Annual Catholic Appeal
Update by Jim Morgan, Coordinator
Hi everyone. When I spoke to most of the Masses several weeks ago in late February I indicated that Father Martin would like for me to inform the congregation with a monthly financial update of our progress in the Bishop’s Annual Catholic Appeal as well as to give a brief description of some of the ministries that are sponsored by the Diocese and receive money from the Appeal funds raised.
I am so pleased to announce that during the first three weeks as of March 8, 2021 Mary, Mother of the Church Parish has raised $30,840. This is an excellent beginning and I only hope that our contributions can continue as the year progresses so that we can reach our goal of $65,000. Thank you all so much for this tremendous start.
I would like to talk this month about the ministry of the Preparation of Deacons. The Diocese currently has approximately 300 active Deacons who have been ordained by the Bishop for service in Liturgy, Word, and Charity as they assist the Bishop and Priests in their respective Parishes. It takes anywhere from four to five years for Deacons to complete the education requirements and most of them when finished acquire a masters degree in Theology from Seton Hall University.
A Deacon can assist in many ways: preparing couples for marriage, preparing families for baptism, working with RCIA candidates, visiting the sick, helping with funerals, helping with various liturgical events and assisting the priest at Mass by giving homilies, etc.
You must remember that the vast majority of Deacons are married and are also working full time jobs during their time of study and preparation. Their wives and other family members are to be commended for making all the sacrifices that come with this type of commitment.
Eight years ago in the spring of 2013 I had the wonderful experience of attending the Deacon ordination at the Cathedral in Trenton of a friend of mine, Gary “Doc” Schmitt. Gary and I have worked together many times over an eleven year period of time umpiring high school baseball games in Burlington County as we are both members of the South Jersey Baseball Umpires Association. Gary is assigned as Deacon to the Parish of Jesus the Good Shepherd located in Beverly, New Jersey. The ordination was both moving and beautiful and I will never forget observing the look of dedication and commitment on the faces of all the men who were ordained that day.
In closing I would like to extend sincere thanks to our five deacons who together over the years have contributed a total of 98 years of service to Mary, Mother of the Church Parish. I feel that is an amazing number when you think about it. So the next time you see Gary Richardson, Ron Schwoebel, Lawrence Finn, Thomas Shea, and Ron Zalegowski please let them know how much we all appreciate their years of service and dedication to the Parish,
Thanks everybody and I will update you again in April.