Background Image

The Beacon The Beacon_030217 : Page 1

SUSSEX THE AWARDWINNING NEWSPAPER OF THE R.C. DIOCESE OF PATERSON, N.J. PASSAIC MORRIS 3 DIOCESAN CHOIR SINGS IN ST. PETER’S BASILICA MARCH 2, 2017 14 The Catholic Center for Evangelization at Bayley-Ellard W ELCOME H OME TO H EALING Churches in diocese will be open Monday evenings during Lent for confessions By CECILE PAGLIARULO REPOR TER B LESSING O F N EW D OORS BISHOP SERRATELLI ISSUES LENTEN PASTORAL LETTER; ‘BARTIMAEUS AND THE WAY OF DISCIPLESHIP’ BEACON PHOTO | JOE GIGLI PATERSON As Catholics begin the holy season 12-13 9 10-11 14 15 16-23 Y OUTH V IEWPOINT W HAT T O D O O BITUARIES C LASSIFIEDS DO NOT DELAY — TIME SENSITIVE NEWS of Lent, many reflect on how they can come closer to Jesus during this solemn time. Others reflect on finding their way back to the Church. Whether one is an active member of the Church or has been away from the Church and is seeking to return to it, the Paterson Diocese is welcoming all Catholics to experience God’s healing love through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. During Lent, every Catholic Church in the Paterson Diocese will be open for confessions on Monday evenings from March 6 to April 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Now in its ninth year, the Welcome Home to Bishop Serratelli made a pastoral visit to Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in the Hewitt section of West Milford Feb. 26. During the Mass, at which he was the principal celebrant, the Bishop blessed the new interior doors at the front of the church and new saints’ chapel. Pictured here, the Bishop blesses the new doors, which are etched glass showing Ss. Peter and Paul looking toward heaven. For story and more photos, see page 2. Founder of Good Counsel Homes overcame fears to trust in God to aid homeless women By MICHAEL WOJCIK NE WS EDIT OR ‘ God wants us to experience healing at the deepest level … and if we are humble enough to receive it … it can transform our lives.’ — F ATHER K EVIN C ORCORAN Healing program continues offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation to mark the season of Lent, a time of prayer, almsgiving, fasting and penance. The Diocese began the annual program during the Lenten season of 2009 to give Catholics the opportunity to “come home” and experience God’s healing love. The purpose of Welcome Home to OPEN FOR CONFESSIONS, 4 MADISON Christopher Bell said he felt terrified when he opened the first location of Good Counsel Homes for homeless pregnant woman and single mothers with babies in a former con-vent in Hoboken in 1985. He jokes that, back then, a particular nightmare haunted him — “I would imagine having to change mountains of diapers —because at that time, I hadn’t changed many diapers.” Bell’s strong trust in God — mixed with loads of courage — helped him overcome his consid-erable fears — that extended well beyond diapers — to take leap into uncharted territory: founding and then attempting to operate a non-profit ma-ternity home. At the time, only 300 similar fa-cilities existed in the U.S., making the 20-some-thing Catholic and his partner in this ministry, the late Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, look like trail-blazers in this outreach. Bell told the story of Good Counsel Homes, which today operates homes in New Jersey, New York and Alabama, last week at St. Paul Inside the Walls: the Diocesan Center for Evangelization at Bayley-Ellard here, as part of its ongoing “Speaking of Faith” conversation series. “It seemed a struggle but God provided,” said the humble and soft-spoken Bell, a married father of seven children, 17 to 27 years old — six of whom are adopted. He was inspired to open the first location of Good Counsel Homes, after min-istering to young homeless people at Covenant House in Times Square in New York City in 1979. “There, I met a woman, who was pregnant. Her boyfriend told her about a place where she could ‘go to get rid of it.’ She came in and asked, “Can you help me?’ Before, I didn’t think of women as homeless or abandoned. They could have been my sisters or classmates. I asked, ‘Why isn’t there a place for them?’ ” he said. An enthusiastic audience listened as Bell en-gaged in a lively conversation with Father Paul Manning, St. Paul’s executive director and dioce-san vicar for evangelization; they sat in chairs SPEAKING OF FAITH, 8

Welcome Home To Healing

Cecile Pagliarulo

Churches in diocese will be open Monday evenings during Lent for confessions

PATERSON As Catholics begin the holy season of Lent, many reflect on how they can come closer to Jesus during this solemn time. Others reflect on finding their way back to the Church. Whether one is an active member of the Church or has been away from the Church and is seeking to return to it, the Paterson Diocese is welcoming all Catholics to experience God’s healing love through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

During Lent, every Catholic Church in the Paterson Diocese will be open for confessions on Monday evenings from March 6 to April 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Now in its ninth year, the Welcome Home to Healing program continues offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation to mark the season of Lent, a time of prayer, almsgiving, fasting and penance. The Diocese began the annual program during the Lenten season of 2009 to give Catholics the opportunity to “come home” and experience God’s healing love. The purpose of Welcome Home to Healing is to draw the faithful closer to a call of conversion as they prepare for Holy Week and the Easter season.

In a personal invitation from Bishop Serratelli on the Diocese’s webpage for the program (http://www.welcomehometohealing. org/), the Bishop writes, “Nothing is more startling and, at the same time, more consoling than the truth for which Jesus lived and preached and died. It is this: God is love. As the Psalmist says, ‘The Lord is a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, most loving and true’ (Ps 86:15).

“Through the ministry of the Church, God offers us his forgiveness in Christ Crucified and Risen. In the great sacrament of Reconciliation, God is already running to meet us. He wants to welcome us. He wants to exchange our dirty rags of prideful selfindulgence with the righteousness of Christ Crucified. He wants to bring us back into the joy of his home and into the fellowship of his Church. He longs to see us reconciled with himself and with others.

“Like the prodigal son barely able to confess his sins, we, at times, are ashamed and even afraid to name those evils that separate us from God who loves us so much. But the Father is not ashamed to recognize us as his own son or daughter. He longs to wrap his arms around us. He is waiting to welcome us to home,” the Bishop writes. There is also a video on the webpage from the Bishop about the program and the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

One of the aims to the Welcome Home to Healing program is to see more young adults return to the Church. During the month of March, internet advertising will appear on Facebook to target this audience in order to make them aware of the program. The ads will appear in the “newsfeed” portion in Diocese’s three counties.

Father Kevin Corcoran, diocesan vice chancellor and priest-secretary to the Bishop, who is the coordinator of the program said, “The world needs ‘witnesses of mercy in every sphere,’ people who can help others desire and learn how to forgive. Pope Francis said, ‘This is a task to which we are all called, especially in the face of the bitterness that entraps too many people who need to find again the joy of interior serenity and the taste of peace.’ ”

In addition, the Diocese has once again placed information about Welcome Home to Healing on billboards in several locations to bring awareness to the community. Because the program is also largely aimed toward Catholics who have been away from the Church and/or the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the Diocese also has resources for people on how to go to confession, frequently asked questions about the sacrament and how to make an examination of the conscience on the Welcome Home to Healing webpage. A Spanish-language version of the webpage is also available for Spanish speaking Catholics. Priests may also visit the webpage for parish resources.

Throughout the years, many parishes have kept churches opened longer to accommodate the large number of people coming in for confessions. Many priests have also reported hearing confessions from people who haven’t received the sacrament in decades.

With all 111 parishes of the Diocese open for confessions on Monday evenings, people who may not feel comfortable to see his or her parish priest can simply head to a nearby church or visit a parish on their way home from work.

In addition to the Welcome Home program, every parish will continue to celebrate their regularly scheduled penance services. Some parishes may also host their own individual Lenten Reconciliation services and activities.

Father Corcoran said, “God wants us to experience healing at the deepest level in our lives and if we are humble enough to receive it the way that God wants to extend this mercy and forgiveness to us, it can transform our lives. As Pope St. John Paul II said, ‘Be not afraid,’ come to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”

Read the full article at http://www.evergreeneditions.com/article/Welcome+Home+To+Healing/2723186/388290/article.html.

Founder Of Good Counsel Homes Overcame Fears To Trust In God To Aid Homeless Women

Michael Wojcik

MADISON Christopher Bell said he felt terrified when he opened the first location of Good Counsel Homes for homeless pregnant woman and single mothers with babies in a former convent in Hoboken in 1985. He jokes that, back then, a particular nightmare haunted him — “I would imagine having to change mountains of diapers —because at that time, I hadn’t changed many diapers.”

Bell’s strong trust in God — mixed with loads of courage — helped him overcome his considerable fears — that extended well beyond diapers — to take leap into uncharted territory: founding and then attempting to operate a non-profit maternity home. At the time, only 300 similar facilities existed in the U.S., making the 20-something Catholic and his partner in this ministry, the late Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, look like trailblazers in this outreach. Bell told the story of Good Counsel Homes, which today operates homes in New Jersey, New York and Alabama, last week at St. Paul Inside the Walls: the Diocesan Center for Evangelization at Bayley- Ellard here, as part of its ongoing “Speaking of Faith” conversation series.

“It seemed a struggle but God provided,” said the humble and soft-spoken Bell, a married father of seven children, 17 to 27 years old — six of whom are adopted. He was inspired to open the first location of Good Counsel Homes, after ministering to young homeless people at Covenant House in Times Square in New York City in 1979. “There, I met a woman, who was pregnant. Her boyfriend told her about a place where she could ‘go to get rid of it.’ She came in and asked, “Can you help me?’ Before, I didn’t think of women as homeless or abandoned. They could have been my sisters or classmates. I asked, ‘Why isn’t there a place for them?’ ” he said.

An enthusiastic audience listened as Bell engaged in a lively conversation with Father Paul Manning, St. Paul’s executive director and diocesan vicar for evangelization; they sat in chairs across from each other in between a small table in the front of one of St. Paul’s classrooms. That night, the priest asked the featured guest questions about his childhood, family life, faith life, Good Counsel and experiences of having met two saints: John Paul II and Teresa of Calcutta. After, Father Manning invited audience members to ask Bell these own questions.

“ ‘Speaking of Faith’ is series of unrehearsed conversations with people from all walks of life about their experiences of God and about how they integrate their life and faith,” Father Manning said.

Bell surprised some audience members by stating that he did not co-found Good Counsel — which celebrated the birth of its 1,000th baby last year — based on Catholic social teaching or the pro-life cause. Instead, inspiration came from his five years of ministering to pregnant homeless women in Times Square and from Scripture in Psalm 68: “God gave a lonely home to dwell in.”

“I asked God, ‘Really?’ Then I said, ‘OK.’ That was the seed,” said Bell, who noted that Father Groeschel, who died in 2014, offered his help, including with fund raising — an effort that led to the opening of the first Good Counsel location in the vacant convent o f St. Francis Parish, Hoboken. “I also realized that it was the ancient custom in Jewish Scripture to care for the widows and orphans,” he told the audience.

During the conversation, Father Manning told Bell, “You came to this conclusion because of your experiences with real people in need and reading the Scriptures. That is the root of Catholic social teaching.” Bell said that over time, he has read widely on Catholic social teaching and has become active in the pro-life movement.

Good Counsel runs homes and programs to help mothers and babies “live life to the fullest” and has sheltered more than 7,000 women since its founding. It also offers post-abortion healing and Day Star, a program for women, who suffer from drug-abuse and mental illness, among its many programs, Bell said.

Bell also spoke about the Catholic upbringing that inspired his faith and ministry to homeless pregnant women. His faith started early with “an experience of God that I couldn’t deny.” Later, he would stop into his home church, St. Boniface, in Elmont, N.Y., before heading to school. In college, he questioned authority, including the Pope and the Church, and stopped attending Mass, but soon returned.

“God isn’t as complicated as we make him because he is love,” Bell said.

Father Manning also asked Bell about having met St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, whom he had met several times.

“She was the shortest woman I ever met and had gnarly feet — a testament to her being on her knees in prayer for hours a day and standing all day in service to the Lord and the poor,” said Bell. He met John Paul briefly during a small audience in 1998. “Later, I saw him speak with a man who was dying of cancer. He told the man, ‘Have courage.’ In his own life, John Paul had faced physical death and had contemplated death. He said that death is a door to heaven.”

After the question-and-answer session, Father Manning concluded the “Speaking of Faith” event by calling Bell “simple, loving and wise. Thank you for being here tonight.”

Afterward, Christina Reneo of St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Mountain Lakes, said that she enjoyed attending Bell’s talk to “learn [about faith and life] from different perspectives that I can take into consideration [for her own life].”

“Many things that Chris said made sense, like that God has faith in us. We just need to keep moving along,” said Reneo, who also belongs to St. Paul’s Young Adults.

The “Speaking of Faith” series at St. Paul’s will continue with Deacon Brian Beyerl, M.D., chief of neurosurgery and vice chairman in the Department of Neuroscience at Morristown Memorial Medical Center at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 17.

Read the full article at http://www.evergreeneditions.com/article/Founder+Of+Good+Counsel+Homes+Overcame+Fears+To+Trust+In+God+To+Aid+Homeless+Women/2723195/388290/article.html.

Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here