BELMAR — More than 1,000 Catholic parishioners are expected to gather in Maclearie Park on Sunday for the Bishop of Trenton’s annual outdoor Mass.
The 10 a.m. service at the riverfront park on Route 35 will mark the third consecutive year that Bishop David O’Connell has visited Belmar to celebrate Mass with several local parishes.
This year’s theme will be ‘Gathered as One.’, exemplified by the fact that the service is presented by a cohort of Roman Catholic churches that includes St. Rose, of Belmar; St. Catharine-St. Margaret, of Spring Lake; Ascension, of Bradley Beach; St. Elizabeth, of Avon-By-The-Sea and St. Mark, of Sea Girt.
“I am delighted to join the faithful in Cohort 19 to celebrate what has become an annual Mass with them,” Bishop O’Connell said. “In my homily I will probe the deeper meaning of Sunday’s Gospel, urging the faithful to renew their commitment to Christ and to make him their priority.”
The Mass was originally slated to take place at the Huisman Gazebo on Ocean Avenue. It was moved to Maclearie Park after organizers of the Colton and Friends A Foundation for Autism Beach Bash, which was planned for the same day, just blocks from the gazebo, told the borough council that parking would be a problem with both high profile events scheduled for the same area.
Bishop O’Connell said he has accepted an invitation to visit the Autism event, after celebrating Mass in Maclearie Park.
“After Mass, I will join the families gathered on the beach at Ocean and 7th Avenues in Belmar for their Annual Autism Beach Bash,” the bishop said. “I have been invited to visit and give a blessing to all gathered there,” he said.
Monsignor Edward Arnister, of St. Rose, and parishioners of St. Denis, in Manasquan, have also been invited to take part.
“The priest and the bishop, we gather with our bishop to celebrate together our oneness and our unity as a community even though we are parishes,” Monsignor Ed said. “We strive to work together to collaborate in many ways throughout the year, but this is the highlight every year.”
“[The Bishop] is a great supporter of the work the cohort is doing and is kind of an affirmation of the work the cohort has been doing over the past few years in collaborating together and working together as one,” he added.
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