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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As you know, I have been appointed as the Delegate for Religious for the diocese replacing Sister Elizabeth O’Hara who retired at the end of December. We extend our sincere heartfelt thanks to Sister Elizabeth for her dedicated service to us religious and to the diocese these past years. We offer her our prayerful remembrance.
As a Felician Sister, I recently served in the Metuchen Tribunal and am a member of the Education Commission in the diocese. I worked at Bishop Ahr High School in its early years. As a participant in the First Synod of the Diocese of Metuchen, I met a number of members of the diocese. And I have met a number of you these past few years at various gatherings especially as we celebrated the Year of Consecrated Life in the diocese. I look forward to meeting more of you.
One of the tasks of the delegate for religious (see Appendix, Handbook for Religious) is to be a ”bridge builder” between the Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen and members of religious communities. I also see myself accompanying the women and men religious on our common Journey as we carry out the Mission of Christ.
We religious, priests, brothers and sisters in the diocese number close to 300. Women religious from 30 orders are serving in the diocese. Some areas of the diocese where we minister include parishes, schools, campus ministry, and hospitals. Retreat work, social service, volunteer work, health care and forms of a life dedicated primarily to prayer are other ways in which we serve the people of God in the diocese.
Pope Francis, in his remarks on World Day of Consecrated Life, February 2, 2016 said that consecrated men and women are called first and foremost to be men and women of encounter…to live the gratitude for the encounter with Jesus and for the gift of a vocation to consecrated life. Encounter is something all of us can be about, whatever our specific ministry.
From time to time, it is good to come aside and rest awhile as Jesus said. The season of Lent will soon be upon us. You are invited to come and rest at an Afternoon of Reflection at the Saint John Neumann Pastoral Center on SATURDAY, MARCH 18. Registration to follow later this month. Mark your calendar and save the date.
In this technological age, I will use email and the diocesan website to communicate with you rather than mailing a hard copy for most business. However, anyone needing to be contacted by US mail is asked to let me know that, by mail or a message on my voice mail. I am in the office 2 days/week.
In every encounter we have, let us strive to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves.
Peace and All Good,
Sister Aquinas Szott, CSSF
Delegate for Religious