Bishop Sullivan celebrates Mass of thanksgiving

Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan celebrated Mass March 19 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Camden, in thanksgiving to God for the election of Pope Francis.

On that day, the feast of St. Joseph, the new Holy Father, who is the first pope from the Americas, was formally installed as the Supreme Pastor of the Church.

In his homily, Bishop Sullivan recalled a tradition of St. Joseph Day, where the faithful create “St. Joseph’s Table,” filled with breads and pastries, that represent “family, companionship, welcome, home, hospitality and delight,” virtues that are seen in St. Joseph, “husband to Mary, father of Jesus, and a righteous man.”

St. Joseph reminds us that, like him, the Catholic Church should be filled with “bounteous love and charity,” the bishop said.

Bishop Sullivan mentioned Pope Francis’ recent meeting with Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner. Although the two have occasionally clashed over social issues such as gay marriage and abortion, the pope gave a great “abrazo, embrace,” to the president with “hospitality, love and welcome” and “set the tone for the Catholic Church to bring hospitality and love to all, even with those whom we may disagree.”

Bishop Sullivan called St. Joseph a “man of few words but of deepest listening; he listens, hears and acts.”

Like St. Joseph, the bishop said, Pope Francis will “listen to the voices (of the poor),” and “protect our church from evil and sin.”

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