Boxing gym owners Dionne Roberts-Thompson and her husband, John (JT) Thompson want to help young people in more ways than one with their Pillars of Success Program. The couple have owned Brunswick Boxing Stars for about 11 years.
MIDDLESEX — When Father David V. Skoblow began his journey as a newly-ordained priest and parochial vicar at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Fords, in 2015, he told a reporter that his primary responsibility was the salvation of souls, which, pursuant to canon law, is “the supreme law of the Church.” Seven years later, it remains the focus of his ministry as he assumed the office of pastor of Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish.
NEW BRUNSWICK — In the same house of worship where he served as a transitional deacon 30 years ago, Father Thomas F. Ryan was elevated to pastor of Holy Family Parish at a Mass of Installation May 29. Holy Family includes the former Sacred Heart Church, now a worship site.
HILLSBOROUGH — From a young age, Msgr. Joseph Curry knew he wanted to serve God and others. His parents and grandparents shared their strong faith with their young boy who would become a priest. From them, he learned that God always had to be significant in his life. It is a lesson he heard again when Bishop James F. Checchio installed him as pastor of Mary, Mother of God Parish.
The final report of the diocesan phase of the Synod has been released, reported Bishop James F. Checchio to the people of the diocese. As a result of the months-long interview and recording process, he said, “our diocese has experienced a process that allowed for authentic listening to one another and to the Holy Spirit… Therefore this report is not a strategic plan but a summary of recurring themes for us to reflect on and learn from as we continue our journey as a diocese.”
Peter G. Kane, who has extensive experience in the financial services industry and Catholic education leadership, was recently appointed by Bishop James F. Checchio as the next president of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, Edison.
(Editor’s note: The following is the homily given by Bishop James F. Checchio at a Mass, during which he ordained Father Ronal Vega Pastrana to the priesthood for the diocese, at the Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, Metuchen, June 11.)