st catharine church easterTRENTON, N.J. - On Easter Sunday, as an anticipated 4 million plus viewers from around the United States tune in to the national televised Mass of the Resurrection of the Lord, they will be taken to Spring Lake, NJ, and the unique church counted by some among the most beautiful sites along the Jersey Shore.

This year’s televised Mass takes place in St. Catharine Church, and features, as principal celebrant and homilist, the Most Reverend David M. O’Connell, C.M., 10th Bishop of Trenton and president emeritus of The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. 

Also taking part are several concelebrating priests and more than 300 worshipers who gathered from around the Diocese of Trenton.  The program was taped Nov. 30 and produced by the Diocese’s Department of Multimedia Production for the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission and ABC.  It will be aired April 1 on local ABC affiliates and posted for viewing on diocesan digital media.

St. Catharine Church, with its neoclassical architecture and interior artwork reflective of the Renaissance period, provided a fitting backdrop for the moving liturgical experience that will be served up to viewers. The location was Bishop O’Connell’s first choice for the celebration of this special Mass that will be aired in 209 cities and markets across the country, including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Houston, Seattle, Tampa and Detroit, as well as the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, Hamilton-Bermuda and St. Croix. In 2017, the televised Easter Mass was seen by 4.6 million viewers.

In his homily, Bishop O’Connell reflects on the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, pointing out that they are one and the same, as seen in his Passion, Death and Resurrection.  The Bishop notes that Christ’s ministry caused people to hope, but his death dashed that hope for many of his followers. 

However, Bishop O’Connell  assured, “His Resurrection made everything right. “

He continued, “For all who believe, Easter is the heart of our faith, it is the life of our faith, it is the breath of our faith …. Easter is everything.” 

Others involved in the Mass include Father Harold Cullen and Father Martin O’Reilly, pastor and parochial vicar, respectively, of St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish; Father Michael Wallack, secretary to the Bishop, as well as many ministers and parishioners from the hosting parish community. Adding to the beauty and solemnity of the celebration are members of St. Catharine Adult Choir and Youth Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Jarred Tafaro. 

Faithful from across the Diocese also took part, in some cases arriving by the busloads from Catholic schools. Participating students represented St. Catharine School; St. Rose High School, Belmar; Trenton Catholic Academy, Hamilton; St. John Vianney High School, Holmdel, and Mater Dei Prep, Middletown.

Viewers in the Diocese of Trenton will be able to watch the Mass via WABC New York at 5 a.m. and WPVI Philadelphia at 4:30 a.m.  The Mass will also be available for viewing on the home pages of DioceseofTrenton.org and TrentonMonitor.com any time after 7 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning.