From the Pastor

Annual Catholic Appeal

From the Pastor Desk

This weekend is Pledge Sunday for the Annual Catholic Appeal throughout the Diocese of Trenton. Each year the Bishop seeks the support of all the members of the diocese to further the work of our ministries. Each of us has a vital part in all we do in Christ’s name, and each of us can share in all we do with a gift to the Annual Catholic Appeal. Our single Act of Faith propels the works of love that build up our Church. You make that happen with a generous gift to the ACA. This year Our Lady of Perpetual Help-Saint Agnes Parishes share of the goal is $72,000. As the people of the Diocese of Trenton, you have an opportunity to help others see Christ working in our midst. I ask you to take a moment and truly reflect on any help you can give. We truly need everyone to participate. This year we again are striving to reach our goal of $7 million. I am always grateful and moved by the level of support you give to our parish. I thank you for this support, and may God continue to bless you and your family.

Rev. Fernando Lopez, Pastor

An Overview of Catholic Funeral Rites

An Overview of Catholic Funeral Rites

From Delaware St. Mary Catholic Church.

Catholics believe that at death “Life is changed, not ended.”  Death is a passage to a new and fuller life, and ultimately to resurrection and eternal union with God.  The Church emphasizes life in the funeral liturgy.  The resurrection is the theme and the readings, hymns, and prayers reflect the overall tone of expectant joy.  During the Catholic funeral we gather to pray for the repose of the soul of the one who has died, and to ask that God will strengthen and console family and friends. The priest and deacon are the principal presiders of this sacred action between God and humanity, guiding those present in praying for the beloved departed and for ourselves.  The Funeral Mass is offered in intercession for the deceased person because we know that God hears our prayers for the forgiveness of the sins of our deceased loved ones.  We know that we are not alone, but are supported by God’s grace, by the community here on earth and by the communion of saints. At the funeral we derive strength from our Christian faith, which provides the true consolation we find in the resurrection of Jesus, our source of hope in times of sorrow. Our attention is centered on Jesus our Savior, who speaks to us through the Scriptures, and who comes to us in the Holy Eucharist in our time of grief.

For some who do not understand the Catholic approach, the funeral can primarily be a time for remembrance and celebration of a person’s life. For Catholics, however, the intercession for the dead and the transition to eternal union with God are the central focus of the funeral liturgy, not the person’s past but their future. While we believe a tribute to the past life of the deceased loved one can be a very good and emotional healing experience, a eulogy is not meant for the future-looking solemnity of the funeral mass. Certainly, it is fitting to laugh, cry and celebrate the life of a good person. (Hopefully, their love of God and their fellow man is central to the tribute.) However, there is a time and place for everything good, and the best place for a eulogy is not at the funeral mass. Instead, it is when people are gathered together at the wake service or at the repast when people can best take the time to truly enjoy the memories of their loved one.  

In short it comes down to this: it is good for us to gather as a human family to recall the past earthly life of a deceased loved one. Looking to each other we find support, healing and appreciation in sharing and celebrating the person we knew and loved. Then, pausing from our earthly gaze and looking to Heaven, we turn to God at the funeral mass. Together we implore our Heavenly Father for His mercy and loving embrace for the living and the dead. 

Accordingly, our Community of Our lady of Perpetual Help – Saint Agnes Parish will continue its tradition of NOT having eulogies at the funeral mass as the best way to respectfully remember the passing of our beloved deceased.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Rev. Fernando A Lopez


From the Pastor: Fr. Fernando Lopez

Dear Parishioners:

As we enter a season of Thanksgiving, I am reminded of the many things I am thankful for. But first some transition news. Our Business Manager, Patti Dickens, is leaving OLPH/St. Agnes for a new position for the Diocese of Trenton. When Patti started here, she took the Manager position on an interim basis, expecting to stay 3 months. Well, a year later, Patti has decided to move on! In her new position at Parish Development Associate, she will continue to interact with us and other parishes. I am grateful and appreciative of the contributions Patti has made to our parish.

Dan Neff, our Music Director, is also moving on to a new opportunity. Dan has accepted a new position at St Josephs as their full time Music Director. He will continue to work with us as our coordinator of wedding and funeral Masses. Patrick Phillips will assume the position of Coordinator, Music Ministry. Join me in wishing Patrick success as he takes on this responsibility.

We have also hired a new Business Manager, Sue Kiley. Sue retired from a National Vice President position for a large company in the healthcare market to become more involved in the community. She brings a wealth of experience and success in business management. She is currently the Mayor of Hazlet and a cantor at Holy Family Church. Please welcome Sue to OLPH/St. Agnes.

I am grateful for our volunteers, both old and new. We have a new counting team to count collections, and we need more of you to volunteer for this important job. Please consider all our Parish Ministries and ask yourself where you can contribute.

The Parish Lazarus Committee has been formed; they will be assisting with funeral planning. I thank them for their commitment to this very important ministry. I am grateful to those who have donated so generously to the “Faith to Move Mountains” campaign. The Diocese has given us $32,000 to date as a result of this program. And some special thanks for Mr. Vito Faraci for the new beautiful statue of Padre Pio he donated. The statue was dedicated in a ceremony on September 23rd and stands in front of our convent.

And I am grateful for all of you, our parishioners, our community of faithful Catholics. May God bless you all!

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Fernando Lopez, Pastor