Faithful from throughout the Diocese of Trenton and beyond gathered Jan. 25 and 26 to bid farewell to Bishop Emeritus John M. Smith in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton. Bishop Smith, 83, passed away after a long illness in Morris Hall Meadows, Lawrenceville, the morning of Jan. 22.
A Rite of Reception of the Body was held in the afternoon, Jan. 25. Later that same day, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., was principal celebrant of a Mass of Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest at 7 p.m. Msgr. Lewis Papera, a priest of the Newark Archdiocese and longtime friend of Bishop Smith, served as homilist.
On Jan. 26, hundreds of people gathered for the Mass of Christian Burial, with Bishop O’Connell serving as principal celebrant. More than 100 priests concelebrated the Mass, which was also attended by visiting bishops from around the Province of Newark and beyond, and deacons and seminarians from the Diocese of Trenton. Msgr. Joseph Rosie, pastor of St. Paul Parish, Princeton, and former priest secretary serving under Bishop Smith, was the homilist. Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark conducted the Final Commendation.
In his column for The Monitor , Bishop O’Connell reflected on the life Bishop Smith, writing:
The passing of Bishop Emeritus John M. Smith at the age of 83 leaves an empty place in the Diocese he served as bishop for 13 years. The local Church he loved to call the “Great Diocese of Trenton” mourns the death of this “great” priest and bishop.
He will be fondly remembered for his great sense of humor and engaging personality, witnessed so often during his tenure and pastoral ministry throughout the Diocese’s four counties. He fittingly chose as his episcopal motto “Serve the Lord with Gladness” from Psalm 100.
You can read Bishop O’Connell’s full remembrance on Bishop Smith here.
The Monitor has also compiled a profile of Bishop Smith and the pastoral work he performed throughout his time as a priest and bishop. To read this article, click here.
For news and photographic coverage by The Monitor of the Funeral Rites for Bishop Smith, click here.
Early coverage of Bishop Smith’s death was published in the Jan. 24 print edition of The Monitor. A full coverage package will follow in the Feb. 7 issue.