BELMAR — More than 200 people from five Roman Catholic churches gathered at Silver Lake Sunday to hear Bishop David O’Connell of the Diocese of Trenton celebrate an outdoor Mass. In his homily, Bishop O’Connell spoke about the importance of “finding God in our everyday lives … not just when your boat is sinking.” The Mass was organized by the five parishes as part of the “Faith in Our Future” initiative, an effort to bring neighboring parishes together to work toward common goals. The Mass was celebrated from the gazebo at Silver Lake and attendees were encouraged to bring their own beach chairs. Bishop O’Connell expressed excitement at the gathering and was met with applause when he asked whether the cohort should plan another such joint Mass next year. The parishes were: St. Mark’s of Sea Girt, St. Rose of Belmar; Church of the Ascension of Bradley Beach, St. Elizabeth of Avon-by-the-Sea, St. Catharine’s of Spring Lake. The five have been designated by the Faith in Our Future program as Cohort 19. Rev. Monsignor Edward Arnister, Pastor of St. Rose and Episcopal Vicar for Monmouth County, said he had been praying for a beautiful sunny day in Belmar on Sunday. Parking was provided at the Belmar Plaza, where a bus was available to take people to the gazebo. Thomas Mullooly, a St. Rose parishoner who chairs Cohort 19, said, “The Mass went flawlessly” and thanked the Borough of Belmar for hosting the event. He also credited Monsignor Arnister, the pastors and deacons of the five parishes and cohort members Kelly Williams and Mary Brabazon. According to cohort member Debbie Mullen, of St. Elizabeth’s Church, the group is in the “Implementation period,” the time during which the group is working to implement the concept of parishes working together.
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